Deck the Halls with Lanterns of Paper… or Balls of String… or Buntings of Fabric…

For all my indoor accessorizing, I have been rather stuck on how to adorn the outdoor portion of our venue. We’ll be having the ceremony on the back lawn, and there’s a pretty large wooden deck with stairs leading down to that lawn. You go up the stairs, and you’re on an open deck, then a covered deck. That’s where our guests will have their cocktail hour before moving inside to sit and eat, then back outside to dance the night away on the covered deck.

Back lawn of Palma Sola Botanical Park

See the deck rails in the back? That's the area of decoration in question. Sorry it's tiny.

Image via Palma Sola Botanical Park

While we’re marrying in a botanical park, I do want some decoration out there, even if it’s only lighting for those who might wish to take a romantic stroll onto the back lawn after dark. There are very bright Christmas lights already strung up by the venue on the covered deck, but once you go down onto the lawn, it’s awfully pitch black.

Initially, I was stuck on making string balls after stumbling upon a tutorial that made it look oh so easy with adorable results.

Wednesday Custom Design

But then I started thinking about me, sitting in our hot-as-you-know-what garage, dipping string into glue paste and becoming generally irritated. As cute as these are, there has to be a non- or semi-DIY alternative, right? I’m getting lazy here, folks.

So my mind immediately went to paper lanterns. Fun! Colorful! I could get them in different sizes and shapes in hot pink, yellow and white and string them all around the back of the deck.

Save on Crafts

Thing is, #1, these suckers aren’t really cheap if you’re buying a bunch of them. I found ones I loved for $4.99 each (!?!) on one website, and then others for like 10 for $11. We would also have to buy LED lights, though, and I wasn’t quite sure how they’d look “hanging” since they wouldn’t hang straight down, if that makes sense. We could string them up to the railing, but they’d be lying against the slats.

But there is a happy medium – paper lantern string lights! But still… not as inexpensive as I’d like, and would require an outlet to plus them in.

Save on Crafts

So maybe the lights thing isn’t the best idea. Or maybe we could get some Christmas lights and string them around the back deck, assuming we could find an outlet to end them in. But I could still inject some color into the situation. What about bunting? I used to think it was a little casual for our wedding, but it’s all in the fabric choices and general execution, and it’s awfully charming – AND easy, AND cheap!










Image via Once Wed/Photo by Ben Blood

Image via Ruffled/Photo by Kyle Hepp

So to recap (because I know that was all super complicated, and also because I ❤ pro and con lists):

String balls

Pros: Fun, unique, cheap, ability to make varied sizes for an eclectic look

Cons: Don’t light up, potentially messy, requires me to do crafts in my garage, high likelihood of stressing me out, might not hang well

Paper lanterns

Pros: Provides light to back lawn with addition of LED lights; can vary colors for as much of a pop as we want; can vary sizes

Cons: Expensivo, might not hang well, limited to the colors offered at the most affordable sources

Paper lantern string lights

Pros: Provides light to back lawn, requires less of a financial outlay since there are many mini lanterns per string, comes with lights so reduces cost of having to buy LEDs, colorful

Cons: Would require an accessible outlet, difficult to get the precise color combinations we want, still kinda pricey

Christmas lights

Pros: Provides light to back lawn

Cons: Limited to white lights so no color, requires accessible outlet, kinda boring and repetitive with the lights they already have string up


Pros: Colorful, fun, quirky, cheap, can get the exact color scheme and patterns I want, can do the project in front of my TV

Cons: Don’t light up

Well, I think we have a winner: Bunting it is! Now comes the shopping.

Do you agree? What kinds of decorations did you go with for your outdoor adornment? Did you find it difficult to make a decision? Were you happy with your choice?


One thought on “Deck the Halls with Lanterns of Paper… or Balls of String… or Buntings of Fabric…

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