Summer is just around the corner and we are all hoping to spend a lot of time outdoors with friends and family on these long, hot evenings. When the sun has set and the light is fading, we have come up with some great, cheap ideas for lighting up gardens and outside spaces:
This may seem like an odd suggestion, but the possibilities here are endless. Small solar powered lights can be bought at garden shops for a minimal price, stuck speedily into the ground by their spikes, and instantly illuminate pathways and water features in a charming and often colourful manner. These garden lights come in all different shapes and sizes, and you’re guaranteed to know a fair few people who own them. Send out a group email asking everyone if you can borrow some lights for the day/night, stick them in the ground at the last minute (having made sure they’ve had plenty of UV light during the run up to your event), and you’ll suddenly find an outdoor space transformed after dark. Some of the lights will be plain and simple, some will have whimsy, they’ll vary in brightness and a few will be unusual or quirky – creating an interesting mish-mash of styles and a unique atmosphere while still serving a practical purpose.
While you could buy expensive candles and stylised holders, it’s also possible to create a really rustic, humble and elegant feel at your event using very inexpensive implements. Arm the staff at your venue with a few large bags of cheap and cheerful tea lights (available from all major supermarkets at very little cost), and instruct them to replenish any flame they see fading. For safety and style, simply collect jam jars and candle holders on loan from friends and family, and with a good eye, you can arrange bundles and guided pathways of light that give off a warm, flickering, familiar glow, while still directing your guests clearly around the venue. Using mirrors as backdrops for collected groups of candles will also maximise the amount of light they can provide.
You can pick these up online for as little as £5 a go. Used mainly by restaurants as table ornaments, it’s incredibly easy for caterers to buy or rent these items at a modest cost, so it’s well worth asking your food & drink team to search around for a bargain. They usually take AA batteries and will certainly last for a good 10 hours at a time (the batteries can always be replaced quickly and easily), and they come in a range of colours and styles. They can sometimes take a small amount of assembly such as simply putting the shade onto the lamp and inserting a battery, but this also means they can be packed away easily into boxes and stored for future events. If mini lamps aren’t your thing, home decorating shops sometimes have battery-powered fairy lights for outdoor Christmas trees that are waiting to go into the shelves during the festive season. If you know how to haggle, you can often get a deal on them when buying out of season.
Call Function Fixers to find your ideal outdoor venue, and for more advice about how to adapt venues to suit your exact requirements.