Decorating with fabric: tulle vs. English netting

When I was decorating weddings, my weapon of choice was always fabric. A variety of fabrics, actually — English netting, organza, sequined fabrics, whatever I could get my hands on. But it seems there is a lot of confusion when it comes to whether you’re looking at tulle or English netting.To me, the distinction is easy. Above, I used English netting on this cake table for my friend Cathy (for whom I was a bridesmaid). English netting is soft to the touch, it floats, flows and hangs easily. English netting, in my experience, has been best used for accents to more high-impact fabrics like organza. English netting is what you might actually wear, its so soft and nice to feel against the skin.

Photo by Flickr’s Kyrielle

I believe there are many different types of tulle, and above is an example of what I call a crunchy variety. Tulle for many brides can be preferable — its cheaper and its easier to mold. Its often used for giveaways and favors like this one.

Photo by Flickr’s Details of the Day


Fabric is probably most often used for draping along the aisle for the ceremony. Even in a case like this, I like using English netting more than tulle, even though tulle might behave better. However, when decorating with fabric outside, just beware the wind — fabric is still fabric and it can act like a sail in windy conditions.

Photo by Flickr’s Wedding or Party Decorations

I have generally used English netting sparingly, but it can be very pretty when used in excess, like the gazebo above. A set up like this is not difficult, even for you DIY brides — buy a couple dozen yards of English netting (seriously), attach one end to the top, let it fall to the ground, and loop it back up. Repeat as many times as the fabric will allow and feel free to vary the lengths. But I gotta say, recreating a set up like this one will require several yards of English netting, and it can get expensive. Maybe try different fabrics.

Photo by Flickr’s mcwaneevents

Check out this ceremony set up. Spectacular, no? Ceiling and wall decorations, however, take a lot of time, so remember that when you’re booking your site, if this is the type of decor you want. The fabric hanging from the walls and ceilings of this tent have to be English netting because I don’t believe tulle can hang like that. Or maybe it can, but you probably have to shell out for the more expensive varieties. Don’t forget to check out that pretty little backdrop. I believe those are stargazers and gerber daisies hanging along the backdrop.

Now, I need your help. I have tons of pictures but am unsure of what y’all want. Do you want to see more pictures of tulle, English netting, organza, etc? Do you want to see more about individual flowers? Or do you like the weird wedding asides? Let me know, because if not, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.

16 thoughts on “Decorating with fabric: tulle vs. English netting

  1. Hello, the information you have here just helped me make up my mind! I love the way the English netting hangs on the ceiling, the tulle wouldn’t look that nice would it? I am going to use black and white so the way to go would probably be English netting correct, it would look more formal, the space isn’t very big so I’m not worried about the cost. Thanks so much, more pictures of ceiling decorations would be great!!

    • Glad I could have been of some help McKenzie! I’d love to see pictures of whatever you’re decorating, too!

      And I will definitely be on the lookout for ceiling decorations!

  2. I love this style for decorating. So if I wanted to do something like this, how would I do it? I can’t afford to have someone do it for me but I’m very willing to try doing it myself. Unfortunately I wouldn’t even know where to start. For instance, what is it hanging from and how would you do this without installing rods on the walls? I’m totally lost. I thought of maybe using PVC around the whole room? Does anyone know if I’m even remotely on the right track? Anyone’s input would be greatly appreciated.

  3. i would like to cover the gym with white/or off white lines like a tent with light and some crystal hagging for the drapes. My daughter sweet 16 is sept 16, 2010

  4. I am trying to decide what material would hang the best. I want tob have a ceiling drape (from the middle of the chandelier in the center of the room to the four corners of the room) so I will have four pieces of fabric going from the center of the room out to each corner. I would like to know what would hang the best and have that s good flowing look. What do you think about organza..I am not familiar about how fabrics will hang. each piece fo fabric that I am using will be about 30 feet long.
    Thanks so much!
    Tamira

  5. i planining my on wedding because i can’t afford it, But i love to decorate the ceiling with english tulle and also will pvc pipes work how will i start ?

  6. My daughter is getting married in August. The reception venue ceiling has hanging flourescent lights. I would like to drape tulle from light to light. Want to put white mini christmas lights in the tulle as well so we can turn off the flourescent lighting. Am thinking of sewing pockets into the tulle to insert pvc pipe (1/4 in) and then use some kind of wire to attach the ends of the pvc pipe to the rods the flourescent lights hang from . Am I on the right track? Any suggestions?
    Thanks – I’m having anxious moments thinking about doing this …

  7. We live in a small town so not to many halls to pick;we picked a 100 x 200 ft hall and the walls are ugly.Not rich so will have to do the walls ourself.Maybe use the English Netting.We are not aloud to put any tacks in the walls,need some ideas how to make hall pretty as our Daughter is very special and has always dreamed of a fairy tale wedding.Would love to have your advice!
    Sincerely Wanda

  8. Hello, just buy (at Walmart) a cheap, white extendable rod for about $4 to $6. Hang them from the grid ceiling with grid hooks. Also, if you don’t find the grid hooks (check Mardel, or teacher supply stores), look for the 3M holiday hooks. They work wonderful at Christmas time,—- and for weddings. They are temporary so that the rental halls will be okay with them, but they hold very well. They’ll hold a “tulle wall” very well. Just bunch the tulle fabric across the extendable rod. Hold the rod up with the 3m hooks. Easy.

  9. Pingback: Benefactor » Blog Archive » Pictures of tulle

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