Our venue is lighted mainly by fluorescent tube lights on the ceiling with the exception of can lights in one area and 9 hanging lights over the dance floor. I am NOT a fan of fluorescent lighting if it can be avoided and the hall with only the can lights and dance floor lights is a little dark, so I requested additional lighting from my handy-dandy parents.
We originally wanted to criss-cross light strands with round lanterns across the entire hall, but that idea was quickly dissolved when we discovered we would not be able to hang anything from the ceiling at our venue. Our next idea was to create stands to hold a group of differently sized lanterns and place those around the hall.
My Engineer-In-Training brother and my parents started brainstorming designs for the structure to hold the lights and bought torch lamps from IKEA (Not Floor Lamp $6.99) to serve as the basis for the stands.
We had ALMOST nailed down a final design when I stumbled across this picture via Martha Stewart:
I immediately fell in love with the simple, yet elegant look of the towers of lanterns. I emailed the picture to my “wedding planners,” AKA my mom and sister and they too fell in love. My sister even did a web search and came across the Holy Grail—a How-To posted right there on Martha’s site!
My parents adapted their design and were still able to use the torch-style lamps they purchased at IKEA. To make the light stands, we wrapped each lamp base with several strands of Christmas Lights (bought 75% off in January from Wal-Mart) and purchased new light socket adapters which have 2 electric sockets along with the socket for the bulb. We will be leaving a 60 watt bulb in the top of the lamp to give a more intense light at the top of the tower.
The only thing left to do to the light stands is add the lanterns. We ordered 3 sizes of white paper lanterns online and will be randomly stacking the lanterns rather than using a single size like our inspiration photo. I believe the sizes we ordered were 12”, 14” and 16”, but I’m not 100% sure.
The plan is to have 6 of these light towers placed around the hall to create ambient lighting and draw the attention away from the drab interior of our venue. Following the wedding, my sister and I have already called dibs on one for each of us to put in our living rooms, and my mom plans on keeping the remaining 4 and renting them out for future weddings at our reception venue.