Design Terms – Event Drapery

Event design has its own language, and event draping is no exception. Sometimes we throw around the terms and forget that not everyone knows what we are talking about!  So, to clear things up, I thought it would be a good idea to provide you with a glossary of event draping terms we use ALL THE TIME.  Then, the next time you hear us talking about event drapings, such as ceiling treatments, backdrops, or wall masking, you can join in the conversation!

General Draping Terms​

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

Swag – A piece(s) of fabric fastened to hang in a drooping curve.  You will hear us use this term when talking about backdrops, table draping, and ceiling treatments.

Voile – A soft, sheer fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton blended with linen or polyester. The term is French for veil.  Our voile is IFR, meaning it is fire retardant and safe to hang in event spaces.

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

Upright – We also refer to this as “pipe and drape”.  Uprights are adjustable aluminum poles that are used to hold drape support (you will learn what that means next!).  Our uprights can go from 7 ft tall to 16 ft tall.

Drape Support – These are also called crossbars.  They and expandable and attach to the uprights to hold the drape, similar to how curtain rods work in your home.

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.

Freestanding Draping Terms

Backdrop – This is a drape that is hung behind a focal point.  In our business, this is often a ceremony spot or the bridal party table in the reception space.

Wall Masking – This is draping that’s used to hide 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.

Ceiling Draping Terms

Starburst – This is fairly self-explanatory.  Similar to the bowtie, 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.

Linear – Another ceiling drape term.  This means that the drape is hung across the ceiling in a straight line and is a good option if you are looking for maximum coverage of the ceiling.

Bowtie – A popular ceiling drape pattern.  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 – Another ceiling drape pattern.  The best way to define this is with a photo…here it is!

Well, those are the terms you will hear us use most often! If you are still not sure, ask! Next time you hear us chatting, jump on in you know our language!  And we love to talk about what we do. In next week’s post, we will go over some common lighting terms, so get ready!

Until next time…