Yes! We want your wedding photos to look amazing without costing too much. Your ceremony is filled with emotion & décore! We all have seen those simply gorgeous wedding shots with draping in the background.
How can you create a similar look on your archway or wooden pergola without going over budget? We will share our wedding archway ideas so that you can get an identical look by renting drapery per piece.
today you’ll learn how to drape a ceremony arch like a pro
Ship Our Wedding® provides everything you need draping-wise for square trellis & altars. This way you can hang fabric like a pro from your ceremony arch.
We even have base plates available for rental. This gives you more control over the fullness of your draping as it is pulled off to the side.
It is easy to create a beautiful ceremony with draping. Take a deep breath and continue reading our article. Together let’s make your DIY wedding arch happen!
Project Setup Time: Approximately 1 hour
What You Will Learn About How to Drape an Archway
— ☝️A Brief Intro
1. 🎊 Ceremony Draping Rentals You Need
2. ✋ Before You Start Hanging Drapery
3. 👉 Decorate a DIY Wedding Arch with Fabric
4. 👉 How to Decorate a Wedding Arbor with Lighting
5. ⛺ How to Decorate a Tent with Fabric
6. 🎬 Video Tutorial on Ceremony Draping Decor
7. ❓ Will You Drape Your Wedding Ceremony
You will need a couple of handy tools as well (ladder, wire cutters, pipe cleaners, zip ties). We have broken down everything you need so that you know how to make a wedding archway below.
- (1-5) Pieces of 25-Foot Draping Fabric – The amount of individual draping you rent will depend on your archway. Some pergolas are very simple (they go up, across, and back down). Some other ceremony arches are much larger. This complexity allows for creativity when hanging and pulling the fabric. If you have a larger pavilion, then you will need more fabric for the wedding arches.
- (1-4) 12lb Base Plate – These base plates are necessary when you are pulling your fabric off to the side and want to keep it in place. This is very important because the wind might take your draping and cause it to move. If you have more wind you will need more weight. Keep this in mind during your setup. You may need some extra weight nearby that you can also place on your base plates.
- Extra Zip Ties & Pipe Cleaners – Your rental will come with a handful of pipe cleaners and/or zip ties. We recommend getting some extra just in case you need to use them to attach your draping to your ceremony backdrop. It is better to have more and not use them, than not have enough. You don’t want to make the wedding mistake of having to run to the store last minute!
We have all the items your need for rental. To view availability and price click any of the links above. Most vendors may charge $500 – $1000 to achieve a similar look with ceremony draping.
When you do it yourself you bypass this unnecessary labor cost because you are in control over your setup. Save the money by getting the look you deserve. Keep reading to learn how to hang ceremony draping on your wedding arch.
If this is not your pergola, then make sure you get permission first. You want to double-check your setup times in case your venue will double book the pergola. Typically this takes an hour or less to hang the drapery.
Chances are your DIY wedding arch will be pretty high up. If that’s the case, then have a ladder on hand so that you can reach up to hang/attach all the pipe and drape.
make sure you get permission first & confirm setup times
The more open your space the more wind you will get. If your ceremony is happening off a body of water then you might get A LOT of wind.
Factor this into your setup so you have enough weight on any drapery getting pulled off to the side. Also to keep your setup simple hire friends to work your wedding so that it saves time on your DIY setup.
Are you ready to learn how to decorate a wedding arch with fabric? The steps involved are based on the size and amount of drapes you want to have hanging on your ceremony backdrop.
Your wedding archway could use anywhere from 1 to 10 pieces of fabric. A good rule of thumb is to start with (3) pieces. Odd numbers work best since you will most likely have a left, middle, & right drape.
Have 1 as the centerpieces going across the top and down the sides. Then use more to flank it on the left and right. If you have more panel draping then repeat any of the steps below. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Find the center of your first pieces of fabric, using the fabric with a zip tie or pipe cleaner attached to the center of your front pergola arch. Also, check with your venue wedding coordinator before installing any screws or nails.
Step 2: Pull back the left and right sides of the draping. If you have rafters then swag the fabric over and while adjusting in your hand accordion to give the right fullness.
Step 3: Either attach the hanging pieces of fabric to the sides of your column or use a small weight with a pipe cleaner to keep it from blowing in the wind. If you have enough excess, then you can pull off to the side with a base plate to keep in place
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 for any more back pieces or layers of fabric you want to hang from your DIY wedding archway.
Lighting is one of the best ideas to accent your wedding arch or arbor with decorations. This is especially true if you are having your ceremony altar in a shaded or less bright area. This will help to increase the effectiveness of the lighting.
The most common time you will use lighting for your wedding ceremony décor is when it is happening indoors. You have better control over the lighting conditions which can help give a more dramatic look.
Benefits of using lighting for wedding arches & arbors:
Creates a focal point in wedding photos
Lighting improves the photo quality
Helps complement a wedding style
Lighting décor helps tie together a stage design
patio light stringers
Edison Lighting: Light strands are typically used in tents and outdoor events. This lighting decoration can help make your arch or arbor stand out. We recommend using only 1 or 2 strands for a simple clean look. Be sure to read more in our Edison string lighting guide.
Uplighting: What can we say about uplighting, that hasn’t already been said? Uplights can help accent the (4) corners of a square arbor. You can also place (2) wireless uplights at the bottom of a wooden arch or trellis to highlight drapery, greenery, & other decorations.
Hanging Tea Light Globes: This simple hanging decoration looks amazing in photos. The only downside is doing it yourself takes time. You need to cut & tie off every candle. We recommend hanging 20-50 glass globes over an archway. Learn more about how to hang glass globes with candles.
Lanterns: This is a proven way to decorate your ceremony arch. Just place 10-20 neutral-colored lanterns in various heights with LED flicker candles for added drama. We recommend working in odd numbers (for example 5 on one side & 5 on the other). Keep in mind where your bridal party will stand so that the lanterns are still visible.
Decorating a wedding tent is different than draping an arch with fabric. Tents usually require mounting points instead of simply hanging the fabric. This means you need to rent clamps, cables & turnbuckles.
Some tents have high peaks which require ladders, scaffolding, or scissor lifts. When working high up you need to be concerned about liability for yourself & your guests.
There are also (3) different types of tents to decorate with fabric. These are just some of many factors to consider.
Read our guide for more information on how to decorate tents with draping
Did you find the above instructions & ideas helpful? Know what would be even better? A super detailed wedding arch video tutorial.
Watch the whole DIY process from start to finish and create your wedding ceremony draping with fewer vendors. Learn what every bride needs to make it look like you hired a pro!
Hey eventeers, we would love to know how your DIY ceremony draping turned out. Tell us your wedding arch ideas in the comments below.
Tearing down your ceremony drapes is super easy. You might be tempted to grab an end of the fabric and pull, but we advise otherwise! Some wooden beams might not be secured to the top.
how are you planning on decorating your ceremony, tell us in the comments below
You might damage the structure if you pull too hard. It is safer to use a ladder and manually lift any fabric that is laid over any rafters.
The great thing about do-it-yourself pergola draping is that it comes down very quickly. In 5 or 10 minutes you can have everything completely torn down.