Inexpensive Lighting Ideas to Amplify Your Events
Lighting is fundamental to soften the atmosphere of a large, cavernous room typical of event venues. Lighting also reinforces the desired mood for attendees. And if the event is outdoors, lighting is essential for defining the perimeter of the boundless space. But when you are throwing an event on a budget, lighting expenditures can quickly chew up the dollars, particularly if you hire professionals.
Here are eight ways you can employ your do-it-yourself side and use inexpensive st ring lighting tricks to create the ambiance you desire. And remember, if you are anticipating an upcoming event, stock up on Christmas tree lights after the holidays when they are available at deep discounts. No need to buy the more costly string lights when Christmas tree lights can be purchased for a fraction of the price during markdown time. Just be sure to buy the kind that stay lit when one light on the strand burns out.
Helpful Hint for Installing String Lights
According to blogger Andrea Howard, she attempted to attach string lights with duct tape but it did not hold. She then tried common transparent adhesive tape, and it worked. See the following source for step-by-step instructions on how to successfully install string lights . (Source: andreahowardblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/decorating-cake-table-with-lights-and.html)
Hint 1: Install Lights Under Tables
Whether you want to highlight a long rectangular head table or a small round reception table, installing lights underneath tables creates a fairyland effect. (Photo Source: christmaslightsetc.com for head table and moscatomom.com for round table)
Hint 2: Create a Back Drop on a Wall
Hang individual light strands from ceiling to floor for a festive, sparkling backdrop.
This barn wall is altered from an unfinished, unpainted wood wall to a wall fit for an occasion with the addition of light strands. (Photo Source: buzzfeed.com)
Hint 3: Drape the Ceiling
Simple but effective…the single strands of lights looping from one ceiling beam to another gives the illusion of lowering the height of the ceiling. This helps create a more intimate setting. (Photo Source: stylemepretty.com)
Hint 4: Swag the Lights
Use swags interwoven with light strands whether you are decorating a church pew, the side of a table, or a wall. Straight pins and tape are all the tools you need. (Photo Source: pristinechapel.com)
Hint 5: Drape Lights on a Canopy
A simple wooden structure can become a simmering wonderland by mingling strings of light throughout the fabric. Placing a few strings on top of the frame is sufficiently dramatic. (Photo Source: weddings.theknot.com)
Hint 6: Combine Light Strands with Nature
Outdoor events need lighting for practical reasons. But lighting is also needed to define the border of the party. String lights around trees to achieve both. Or create a structure with ladders or poles. (Photo Source: inmyownstyle.com)
Although more costly, combining string lights with hanging light strands on trees creates a curtain effect that creates intimate spaces in the great outdoors. (Photo Source: deerpearlflowers.com)
Hint 7: Combine Light Strands with Candles
Sometimes light strands do not create a sufficient impact. Adding pillar or tea light candles can amplify the amount of light and offer a more visually interesting display. This curtained back drop would look skimpy with just a few light strings. The glass candle holders on either side both amplify and balance. (Photo Source: deerpearlflowers.com)
Hint 8: Make Lamps from Empty Wine Bottles
Do you need a source of lighting for table tops or shadowed areas of the room? Save empty wine bottles and use a diamond hole saw drill to run the light strands into the bottom of the bottle for use an inexpensive lamp. (Photo Source: how.com)
Hint 9: Make Hanging Lamps with Baskets
Buy inexpensive wire or metal baskets and dump the light strands inside them. What a great way to light an outdoor party, casual yet fun. (Photo Source: indulgy.com).
The Great Gatsby Theme – Black and Gold Galas
Whether inspired by art deco motifs, the Great Gatsby, or the lives of the glamorous rich and famous, black and gold creates an elegant and memorable color scheme. Black and gold offers a wide range of tablescape themes, from vintage to modern to super contemporary. And you don’t need to be rich and famous to achieve a successful tablescape. Black and gold is timeless and sophisticated, so just using those colors can amplify your event to the next level. After all, what do we associate with gold? Champagne, jewelry, royalty, Fort Knox…rich, rich, rich! And what is associated with black? Lacy lingerie, top hats and tuxedos, simple black Audrey Hepburn dresses…formal in its extreme minimalism with a bit of sexiness, too.
