Title:
Pre-assembled wedding canopies and related methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides pre-assembled wedding canopies and methods for making and installing them. The wedding canopies attach to a ceiling or overhead structure and are preferably made from textile material. A canopy may include multiple arms that extend from a central mounting point to a series of radial mounting points, and generally vertical members that drape downward from the radial mounting points. The canopies are provided in an organized, compact unit with textile sections that are secured together at a fastening site. The end of each textile section is folded or rolled into a flat, which can remain folded during installation activities to avoid the hassle of working around unwieldy lengths of fabric.



Inventors:
Lacy, Patricia D. (Mechanicsburg, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/145688
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/06/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/119
International Classes:
E04H15/54; E04H15/64
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ECKERT SEAMANS CHERIN & MELLOTT LLC (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pre-assembled wedding canopy comprising: a plurality of textile sections, each section having two ends, two sides, a length located between the two ends, a width located between the two sides, and a midpoint, wherein the textile sections are joined together at a fastening site, and each end of each section is compacted into a flat to facilitate packaging and installation of the wedding canopy.

2. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein the textile sections have approximately equal dimensions.

3. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein each textile section has a generally rectangular shape.

4. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein the length of each textile section ranges from about 22 feet to about 44 feet.

5. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein the length of each textile section is about 36 feet.

6. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein the width of each textile section ranges from about 1 foot to about 6 feet.

7. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein the width of each textile section is about 2½ feet.

8. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein each textile section is made from a fabric selected from the group consisting of polyester, lace, silk, satin, cotton, netting, polyester blends, silk blends, cotton blends, and combinations thereof.

9. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein the fastening site is generally located at the midpoints of the textile sections.

10. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein the textile sections are joined together at the fastening site using a fastener selected from the group consisting of stitching, tying, pins, staples, heat treatment, glue, adhesive, and combinations thereof.

11. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, further comprising a loop connected to the fastening site to facilitate overhead mounting.

12. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, wherein each end of each textile section is compacted into a flat by folding the end towards the fastening site.

13. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 12, wherein each end of each textile section is compacted into a flat using a folding board.

14. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of mounting devices for connecting the textile sections to the overhead structure.

15. The pre-assembled wedding canopy of claim 14, further comprising a container for packaging the wedding canopy and mounting devices.

16. A method of making a pre-assembled wedding canopy using a plurality of textile sections, each section having two ends, two sides, a length located between the two ends, a width located between the two sides, and a midpoint, the method comprising: placing the textile sections adjacent to each other such that the ends, sides, and midpoint of each section generally coincide with the ends, sides, and midpoint, respectively, of the other sections; joining the textile sections together at a fastening site; and compacting each end of each textile section to form a flat.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the textile sections have approximately equal dimensions.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein each textile section has a generally rectangular shape.

19. The method of claim 16, wherein the length of each textile section ranges from about 22 feet to about 44 feet.

20. The method of claim 16, wherein the length of each textile section is about 36 feet.

21. The method of claim 16, wherein the width of each textile section ranges from about 1 foot to about 6 feet.

22. The method of claim 16, wherein the width of each textile section is about 2½ feet.

23. The method of claim 16, wherein each textile section is made from a fabric selected from the group consisting of polyester, lace, silk, satin, cotton, netting, polyester blends, silk blends, cotton blends, and combinations thereof.

24. The method of claim 16, wherein the fastening site is generally located at the midpoints of the textile sections.

25. The method of claim 16, wherein the textile sections are joined together at the fastening site using a fastener selected from the group consisting of stitching, tying, pins, staples, heat treatment, glue, adhesive, and combinations thereof.

26. The method of claim 16, further comprising connecting a loop to the fastening site to facilitate overhead mounting.

27. The method of claim 16, wherein each end of each textile section is compacted into a flat by folding the end towards the fastening site.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein each end of each textile section is compacted into a flat using a folding board.

29. The method of claim 16, further comprising securing each flat to resist unraveling of the textile section.

30. The method of claim 16, further comprising packaging the textile sections in a container.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein the textile sections are packaged with a plurality of mounting devices.

