Where were we? Yes, lighting. So we've got the layout:
Remember, this is the "It's not gonna rain!" plan; I'll come back to rain plan "Sprinkle" and "Monsoon" in later posts.
Let's discuss lighting first, and then add decorations to the mix. We'll use a TON of white Christmas lights to fufill a number of functions. First, to provide ambient mood lighting. Second, to define the edges of the terraces in order to keep people from falling off of the edges of them. Third, between DJ and I, my mom and DJ's mom, we already probably have about 2,000 linear feet of white Christmas lights so they're free.
This is where having a scaled layout of your reception venue comes in handy. I can tell you how many linear feet of lights we'll need. No, I haven't been diagnosed with OCD, why do you ask?
Anyway, the lights will be on when our guests arrive at 5pm, but won't really be visible until 8 pm or so when dusk sets in. The sun will go down about 8:30 pm, and after that we'll rely only on Christmas lights for exterior lighting.
Start by edging the terraces; it's easiest. I'm thinking that we'll need a couple of fence stakes, and we'll string Christmas lights like a double strand barbed wire fence. One line at hip height, another at knee height. It'll go around the west and north sides of both the lower and upper terrace (can you see the yellow dashed line?):
We will, of course, have to create an arch of sorts with the lights over the stairs down to the second terrace so as to not block the staircase. Yes, I think of these things. I've been doing our Christmas lights now for over 10 years, and hate unsighly and unnecessary cords!
Since those lights will be at hip height, we'll add lights to the ceiling of the tent to give nice downlighting. We can't use candles or open flame in the tent; fire hazard.
It might look like this:
The next main space to light will be the shack porch. You remember that it looks like this:
Since there is a railing on the shack, outlining the railing in lights is a low priority. We'll line the ceiling edge with them, as well as down the outside hallway:
The upper deck will need lighting too. I'm trying to decide here; do we string them around the railing, or try to elevate them somehow?
For now, let's assume we keep them at railing height:
Lighting for the dance floor will be strung out from the deck to stumps (remember, Mike likes to cut trees). If we can squeeze them in the budget, I'd like to make this happen with the bigger bulb bistro lights. Target has a 100' section for $19.99. Check out these images for inspiration:
I'd also like to purchase some brightly colored paper lanterns, and pop them around up there too. I could purchase them online relatively cheaply, like these:
Hopefully, we'd get to something like this:
So maybe something like this:
That leaves us with the need to light the bar area under the deck, as well as near the shack. The bar area under the deck will be lit be more christmas lights, and maybe a few more paper lanterns. The bar area near the shack will be illuminated by the light given off from the lights wrapped around the trunk of a bull pine tree.
That does leave a couple of other lighting needs. We could put tea lights in jars on shack and deck tables. A good friend of mine suggested doing tealights hung with wire from branches, which might look something like this:
One area decidedly unlight is the porta-potty area. I can't decide if the blue room will need it, or if I want to call additional attention to it?
One other "issue" might be the lights in the house. The dining room lights, kitchen lights, etc might cast big pools of light outside, and I don't want them to wreck the vibe. The lights in the living room are on dimmers, so that can be adjusted, but maybe I'll have to tape down the kitchen and dining room lights?