It’s Only a Paper Moon

One of those Oriental Trading Company catalogs came in the mail this week. Before committing it to the trash can, I flipped through it—just for fun. I was surprised to find products we’d actually use, including paper lanterns. But I knew they could be found for less! A little internet sleuthing yielded some deals.

Oriental Tradinglimited colors (no yellow), accordion pleat design

18″ – $4.16/ea (6 for $24.99)

10″ – $1.16/ea (12 for $13.99)

Ivory lantern

Paper Lantern Store & Asian Import Storealmost identical inventory. Tons more selection in style and color, lower prices, AND free shipping if you spend $100+ at Asian Import Store.

Irregular ribbed: 20″ – $2.98/ea, 16″ – $2.13/ea, 12″ – $1.55/ea & 8″ – $1.05/ea

Even ribbed: 20″ – $2.33/ea, 16″ – $1.63/ea & 12″ – $1.20/ea


Natural irregular ribbed



Yellow and light yellow regular ribbed

Luna Bazaarpretty much the same selection for lanterns, but easily more expensive. Not shopping here, even if it says Martha does. Martha probably gets wholesale discounts.

Our next step is figuring out how many lanterns we’ll need. Looking at my reference photos, it seems like five between every tent pole is a good number. So 50 seems about right??



(personal photos)

I’m no good at guessing, and I’m even worse with math. Remember those “guess how many M&Ms are in the jar” games? Yeah, well…I was always way off. For this reason (and to avoid spending money unnecessarily), we will bring a tape measure to get tent dimensions during our next venue visit. Once we know how many lanterns of each size/color we’ll need, I’ll hand off the electrical (LEDs and batteries) and technical (rigging and pulleys) details to Mr. P. He happily adopted the lighting project and has researched the heck out of LED types. Dare I say I’m rubbing off on the boy?

This weekend’s DIY projects have been successful enough to encourage further attempts. Our next project involves safety glasses and a tile saw. Details on our varying levels of success/failure coming soon!

What type of DIY projects are you taking on? Are you DIY-ing to save money or to create a specific vision?


Mrs. Pain au Chocolat

Wilmington, DE
Wedding Date:
June 2011
Good News. Bad News. Relatively Good News.
Wedding Withdrawal
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  1. Member
    julies1949 35595 posts, Honey Beekeeper @ 11:49 am

    Paper Lantern and Asian Import Store may very well be less expensice but to be fair, the price comparison should have shown identical lanters.

  2. Member
    sarahnyc23 366 posts, Helper bee @ 11:49 am

    If it helps, our florist set up white paper lanterns for us and I think we had about 20-25. They were spaced out, and even though I don’t think it looked too sparce, you could definitely use more. Yellow lanterns a great idea, if I had to do it over and our florist could have done it, I would have gone with color.

  3. Member
    MrsTimber 262 posts, Helper bee @ 11:50 am

    I DIY’ed our invitations, response cards, centerpieces, cake tale decoration (too heavy for the cake on top of our cupcake tower), and bouquets for me and my daughter, who was my only attendant, and my headpiece. Pretty much anything that did not involve clothing lol

  4. Member
    julies1949 35595 posts, Honey Beekeeper @ 11:51 am

    and I should have proofed my typing before I hit the “Leave a Comment” button. Sorry about that.

  5. Member
    pooks75 367 posts, Helper bee @ 12:36 pm

    i’ve found that has the best prices for paper lanterns! I think that’s who I’m gonna use…

  6. trailmix Member
    trailmix 6663 posts, Bee Keeper @ 12:57 pm

    Just a word, we used LED lights in our paper lanterns and you couldn’t tell AT ALL that the lights were in them! Not even when it got dark out! I was bummed bc they were kind of expensive, so you might want to go with 2 or even 3 lights per lantern if you’re trying to light them up from the inside!

  7. elephant Member
    elephant 6339 posts, Bee Keeper @ 12:59 pm

    Can’t wait to see what it looks like when you figure out how many you need!

