Wedding Canopies

Amy Hoover
outdoor canopy
Outdoor canopy

Canopies are used at weddings in a variety of ways. Whether you use them outside or in, for the ceremony, reception, or both, you'll find plenty of ways to incorporate them into your wedding decorations.

Outdoor Canopy Options

Planning a wedding outside means you will need to signify exactly where the event will be taking place. While the obvious chair set up will designate the area, create a more cohesive space by using a canopy effectively.

  • Canopies can be a backdrop for the bride, groom, and officiate, or if the canopy is large enough, they can stand below.
  • The canopy can go above the seating area to create an intimate feeling for guests.
  • If you have a cocktail or lounge area arranged, use a canopy to cover it.
  • Small cake tables or serving bars can also be covered by an outdoor canopy.

Styles to Consider

Outside, canopies can be made from the following to fit your wedding style:

  • Flowers, vines, and greenery: Use wood or iron framework to support a canopy made from Mother Nature's bounty. This is perfect for a country, cottage, rustic, or garden wedding.
  • Tulle or chiffon: Lightweight, billowy fabrics create an elegant and ethereal feel to the space and work well for more formal events. Note that they may not work the best in areas where high winds are common, so keep this in mind before choosing this style. Use high quality framework, like bamboo, painted wood posts, or decorative wrought iron, as it will be highly visible.
  • Canvas or fabric: Heavier canvas or fabric options are good when you need something that is a little more weather-proof. They may also be more readily available from rental companies and be more cost effective when compared to custom floral or chiffon options from a decorating company.

Decorative Accessories

Once you've set the basic canopy up, don't forget to accessorize it. Add hanging flowers, balloon bouquets, crystals, and even chandeliers to the canopies. Attach heavy items to the framework rather than the canopy material.

Finding Outdoor Canopies

Handy DIYers can likely create basic frames for canopies using PVC pipes or wooden posts, some hardware, and the fabric of their choice. This can be time-consuming, and potentially more costly than renting an outdoor canopy. You will also need some basic building knowledge to come up with your design and build it.

Renting basic canopies is relatively cost-effective and you don't need to find a place to store them after the wedding is over. They usually come with instructions for the renter to set them up themselves. Find outdoor canopy rentals across the country at places like:

  • All Occasion Rentals out of Reno, Nevada: Basic 10' x 10' canopies will cost around $50 according to their price list.
  • Party Line Rentals out of Elmsford, New York: Canopies range in size in 10' x 10' to 20' x 40', with pricing starting at $100 and going to $250.
  • AAA Rental System out of Chicago, Illinois: Rent a 20' x 20' canopy that costs just under $120 or a 20' x 30' for just under $170.

Custom outdoor canopies can also be created by many floral designers, decorators, and wedding planners. Pricing will vary, depending on what you desire and your location, but expect to spend significantly more if you go with this option; check with your vendor(s) for a quote and to learn more.

Indoor Canopy Ideas

indoor canopy
Altar canopy

Indoor canopies are used during the ceremony to designate and decorate the altar area where the bride and groom stand; sometimes they are religious in nature as well, like chuppahs. Generally, they do not cover the guest ceremony seating area inside.

At receptions they may cover a cake table, the dance floor, or even be suspended from the ceiling to decorate the entire reception room.

Styles to Consider

Ceiling canopy
Ceiling canopy
  • Ceiling: A ceiling canopy is often comprised of tulle, usually interspersed with lights. It is often tufted and may have a larger disco ball or chandelier in the center. Ribbons and streamers can also be used and are easier for the DIY bride and groom to hang.
  • Hoops: A small hoop with fabric surrounding it can be hung from the ceiling over a small space, like the guest book or cake table.
  • Shaped structure: Formal looks are usually created with a structured canopy, like those at the front of a wedding ceremony. These can also be placed over the dance floor or the cake or guest table as well. They can be luxurious or even more natural-looking, depending on your wedding style.
  • Balloons: Festive brides and grooms at more informal weddings can even use balloons to decorate their dance floor area with a canopy. However, this may be best completed by a professional company who can quickly and easily erect the structure and make it look put together.

Decorative Accessories

Indoor canopies generally have some sort of lighting included as the main decorative accessory. Tube and string lights are popular for outlining the canopy edges. Floral bouquets and ribbons can be placed on the sides of the canopy as well.

Finding Indoor Wedding Canopies

Many wedding planners, decorators, and florists will create a wedding canopy to fit your wedding space and style. The pricing for this will vary greatly depending on your desires and location. The pricing may be included in a larger decoration or floral package, or it may be priced separately as an add-on.

DIYers will be able to find affordable canopy fabrics, like those from WrapWithUs.com that will cover a small area for around $60. The handy bride and groom who are doing their own decorating will also find that hanging ceiling canopies is relatively easy with some tulle, lighting, and hanging clips. Check with the venue before hanging, however, to be sure you follow any rules or guidelines for hung items.

Fun DIY Photo Booth Canopy

Canopies don't have to be for a formal use. Instead, use a canopy to create a fun photo booth! Your exact booth's dimensions and design will vary depending on what you desire. Modify the following materials and instructions to fit your final vision.

Materials

Start with a basic photo booth setup that includes a seat and then use the following materials to create the decorated canopy.

  • 4 painted white posts, approximately four feet taller than the seat
  • 4 decorative buckets
  • Pebbles to fill four buckets
  • 1 large canvas, cut to fit the photo booth's dimensions after placing the posts, plus about 2 additional inches on each side
  • Ribbon in wedding color(s)
  • Faux flowers
  • Raffia
  • Staple gun with staples
  • Hot glue gun

Instructions

wedding canopy photo op
Canopy over photo booth seating
  1. Place each post in the center of a bucket, filling in with pebbles around each to secure.
  2. Place the posts at the corners of the photo booth with the seat.
  3. Drape the canvas over the four posts.
  4. Staple the canvas to the wooden posts, pulling it tightly as you go. Don't worry about the staples being visible, as you will be adding decorative items to cover them.
  5. Use a glue gun to attach ribbons, flowers, and raffia where desired.

Creative Canopy Coverings

Canopies can be used in a variety of ways at your wedding. They are an excellent way to draw attention to a special part of the nuptials or carve out niche for a cake. Decorate the canopy so it matches the rest of the wedding decorations.

Wedding Canopies