How to decorate with fabric for wedding receptions

Updated July 20, 2017

Decorating with fabric is a cost-effective way to create an inviting atmosphere in a wedding reception venue that has high ceilings or unsightly fixtures. Fabric hung on ceilings and walls not only adds visual effect, but also improves the acoustics in the room and eliminates excess noise to create an intimate wedding reception atmosphere. Decorating with fabric can be as simple as bunching a bright-coloured fabric on top of a tablecloth on a display table around food, or under wedding gifts to add texture and colour.

Tie six long lengths of fabric to a centred beam or light fixture. If there is nothing in the centre of the room, gather the fabric and hold it in with one hand against the ceiling. Using the opposite hand, staple it to the ceiling in the centre of the room.

Drape the fabric to an outer wall so that each piece of fabric is separated from the other, making even sections with the fabric.

Lower the fabric to the height that you would like the new perceived ceiling height to be and cut the fabric at this point. Gather the fabric to create an accordion effect that overlaps the fabric on itself to hide the ceiling above. Secure the fabric to the outer wall with staples.

Measure coloured or patterned fabric that fits the wedding theme 4 inches longer than the length of the tablecloths that will be used and 20 inches wide. Cut the fabric at these measurements.

Turn the fabric over so that the underside is facing up. Roll out the iron-on hem tape on one side of the cut fabric and fold the fabric over the tape just enough to cover the tape, about 1 inch.

Pin the fabric at the inner cut edge to the fabric it is folded over on. Do this on all sides of the fabric and iron over each side to secure the hem in the fabric.

Lay the table runner down the length of the table or across a round table to add colour.

Hang fabric or curtains along the wall by stapling the fabric to the top of the wall where the wall and the ceiling meet.

Fold the fabric in an accordion fashion by folding it in about 2 inch sections over itself.

Staple it to the wall at each fold to hide the staples and create a pleat as the fabric falls to the floor. This works well to create a division in a room, to hide an unsightly wall, or to add colour to the room.


Fabric can also be draped in a wave fashion from one wall to the opposite wall. This method will elongate a room's appearance in the direction the fabric is hung. To further hide a large light fixture, hang a large bow tied out of fabric to the light fixture. When hemming with iron-on hem tape, fold the fabric over just enough to cover the tape to ensure a straight line on your hem. The tape acts as your measuring tool to keep the hem straight.

Things You'll Need

  • 118 inches, wide white voile drapery sheer
  • Staples
  • Staple gun
  • Measuring tape
  • Coloured or patterned fabric
  • Iron-on hem tape
  • Iron
  • Sewing pins
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Sarah Davis has been a culinologist since 1998. She has worked in the offices and labs of Burger King, Tyson Foods and Cargill developing and writing recipes. She currently owns WISH Events in Atlanta. She and her husband also buy homes to rejuvenate and resell. Davis holds degrees from Johnson and Wales University in culinary arts and the University of Georgia in food science.