Flowers under a canopy add to the garden party theme.

How to Decorate a Canopy for a Garden Party

by Kathy Adams

While a canopy provides an ideal gathering place and respite from the sun during a garden party, it's appearance can be somewhat plain and boring. Dress up that drab canopy with decorations suited to a garden gathering, such as faux ivy or twinkle lights, for a family party that goes on well into the evening or a child's themed birthday tea party to make the day feel more special.

1. Greenery

Garden and greenery go hand in hand -- after all, what's a garden without plants, either faux or real? Silk ivy vines wrapped around canopy poles make them less obvious and add a bit of green to the decor, or wrap them around the entire perimeter of the canopy for an even more garden-worthy look. Attach live hanging plants such as flower baskets to the corners of the canopy at entry points of the tent to set the tone for the event. Place potted plants or faux potted trees near the weights or stakes holding the canopy in place to mask them and prevent guests from tripping over any wires or ropes.

2. Lighting

Use strands of white fairy lights to decorate the perimeter and posts of a canopy for both formal and casual garden parties. Instead of standard fairy lights, opt for lights shaped like flowers, or make your own by tearing apart silk flowers and pressing the centers over each light. Hang paper party lights in cheery colors from the metal canopy supports for a festive look within the structure. Party lights fitted with LED tea lights appear like small ornaments when hung from the perimeter of the canopy. The lights can also be used during the day if the canopy is in a shaded area to add a magical effect to a children's party.

3. Butterflies

Use fishing line to hang small paper or plastic butterflies -- either already made or cut with a special paper punch -- around the perimeter of the canopy for a splash of liveliness. Paper butterflies can be attached to the canopy with double-sided tape or a loop of painter's tape. Pasted on the inside perimeter of the tent, they'll show up as silhouettes at night with sufficient lighting from inside the canopy. Dragonfly or ladybug shapes can be used instead of butterflies, or substitute small garden gnome shapes for a whimsical garden party.

4. Flowers and Fabric

Wrap strands of silk flowers, such as white roses or carnations, around the canopy posts for a formal garden party or garden wedding. Create the strands yourself by stringing silk flowers onto fishing line using a sewing needle. Hang sheer fabric from the perimeter of the canopy, tying back to create a curtain-like feature. Tying the fabric back at entry points creates a stunning entry and encourages guests to enter from specific areas. Attach a real or silk flower to the tieback fabric with a pin or hot glue for added embellishment.

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