Ceiling Designs for Your Event Tent

You are hosting your wedding and your reception in an event tent outdoors. Smart move — this means that you get to choose all your decorations from the ground up!

No, just take a moment and picture your wedding day: You and the one you love – finally tying the knot. You are surrounded by the smiling faces of friends and family, flowers and table centerpieces in your wedding colors, and – wait. What’s that? A blank, white event tent ceiling. You can spend your entire time celebrating and worrying about guests wondering what happened to the decorations for your forgotten ceiling. Or, you can prepare in advance to use this blank canvas to create a magical area. The choice is yours! It doesn’t have to be difficult or extravagant to make a statement.


Chandeliers scream elegance. They provide a beautiful means of a light source for your wedding. The great thing about chandeliers is you can match them to the theme of your wedding. For example, if you are having a rustic wedding, you can use chandeliers made from wagon wheels or lanterns. Or, if your wedding is a black-tie affair, you may want to opt for a crystal (or crystal-like) chandelier. The lights reflecting off the crystal create a magical, dim glow.

You may choose to use one large chandelier as a centerpiece or several smaller ones to hang throughout. The idea is to maintain uniformity of the decorations – including the lighting.

Event Tent Fabric DrapingEvent Tent | American Pavilion

It may sound odd, but if done correctly, flowing fabric can look beautiful on your ceiling. You can even match it with the colors of your wedding—extend your colors to the ceiling. Depending on how you choose to drape the fabric, you can make it look like a warm blanket or keep it light, open, and airy. If your wedding is taking place during the daytime, you can use the fabric in part – rather than covering the whole ceiling, allow for strips of flowing fabric and then strips of tent. This will allow the bright sunlight to shine through.

Beads and Garland

Get unique with your ceiling. The decorations you choose do not have to be the norm. In fact, this is your wedding day – you want it to stand out. Here are a few ideas:

  • String crystal beads down from the ceiling to give the effect of icicles.
  • Garland of greenery or even in various colors can be strung across the tent and down poles on every side to add a splash of color to the white ceiling.
  • For rustic, outdoor weddings, use a combination of tree branches and twinkle lights to decorate the ceiling.

Flowing Flowers

Every wedding needs flowers. Most of the time they are used in table centerpieces or as decorations to line aisles. However, what about flowers flowing down from the ceiling? These magical bouquets look as though they are blooming out of the ceiling. Again, you can choose one large bouquet or smaller ones throughout the tent. Or, be a rebel and go all out – Maybe a large upside down flower bouquet over the dancefloor and smaller ones throughout the rest of the space?

For a soft, romantic glow, mix pastel flowers with a candlelight chandelier. If you are considering a tropical paradise, use bright bouquets – reds, oranges, yellows — and combine them with tiki torches along the ground. Experiment with different flower and light combinations to obtain the look that is just right for your tent wedding.

Lanterns and String Lights

Think beachside wedding, lighthouses, and lanterns. Symbolically let these lanterns guide you into your future as a happily married couple. You can decorate the ceiling with single lanterns throughout the venue. Another take on lanterns is using Japanese paper lanterns. This type of lighting gives a soft glow and symbolizes a wish for a bright future. What more could you ask for on your wedding day?

String lights are romantic on their own. Put them under a tent on your wedding day and it can take the sweet moments to new heights. You can string these lights across the tent in a bistro style or have them dangle on a clear string, appearing to be twinkling starlight. Here is an option – rent a tent with a clear ceiling and let mother nature be your backdrop with just a few string lights under the starts. It is like having a real outdoor garden party, without the risk of bad weather conditions!

Gobo Lighting

Gobo lighting is a spiffy light trick. It basically can take your boring, blank what slate of a tent ceiling and turn it in to something completely stunning. Gobo lighting uses projectors and stencils to project images through a light source and on to your ceiling. There are many ideas that you can choose to do with this sort of lighting technique:

  • Use specific words or phrases. You can project names, initials, dates, etc. onto the ceiling.
  • Tree outline. Using a tree stencil can make it look like tree shadows on the ceiling and give a neat effect.
  • Specific floral or paisley pattern.
  • Make it appear that the ceiling is water – and that you are under water when inside the tent (though this may not be good for your claustrophobic guests!).
  • Stars and the moon on the ceiling.

Use your imagination and draw your own stencils. This gobo technique is a much easier way to decorate the ceiling without having to actually decorate it! In other words – no crazy long ladders required.

You can decorate your event tent ceiling in any way you wish – it is your wedding day. The above are just suggestions to get you started. If you are daring, you can combine them together for a unique look. For example, use string lights with your fabric draping or flower bouquets and crystal chandeliers. However you decide to do it, make sure you leave a lasting impression that keeps your guests looking up!


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