Fun with Fabric

Jackie Mantey
At Jorgensen Farms Historic Barn, gauzy white fabric framed the head table and created ambiance at Noelle and Chad Barson's reception.

This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published June 2019.

Using fabric to decorate your ceremony or reception venue can be an easy, affordable way to take an event from drab to fab. It can also work as a solution for space challenges, all while adding a finishing touch—the icing on the wedding cake, if you will. That was the case for Noelle and Chad Barson, who celebrated their wedding at Jorgensen Farms.

“With there being so much wood in the venue,” Noelle says, “we wanted to try and define spaces a little more.”

Working with the venue, the couple wrapped a light, sheer, white fabric around the ceremony’s woven grapevine arbor. The fabric also hung behind the arbor, to provide contrast between the wood and the wall, and behind the reception’s head table. The curtained effect visually framed the bride and groom during key moments of their nuptials and elevated the final look.

“There was a minimal charge for decorating the arbor and wall,” Noelle says, “but we felt like there really was not much that needed to be added to the already beautiful space. We were really happy with the results. We felt that it fit our style. It was elegant, but simple and rustic at the same time.”

For those who want to go beyond, however, Jorgensen Farms offers a range of décor options to choose from. An in-house floral team can create fully designed options such as bouquets, centerpieces, wall installations, ceremony arbor displays and more. The farm’s two spaces—the Historic Barn and Oak Grove—also have more individual selections such as fabric, arbors and lighting elements for DIY-inclined couples.

“With both of our venues, we have a lot of raw and textured elements—exposed wood, industrial steel beams—as part of our building structure, which is one reason our clients are drawn to the farm,” says Heather Christopher, director of weddings and events at Jorgensen Farms. “Some clients choose to highlight the unique structures, or they may choose to soften the space a bit, bringing in a sense of romance with fabric. Most fabric installations are meant to often soften a space, create a ‘wow’ factor, or hide elements that would be exposed but not picture-worthy.”

For Tamara Halaweh and Christopher Hritz, that element was an exit sign.

At their reception at the Ohio Statehouse, the couple, with the help of a professional event designer at Events2NV, used an elaborate pipe-and-drape with swags and uplighting behind the head table. While it looked stunning, the fabric effect was also utilitarian.

“The reason we chose [it] was really to cover the big door and exit sign that was behind it,” Tamara says. “The cost really wasn’t too bad … and with how stunning the place looked with the décor, it was well worth it. … We were very happy with the results.”

Bang for your buck is, indeed, another big reason to roll out the fabric, especially if your venue or wedding planner can provide it as part of their cost or for a small fee.

“Fabric can get expensive to purchase on your own,” says Jorgensen Farms’ Christopher, “but when using a company that already owns the fabric, it can be much more affordable.”

Nicole and Alejandro Diaz used a pipe-and-drape backdrop with twinkle lights behind the ceremony and head table at their Vue Columbus wedding.

“The venue has a decorative stone wall that I really wasn’t a fan of, so I wanted something to cover it up,” Nicole says. “The Vue had the option for the twinkle lights and, because the venue was providing it, it was more cost-effective than sourcing from an outside company. The linen and lights totally went with the look I was going for.”

That is, a mix of dreamy, romantic and glam, with lots of soft lighting, which is one of the quickest ways to set a lovely late-day mood.

“Fabric also adds a larger décor statement to the event versus a small floral arrangement on a table, creating a more dramatic effect,” Christopher says. “It can be easier to manage, as it is not a living arrangement—though it can be harder to keep clean and sometimes hard to hang, depending on where it is being used.”

If you do decide to incorporate fabric into your décor, Kristen Pulcheon, director at The Estate at New Albany, recommends speaking directly to the venue prior to hiring someone else bring in the materials.

“While many venues have built-in hang points, some do not, and that could affect your quote with the designer,” Pulcheon says. “Each venue will be different based on their set-up time and when other vendors are allowed to access the facility. [It’s] probably best to just double-check with your venue representative on the exacts.”

A professional wedding planner or the venue’s coordinator could also help get everything lined up.

“Hiring a wedding planner is like giving yourself a wedding present,” Pulcheon says. “Most will take over with the logistics and coordinating a set-up timeline with the venue. Wedding planners and event designers often have creative design ideas and can help take your Pinterest board dreams to your real-life wedding.”

Some of Pulcheon’s favorite “real-life wedding” examples of fabric décor at The Estate at New Albany include a flowy chiffon fabric draped on the outdoor pergola, floor-to-ceiling fabric backdrops in its indoor ceremony space, and unique draping behind sweetheart and head tables in the Great Hall.

She can’t wait to see what couples come up with next.

“We have fabric sweeps, ceiling panels draped from our center chandelier to all corners of the room, that have been customized to our space,” Pulcheon says. “I would love to see a couple be brave enough to do a soft blush color, or add additional panels to create a tented feel in their reception area.”