How to Light a Backyard Wedding

This is something that’s been in the back of my mind for a while. In Japanese, we’d call it mendokusai—annoying, a pain in the ass. My parents’ backyard has no lighting scheme to speak of at the moment, so we’ll have to start from scratch. I’ve been researching our options in terms of how to light up our wedding.


First up is these bad boys. Big quartz lights on poles. They’d probably do the best job for a well-lit backyard at night, but I don’t want florescent, harsh lighting. I’m looking for a soft glow, and I think these will provide too much light. Plus, a local rental company priced them at $40 a pop! No thanks. Next!


Tiki torches. Fire would definitely give the wedding that charming glow we’re looking for. Coupled with paper lanterns and white string lights, I think these would adequately light up the backyard to safety standards. But the thought of an open flame makes me wary, and tiki torches don’t really flow with the aesthetics of our wedding. Still, the price is right at $40 for two poles (via Home Depot). I’ll have to think about them.


I almost screamed when I found these solar-powered white string lights. As I’ve mentioned, my parents’ house doesn’t have a back door (which always freaked me out growing up—ONE fire exit?…I thought about weird things as a child), so we can’t easily run power cords into the house. We could put up wooden poles and run them overhead across our backyard a la this backyard wedding from Once Wed:


The solar-powered lights store up energy in their panels during the day and come on after dark. We’d conserve energy and money, as these run a mere $23. Awesome, right?



What Asian-inspired wedding wouldn’t be complete without paper lanterns? We’ll have them in our wedding colors of red, white, and pink (and black, but black lanterns=morbid?). One tiiiiiiny problem—my backyard doesn’t actually have any trees to hang them from. But we’ve got shrubs. Lots and lots of shrubs. So we’ll buy LED paper lanterns and stick ’em in and around the shrubs. This wedding is getting lit one way or another, and who knows, it might make them look pretty!

Last up, candles. Everywhere.


How are you going to light up your wedding day?


Mrs. Glasses

Tokyo/Los Angeles, CA
Wedding Date:
October 2010
We Heart Our Venue
Love in Bloom: Fancy Clothes Time
Add a comment


  1. locket Member
    locket 2821 posts, Sugar bee @ 9:14 am

    Our venue has laterns and string lights in the tent and we will have candles on the tables….I love your lighting options though!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Jeannette, Guest @ 10:14 am

    I sell those solar lights through my company. You should make sure you get “warm white” or some variation of that. If you get the “bright white” it’s likely to be a bright blue white, which can look very harsh.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Vanessa McKellar, Guest @ 10:16 am

    Just a quick tip about the candles- make sure they’re well protected; glass votives aren’t big enough. We had tons in our backyard wedding and they ALL instantly blew out from the nice breeze. Really wish some one had warned me about that.

  4. Member
    amanda2011 82 posts, Worker bee @ 10:35 am

    Love the solar powered lights! My reception is inside so we will have that lighting and I am looking at uplighting too

  5. husky Member
    husky 1750 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:19 am

    I love the look of lights strung high with the poles. There’s just something so simple and romantic about it.

  6. pretzel Member
    pretzel 670 posts, Busy bee @ 12:23 pm

    ohh I love the solar powered light option!

  7. Member
    wpgkim 2 posts, Wannabee @ 12:26 pm

    But where do you buy the strings of lights to string from poles (or trees)?? We have lots of Christmas lights to string in the trees but they won’t provide much in the way of lighting enough so people can see what they are eating! I can’t find strings of light bulbs anywhere!! I live in Winnipeg Canada. Are these just an American item????? What else can I do?

  8. Member
    SandraMarie_1986 1363 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:32 pm

    I love the idea of the solar lights and the lanterns. I think it’ll be gorgeous!!!

  9. Member
    jlp2w71611 298 posts, Helper bee @ 5:17 pm

    We’ll be indoors so no worries about this but good luck & the solar lights seem like they’d be great!

  10. Member
    AlmostMrsHeath 10 posts, Newbee @ 6:14 pm

    Could you run an extension cord through a window and not have it be too obvious? That may work to give you power to the backyard, sans door.

  11. Member
    emielli 25 posts, Newbee @ 1:00 pm

    I’ve always wanted paper lanterns in my wedding somehow! I just love the look of them.

  12. glasses Member
    glasses 2749 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:55 am

    @Jeannette: Thanks for the tip!

    @Vanessa McKellar: Oh my! I will keep that in mind. Thank you!

    @wpgkim: I’m not sure about where you can purchase them because I haven’t been able to look in stores either, but there are a plethora of options to order online if you do a google search!

    @AlmostMrsHeath: We’ll be doing that for our iPod stereo so we can have some music 😀

  13. sewing Member
    sewing 2649 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:20 pm

    lanterns are beautiful, but for some reason i’m a big fan of tiki torches. hehehe XD

  14. Member
    r_reds 4 posts, Wannabee @ 3:59 pm

    I love the lanterns on the poles! Thats what i want too, but is theres anyway of putting uo those poles without making holes on the ground??

  15. glasses Member
    glasses 2749 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:50 pm

    @r_reds: Eeeeek, I couldn’t figure out the pole thing so we strung lights from the roof to trees. Sorry I’m not much help!

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    Let There Be Light « David Tutera Wedding Blog • It’s a Bride’s Life • Real Brides Blogging til I do!, Guest @ 3:36 am

    […] Credit: Wedding Bee, Bow ties and Bliss, Lockideas #PDRTJS_2226915_post45990_msg_1 {line-height: 22px; […]

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