Wedding gates. Moon gates. Infinity arches. Circular wedding wreaths. Circular wedding arches.
Whatever you call them, large circular floral arrangements are topping the wedding charts this year.
Which three ways can circular wedding arches be displayed? Where can you find or how do you make the forms (one possibility: hula hoops!)? Which mechanics and techniques work best? How can you repurpose them? And what is the "overarching" challenge with these round arrangements?
No need to run around in circles trying to figure all this out. Mandy Majerik AIFD, PFCI, of HotHouse Design Studio
in Birmingham, Alabama, shares with us her insights on how she and her staff construct and display these oversized circles of love along with photos of some of her gorgeous circular wedding arch designs.
Flexibility all around
First, what do Mandy and her staff call them? “We tend to say moon gate arch for the ones that are flat on the bottom and circular wedding wreath for the ones that look more like a hanging wreath,” she explains.
We’re going with circular wedding arches for the category. Their flexibility is a big selling point.
They can be freestanding, suspended or mounted on a wall or pillar. They can be adapted to any style of décor or color harmony. And they can accommodate a range of budgets: add more flowers for an upscale budget and fewer flowers and more foliage when working with a lesser budget. You can even let some of the wire form show to accommodate a tight budget.
Start with a foundation form
Circular wedding arches begin with a circular form, which can be created from many different materials.
“As a designer, I always look at arches, orbs, rings, etc., as a foundation,” Mandy says. "Sometimes the simplest of things can be the most inspiring. Be sure that the structure is strong enough to hold different weights of product, especially when you add wet foam."
“We typically use different custom metal bases of rings or poles to begin the process of the design. We purchased the moon gate arch but all of our other forms we have custom made.”
She suggests searching landscape and garden design companies for the unique structures.
“We can sometimes suspend our designs from a ceiling structure depending on the weight. We also have a frame that will allow an arch to stand on the floor.”
What are Mandy’s favorite design mechanics for incorporating flowers into these designs?
Mandy starts with a firm structure, adding a layer of florist netting
(chicken wire) if a tighter weave is needed.
To construct the free-standing forms, “we typically cover the foundation frame with greenery and then attach IGLU
s, floral cages
or Sealed Brick Garland
, depending on the volume of flowers desired.”
“I love an IGLU! I would use them for everything if I could!” she says. “During installations, we also use a lot of floral adhesive
“We can also use water tubes
as a water source when there is a minimal insertion of flowers.”
Consider suspending circular arches
In some venues, a suspended circular form like this asymmetrical hanging arch is the perfect solution.
“We also use wire orbs that split in half to use for different frame options as well,” shares Mandy. “The asymmetrical hanging arch with the chandelier is a quarter of an 8-foot metal orb. We covered it with greenery and added floral accents with crystal garlands. We loved how this one turned out and it has definitely received lots of love on social media!”
If you aren't exactly sure of how to hang your structure, seek advice from your fellow lighting or draping vendors. They are trained in how to properly support installations, especially when hanging or rigging items over people's heads in public spaces.
Using permanents in suspended installations can help lessen the weight of a design and max tight installation times.
Be sure you have proper business license and insurance requirements to do larger installations. You want to protect both yourself and your business!
Attach designs to a wall
If a free-standing or suspended circular arch is too expensive, a series of hanging circles can form a backdrop of wall decor. Hula hoops make a great base for this look.
along the plastic circles to help hold materials in place. Depending on your theme, wind fishing cord, metallic wire
or bind wire
around the circles to hold foliage and flowers in place.
“For minimal designs, we can sometimes use strong 3M hooks to hold them in place depending on the wall surface,” Mandy says.
Mandy’s suggested arch flowers
Greenery such as southern smilax, elaeagnus or plumosa is added first, followed by floral materials placed on top.
When it comes to flower choice, “I enjoy using hydrangea as a base,” says Mandy, “but I love to use tulips or callas for visual movement. I think that movement is so important in installations like this.”
In some large installations, Mandy and her staff also incorporate realistic permanent botanicals to help fill the foundation.
Repurpose an arch to help stretch the budget
Mandy loves offering budget-stretching suggestions to her brides and they love it too!
“Once the bride invests in the wow factor of a circular arch, we suggest they repurpose the design,” says Mandy.
Suggestions can include encircling the wedding cake with the arch or positioning the arch behind the sweetheart table for a backdrop. Brides also often use them use them as a photo backdrop for the wedding party or a photo-booth for guests.
You'll recognize the arch behind the cake in the photo below.
The biggest challenge?
What might be that overarching challenge of working with these large circular structures? Transportation.
“We typically accomplish as much of the design as possible ahead of time and then use a box truck to transport it,” explains Mandy.
To see more of Mandy’s amazing arches and elegant wedding work, visit her Instagram page instagram.com/hothousedesignstudio.
Designs for this season’s most fashionable wedding arch are as diverse as the brides now requesting them. Your bride’s personal preference, budget and the layout of her wedding site can be your guide in creating the designs.
Are you offering circular wedding arches to your brides this season?