December stage design

In December, we put up a stage design for the weeks before Christmas. It was a simple design with big impact — lots of positive compliments. Ironically, the “simple” design ended up being way more work than we anticipated!

As usual, I first sketched out the design in Adobe Illustrator.

I told everyone to ignore the scale of the garland, as I just used some artwork I already had to give the idea. The drawing looked like large fuzzy green caterpillars had overtaken our stage, but it was just to show that we were going to put garland on the top.

I kind of had to throw together the design in a hurry, knowing that we didn’t have a lot of time to work on it because we would be in full production mode for Christmas Eve. So I used items we already had — lights, fabric, garland and trees. The only thing that was new was a piece of gold fabric.

The design looked pretty easy, but ended up taking a ton of time because:

1. Our lights didn’t all work so we had to troubleshoot.

2. The lights got all tangled up so we had to redo the hanging to make them even.

3. The gold fabric wouldn’t hang like I had pictured so we had to readjust it in multiple configurations. In all it took probably about 4 man hours just to adjust the gold fabric so it was right! This was because we have a manual system of hauling up and down the cyc booms that we tie the fabric to, so we would adjust the fabric to how we thought it might hang, then haul it up. It would look terrible and we would have to redo it again. And again. And again.

In the end, the best way was using griff clips and natural-colored jute twine that blended in with the fabric. Looks so easy.

The first Sunday, one of the string of lights went out and we couldn’t figure out why, so we didn’t use the lights behind the white fabric at all.

The other weeks the lights worked and we had the full effect we were looking for.

Here’s a closer look at the stage.

We ended up ditching the garland. We didn’t have enough and the stage looked festive enough without it!

Supplies used:

  • White voile fabric (3 pieces)
  • Gold voile fabric (1 long piece)
  • Strings of Christmas lights
  • Griff clips
  • Black rope (to attach griff clips to the ceiling)
  • Natural jute rope (to tie up the top two corners of the cloth on either side of the cloth. This made the cloth drape more pleasantly than griff clips.)

(Hmm… now I noticed that the fabric matches the color of our wooden communion table. Looks like it was planned that way!)


A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

3 comments to “December stage design”

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  1. mark - November 9, 2012

    i have a wedding to do in december. the couple loved this and would like to do something similar. can you provide more details on the cloth and how you got it to drape? i love the simplicity but know the drape must have been a challenge. thank you!

  2. A Yee

    A Yee - November 9, 2012

    We got the gold voile fabric from and I think the white voile fabric was discontinued from Rosebrand or something. (Sorry, too long ago — I don’t remember!)

    The draping was really a challenge. In the end we found it was best to use a jute-kind of string (it’s a natural color that blends into the fabric) and tie it loosely around the fabric. Then we attached black rope to the jute and tied it onto our booms (poles) that we raised so that it was high enough that the fabric was off the ground. I then tugged at the middle bottom so that the bottom of the fabric hung lower.

    For the side two drapes, I used a single griff clip on the edge of the fabric and used a black rope to tie it to the boom.

    In the end it was a really simple design but it took forever to get there.

    Hope all goes well for you at the wedding!

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