Decorating gazebos and arches for a wedding

Ah, summer. This is the time for outdoor weddings. In my experience, most people want to have the wedding ceremony outdoors but the reception indoors. If you think about it, the ceremony is the most important part of the wedding, but most of the planning goes into the reception. Let’s change that!

Here, my girlfriend Sam and her husband Jason married on the beach under a wooden arch decorated with bright yellow flowers. An arch is really the easiest thing outdoors — they’re portable (but can get heavy) and easy to decorate. Decorating them is as easy putting English netting or a brightly colored material on them — you don’t even have to tape or wire it, you can just weave or twine it in. In this case, Sam’s florist attached a big arrangement of yellow gerber daisies to the top, on top of tulle that went along the sides of the arch. Easy as pie. Oh, and don’t forget those yellow lilies halfway down!

Photo by Flickr’s ronsho

Another easy option outdoors is a canopy. I found this lovely example on Flickr. This canopy could have been built from scratch and decorated on the spot. I don’t think it would have been hard. It appears the top of the canopy has a white material — possibly English netting or tulle (which is a little harder than English netting) stretched across the top and wrapped along each of the poles holding the canopy together. Along each of the legs are billowing lengths of English netting. In this case, I’m sure its English netting because of how its flowing. Anyway, the legs also seem to be paired with spotlights, for that awesome, uplit effect. There also appears to be green Christmas ornaments hung on the canopy, giving the corners a tinge of green light. Very pretty.

Photo by Flickr’s drew313

Here’s another example of a canopy. I actually happened to attend this wedding too — this is my high school bud Janet, getting married in 2006, at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott. I think this canopy is a permanent structure, just because there are so many flower arrangements on it — it better be steady! Plus, it was windy that day — my husband and I were appointed to be the ones lighting the unity candle, and it would not stay lit! Anyway, Janet’s florist used big lush roses, stargazers, lilies, orchids and Casablanca lilies to great effect in the three main arrangements. Plus, there was the green garland connecting the three. Throw in a few mini arrangements in the corner, and you’ve got a gorgeous ceremony!

Ah, but then there are gazebos. Gazebos are permanent structures, generally built in place and you can’t move them. Unlike arches and canopies, they have walls, but I have found that the walls don’t really play too much of a part when it comes to decorations.

Photo by Flickr’s Wedding or Party Decorations

Most gazebos at wedding venues are not four-sided structures, so the decorations tend to focus on the posts holding up the roof. For example, with this white gazebo, it looks like there are eight posts, but only six are decorated — the six that will be center stage when the ceremony is happening. This went all out, using a garland of light pink, dark pink and white flowers to decorate the entire front top of the gazebo and creating six round arrangements for the six posts to be decorated. Oh, and not only that, there is the draping — English netting along the top and covering each of the posts. That’s a lot of work.

Photo by Flickr’s Vickylaflamme11

This gazebo is a little simpler. It’s draped with English netting all along the top of the front and along the front posts. However, I am a little flummoxed as to why they didn’t just paint it white. It would make it look more like a wedding venue.

12 thoughts on “Decorating gazebos and arches for a wedding

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  2. Pingback: Wedding arch styles, from simple to sensational | Wedding Decorator Blog

  3. These are beautiful examples of what can be done with overhead structures for weddings. I love the uplit posts on the outdoor canopy. These types of structures usually aren’t considered as much for evening weddings, but this shows how spectacular they can be. Thanks for some great ideas.


  5. As demonstrated in the top photo, adding light to a wedding reception is a great way to really make it POP!

    LED lights (powered by a cord or by batteries) are available in a variety of colors and sizes. At our banquet venue we use them virtually every event. They are inexpensive to rent and create the romantic mood every bride is interested in!

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