There are tons of details that go into your wedding reception, but there wouldn’t be a reception without a ceremony.  With all the priceless Kodak moments that go into your ceremony, the decorations need to reflect you and your unique relationship! Your wedding altar area is your chance to make a statement about the rest of the event to come. As one of the most photographed moments of your day, will you say your vows in front of a modern metallic frame, romantic flower wreath, or something new and unexpected for your ceremony arch?

Photo: Photo By Chana, Location: Mt. Woodson Castle.

Ceremony Arches really are as timeless as they can be trendy, and there’s one for every wedding need and every wedding style. To help narrow your search for the perfect fit, we’ve gathered our experts for their advice and experience! Typically a florist or floral designer would know their way around a botanical arch. Still, our team of experts recommends connecting with your wedding planner or event designer to figure out the logistics of your dream arch. DIY arches are great, but just if they can help, be sure to share any of the photos that inspired you! In all their experience, they’ve probably seen an arch or two and know which direction to lead you.

Although most of the examples we’ll list below fall under the general wedding arch category, there are loads of religious and culturally traditional arches to consider for your nuptials as well. Chuppahs, Mandaps, and other cultural arch-alternatives feature four grounding points instead of two seen on typical arches and would offer a different look to keep in mind.

Photo: Always Flawless Productions, Location: BRICK Liberty Station

General Guidelines

Let Inspiration Drive You

There’s no rule book on arch design. We’re constantly surprised by what our clients cook up. Your ceremony area is yours to define! From the standard, inverted U shapes to entire floral backdrops.

Versatility Is Key

Save money in the long run by repurposing your ceremony decor! No need to buy six separate arrangements solely for the ceremony. If you can incorporate those florals into the head or sweetheart table design, it’s a double win. This especially goes for the ceremony arch. After putting so much thought and importance into a fairly large part of your event, it only makes sense to use it as often as possible! Bring your ceremony arch into your reception as a photo booth backdrop, something to add to a lounge area, or a frame for your cake table.

Seasonal Considerations

Another economical tip from our experts: shop in season. (aka: Don’t expect to find gardenias in the middle of December without stressing out your florist and your wallet.) When choosing flowers that will keep looking beautiful throughout your entire event, check out ones that naturally flourish during the time of year and the location of your big day. Azaleas in August would droop, but daisies would be dandy. Bloom size should also be factored into your decisions. Roses, hydrangeas, carnations, snapdragons, and mums are all fairly large. Daintier blooms such as sweet peas, lavender, or cosmos would only be able to cover the same amount of space in an arrangement if you’re willing to break the bank.

Lasting is Lovely

The structure of your ceremony arch needs to be unquestionably sturdy. Nobody wants the symbol of their future relationship to crumble during the vows literally. This idea also applies if you plan on moving the arch to another location to decorate the reception. With all the time and money invested, it’d be a shame if it broke in transit.

Read The Room

Our experts highly recommend working with the natural environment to provide something that fits your surroundings. A ceremony arch made of Beachwood and shells in the middle of a forest will always seem out of place, no matter how beautiful. More often than not, a venue is selected because the couple feels it fits their personalities best. Use your venue’s natural beauty to your advantage when inspiring your structure’s design.

Shapes and Materials


Photo: Sierra Solis Photography, Location: Mt. Woodson Castle.

Neutral color pallets, minimalist decor, and clean lines. If these sound good to you, you might be having a modern wedding. Set the tone at your ceremony with a modern arch! Sharp angles, simple yet defined, this square frame is the perfect example of a modern/romantic arch.

Wood Arches and Wedding Arbors

Kelly + Aaron | True Photography

Arbors are one of the most popular designs used for ceremony arches. Their simple frame can be jazzed up or dressed down depending on the couple’s needs. Plus, in general, wood is both durable and versatile, making it a great material for a long day around a party.


Melissa + Jeffery | Morgan McCanne Photography

For couples whose wedding theme leans more boho or eclectic, a metal arch is a great addition to your wedding altar and overall event design. If you’re worried a simple metal frame will get lost visually, consider adding tulle draping or even macrame accents to make the ceremony arch pop.


Location: The Old Rancho

Lately, many couples have been straying from the typical curved frame for their arches and going for those sharp geometric lines. The triangle symbolizes an arrow and stands for a forward-moving direction into the future, and it’s also a pretty easy DIY project!


Katy + Stephen | Jessica DiBella Photography

Most wedding arch ideas are floral in nature, and it’s easy to see why. These incredible arrangements are romantic and dreamy, making them perfect for your dream day! Remember to check in with your florist for recommendations on the type of flowers that will last out of the water and cover enough space to complete your look.


Rex + Randy | True Photography

This is a new form of an arch that has our experts pretty excited! Much like how a restaurant advertises a deconstructed dish, these “arches” are similar to the original designs through their extra space. These structures are characterized by a broken or open-top. Reading between the lines, the eye naturally connects each side, through the open top, via similar florals or other materials on either side. This arch is perfect for couples looking for something more out-of-the-box. It’s also a great idea at outdoor weddings so that the guests’ view of the landscape is unobstructed. Depending on the ceremony backdrop, such as in a forest or against a natural botanical wall, this open-top design could even be a continuation of what is above the altar as well.


Rosemary + Brett | Half Full Photography

On the opposite end of the spectrum from deconstructed arches are full-circle arches with no beginning or end. Ring symbols in weddings are pretty prevalent in traditional ceremonies, and this is a fantastic method to incorporate a time-tested concept into your decor.

Customized Wedding Backdrops

Mary + Troy | Kristyn Taulane Photography

Other couples opt out of the arch party and go straight for a ceremony backdrop piece. This idea can range from whole mobile walls to a gorgeous frame like this geometric crystal-inspired design. If an idea like this speaks to you, we say go for it! There’s no better opportunity to go all out.

Looking For More Ceremony Arch Inspiration?

Check out our Instagram or Pinterest!

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