What are some good ideas for lighting and decorating an outdoor party?

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Emily Burn


There’s no doubt that outdoor parties are great fun. Naturally, you’d usually find people holding an outdoor party in the summer months here in the UK.  Let’s face it, we don’t have a continental climate, and so the months of June to August are most likely to bring us some summer sun which will last long into the evening – at least, that’s the hope anyway!

And whilst this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, it’s really important to remember that whatever lighting and decoration you decide upon for your outdoor party, you really need to consider the elements – in other words, what happens if it rains.  Always have a contingency plan in mind when you are organising and planning your outdoor party space.

Festoon lighting & uplighters

Perhaps THE most critical element to get right for your outdoor party is the lighting.  The quality of your lighting can either make or break the impact of your event.  If it’s a large outdoor party on a riverside terrace, for instance, use festoon lighting to create that relaxed, festival vibe.  Also, for larger events, the use of battery powered coloured uplighters means that you can have rotating light displays throughout the evening, or alternatively have selected colours on all the time.  Uplighters are very powerful and can even project light up the side of buildings.  If yours is a one-off event, then why not look at hiring some uplighters.  If you’re planning to use them on a regular basis, then it might be worth investing.

Gazebos & fairy lights

We’ve already mentioned the potential inclement UK weather and the need to have some gazebos to provide cover.  However, if you see gazebos as another opportunity to decorate your outdoor event rather than just a large canopy structure, then you’re on the right lines.  How about wrapping strings of fairy lights around the all the upright and horizontal poles of the gazebo – this provides a fairytale-style finish for a really affordable price.  Simple!

Rustic furniture

When it comes to outdoor party furniture, there is a whole range of different options in today’s marketplace.  One style that might fit the bill, however, is rustic furniture, which looks fantastic at an outdoor party.  Scaffold dining tables, poseur tables and even matching scaffold coffee tables are typically made from reclaimed metal scaffolding poles and timbers, and are a great option when it comes to outdoor event furniture hire.  You can then accessorise this style of outdoor furniture hire in whichever way you see fit.  There are plenty of companies across the UK that offer outdoor party furniture for hire, so get online and do your research!

Outdoor event décor

For special occasion parties such as birthdays and anniversaries, for example, why not look at hiring some lit up numbers.  These are usually 4ft-6ft tall and plug into mains electric, so take care when you position them as they will need to plug into a dry electrical socket.  Hire a 1 and 8 for an 18th birthday party or a 2 and 5 for a 25th wedding anniversary.  You can also hire illuminated LOVE letters and MR & MRS lit up signs for outdoor wedding receptions.  These are just examples of what is out there in today’s outdoor event decor market.

Use a neon

Have you also thought about hiring a neon sign? Yes, there are plenty of companies out there who can offer this service, but again, handle with care!

Remember the heating!

And last, but by no means least, we’re back to the weather again.  You’d like to think that your outdoor party is going to bathed in warm sunshine in the afternoon, which will then continue into the evening. However, it’s not always like that.  Remember we spoke about a contingency plan at the start of this article?  Part of your plan should be outdoor patio heaters, to keep your guests warm!  If you look around, you’ll find that you can hire pyramid patio heaters and even LED patio heaters, which not only provide the warmth you need, but also look great as a decor feature by themselves!

So, when it comes to lighting and decoration for outdoor parties, hopefully these ideas above will have helped you along the way.  All that is left to say is we hope you have a great party, and the weather stays fine for you!

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