Magical Lanterns

Create a magical setting with The Hanging Lantern Company

Recent years have seen stylish events of all shapes and sizes go crazy for lanterns. Here TOAST.life chats to Aimee Payne, co-founder The Hanging Lantern Company, to hear how she brought the craze over from the States, her thoughts on lantern trends, going bespoke and that Royal Wedding, plus her top tips for choosing which lanterns are right for you.

Picture the scene; it’s your Spring/Summer garden party and there are dozens beautiful pastel-coloured lanterns in all different shapes and sizes magically hanging from the trees. Inside there’s a eye-catching bunch of brightly colourful lanterns suspended above the dining table, and over on the dance floor your guests are strutting their funky stuff under a sea of metallic gold and silver globes that look like something wonderful from outer space.

There’s no doubt that paper lanterns add instant beauty, elegance and touch of magic to any event. They can be used outside or inside, in smaller numbers for subtle touch or in vast quantities for real wow factor. Wedding marquees last year were adorned in them as were some of the coolest parties and venues across the UK and beyond, and the industry leaders responsible for providing all this lantern magic is none other than the Sussex based Hanging Lantern Company.

“My husband and I started the company in 2009 with the desire of actually enjoying going to work every day!” laughs The Hanging Lantern Company’s co-founder Aimee Payne.

“We’d seen hanging lanterns on a holiday to San Francisco and no-one had bought them to the UK or much of Europe yet, so we decided to leave the horrid commutes to London behind and begin our journey down the path of weddings and events!”

 Hanging Lantern Co Outdoor

HLC Multicoloured

Nearly 10 years on and The Hanging Lantern Company are one of the UK and Europe’s leading lantern distributors. They stock over a whopping 700 different styles of lantern, as well as complimentary wedding décor such as delicate birdcage lanterns, pretty paper parasols and cheerful tissue pompoms. Their versatile lanterns range from 4” to 36” in diameter, come in a variety of shapes and in over 35 different colours, and the growing demand for them show no sign of stopping. That’s a whole lotta lanterns…

“As more and more stunning images of weddings, events, venues, and colour schemes go public the more demand we get! Pastels have always been a popular wedding staple and our lace lanterns are always in demand. I’m currently loving the increased trend in silver and gold, and Gatsby themed weddings!” Aimee enthuses.

“Lanterns are a cost effective way of adding colour and interest to a blank canvas wedding or event venue, or even at home. They can be used to hide a drab ceiling, warm a stark white room or add a glow to dark corners. They can also be used to enhance a focal point, like a beautiful tree or view”


Lanterns At Night

White Outdoor Lanterns

As well as supplying hundreds of stylish weddings and unforgettable events throughout the UK, Aimee’s lanterns have also graced the fields of Glastonbury and hung above the red carpet of several major film premieres. Her ever growing and rather impressive client list includes Selfridges, Mamas & Papas, John Lewis and Harvey Nichols  to name just a few, as well as the BBC, ITV and SKY for use on screen in programmes such as Sherlock, Dancing on Ice, Hollyoaks, Children in Need and more.

“We also supplied lanterns for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, decorated the food hall at Selfridges and Harrods for Chinese New Year, supplied pink and dove lanterns for an Olympic wedding and parasols for a recent celebrity wedding anniversary!” Aimee explains proudly.

Outdoor Red Lanterns

“It’s always amazing to see our lanterns at charity events and on TV. A recent favourite of mine was the Lantern Festival at Wakehurst Place - the entire grounds looked absolutely stunning as our LED Buttonlite lanterns illuminated the way, and our mini lanterns were all decorated by the children who were visiting!”

As well as their plethora of hanging lanterns, The Hanging Lantern Company’s laser cut birdcage lanterns are beautifully intricate pieces perfect for hanging in a marquee, lining an aisle or hallway or for us as table centerpieces, as each one comes with an LED Buttonlite that casts beautiful shadows across the table. Their pretty paper parasols are perfect for summer parties and destination weddings, and their fans (which can be personalised) make seriously cute gifts for summer guests. But despite the vast quantity of lanterns and other accessories that they offer, all of The Hanging Lantern Company’s products are made in their very own factory.

“This makes the whole world of difference as we can influence new colours, sizes, materials, shapes and production timelines, and we can easily trial new ideas and take on bespoke requests” she explains.

“With our bespoke service we really wanted to offer something unique that would complement our existing range, but also something that could be made to order, making it entirely unique for each bride or party host”

Their in house creative studio (which includes a dedicated wedding and events team) use something called Trotec Laser cutting technology, which enables them to develop and create completely bespoke and personalised décor for weddings, events and brands.

 Laser Lanterns

“We design and laser cut everything in our studio here in Sussex, so we work very closely with clients from the start of their ideas right through to fruition. Our designers are also the people running the laser and making the final piece, so it really is a tailored, made to measure, personal service” explains Aimee.

“Some people have an image or photo they wish to use as inspiration so we’ll design some concepts and present them, design the chosen one and laser cut a sample before we produce the full job, others will provide us with their designs ready to laser cut. Some clients are very specific, others are very laid back and keen for our advice and input on sizes, colours and materials”

It is often said that the perfect client is one who is laid back, but it’s not always that way with weddings. I can’t help but wonder if Aimee has ever experienced any ‘Bridezilla’ moments in the run up to the big day…

“Only a few! Once someone forget to order the lanterns completely and ordered them just 36 hours before the wedding! We’ve also seen complete colour changes at the last minute, and what was meant to be 100 lanterns in a marquee turning in to 200 lanterns at the last minute!” she exclaims.

“The brides that we meet when we are decorating their wedding venues are usually calm and even offer to help sometimes! One bride did this last November at Blackstock Barn and we had to send her off to get some champagne and relax!”

 Hanging Lantern Co Ivory

Hanging Lantern Co Wedding

And speaking of weddings, there is of course one wedding that everyone is talking about this year, and so I ask Aimee if she has any advice for the Royal couple.

“For their reception I’d recommend a classic canopy of white and ivory lanterns - sophisticated and timeless” she smiles.

“And seeing as they want the public to be involved and enjoy the day I would suggest lining the roads in Windsor with brightly coloured lanterns on festoon lights to emulate a street party!”

Harry and Meghan take note - this lady knows her lanterns.

Don’t miss Aimee’s top tips on having lanterns at your next event or wedding, head over to TheEdit now. For more information and contact details for The Hanging Lantern Company visit their page in TOAST.Life’s Little Black Book.  


Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 21 February 2018

  hanging lanterns, lanterns, room decor, venue dressing

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