32. A method of installing a pre-assembled wedding canopy as claimed in claim 1, the method comprising: securing the fastening site to a central mounting point on an overhead structure: at least partially unfurling each flat to expose arms of the wedding canopy; securing each arm to a radial mounting point, wherein the radial mounting point is located some distance from the central mounting point and each subsequent radial mounting point is located at a certain angle from a previous radial mounting point; and unfurling each flat to form generally vertical members that extend downward from each radial mounting point.

33. The method of claim 32, wherein the textile sections have approximately equal dimensions.

34. The method of claim 32, wherein each textile section has a generally rectangular shape.

35. The method of claim 32, wherein the length of each textile section ranges from about 22 feet to about 44 feet.

36. The method of claim 32, wherein the length of each textile section is about 36 feet.

37. The method of claim 32, wherein the width of each textile section ranges from about 1 foot to about 6 feet.

38. The method of claim 32, wherein the width of each textile section is about 2½ feet.

39. The method of claim 32, wherein the fastening site is generally located at the midpoints of the textile sections.

41. The method of claim 32, wherein the fastening site is secured to the central mounting point using a mounting device.

42. The method of claim 32, wherein each arm is secured to the radial mounting point using a mounting device.

43. The method of claim 32, wherein a loop is connected to the fastening site to facilitate overhead mounting.

44. The method of claim 32, wherein the wedding canopy comprises two textile sections, four arms, and four generally vertical members.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to pre-assembled wedding canopies and methods for making and installing them.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Wedding canopies are structures made from cloth, garland, or wood that extend overhead and provide a shelter or decorative assembly underneath which a ceremony may be conducted. The components of the canopy are typically supplied in separate pieces that are difficult to assemble and secure overhead. For example, a wedding canopy made from fabric is typically supplied as a bolt of fabric that is measured and cut. Once cut, each piece is separately attached overhead at a single point, then arranged to form columns that allow multiple people to maneuver underneath. Installation is burdensome and time-consuming. In addition, many wedding canopies require structural support members to maintain the canopy in a secure, overhead position.

U.S. Pat. No. D455,886 to Lurie et al. discloses the ornamental design of a wedding canopy, which includes a generally rectangular canopy portion that displays a graphical representation of a star along with name, date, and theme/quote information. The canopy portion is supported by four rigid columns that extend to the floor.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,227,215 to Sklar discloses a wedding canopy which converts from a chuppah into a pair of prayer shawls and is supported by four poles. The canopy is generally quadrangular in shape with two rows of heavy continuous stitching sewn perpendicular to the weft or the warp of the canopy fabric. After the wedding, the canopy is cut in half along the continuous stitching to form two four-cornered prayer shawls.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,330 to Franklin discloses an overhead canopy that is provided in a self-contained assembly. This assembly includes a canopy cover, suspension frame members that insert into pockets on the canopy cover, connection members for joining the suspension frame members together to form a suspension frame, and suspension means for suspending the suspension frame and canopy cover from a ceiling.

U.S. Pat. No. 90,054 to Searle discloses a mosquito tent and frame which can be suspended from the ceiling at a central point. An arched mosquito bar frame is constructed of springs made from wood or metal that are held together in the center by a screw-eye, forming a pivot on which they turn. Cords are attached to the end of the springs to bend the springs into an arch form. Mosquito netting is placed over the frame to form a tent.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,052,594 to Gerstmar discloses a temporary canopy structure that includes canopy sheet material and an elongate, thin, bendable, plastic rib. The rib is bent into place and the canopy sheet material is draped over and affixed onto the rib. The canopy sheet material may be provided in a box-held dispensable roll.

Thus, there exists a need for a pre-assembled wedding canopy made from textile material that is packaged in a compact, easy to install unit and does not include structural members such as poles or frames for support.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a pre-assembled wedding canopy that is attached to a ceiling or overhead structure and is preferably made from textile material. The canopy includes multiple arms that extend from a central mounting point to a series of radial mounting points, and generally vertical members that drape downward from the radial mounting points. In a preferred embodiment, multiple long sections of fabric are provided, each having a generally rectangular shape. The sections are laid back to back and joined together at a fastening site. Each fabric section is compacted into a flat by folding or rolling its ends in the direction of the fastening site. This transforms the wedding canopy into a compact unit that can be packaged in a small container. The canopy is installed by securing the fastening site to an overhead structure at a central mounting point while the flats remain compacted. When the fastening site is secured, each flat of compacted material is partially unfurled to form an arm of the canopy. Each arm is secured to the overhead structure at a radial mounting point extending some distance from the central mounting point. The remainder of each flat is unfurled, allowing the fabric to form generally vertical members that drape downward from each radial mounting point.

