Erin asked me not to do sparklers or fireworks. So, while I was at the beach that week, I found these flashing rings at a toy store. When it got dark, everyone had a great time using them to light up the night.
Below is a picture of the tent. We ordered twinkle lights from the rental company that started at any point and spread out to the edges. We also added inexpensive twinkle lights that we bought in bulk after the holidays. We added these to the perimeter of the ceiling. We also hung tons of paper lanterns. I hit every Pier One all year to buy them on sale. I cut cardboard circles for the bottoms of them and placed battery operated candles in them. The nice candles have on/off buttons, 4 hour buttons, and 12 hour buttons (one three-way switch). We turned them on in the morning when we hung the lanterns that morning. They glowed all evening.
Below is one of the outside tables. Erin had to add four tables at the last minute because when she invited 140 friends and family to an out of town wedding, we expected at least 40 people not to show. EVERYONE CAME.
She got the table numbers at IKEA. They had the menu printed on the oposite side.
The next step was to call a rental company. We did this 12 months in advance to assure ourselves we had a dry place in case of rain. We signed a contract for a tent, chairs, tableclothes, glasses, plates, and silverware. I even convinced the company to deliver the rentals three days ahead of time, so that I could enjoy my beach week also.
Starting right then, I started hunting for quilt tops at antique stores. These are less expensive than quilts. I hated to cut these quilts into runners, but I did so by making them wider than a normal runner to save the integrety of the pattern. Because long tables are all 8 feet in length, I added matching ends to each quilt to tie them together. I put a solid square at a diamond angle and added four pink gingham triangles to each corner. All with a sewing machine--no hand stitching for me. I wanted to make them stiff, so I ironed iron-on fusible interfacing to the back. You can see them in the picture below.
Erin and Dan ordered an Porta Potty trailer. It was next to the garage and had running water and flushing toilets. It was just like a real bathroom The ladies' side had two stalls with doors. The men's side had one stall. It cost $900 to rent. But...it didn't have a toilet paper holder. I had my kids stop at a local hardware store and buy new plungers. I wrapped ribbon and bows around them. Each one held three rolls of tp. Problem solved.
Here is a close up of a flower arrangement.