Summerfest at Kelly Manor will officially begin with a backyard dance party. We’re going to kick up the heels, down some sangria, and party. We’ve hired the band, sent out the Evites, and reserved a dance-floor rental. We’ve even arranged for a hookah lounge — for tobacco — complete with tent, carpet, and pillows to lounge on.
Now my man Patrick is looking into outdoor lighting options. Correction — he wants some cool outdoor lighting, but he wants me to figure out just what it will be. “I don’t know,” he said, “maybe string lights...tiki torches...hanging candle lanterns. Those are all cool but not particularly original. Evy, would you work your research magic and see what’s out there?”
I can’t resist that man when he looks at me with those big green eyes and calls me “Evy.”
Next day, I spent a few hours looking into it and we talked it over after dinner. “On the high-end,” I told him, “Pottery Barn is selling a set of two outdoor torches that are stainless steel and iron, a little over five feet tall, six inches in diameter. They’re $89 each [potterybarn.com]. Or their best candle-lantern option is the Solaris Scroll Lantern [$39.50 for the nine-inch-diameter lantern].” A few taps of the iPhone screen later, I read from the site, “Candlelight flickering through the scrolling artwork on these orbs creates an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow.”
“Ooh, feeling the party romance,” Patrick teased.
“If we want to cover the backyard in flames,” I continued, “Ace Hardware is selling Astonica Cabo Tiki Torches; they come in a glass blue, green, red, and yellow upside-down teardrop shape, with a metal frame curving around them. Also about five feet tall, and they burn lamp oil or citronella oil [$119.88 for a 12-pack at acehardware.com].”
“Cool lighting is nice,” he responded, “but not if I have to spend my beer budget on it. What else do you have?”
“If you want dirt-cheap, you go with the bamboo tiki torches,” I replied ($3.48 for South Seas Bamboo Torch at homedepot.com). “Or, for a bit more, look at these Chambord Metal Tiki Torches [$14.99 at tikibrand.com]: ‘Copper-colored metal with a black metal pole that stands five feet tall.’ Their four-in-one Tiki Torch Patina for $15.99 would give us some decorating options: it can be used on the tabletop, on the stand, or on the deck with clamps.”
“What are our candle-lantern options?” Patrick asked.
“Cost Plus World Market has a set of six Glass Melon Tea Light Lantern Candleholders for $8.94,” I continued. “They sit about two inches high and have a black hanger and come in purple, red, green, teal, orange, and clear.”
“I like the idea of lots of hanging colored lanterns,” Patrick said. “But they might be a bit too small to cast much light.”
“A slightly larger option is World Market’s Ribbed Glass Lantern Candle Holders, which are about four inches tall and hold a three-inch candle. They’re $2.99 each, and they come in purple, orange, red, teal, and green [worldmarket.com].
“Pier 1 Imports is selling something similar,” I added. “They’re called Sunburst Lanterns and they are mouth-blown glass with an iron frame. They come in blue and green; the small is $8 and the large is $12 [pier1.com].”
“Let’s do some stringed lights for lighting around the dance floor and the band,” suggested Patrick. “We could sink posts into the ground at each corner and use them with string lights as a fencing around a party.”
“Instead of crappy little Christmas lights, how about old-school-looking Industrial String Lights,” I suggested. “They’re $49 at westelm.com for an 11-foot string.”
“Your ideas are getting pricey again,” complained Patrick.
“Then how about these criss-cross lantern patio lights by Allen and Roth [$12.97 for 7.8 feet at lowes.com].”
“Hmm, they look too prim and proper,” noticed Patrick, “like I’m walking through London amid the gaslamps. Not the wild-party atmosphere we want.”
“You’re a hard man to please,” I countered. “We could go green and solar. Ikea is selling solar-powered light chains, 16 globe lights on a 23-foot cord, either white or multicolored. It will give about 12 hours of light, powered by the sun [$14.99 at ikea.com]. Or use their solar-powered 12-inch pendant lamps, if we want to go with just a few big focal lights [red, yellow, teal, and white for $9.99 each].”