I wanted to learn how to drape fabric on our wedding arbor. Having seen it done well and done poorly with my attempts landing closer to poorly, I wanted to learn what it takes to make a drape look good. And I wanted to see the arbor dressed up without a budget or certain color-scheme in mind. Jelena Krzeszowski of JBK Weddings and Events volunteered to come out to showcase wedding arbor drape materials and designs. Joanna Monger of Joanna Monger Photography documented all the designs. We were sticking to artificial flowers and what Jelena had at her disposal but the results and differences really left an impact on me! Follow along for my thoughts on arbor draping at Gray Bridge.
Who does the draping?
You will want to talk to your florist and your planner to determine who is draping the arbor. Draping is a skill and it is NOT a given that a florist or a planner is skilled or includes it in their services .Also, if your florist is not installing the drape, find out if they want the arbor draped before or after the florals have been installed and let you planner know so it is noted in the timeline. Share this post with your florist and planner if you like any of these ideas. Gray Bridge couple, you have access to additional draping photos in your Aisle Planner project under Design Studio. Visit our "Something Borrowed" closet and see the drape options we include.
These first two arbors highlight something I have noticed that applies directly to Gray Bridge. As an outdoor wedding venue, the forest and waterfront backdrop is fairly dark and the arbor is dark. Adding drape and florals to the arbor really makes it to POP! These photos were all taken in February, when the angle of the sun is low and the quality of light is not as bright, but when decorating a Seattle wedding venue or any outdoor wedding venue in Washington you will want to consider the impacts of cloudy days and lower light on your outdoor installations.
When you consider how to drape your wedding arbor, the arbor with drape frames the couple and showcases our waterfront ceremony area. Bringing in decor that provides contrast to the forest setting makes the beauty of the forest backdrop stand out even more.
Bold colors and multiple colors work really well at garden wedding venues! White, cream, and blush are the most common colors for wedding arbor drapes we see (and the colors of drape available in our Something Borrowed closet)--with white taking accounting for 80% or more of the arbor drape here but there's a whole world of color--embrace it on your arbor.
To get drape that looks like this, the material for wedding arch affects the look of the drape. A heavier weight material tends to hang better and hold its shape if there is a breeze. Try curtains in 10' length or 120" rectangular tablecloths! Most of these drapes are made from 120" long rectangular tablecloths that Jelena sewed or pinned a rod pocket into. We have a 1" round rod that mounts to the back of the arbor and "curtains" in white, cream, and pink in our "something borrowed" closet so you can make this look or bring in your own drape in the colors of your wedding.
Both the blue and purple in the previous photo and the rose and gold in the this photo have close to 200" of fabric on each side of the arbor (or a total of 4-120"x90" tablecloths to drape this blush and gold design). Jelena and I both love crinkle taffeta tablecloth for drape fabric--it stores and packs well without creating obvious wrinkles and it hangs with a nice weight.
Notice that the side pieces are tied back. This helps the curtain to hang beautifully while enabling the installer to control the shape of the swag. Tying back the drape opens up the arbor as if to frame a picture of the pond and fountain, and the pooling of excess fabric lands in the perfect puddle.
Finally, more is more when it comes to draping! I often get asked "How tall is the arbor?" Answer--9' tall. "How much drape do I need to go from one end, across, and back down?" Not a simple answer! It is easier to drape in multiple sections than to try to make one long piece of fabric work. Jelena illustrated this with this green drape. This installation took two pieces of drape for each side to create the fullness and two pieces to make the center swag. It would be nearly impossible to create this look with one long piece of fabric.
Notice the addition of drape, pearls, and our chandelier to this floral installation. The additional pop of light and color really makes the arbor stand out as compared to the photo above where the arbor gets lost in the dark forest behind it. Additionally, the drape is hung on the BACK side of the arbor. Putting the drape behind the arbor allows the structure of the arbor to show up. When drape is put in front or over the arbor, the shape is maintained but the structure disappears. (See the first photo on this blog of the draped BOHO arbor to see the different look when the arbor is wrapped in drape.) There isn't a right way to do it but note the look you like the best!