Buntings, Banners, Pennants and Garlands – What’s the difference?

Miss Party firmly believes we should all strive to learn something new every day, even when you’re as old as dirt…but REALLY, you would have thought someone might have straightened her out before now! Miss Party has been prancing around in the dark incorrectly referring to BUNTINGS as GARLANDS for years! Well, she is misinformed no more!

It occurred to her there might be a hostess or two that might also need some illumination on the difference between garlands, pennants, buntings and banners. (Miss Party thought only of those lovely half-moon’s of patriotic fabric as buntings, but apparently that is but one type of bunting.) She has corrected her previous posts, so if you go looking for fabric or paper garlands, you’ll come up empty. Instead, look for fabric or paper BUNTING.

Here is the skinny on the difference between buntings, banners, pennants and garland…

Refers to a wreath or string of flowers or any other materials, worn for ornament as an honor or draped and hung as a decoration. The items used on a garland are usually identical or all of the same type (even if the size of the item varies); are of a pleasing color combination or a pattern has been thought out, or the items themselves have been strung in an intentionally repetitious pattern. Materials that can be used are limited only by creativity.

DIY ‘Polka Dottie’ Garland
DIY Rose Petal Garland
DIY Cupcake Liner Garland
DIY Candy Garland

A bunting is a collection of flags considered as a group. Flags are usually made of cotton or woolen cloth, but can also be made of paper or plastic. Usually used for festive decorations. Letters can be printed on each flag to spell out a name or phrase.

DIY Fabric Bunting
DIY Paper Bunting

The word ‘pennant’ is used interchangeably with ‘flag’, except to say that most definitions describe it as a singular, commemorative flag with a narrowing point. In sports, it would typically be felt and display the colors, mascot symbol and name of the team or team’s school. In the past, ships would fly a pennant from the main mast when at sea.

A banner is, essentially, an attractive sign which usually has a special message and may be embellished. They can be quite intricate or extremely simple and are usually made of fabric, paper or plastic. There are Heraldic Banners which display a Coat of Arms. There are, of course, all manner of advertising banners as well, which we won’t go into here.

Hopefully, you’ve learned something new today, too!





  1. Thank you so much are clearing that up!!

  2. Thank you! I’ve been using them incorrectly!

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