  8. Member
    cloud9 3 posts, Wannabee @ 1:26 pm

    We are doing everything DIY and having the wedding at our home. (About 100 ppl) It’s both to create a specific vison (nature theme) and also ended up costing us a significant amount less than if we were to have it at one of the local venues here where I live.
    My fiancee is in Construction and I am incredibly lucky and thankful for that. He made our wedding canopy this weekend with success and hung all the paper lanterns we got around the house over the weekend. I shopped around for those laterns and purchased them from the Paper Lantern Store. They had the best prices and they were fast at shipping. I ordered on a Monday and they arrived by that Friday of the same week. Quality was great too.

  9. ostrich Member
    ostrich 2402 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:49 pm

    yay for paper lanterns :) we bought a ton {about 50ish?} of lanterns from oriental trading co in silver and white for our tent and outdoor decor. so excited to see what you choose, miss pc!

  10. tartlet Member
    tartlet 3227 posts, Sugar bee @ 3:15 pm

    The lanterns are going to look beautiful in that space! Maybe there is an event coordinator at the Country Club that could give you a ballpark estimate of how many to hang?

  11. Member
    Sunlavender 567 posts, Busy bee @ 4:27 pm

    Totally having the same problem with deciding how many lanterns we need. Unfortunately I can’t measure mine before hand…. I know the dimensions, but it’s hard to visualize without seeing the final product!

  12. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:33 pm

    @sarahnyc23: Our florist is really flexible and accommodating, but hanging lanterns is definitely not included in our bargain price. I saw a venue photo with about the same number you used and unclustered so I figured 50 should work. And I might have done a to-scale drawing once we had measurements. Hoping we’ll have access the day before, otherwise Mr. P and our friends are going to rig them up the morning of.

  13. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:45 pm

    @MrsTimber: That’s quite an undertaking!
    @pooks75: Keep those bargain links coming!
    @Mrs. Trail Mix: We’re planning on 2-3 LEDs/lantern. Fortunately, they’ll be ambient lighting instead of our primary. We’ll know soon enough — the LEDs arrived over the weekend and the lanterns come in tomorrow.
    @Miss Elephant: Pictures and a follow-up post, promise!
    @cloud9: Having a handy FI is definitely a perk! Mr. P used to GC and another friend is former GC now electrical guy. We are in good hands.
    @Miss Ostrich: I really like the pleated style of the Oriental Trading Co.’s. We’re doing a mix of white, yellow and light yellow lanterns.
    @Miss Tartlet: Yeh, I should talk to our venue’s lady. She’s got the answers to pretty much everything. And photos to back up anything she tells me.
    @Sunlavender: That was the toughest part for us.

  14. Member
    sarahnyc23 366 posts, Helper bee @ 9:47 pm

    @Miss Pain au Chocolat: Oh yeah, I didn’t mean that you should get them from your florist, just that the numbers might be helpful. I have photos, if you’re interested, but it sounds like 50 is a good estimate. (And I agree that Linda knows everything. Everything!)

  15. meerkat Member
    meerkat 3257 posts, Sugar bee @ 9:22 am

    Sweet! I have been looking at both those sites but I think the free shipping at the Asian Import store has sealed the deal for me!

  16. husky Member
    husky 1750 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:11 pm

    We took a wild guess at how many we would need. It worked out, but I have no recollection what sort of logic we used….

  17. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:18 pm

    @Mrs. Meerkat: My order took about a week to arrive with free shipping. There was a packing error and I wound up with lime green instead of light yellow for 5 of them. CS resolved it quickly and are sending replacement (albeit larger) light yellow lanterns for free.
    @Mrs. Husky: We may appear to use logic, but it’s completely random luck and agreeing to love what we end up with. Some things are not worth being picky about, y’know?

  18. Member
    helenberrycrunch 3733 posts, Sugar bee @ 4:52 am

    I REALLY like the first one.

  19. Member
    Brewoody 2 posts, Wannabee @ 5:23 pm

    There is another site.
    a 12″ even ribbed paper lantern is $1.15/ea

    They have a decent variety of colors and sizes…seems to be the only ones offering a 14″, but pretty much only offer even ribbed option.

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