It is an aspect of the present invention to provide a pre-assembled wedding canopy comprising: a plurality of textile sections, each section having two ends, two sides, a length located between the two ends, a width located between the two sides, and a midpoint, wherein the textile sections are joined together at a fastening site, and each end of each section is compacted into a flat to facilitate packaging and installation of the wedding canopy.

It is another aspect of the present invention to provide a method of making a pre-assembled wedding canopy using a plurality of textile sections, each section having two ends, two sides, a length located between the two ends, a width located between the two sides, and a midpoint, the method comprising: placing the textile sections adjacent to each other such that the ends, sides, and midpoint of each section generally coincide with the ends, sides, and midpoint, respectively, of the other sections; joining the textile sections together at a fastening site; and compacting each end of each textile section to form a flat.

It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide a method of installing a pre-assembled wedding canopy, the method comprising: securing the fastening site to a central mounting point on an overhead structure; at least partially unfurling each flat to expose arms of the wedding canopy; securing each arm to a radial mounting point, wherein the radial mounting point is located some distance from the central mounting point, and each subsequent radial mounting point is located at a certain angle from a previous radial mounting point; and unfurling each flat to form generally vertical members that extend downward from each radial mounting point.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a wedding canopy that is supplied in a pre-assembled form to simplify installation and use.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a wedding canopy that does not require structural members such as poles or frames for support.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a new method of making a wedding canopy that assists the end-user with installation activities.

It is another object of the present invention to provide canopy that can be used for ceremonies other than weddings as well as any suitable non-ceremonial use.

These and other objects of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description and appended claims.

FIGURES

FIGS. 1a-1c present an oblique view, side view, and plan view, respectively, of a wedding canopy in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 depicts a textile section in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 3a-3d illustrate a method of making a wedding canopy in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 4a-4b depict a mounting device in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention provides a pre-assembled wedding canopy that is attached to a ceiling or overhead structure and is preferably made from textile material. The canopy includes multiple arms that extend from a central mounting point to a series of radial mounting points, and generally vertical members that drape downward from the radial mounting points. In a preferred embodiment, long sections of fabric are provided, each having a generally rectangular shape. The sections are laid back to back and joined together at a fastening site. Each fabric section is compacted into a flat by folding or rolling its ends in the direction of the fastening site. This transforms the wedding canopy into a compact unit that can be packaged in a small container. The canopy is installed by securing the fastening site to an overhead structure at a central mounting point while the flats remain compacted. When the fastening site is secured, each flat of compacted material is partially unfurled to form an arm of the canopy. Each arm is secured to the overhead structure at a radial mounting point extending some distance from the central mounting point. The remainder of each flat is unfurled allowing the fabric to form generally vertical members that drape downward from each radial mounting point.

FIGS. 1a-1c illustrate a pre-assembled wedding canopy in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1a presents an oblique view, FIG. 1b presents a side view, and FIG. 1c presents a plan view. As shown, the canopy 2 is secured on a ceiling or overhead structure at a central mounting point 4. Fabric arms 6 extend from the central mounting point 4 to a series of radial mounting points 8 on the ceiling or overhead structure. The fabric then drapes from the radial mounting points 8 to form generally vertical members 10 which may or may not extend to the floor.

The pre-assembled wedding canopy comprises at least one piece of textile material, which is referred to herein as a “textile section.” In a preferred embodiment, the canopy comprises a plurality of these textile sections. Each section may be made from a textile or fabric material that is natural and/or synthetic, e.g., polyester, lace, silk, satin, cotton, netting, polyester blends, silk blends, cotton blends, and combinations thereof. The section may be one continuous piece of textile material, or multiple individual pieces of material that have been joined together. Preferably, each section has a generally rectangular shape, although the present invention is not limited to any particular shape. Each section has two ends and two sides, with a length L located between the two ends and a width W located between the two sides. In addition, each section has a midpoint that is centrally located, e.g., at about ½ L and ½ W. It is desirable for the length of each textile section to be greater than the width. In a preferred embodiment where multiple textile sections are used the sections are approximately equal in size, although the present invention contemplates textile sections that vary in size as well.

