Lanterns and candles lit up the night in my friend Sharon's backyard on Saturday, providing glowing ambiance for her daughter's wedding open house/reception. They were married about a week ago in Utah (the groom's home state) and had an official reception there, but Sharon wanted to have a celebration party here in Virginia as well for all of the friends and family who were unable to fly clear across the country for the wedding. It's a fairly common practice in LDS (Mormon) culture when the bride and groom's families don't live near eachother, so that everyone has the opportunity to wish the newlyweds well.
At any rate, it was a great excuse to decorate! I scored bigtime with the white lanterns...I found them on Craigslist from a recent bride who was selling them at a considerable discount after using them for her own wedding.
The large lanterns were borrowed from a family friend, but I bought about 70 little white lanterns, plus stands to use them on tabletops (which we didn't for this party), and some picture frame easels for a really low price. Love it when that happens.
I hung them all along the back of the arbor, and used the same white fabric that I used for my niece's wedding last year to drape over the arbor and at the entrance to the yard. I asked the bride and groom to strike a cheesy pose, and they came through quite nicely, don't you think?
I didn't make the beehive cake - but isn't it darling? Sharon had requested that another friend, who happens to be a great cook, make this beehive bundt cake as the showpiece for the cake table. Other local friends were recruited to bring the other bundt cakes, and I did the flowers, so it was a real community effort!
I had some last-minute struggles with the flowers not fitting properly around the cake plate when it arrived on site (I had envisioned a cake plate that was as big as the one I have at home, so the little glass bottles holding all those flowers were totally showing beyond the rim of the cake plate). I was being asked to do some other last-minute things at the same time, so I had about 2 minutes to hide those oasis-filled bottles. I grabbed some clippers and snipped some leaves from a nearby bush and threw them around the edge of the cake plate, took some leftover yellow flowers and stuck them here and there before running off to deal with other things. What's a wedding event without some last-minute craziness, eh?
The wedding colors were navy and yellow, and we were going to do yellow gerbera daisies for all of it but didn't need enough of them to merit ordering a big (pricey) quantity at Costco, and they're so expensive to buy in small quantities at the store. Plus they turned out to be hard to find at stores that weekend - at least ones that weren't already beat up and half rotten. So I filled in with some lovely hydrangeas and assorted mums.
Not quite the same fun, modern look as gerbera daisies would have provided, but a satisfactory compromise, considering the venue.
Recognize those shepard's crooks and lanterns? We borrowed them from the same friend who loaned then for Fran's daughter's wedding, which I helped set up for this spring.
This time I incorporated some leftover yellow flowers, and instead of tulle I used the long white cloth I already had from my niece's wedding.
Eliza was so thrilled to be the official guest greeter and took great satisfaction in making sure people signed the darling scrapbook pages (in lieu of a guestbook, which I think is a great idea) and knew where to put the gifts.
I really love this photo of the bride and groom. It was an engagement photo, and it's hard to really see in this picture but they're in an orchard, leaning over a fantastic antique chair and sneaking a kiss beneath the blue umbrella. So much fun.
These lanterns were suspended from the arbor, but also from tree branches throughout the yard (which I don't really have any good pictures of) so it provided a simple and elegant design element throughout the space.
I had scattered white lights over all the bushes in the yard, but in the last couple of hours before the party I discovered that some of them didn't light up (argh!). No, I didn't test them beforehand which I totally should have done (I know better) and I didn't gather up enough extensions cords to plug them all in until it was too late to do anything about the bad strings of lights. I had hooked 3 or 4 strands together, so it would have taken a long time to go through and figure out which strands were causing the problems. Sooooo, the yard was much less "lit-up" than planned, but at least this one grouping by the pool worked! The light reflecting in the water was so lovely.
There's something irresistably magical about candle light, especially from floating lanterns en masse.
...a perfect way to send the newlyweds off to live happily ever after.