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Six Ways to Decorate Your Wedding Arch

By Blake Kritzberg

Sometimes a wedding arch is a no-brainer way to spruce up your ceremony site. No-brainer, at least, until you actually have one in your hands and ready to decorate. Then it gets a little more complicated.

Thinking back to prom, you might recall something vaguely gauzy, but that doesn't give you much to go on when you have that bare-looking eight foot metal structure in your living room. Plus, maybe you want an arch that doesn't look like prom at all -- and personalization is what's going to make your wedding tick. Here are some ways to give that arch a touch of your wedding's unique flavor.

The Balloon Arch: Don't forget this dramatic, pearly alternative to the wood or metal arch. A determined bride (or family member) can definitely do this herself; helium isn't even required if you use PVC or can suspend microfilament from the ceiling. Just keep in mind it's best to build the arch the day of the wedding, and essential to build it within hours of the ceremony if you use helium-filled balloons.

The Classic Arch: Soften the hard bones of your arch by draping it in gauzy base material (tulle, organza) and silk garlands of ivy (or real grape vines).

Now accent with a large silk bow, a pomander ball or "kissing ball" -- which you can make yourself if you're willing to use silk roses -- or a traditional grouping of flowers at the top. Or for a little more oomph, use the rule of three: one flower arrangement for the top, and at least one at each base. DIY-ers are probably best off sticking to silk, or at least using potted flowers at the base.

The Gothic Arch: Use a simple black arch that rises to a dramatic point and leave the lines clean and unadorned -- or attach dried curly willow for a downright spooky touch. Hang an enormous floral kissing ball from the apex.

The All-Floral Arch: Dripping from top to toe in greenery and roses, the all-floral arch is the kind of formal living sculpture seen in cavernous churches. The greens and blooms in this arch seem to float on air, with the flowers appearing immensely heavy (they are) and the arch insubstantial. The all-floral arch is definitely a job for the pro -- grand and expensive.

The Woodsy Arch: Add some unexpected texture by strapping young apple or willow branches to the sides of your arch. Or instead of a fabric or ivy base, attach garlands of ferns.

The Tropical Palm Arch: Dressed entirely in palm tree fronds, the tropical arch creates a sharp, dramatic and slightly masculine silhouette. This simple but striking approach is perfect for the handy DIYer.


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