Event Drapery Terms You Should Know

Event decorating, like everything else, has unique language and terminology, especially when it comes to draping. Sometimes we throw around the terms and forget that not everyone understands us! So, to clarify things, we thought it would be a good idea to provide you with a glossary of event draping terms that we most commonly use. Then, the next time you hear us talking about ceiling treatments, backdrops, or wall masking, you can join in on the conversation!

General Draping Terms​

Base – A flat piece of steel that acts as the feet for the uprights. They are HEAVY, and we try to hide them from you when we set up at your event.

Drape Support – These are also called crossbars; they are expandable and attach to the uprights to hold the drape, similar to how a curtain rod works in your home.

Upright – We also refer to this as “pipe and drape.” Uprights are adjustable aluminum poles that hold drape support (you will learn what that means next!). Our uprights can go from 7 ft tall to 25 ft tall.

Satin – This fabric is smooth and has a brushed matte finish. It is a heavier fabric than voile and is perfect for backdrops, wall masking, or room dividing. 

Sheer – is a soft and sheer fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton blended with linen or polyester. Voile is one of the most popular ceiling draping fabrics and looks gorgeous with twinkle lighting. Like all of our other fabric offerings, our voile is IFR, meaning it is fire-retardant and safe to hang in event spaces. 

Swag – This is fabric fastened to hang in a drooping curve. You will hear us use this term when talking about backdrops, table draping, and ceiling treatments.

Tieback – This is a decorative strip of fabric used to hold the drape off to the side. We use this to create depth on backdrops and to tie open entryway draping. Sometimes clients will have their florist add flowers to our tiebacks to “tie” everything together!

Freestanding Draping Terms

Room Dividing – This is precisely what it says it is – draping that is used to divide a space! If you want to shrink down a large area or create multiple smaller areas within a space, room dividing drape is the perfect solution.

Wall Masking – This draping hides an area you do not want to see in the event space. We do this to hide construction or a part of the space that the clients do not want to be seen or will not be used for the event.

Backdrop – This drape hangs behind something to create a focal point in the space. In our business, this is often a ceremony spot, the bridal party table, or the ever-popular selfie station in the reception space.

Ceiling Draping Terms

Starburst – This ceiling drape pattern will start in the center of the dance floor and then form a starburst pattern outward – we can customize the number of “points” based on what you would like. It is also sometimes called a wagon wheel design.

Linear – This means that the drape is hung across the ceiling in a straight line and is a good option if you want maximum coverage.

Bowtie – We start this one in the center of the dance floor and make it look like a giant bow tie when you look up!

Spiderweb – The best way to describe this draping design is random! Panels are hung throughout the space’s ceiling to create a spiderweb-like pattern. This design is most prevalent in pole tents.

There you have it! Those are some of the most common draping terms you will hear our team and others in the industry use! Next time you hear us chatting about a starburst or wall masking drape, join in – we love talking about what we do and answering your questions.