FIG. 2 depicts a textile section 11 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The textile section 11 is rectangular in shape with two ends 12, 13, two sides 14, 15, a length 16 extending between the two ends 12, 13, and a width 17 extending between the two sides 14, 15. A midpoint 18 is located at one-half of the length 16 and one-half of the width 17.

Although the present invention is not limited to any particular method of making the pre-assembled wedding canopy, the following paragraphs describe a preferred methodology. While the description primarily refers to a wedding canopy having two textile sections, it is understood that the preferred methodology may be used for wedding canopies having any number of textile sections. It is also understood that the present invention contemplates variations on the preferred methodology described herein.

First, the textile sections may be placed back to back or adjacent to each other such that the ends and sides of each section generally coincide with the ends and sides, respectively, of the other sections. The sections may be joined together at a point or area, preferably near their midpoints, using one or more fasteners selected from the group consisting of stitching, tying, pins, staples, heat treatment, glue, adhesive, or the like. This point or area of joining is referred to as the “fastening site” and will be attached to the central mounting point when the canopy is later secured to a ceiling or overhead structure. The fastening site may include loop to facilitate overhead mounting, e.g., a threaded loop, wire loop, or hook made from plastic or metal. The loop may be an integral part of the stitching, tying, or other fastening device that joins the textiles sections together at the fastening site. Alternatively, the loop may be a separate extension that is connected to the fastening site.

When the textile sections have been joined together, the ends of each section are individually folded or rolled in the direction of the fastening site. The rolling or folding is referred to herein as “compacting” the ends of the textile sections. The depth of each fold may range, for example, from about 2 to 8 inches, although the present invention is not limited to any particular depth. Folding may be accomplished using a folding board having a width that is approximately equal to the desired depth of fold. The folding board may be made from cardboard, plastic, wood, wood composites, or any other suitable material. The textile sections may be continuously wrapped in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction around the folding board such that the board is left inside the textile material when the folding is complete and the assembly is packaged. Alternatively, the textile sections may be folded or rolled continuously in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction without the assistance of a folding board. The textile sections may also be folded in an accordion manner with or without the assistance of the folding board.

The ends of each textile section are compacted until they reach or nearly reach the fastening site, at which point the compacted material is referred to as a “flat.” The compaction process transforms the wedding canopy into a compact unit that can be packaged inside a small container. Each flat of compacted material may be clamped, tied, or otherwise secured so that it resists unraveling or unfurling during packaging. To facilitate packaging, the flats may be placed on top of each other inside the container. In addition to the textile material, the packaging may include mounting devices (which are discussed hereinafter) and instructions for use.

FIGS. 3a-3d illustrate a method of making a wedding canopy in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3a depicts two textile sections 19, 20 being placed back to back 21. The midpoints 22, 24 of the textile sections correspond to the fastening site 26 where the sections are joined together. FIG. 3b-3d illustrate how the ends of the textile sections are compacted. For the sake of clarity, one of the textile sections 19 has been rotated 90 degrees around the fastening site 26. In FIG. 3b, the end 28 of one textile section 20 has been rolled in the direction 30 of the fastening site 26. In FIG. 3c, the end of the other textile section 19 has been rolled in the direction 34 of the fastening site 26. In FIG. 3d, all four ends of the textile sections 19, 20 have been rolled in the direction of the fastening site 26. When the ends of compacted material reach or nearly reach the fastening site 26, they are referred to as flats 36, 38, 40, 42. The flats may be clamped or otherwise secured to prevent their unwinding, then placed one on top of the other to facilitate packaging.

The packaged, pre-assembled wedding canopy represents an improvement over the prior art because it simplifies installation activities. The canopy is provided in an organized, compact unit with textile sections secured together at a single fastening site. The textile sections are provided in flats which can remain compacted during installation activities to avoid the hassle of working around unwieldy lengths of fabric.

