I love the natural and whimsical look of tree branches. I think there is something so romantic about woodsy decor in a wedding. For my wedding, I wanted to incorporate a bit of the woodsy feel to compliment the light and delicate flowers we chose. After sharing some ideas with my mom, she went to work. One way she was able to incorporate the woodsy feel was by creating an arch out of manzanita branches. The manzanita branch is a beautiful rich, red color. Their shape is wild yet conformed. Perfect for an arch. And even better, they’re free if you can find a tree (and legally cut the branches off. Otherwise, you can always purchase them online). Here’s how to make the arch:
1. To begin, locate local manzanita trees and make sure you are legally allowed to cut branches off of them. If you are able to locate a manzanita tree and can cut branches off, the bottom branches are the best to cut off because these branches are the branches that bend into an arch shape in search of water. If you cannot locate a tree or cut off the branches legally, a simple google search will show multiple wholesale retailers for manzanita branches.
2. If you cut the branches from a tree, remove the leaves from the branches and hang the branches in a shady area to dry out. You want to keep the branches out of the sun otherwise the sun will bleach out their beautiful color. You also want the branches to be dried out completely, otherwise the wood will crack when you set it in the plaster.
3. Once dry, get a metal coffee can and plaster of paris. In the coffee can, position the branches into the shape you want.
4. Once positioned, pour the plaster into the can and hold the branches still until the plaster dries enough to hold the branches up (about 10 to 15 minutes). Let the branches go and let the plaster continue to dry overnight.
5. Once dry, decorate your arch. To cover the coffee cans, we used tall, square shaped planters. We first spray painted the planters in a cream color. Then, on top of the cream, we placed a piece of lace and spray painted white over the lace to give the planters a whimsical and textured look. Once completely dry, we added some ribbon along the top edge, below the ribbon we added three pearls that look like little tuxedo buttons, and below the buttons we added ribbon and a letter magnet, one with A and one with J for my and my husband’s names. Here’s a close up of the planter once completed:
6. Once the planter was completed, we placed the coffee cans inside the planters and added coffee beans on top to cover the can and plaster. We also added a few sprigs with pearls attached to the ends to give the arch a more whimiscal feel. And lastly, to give the arch height, we place the planters on top of pillars covered with lace and silk. Here is a picture to give you an idea of the height and drama the arch brings:
So simple yet stunning. All the pictures we have from our sand ceremony and vow exchange are dramatized by the height and whimsy of this arch. I hope you have fun making your arch! Let me know how it turns out!