How to Use White with Black and Gold Tablescapes
Black and gold tablescapes can consist entirely of black and gold. Or white can be introduced to break up the black and gold. See the difference in the following photos. In fact, the formality, although still present, is lessened when melding white into the color scheme. There is a cleanness and simplicity injected by the white versus the magnificent opulence of using only black and gold. White also tends to lend the black and gold color scheme a more modern feel. (Photo Source: happywedd.com, fabyoubliss.com)
Black and gold may look rich, but it doesn’t mean you have to be rich to have a black and gold event. For example, this tablescape employs black cotton napkins rolled and secured with a gold ribbon. A roll of gold ribbon is inexpensive. And whether buying our black Easycare napkins for a little over $2 each or finding another source, the napkin is not a major expense. And the dinner plate can contain a simple black and gold place card or consider wrapping a box of chocolate in metallic gold tissue paper with a black velvet bow. White table cloths are easy and inexpensive to rent. (Photo Source: stylemepretty.com, tiffany.com)
Gold Chargers for Black and Gold Affairs
Gold chargers are available in plastic and can look quite upscale when paired with a white dinner plate. The ones in this photo have had giftwrap glued to the inside so when the plate is removed, the plastic charger is minimized. Wouldn’t black velvet look gorgeous for a black and gold affair? Don’t be afraid to use silver colored utensils with gold. In order not to interfere with the overall color scheme, you can tuck them well under the lip of the charger. Or consider wrapping the utensils in a gold doily so that only the tips peak out, tying the doily with a black or gold ribbon. (Photo Source: ciaonewportbeach.blogspot.ca.)
Can Silver work in Black and Gold Table Settings?
As you can see in this photo, silver utensils were used. Because there is so much gold and black present, the silver blends well and does not greatly interfere with the overall color scheme. (Photo Source: latavolalinen.com)
Inexpensive DIY Black and Gold Table Setting Ideas
Other ways to inexpensively introduce black or gold is via accessories such as candles, coasters, napkin rings, chair ties, Christmas tree ball decorations, balloons, and table overlays. We’ve included one of our 10 styles of gold napkin rings and our gold coasters to show you how cost effective options that look more upscale than their price tag can enhance the gold in your tablescape (we have black, too). And organza chair ties in either black, antique gold, or bright gold are available from us to turn a boring banquet chair into a seat fit for royalty. (Photo Source: lushome.com, alwayselegant.com, tymeless.ca)
Even if you are not terribly artistic, gold glitter, a can of gold spray paint, balloons, doilies, or black lace goes a long way! Who knew that an old bottle or an acorn could look so stunning with a couple of spritzes of paint? Use your creativity and resources at your fingertips for your own unforgettable black and gold event. (Photo Source: brit.co, thebudgetdecorator.com, fabricpaperglue.com, everclevermom.com, en.paperblog.com)
Simple, Simple Napkin Designs to Enhance your Table Settings
There are so many versatile ways to fold napkins. There is the universal rectangular or triangular fold that we have known since childhood. Or, we can get fancy and learn complex folds that practically require a masters degree in origami. However, creative napkin folds that enhance your table settings do not need to be complicated. Here are 7 very simple napkin folding techniques that are practically effortless yet add that touch of pizzazz that makes a tablescape go from humdrum to visually interesting.
