Easy DIY Archways for Outdoor Weddings

A bride and groom kissing under a geometric arch decorated with flowers.

Ensuring that your wedding is both visually stunning and monetarily affordable is not always an easy task. It was once thought that the only way to have a beautiful wedding was to spend a large amount of money. With the DIY trend becoming more and more popular, however, creative brides can help cut costs while adding gorgeous design and style that they themselves created and can be proud of. Elements ranging from simple wedding favors to elaborate decorations can be created using easily accessible and affordable materials.

One versatile DIY wedding piece is the archway. These handy frames can be the centerpiece for your ceremony, a lovely accent for the entrance into your reception, or even a spectacular backdrop for photos.

Choosing Your Archway Design

It’s important to choose the right materials and structural design for your particular event. Here are two simple designs worth considering when building your DIY archway:

Two Post Design
A flower-decorated arch at a tropical destination wedding.

The two post design is typically a thinner, more lightweight archway option. This is due to it only having a single post on either side holding the archway up. For this design, you’ll need to create two upside down “T” shapesthese will function as the base, or feet, of both sides of the archway. You can then add a cross beam to hold them together. Additional cross braces may be used on the bottom or top to provide some extra support. Two post style archways serve best as backdrops, unless you make them large enough for people to stand directly underneath. Remember to weight the bottom end of your “T” shapes if you’re building taller units with sand bags. You can also stake them directly into the ground if your event will be taking place outside.

Four Post Design

A four-posted arch decorated in flowers for a wedding.

The four post design is a bit sturdier and doesn’t require as much support along the bottom. It’s easiest to visualize the four post design by imagining two door frames with decorative connecting beams holding them together at the top. Four post designs are particularly fitting if you plan to incorporate elaborate decorations because they offer significantly more space to work with. Simply create your two frames at the height you prefer and then bind them together so they’re parallel. This design is much sturdier due to having additional posts for support.

Choosing Your Archway Material

After you’ve chosen your framing design, it’s time to choose a building material that will best suit your needs. DIY projects allow you to be creative with which materials you use, but some will obviously work better than others.

PVC

PVC frames are very lightweight, making them ideal if you’re going to be moving the archway frequently. While their overall look isn’t as aesthetically pleasing, they are perfect for easy decorating. They won’t withstand lots of heavy pressure, but can be constructed without the use of screws or nails. Simply dry fit the pieces together at your local hardware store to find a design that works for you.

Wood

A wood arch for a wedding ceremony decorated in flowers and pink cloth.

Wooden frames are by far the most common for DIY archway builders. If you have the proper tools, wood can be cut to fit your specifications with ease. It is advisable, however, to get wood that is thick enough to stand without bending and wide enough for screws at least 1.5 inches long. This will provide optimal support for your archway.

Metal

Metal frames aren’t as easy to create yourself, but do make lovely additions to any event. One alternative to creating your own metal archway is to upcycle a cheap metal frame. You can then paint or decorate it to suite your needs. Cheap metal frames may not be as sturdy, but heavier metal frames come at a greater cost.

Choosing Your Archway Decorations

Once you’ve built your frame, it’s time to paint it and add the decorations! Not only is this phase of the project the most fun, it’s also the part that prepares the piece for your wedding. Remember to choose appropriate paints for the material you’ve chosen and opt for outdoor options if your archway won’t always be indoors. With a wide variety of paints available, you can easily create a visually stunning accent piece to go with your wedding colors.

Going for a more traditional look? Simply drape sheer white cloth around the archway and add some flowers or greenery to achieve a natural, yet beautiful, aesthetic. While silk flowers and greenery are the cheapest solution, you can also use real flowers to decorate. White Christmas lights are also an amazing way to add some sparkle for your archway, especially if it is being used indoors or at night.

Feel free to get creative if you’ve selected a unique wedding theme. Your archway can be as exciting as you want it to be! Planning a Christmas wedding? Decorate with pine garlands, ornaments, and ribbon to create a faux-tree archway. Beach wedding? Use cotton and blue paint at the top of the archway to represent the clear sky, add some tan paint mixed with a bit of sand towards the bottom, and attach seashells and nautical treasures at the base!

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