How to Make a Willow Garden Arch

Make a romantic wedding arbor that brims with flowers from the garden. With the right materials, this garden arch can be completed in a day.

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.”

Related: Take Instagram-Worthy Garden Pictures

  • Working Time 5 Hours
  • Start to Finish 6 Hours
  • Difficulty         Projects Kind of Hard
  • Involves Spray Painting

What you need

Materials

  • 7- or 8-foot metal garden arch kit
  • Gold and brown spray paint
  • Metal fence posts
  • Floral wire and tape
  • Stems each curly willow and Italian ruscus (x50)
  • Stems each roses and peonies (x20)
  • Stems each stock and astilbe (x12)
  • Floral tubes for all flowers

How to do it

Step 1 Assemble and Paint Arch

Assemble garden arch according to instructions. Apply spray paint in alternating layers of brown and gold to create an irregular barklike finish. For a warmer look with a more rustlike hue, incorporate bronze spray paint instead of gold.

Get It Now: Steel Garden Arch, $40, Amazon

Step 2 Attach Arch to Posts

Sink fence posts in the ground. Then, secure the arch to the posts with floral wire. You want to make sure to create a sturdy base, so add as much wire as needed.

Step 3 Weave Willow Branches

Weave lengths of curly willow branches up one side and over the top of the arch. Continue weaving to the opposite side. “The more willow you use, the more it helps make the metal disappear,” floral educator Alicia Schwede says.

Step 4 Add Greenery

Layer Italian ruscus through the willow, weaving with an in-and-out pattern. Italian ruscus is a classic green filler to accent bouquet, centerpieces, and other floral arrangements. Weaving the green foliage through will soften the willow branches and add romantic style.

Related: Make a Greenery Garland

Step 5 Insert Flowers

Insert roses, peonies, and stock and astilbe stems into water-filled floral tubes. Weave them into the willow branches, arranging in clusters of 3–5 blooms. Secure with wire or tape if needed.

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