Napkin Folding with Ribbons
Number One: Tie a Ribbon Around a Traditional Rectangular Fold – this is a sweet way to display cutlery on a place setting and add that extra bit of color to the table. Buy a roll of ribbon, tie a bow around your cutlery, and you are set to go. (Photo Source: hitched.co.uk)
Napkin Folding with Scarf Technique
Number Two: The Scarf Fold Technique – for a simple event, perhaps a dessert affair, tie the napkin around a single utensil. Or you can stack one utensil on top of the other, for example an afternoon tea that includes both a fork and spoon. Fold the napkin into a single long rectangle, fold the rectangle in half, place the utensils on top of the napkin just before the fold, then slip the ends through the loop that is caused by the fold and tighten. Voila, a lovely and neat way to display the cutlery. (Photo Source: buzzfeed.com)
Making Napkins Look like Flowers
Number Three: Flower in Glass – use either a water or wine glass. This floral napkin design is perfect for a spring event. Using green as the leaf color amplifies the perception that the napkin is a flower. For the flower, fold the napkin into a triangle. Fold the tip of the triangle over the long end, then roll. Tuck the final end into the inside fold. For the leaves, fold the napkin into a triangle, then fold it into another triangle. Place the flower inside the fold created by the second triangle with the “petals” peeking out. Flip under the bottom tip of the leaves. Place the napkins in the glass and fluff the “leaves.” (Photo Source: makalepark.com)
Napkin Folding that Showcases the Napkin Ring
Number Four: Napkin Ring Presentation – this fold is ideal when the emphasis should be on the napkin ring rather than the napkin. It is particularly striking when the colors of a napkin reinforce the beauty of the napkin ring, in this case the blue color and the satin fabric of the napkin showcase the elegant formality of the gemstones of the napkin ring. Fold the napkin into a triangle. Hold the two ends that are on the long edge and fold them over and over two or three times until you have the width of the napkin desired. Flip the flat end of the napkin underneath and insert the folded edge through the napkin ring. (Photo Source: decozilla.com)
Napkin Folding with Decorative Knots
Number Five: Tie the Knot – we like this fold when the color of the napkin is integral to the theme of the table. In this case, there is a spring floral appearance, and the soft blue of the napkin repeats the color of the tablecloth. Because the dinnerware is white, the color of the napkin is even more important in creating visual interest on the table. And the fold is so so simple. Just tie the knot, fluff, the end, and place across your dinner plate. (Photo Source: stylemepretty.com)
Napkin Folding for Tea and Coffee Serving Situations
Number Six: Coffee and Cake – or tea and scones, as you wish! And the nicest part is that this works well with paper napkins. Just pull the napkin through the cup handle, positioning the cup on its side on the saucer. Luncheon size napkins work best. (Photo Source: hochzeitsportal23.de)
Number Seven: Garden Galore – use sprigs from a garden, herbs, evergreens, whatever flora and fauna you desire to spice up your napkin. In this case, twine was used to tie cinnamon sticks and an evergreen sprig to a rolled napkin, which works great for a rustic or holiday theme. Yarn would also be effective. To create more formality, use ribbon instead. (Photo Source: paperandlace.com)
3 Reasons to Use a Wine Bottle Cover
A wine bottle cover has multiple functions. It can
- Significantly increase the value of a wine gift
- Be a decorative enhancement
- Re-purpose empty wine bottles
Wine Bottle Covers Inflate the Perceived Value of the Wine
We have sold our Always Elegant beaded wine bottle covers to the Rotary Club in the past. They hold a fundraiser where they auction wine, and they claim when they add a wine bottle cover to the bottle that the ending auction price increases by as much as 30%. This indicates high perceived value of the cover! Without a doubt, wine covers add charm to wine gifts. The next time, you take a host or hostess gift of wine, think about adding a wine bottle cover. They make a great accessory to an ordinary wine bottle. Covers are a quick aid in transforming the bottle into a decorative artifact for the hosts. Moreover, after the party is over, the host can re-use the covers to add charm to bar areas. The beaded see-through covers are particularly functional for re-use because the label is easy to view.
How to Choose the Optimal Wine Bottle Cover for the Situation
How do you choose a wine cover for gift giving? Wine covers are available in a variety of different patterns and materials. Assuming you are eliminating the commonplace paper gift bags, here are a few suggestions. Wine bottle covers can be formal, such as our Always Elegant beaded versions. They can be themed to a holiday, sometimes by color such as silver ones for silver wedding anniversaries or orange ones for Fall festivities or even gold stars for either Christmas or award ceremonies. The design of the cover can carry a theme. Consider a wine cover with hanging grape clusters for a wine tasting club event or a whimsical Santa Claus suit on a wine bottle for Christmas. Since a gift of wine is easily recognizable by the shape of the bottle, it is not necessary to enclose the entire bottle in a fabric wine bag. However, concealing the label may be necessary as part of the gift giving situation, so a fabric wine bag may be in order.
