Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to Throw a Party: Part Three-Lighting

So, you've chosen your theme, you've gotten your invitations going....really everything else is all in preparation for the big moment when everyone arrives at the house/place of partying. The remaining elements (Lighting, Music, Decorations, Treats/Food, Entertainment, Clothing, Beverages) are not exactly in any given order of priority, although the food typically isn't made too far ahead. SO, while you might want to decide what you're going to eat and drink that day, you really are going to focus and more so on decoration type things as the day approaches. Lighting can be a big part of the ambiance, though how big really depends on the party.

In general, a good place to start is to think about how to make a space more intimate for your guests. Think about your local Starbucks, they don't have bright florescence lighting going on, they big windows letting in daylight and soft, warm light from multiple lamps. It feels like a comfortable space one wants to sit back and relax in, chat with friends etc. Recreating that is pretty easy, just think smaller light sources rather than your bright over head lighting, light bulbs with warmer light and/or candles. You probably don't want to go ALL candles, unless you want THAT kind of intimate space... just sayin'...

Lighting can also help you enhance a major theme, like Halloween, Christmas, Oscar Awards, etc. if that's what you want to do. There are some incredibly unique ideas out there, often inexpensive and gorgeous too. For example, a great Christmas idea (if you live in an area that is friggin' cold) is shown here by Creative Juices For Decor. This concept warmly welcomes your guests, putting them in that Christmas spirit before they've even walked through the door! Other ways to light up your entry way include strings of lights, outdoor candle holders, lanterns, glow-in-the-dark objects, tiki torches, electronic tealights (a great option if you don't feel comfortable with putting candles inside paper or fabric luminaries, or if you have kids about, etc.) ... and these can all be used for a myriad of parties. Think outside the box on how to make them unique to your needs:

  • Dress up a more classic or standard candle holder with ribbon
  • Use vellum paper to make covers for the string of LED bulbs for a look specific to your needs, or cupcake liners like Camilla at Family Chic.
  • Create a shape on a wall or ceiling using strings of lights
  • Hang paper lanterns in a "clump" for an inexpensive chandelier look  
  • Wrap candleholders with tissue paper or fabric in your party colors for a whole new look
  • Use wire to hang jars or other candleholders 
  • Colorful paperbags make great luminaries, and using a crafty punch can make the edges have a special something more
  • Use colorful sand, rocks, beads, or combination thereof inside a clear candleholder and then nestle the candle within that.

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