Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spicing Up Paper Bag Luminaries

I posted a couple weeks ago on how we'll decorate our rehearsal dinner location, the San Mateo Garden Center. Here's a reminder of how it will look, with furniture and decor PhotoShopped in:

One of the big lighting aspects we'll have are paper bag luminaries. They've been featured all over the web as a great way to incorporate romantic, soft lighting for cheap. I was lazy and decided to just buy a kit, instead of finding bags, plastic cups, candles and sand from different sources. We got a kit of 72 for $29.99 from Quick Candles, which has everything we needed except the sand

But once we got them, I decided the bags needed a little something extra to spice them up. I considered stamping them, so everything but the stamped image would glow, but I wasn't able to find a stamp that I really liked of gardenia flowers (the same flowers I have in the centerpieces, and to tie in with the gardenia scented candles on the tables, we will be in a garden center after all). I also thought about doing something like this that I saw on Martha Stewart weddings, gluing doilies inside the paper bags, like this:


But those in the picture don't really go with our theme, and I couldn't find anything close-ish to our vine and stylized flower motif (and wasn't going to spend time cutting them out on paper and gluing them inside all the bags). So my next option was to just find a cute boarder punch and decorate the tops.

For $15.95 from Michael's I got this Fiskars Boarder Punch:

Mr. Cola was kind enough to help out with this project, because he's the "Punch Master," especially after all the flower punches he did for our STDs.

(I was told to label this photo "Jammy McGruff". Half way through the 40 bags that we needed punched, the metal on the underside of the punch broke, but Mr. Cola didn't realize it for a while, and it kept jamming on him. He even threw it across the room several times in frustration until he realized that it was actually broken. I told him that I'd go get him another punch the next day, and so he gladly took a break and watched football for the rest of the afternoon....not that he wasn't already watching it while punching, LOL!)

(Tip: most lunch bags have a half circle cut out of the top of the bag on the back, to make it easier to open. However, this will interfere with the punch design, so cut off the top inch of the bag, making a clean top to punch)

So now we will have cute paper bag luminaries to decorate our rehearsal dinner location with. All that's left now for the rehearsal dinner is to make the gardenia and LED lantern centerpieces, make signs for the buffet, order food and drinks, and show up and decorate it the day of! I'm so glad these things are getting checked off the list well in advance, because when we start getting closer to crunch time, I'm sure the rehearsal dinner decor would have been the first to drop off the to do list.

Will you be using paper bag luminaries for any of your wedding events? And do you plan to spice them up, or leave them as is?


  1. I think are turning out great, that's a good way to spice them up!

    ps I left you something over at my blog :)

  2. They look really great! And how nice of you to let him take a break and watch football when the punch broke ... haha.