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Outdoor Party Lighting Ideas To Decorate an Event

When deciding to hold a festive event or party outside, there are a number of different outdoor party lighting ideas available to help set the type of mood the occasion calls for.

Outdoor String Lights Create Enchanting Backdrops

String lights are the best way to go. They can come as the standard electrical kind, or as solar powered making them easy to set up. There are a wide variety of decorative outdoor string lights that can be used to decorate an outdoor party. They come in miniature pumpkins, hearts, flowers and snowflakes to suit different themes. You can even create your own themed DIY party lights by using string lights and origami paper shades (check out the tutorial on how to create your own cheap outdoor party lighting: DIY Lighting: Paper Origami and Outdoor String Lights).

origami lights

Using strings with bulbs that are all the same color will add a magical touch to the outside area. The two most popular colors to use to create a magical outdoor environment are blue and white. White bulbs are often used when celebrating an anniversary or holding an outdoor wedding reception.

String lights can be wrapped around railings, posts or tree branches, to create a special effect. A number of them can be hung side by side to create a curtain of lighting, or they can be hung overhead from wall to wall creating a starry night effect.

Have a look at our photo gallery on string lights for inspiration on different ways to use them to decorate a party: L&L Look Book: Beautiful Uses of String Lights [Photo Gallery] 

The Glow of a Flame: Fire Based Outdoor Lighting Ideas For A Party

If the party is going to have a garden or tropical theme, there are a number of torches and candles that you can use to create a festive atmosphere. Citronella tiki torches are a simple way of adding outdoor party lights. These are inexpensive and readily available at large department stores or even hardware centers. These tiki torches are just like any other tiki torches, but they are fueled with citronella oil. This oil is bought separately, and will burn with less smoke and act as an organic insect repellent.

The softer glow of candlelight often creates a subdued, relaxed atmosphere, rather than a boisterous festive one. The great thing about candles is that they can be used alongside accessories such as feathers, polished pebbles, and candle holders to create decorative pieces. Our article on wedding candle centerpieces goes over a whole host of ideas on using candles to light up a space: from lanterns to floating candle centerpiece. Enchanting Wedding Candle Centerpieces – Ideas Collection 

Mixing Lights and Balloons

balloon lighting

A unique way of adding backyard lighting for a party would be to use LED balloons. These can be bought online at Amazon, or can be simply made at home. All you need are LED lights that come with a battery and balloons. You can even fill the balloons up with helium. Have a look here for more on using balloon lighting: Balloon LED Lights

photo credits: Wit & Whistle iko 

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Creating a Festive Setting With These Party Lighting Ideas

Getting the right lights for a party can really help set the mood. Depending on the party space you can either go with simple party lighting ideas or go a step further and rent one or two light fixtures. There are also a few outdoor lighting ideas for a party. Here are a range of different ideas: Creating an Enchanting Party Setting With String/Fairy Lights. Outdoor string lights are so freaking versatile. They instantly create a fanciful setting. They can be used in a number of ways. Hang a number of them side by side on a wall to create a curtain of lights. They can be strung across the ceiling to mimic a starry night. They can be lined across counters and on the floor. Have a look here at our photo guide for more ideas on using string lights for cheap party lighting ideas.

Using string lights for party lighting ideas

Using Battery Powered LED Lights to Create Balloon Lighting Here is a unique lighting idea, one that can be store bought or even done DIY. All you need are single LED light bulbs that come with a battery. There is usually a little tab that you pull off to switch the light on. These lights can be turned on and then put inside a balloon. You can have the balloon blown up normally with air and have them lay around on the floor, or they can float in the air if they are blown up with helium. Have a look at our article here on balloon LED lights, for information on ready made balloon lighting and tips on using helium. Decorating Drinks With Ice Cube Lights Want a way to include the drink into the party decorations? Why not add light up ice cubes. These are little LED lights incased within a clear plastic that can be put in the freezer to keep the drinks cool. A great idea would be to tailor the color of the lights to the party: having a Christmas party, then use green and red lights, St. Paddys day – Green, having a ladies night – red and pink.

Need some dramatic lighting to fill a large space? Then a few simple rental lights can make a big difference: Uplighting For Parties Uplighting will create a formal and grand setting. These are lights that you put at the base of a wall, columns, etc, and they make a space feel larger – just like in the pictures below. Customizing a Party Venue with Gobo Lighting If you are looking to add a special touch to your party then have a look into gobo lighting. This is when you have a stencil made that fits over a can light. The stencils can be of anything – have star shapes lighting up ceilings, or floral designs lighting a wall, or if you are having an engagement party you can have a monogram of the names of the bride and groom. These stencils will be fitted over can lights, which are common lights that you’ll see on a theater stage or a concert. They can be easily hired at lighting rental companies. Creating a gobo stencil doesn’t have to be a complicated task. It can be done at home with a sheet of tin and a steady hand, or they can be custom ordered from lighting companies. Have a look at our article on creating custom gobo lightingfor instructions on making it yourself or getting them made.

Gobo lighting on a ceiling

Looking to have an outdoor party? Here are a few outdoor party lighting ideas.

Tiki torches are perfect for outdoor parties

Using Tiki Torches for a Festive Outdoor Party Tiki torches are a great way of creating a festive atmosphere for an outdoor party. They are easy to pick up at hardware or even large department stores. You’ll want to place the torches 15 feet apart and 3-4 feet away from table or chairs. Citronella oil can be used to fuel the torches, which will produce less smoke and will act as a natural and organic insect repellent. Light Up Pools or Ponds With Floating Solar Lights If you have any water features in your outdoor space, a swimming pool, fountain or a pond, these can be lit up with lights. The lights will wash over the calm water, creating relaxing and enchanting ambient lighting. General floating solar lightscan be used – they can continue to light up the water even after the party. Another option is to use the balloon lights mentioned above as these will float. We hope you have fun decorating your space with these party lighting ideas. Let us know if you have any unique ideas that we can add to the list.

image credits: phoenixlily stitchlily Josh Bancroft Nicobobinus Impact Sounds Katherine Martinelli On Stage Lighting

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