Mini Series: Focal Points – Above

This is the first in a mini-series I am calling “Focal Points.”  There are lots of ways to fill up a too big room, draw the eye away from something that doesn’t mesh well with your wedding or just create focal points for your guests.  The space above tables or above the dance floor, the wall behind the ceremony site or sweetheart table, the dance floor itself – even the grass of your ceremony site can all be adorned/dressed/gussied/prettied/fancied up in different ways to create a focal point.


Let’s start with the space above your head.

I love paper lanterns.  Hang tons of them over a dance floor or just a small cluster over the cake table and I will be happy.  My favorite source for paper lanterns is Luna Bazaar. Over 50 colors, 12 sizes – basically anything you could possibly want.  14″ are my favorite size and what is pictured above.  You can mix styles, sizes, colors and shapes all you like – as long as you like it, you aren’t going to go wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t even have to light them – they look lovely with no internal lighting as well.   If you do want to have light in your lanterns, Luna Bazaar sells lighting strings but for my money, I think LED Throwies are the way to go.  ‘Throwies’ are just a cluster of LED lights that you can attach to the interior of the lantern.  They are easy to make, simple to use, provide great light and as a super bonus they are good for the environment – perfect for a tent wedding where power is at a premium.  Here is a great tutorial on how to make them – don’t be scared, they are a really easy DIY project anyone can tackle.

Of course paper lanterns can be used as your base for something more complex as well – I simply adore this project from Kenzie Kate!  How gorgeous are these:

Click on the pictures for the full story – it involves a hot glue gun and a lot of time but the result is amazing!

Chandeliers are huge right now – they are popping up in design in and out of the wedding realm.

Crystal, Metal, wrought iron, even paper chandeliers are a great addition to a tent or outside venue – I love them hung in unexpected places like the trees around your tent.  Who says they have to be inside the structure?

Of course, just because your hotel ballroom has standard lighting doesn’t mean that you can’t bring in chandeliers more your style and hang them for the evening.

Most tent or rental companies will have options for chandeliers but you can find them at salvage yards, resale shops and stores like Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn, of course.  Make sure to look at thrift stores, flea markets and places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for nice pieces as well.

Talk to a pro if you want them lit – it can be complex depending on the venue and type of lighting needed but a good lighting company can take care of that for you.

Everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE – looks better by candle light.  No exceptions to the rule.  It softens hard lines, it makes skin glow and it takes years off faces.  No one can look bad by candle light.   That is one reason that I think hanging candles all over your venue is a great gift for you and your guests.

CB2 is one of my favorite sources for fun hanging candle holders but mason and jelly jars work just as well.  You can make simple wire hangers rather easily with just a little time and material – see a simple tutorial here.

Be safe with the flames and make sure that they are contained – if you are mixing focal points and putting flame and paper lanterns near each other, be sure that they won’t be mixing.


There are a ton of things you can hang for your wedding to create a focal point – lanterns, chandeliers and candles are just the start.  Why not paper pom poms, balls of tulle, paper flowers, paper butterflies, crystals, garlands, swags of fabric or even just old school strings of lights?

Think over your head and draw your guest’s eyes up!  Next time we will talk about decorating those plain, flat, boring spaces we usually ignore – the walls!

Photo credits:
Lanterns: Clay Jackson, Nicole Dixon, Grogan Studios, Clay Jackson, Kenzie Kate
Chandeliers: Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart, Once Wed, Evrim Icoz
Candles: CB2, Once Wed, Once Wed, D Videography

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