Couples of many customs and cultures say their vows while standing beneath a wedding arch or arbor—in the Jewish tradition, called a chuppah. To floral educator Alicia Schwede, these botanical structures often take on a personal meaning for today’s nuptials. “I like how romantic arbors look, especially when decorated with flowers,” says Schwede, who also publishes Flirty Fleurs, a floral design blog. “I try to design with flowers that bring back memories for a bride or groom, perhaps of grandmother’s garden, or of the place and time of the ceremony.”
Schwede and her husband, Chad Siedlik, teamed up to design and build garden arches and arbors suitable for attaching willow branches, vines, and flowers for her clients’ wedding ceremonies. They also researched and created traditional chuppah structures, which play an important part in many Jewish ceremonies as symbols of shelter and protection.
“A floral structure can be used to visually define the location where vows are taken, or create a lovely backdrop and frame the couple for photography,” Schwede says. “It’s important to choose a garden arbor style that reflects the space, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.”