Beaded Tassels as Wine Bottle Decorations
Beaded tassels are a simple and easy way to decorate a wine bottle. These can be purchased in singles or sets of 6 from Always Elegant. They are cost effective around the holidays when occasions for wine gifts proliferate. They are also cost effective as a decorative effect when placing wine bottles on banquet tables.
Enhance a Reception Tablescape with Wine Bottle Covers
Wine covers can be used to enhance tablescapes, too. For example, a bride may want to decorate the wine bottles that are set on the reception table (or give her guests a gift of wine adorned with a cover to take home after the reception). A dinner party at home could be enhanced by adorning the wine. We offer a beaded style that has elastic in it. That way, the wine cover does not move around when the wine is poured, and the top of the wine bottle is exposed for easy pouring. Wine bottle covers bring style and elegance to a bottle. Simply slip one over a bottle of wine, and you have got a gracious piece that will catch the attention of your guests.
Wine Bottle Covers used in Decor
As a decorative enhancement, wine covers can be placed over hurricane lamps, vases, liquor bottles sitting on a bar, or pillar candles, to name a few. It is super simple to cover a pillar candle with a beaded wine cover. Our covers are made of metal and glass so they do not burn. And the result as part of a centerpiece setting is outstanding. One of our customers, Jan from Tree House Creations, bought wine covers to place over her bathroom fixtures, giving her boudoir a Victorian look. We suggest that you buy a can of spray shellac and spray the cover on an empty wine bottle, let it dry, then place it over the item being decorated if you plan to have it for a long time. The covers are made of coated metal, but over time the links will tarnish. Shellac stabilized the links so they do not tarnish. And because our beads are glass, there is no damage to the beads, nor can the shellac even be detected on them.
Creating Lamps from Wine Bottles
Wine bottles can be repurposed. Instead of tossing empty wine bottles, lamps or vases can be created from the empties. We have one creative customer, Jan at Tree Top Creations, who makes stunning bottle decorations that contain Christmas tree lights. She combines the formal appearance of our beaded covers with earthly elements like raffia in some of her designs to create an eclectic, unique results. Complex table lamps can also be made from wine covers but these involve drilling through the glass so we direct you to other blogs to learn that process. We prefer to keep it easy and put a short strand of Christmas tree lights in an empty wine bottle with the plug coming out of the top. We typically cut the connector plug off the end and cap the end with electrical tape. Little to none of the wire is exposed so tape is more than sufficient. With the connector end off, the whole string of lights fit in the empty bottle. We usually put about 35 lights in a regular-sized wine bottle.
Our lovely glass chargers plates are on sale. Choose from a variety of styles, shapes, colors, and materials. Just in time for the holiday season. Add style and elegance to your place settings for that extra special seasonal flair.
Save on a set of 8 charger plates, reduced from $135 to $79.95, a 41% savings!
Save on a set of 4 chargers, reduced from $70 to $39.95, a 43% savings!
Napkin Folding Adds Creativity
Napkins are an important element in providing your table with an interesting and creative appearance. A napkin does not just rest on the table prior to being set on your guest’s lap. It is a way to express creativity. Why just fold a napkin into a rectangular shape? Or pull a napkin through a napkin ring? There are hundreds of ways to fold napkins, some very simple and streamlined and others more ornate, bordering on an origami approach to napkin folding. The style of the napkin fold can match the tone of the meal, be it classy or rustic, black tie or casual, intimate or inclusive. Needless to say, the possibilities are endless and the results incrementally improve the overall finish of your table settings.
Sweet Napkin Bows
One of the most popular downloads on our Pinterest Napkin Folding board is this sweet napkin bow that was originally shared on Nancy.Creative.com. I tried this myself, and if I can accomplish this napkin folding feat, then I know you can, too! Start with a square luncheon (18 inch) or dinner (20 inch) napkin. Fold the napkin into a triangle, then roll the triangle, and tuck the end inside the roll. Follow the photo, bending one end of the roll (one-third in size) over the roll, then bend the other end of the roll (one-third in size) over the roll so that both ends meet at the bottom with a little bit of overlap. Gather the ends up to the middle of the roll, hold the roll in one hand, and push it through a napkin ring. Using a larger napkin ring that measures about two inches in diameter in the inside hole is helpful (or a thinner napkin material). Straighten the two ends to form a neat bow.