While the present invention is not limited to any particular method of installing the pre-assembled wedding canopy, the following methodology may be employed in accordance with a preferred embodiment. Although the description primarily refers to a wedding, canopy having two textile sections, it is understood that the preferred methodology may be used for wedding canopies having any number of textile sections. It is also understood the present invention contemplates variations of the installation activities that are described herein.

First, the canopy assembly is removed from its packaging. If necessary for handling, the flats may be slightly unfolded and separated so that they are not on top of each other. While the ends of the textile sections remain compacted in the flats, the fastening site is secured to a ceiling or overhead structure at a central mounting point. This may be accomplished by attaching a mounting device such as a hook, clip, clasp, or other suitable device. The mounting device may be secured directly onto the fabric at the fastening site or onto the loop that is connected to the fastening site. The mounting device may be directly attached to a structural component of the ceiling or overhead structure such as a beam or rafter, or attached to a conventional overhead mounting device such as a ceiling hook. However, the present invention is not limited to any particular means for attaching the mounting device to the ceiling or overhead structure.

FIGS. 4a-4b depict a typical mounting device that may be used in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 4a shows the mounting device in a closed position, and FIG. 4b shows the mounting device in an open position. The mounting device transitions from closed to open when the sides 50, 52 are depressed inward 54. The clip ends 56, 58 of the mounting device may be secured to the fastening site while the top loop 60 may be secured to an overhead ceiling hook.

Once the textile material is secured to the central mounting point, each flat is partially unfolded or unfurled to create an arm or swag of the wedding canopy. The arm is secured at a radial mounting point located on the overhead structure using a mounting device as described hereinabove. The radial mounting point extends some distance from the central mounting point. If the distance is less than the length of fabric unfurled to create the arm the fabric may be positioned to sag between the central mounting point and the radial mounting point. The remaining fabric that has not been unfurled remains compacted in the flat. For example, a flat may be unfolded to reveal a span of fabric measuring approximately 5 feet. The 5 foot mark on the fabric may be secured at a radial mounting point that is located 4 feet from the central mounting point, leaving a swag of fabric located in between.

Each flat of compacted textile is partially unfurled to create an arm that is secured to an additional radial mounting point using the same procedure. This creates multiple arms or swags for the wedding canopy. Each subsequent radial mounting point will extend a certain distance from the central mounting point and a certain angle from the previous radial mounting point. For example, in a preferred embodiment that employs two textile sections, the radial mounting points extend a constant distance from the central mounting point and each subsequent radial mounting point is placed at a 90 degree angle from the previous radial mounting point. However, the present invention is not limited to any particular distance or angle for setting the location of the radial mounting points, and the distance and angle for each radial mounting point may vary.

When the radial mounting points have been installed, the remainder of the compacted textile may be unfurled. This will result in a generally vertical member that drapes downward from each radial mounting point and possibly touches the floor depending on the length of the textile section employed. If the textile section is long enough, it may pool at the floor or it may be used to enhance the sag of the swag of each arm located between the central mounting point and each radial mounting point. Alternatively, the extra material may be used to create a larger canopy by increasing the distance between the central mounting point and each radial mounting point.

In a preferred embodiment, two textile sections having a generally rectangular shape are used to make a wedding canopy. The length of each textile section may range from about 22 to 44 feet, with a preferred length of about 36 feet. The width of each textile section may range from about 1 to 6 feet, with a preferred width of about 2½ feet. When the length is 36 feet and the width is 2½ feet, the fastening site on each textile section is located at a length of approximately 18 feet and a width of approximately 1¼ feet. In this preferred embodiment, the radial mounting points may be placed at a distance of 4 feet from the central mounting point and at 90 degree angles from each other. The resulting canopy will include tour arms or swags extending from the central mounting point to the radial mounting points, and four generally vertical members of fabric that drape downward from the radial mounting points, as shown in FIGS. 1a-1c. Each am of the wedding canopy will extend across 4 feet of ceiling or overhead space, and include about 5 feet of fabric. The wedding canopy is packaged along with five mounting devices, one for the central mounting point and four for the radial mounting points. The present invention, however, is not limited to any particular length or width for the textile sections.

Whereas particular embodiments of this invention have been described above for purposes of illustration, it will be evident to those skilled in the art that numerous variations of the details of the present invention may be made without departing from the invention as defined in the appended claims.