I used our fuchsia hot pink 21 inch dinner napkins to achieve this look. You can see that the bigger the napkin, the longer the bow ends, which is a matter of personal taste. The result is sweet and feminine, both because of the bow format and also because of the choice of our white pearl flower cluster napkin rings. This look is perfect for a female function such as a shower or afternoon tea.
Pew Bow Idea that Takes Minutes to Make
Try Always Elegant sheer organza garland to make pew bows for a wedding or chair ties for an event. Our garland comes in 21 colors, measures 108 by 10 inches, and is economical at $3.95 each. If organza does not suit, then tulle is a good choice as well and can be purchased in a variety of widths and lengths.
Here is a simple method that looks nice and neat. Make a large loop about the size of a loose collar you would hang around your neck. Grasp the loop in half with one hand and let the two sashes hang down as they fall. Stabilize the bow next to your body and take a piece of pre-cut ribbon and anchor the part of the garland you are holding by tying it with the ribbon. The ribbon can be used to attach the bow to a pew, a chair back, or a centerpiece. Be sure to secure the organza nice and tight with the ribbon. Fluff out the two bow loops and, voila, your bow is done.
If you want to add a touch of color, consider tying a flower to the ribbon before securing it to the pew. Adding something as simple as a single red rose to a white organza bow creates a stunning effect.
Found on decozilla.com
Why to Use a Charger Plate
A charger plate is larger than a dinner plate and acts as a decorative base that adds substantial flair to your tablescape. Please note that charger plates are meant to be decorative and not come in contact with food.
Charger plates create a theme for the table, adding style that is more definitive and elegant than a standard placemat. When using a tablecloth, chargers protect the fabric from food stains. When not using a tablecloth, chargers protect the table. Be sure to attach small felt or cork protection pads (available at any hardware store) to the underneath side of the chargers if you are not planning on using a tablecoth to keep your table from getting scratched. The cork protection pads have an additional benefit of keeping the charger from sliding.
Charger Plate Sizing
A traditional charger size is 13 inches overall. The center of the charger plate measures approximately 9 inches, perfect for standard or even slightly oversize dinner plates. Our Always Elegant chargers come in glass or metal, round or cut-out effect. Other brands offer materials such as brass, leather, melamine, wood, porcelain, rattan, etc.
How to Determine Which Charger Plate to Use
Choose a charger plate that enhances your overall tablescape ambiance. When determining the tablescape ambiance, consider the style of dinnerware, flatware, glassware, napkins, and the overall mood of the event. Is it formal or fun, festive or serious? The photo of the gold charger plate in the photo is taken from wedluxe.com and is a good example of using a rippled edge to add an organic shape to an otherwise extremely formal gold tablescape. The ridged, cut-out pattern creates some diversity in otherwise only round and rectangular shapes. This style is available on our own website in either gold or silver.
Place a charger at each guest’s place setting. If desired, you can achieve a layered look by adding a round 14 or 15 inch placemat. Napkins with napkin rings increase visual interest when set in the middle of the charger. If it is a large event and name cards are being used, those can also go in the middle of the charger. Numerous courses from soup to salad to dinner entrees can then be placed directly on the charger.
Various Uses for Charger Plates
Chargers have additional versatility, for example:
- Use one charger as a serving tray to pass around small appetizers, placing the appetizers directly on an oversize dinner plate or a doily that is located in the center portion of the charger.
- Or place an array of chargers on a table, kitchen island, or bar filled with appetizing assortments of hors d’ouvres. Maintain a uniform look by using the same style of dinner plate or doily underneath the food.
- Group pillar candles together on a single charger for a centerpiece, layering the look with an interesting dinner plate that may or may not be the same as the dinner plates used for the meal. When using chargers for centerpieces, it is not necessary to also use them for serving dinner.
- Create a themed centerpiece, for example an array of maize and gourds for autumn events.
- Use a unique dinner plate design that picks up the primary color of the charger as a base to further finish off a floral arrangement.
- Even if the entire wedding reception budget does not accommodate chargers, request a set as a gift and use it at the head table for an extra special touch.