Floral wedding arbors are a popular and on-trend solution for providing a focal point and background for vows and photos. They also present challenges for designers.
The challenges include how to: speed up the design process, create design sections in the shop for easy and secure attachment and removal, repurpose the arrangements and keeping flowers hydrated and fresh outdoors—just to name a few.
With arbors, the mechanics make a difference. We asked four accomplished designers: Which floral mechanics can best be used for decorating wedding arbors?
Creating a natural ‘growing there for years’ look
“The arbor look is very popular for us,” says Erik Olsson of Amaryllis Event Décor
in Northvale, New Jersey. “Especially during spring when we can use blooming branches to create a more natural design.” The Amaryllis team creates the branch grid first, then weaves the flowers into place.
“We prefer a ‘looks like it’s been growing there for years’ style rather than a cookie cutter or designed look unless that’s what the bride requests,” says Erik.
“We find that blocks of Oasis [floral foam
] taped to a board or raquettes
work best when the designs will be repurposed on a mantel or bridal table.
Speeding up the process
With a variety of techniques available for securing flowers to arbors, florists must decide which mechanic is best for speeding up the on-site decorating process. Consider the type of structure, style of design, logistics of on-site installation, removal of flowers and plans to repurpose the flowers when making your product selection.
Whichever mechanic or approach you choose or prefer, keep a variety of cable ties, OASIS™ Bind Wire
, OASIS® Waterproof Tape
or 22 gauge OASIS™ Spool Wire
handy to aid in quickly securing floral foam mechanics.
These same mechanical aids can be used to attach a branch grid or garlands of greenery securely to an arbor structure as the base of a floral design. Wire small IGLU® Holder
arrangements or hand-tied bouquets of flowers into the grid or garland with cable ties, bind wire or spool wire.
Add flowers to accent places
You can add flowers to accent areas like the tiebacks of fabric drapes, architectural detail or small corner pieces with a CORSO™ Holder
or IGLU® Grande Holders
When designing a larger corner design? Smithers-Oasis Design Director Laura Daluga
AIFD suggests using a FLORACAGE® Grande Holder
In the photo above, her design is visually anchored by a vertical arrangement designed in an OASIS Display Bucket
. A row of Medallion Lace
applied to the top edge of the bucket hides the tape grid of OASIS® Waterproof Tape
and gives the arrangement a finishing touch.
Fresher flowers in a water source
Weather is another consideration for outdoor designs, says Todd Bussey of Bussey’s Florist & Gifts
in Cedartown, Georgia. “It gets so hot in Georgia that it’s important to design flowers in a good stable water source to help keep them fresh.”
For unconventional design placements, Todd likes to tape
or cable tie mechanics in place. In the above photo, the Bussey team used FLORACAGE® Holders
to decorate the branch of a large tree and secured them with cable ties. “In this case, the bride was an environmental lawyer who wanted an organic vibe for her wedding,’ says Todd.
A huge tree had blown over in a storm several years ago creating a picturesque setting for the bride. “The property owner was very cautious, not wanting to risk any damage to his branches, so I used zip ties which leave no marks,” explains Todd. “This facilitates an easy post-event breakdown when labor costs are key. Just cut the tie to remove the arrangement.”
Easy ‘design and deliver’ mechanics
Using floral cages is a practical and easy method to create large designs in the workroom in sections and deliver them to the site for installation. The individual pieces are then linked together to form one composition.
For a continuous span of flowers across the slender structure of an arbor, Todd finds that RAQUETTES® Holders
fit snugly on narrow edges, ledges or rails.
“Raquettes offer a stable base with plenty of room for stem placement and are easy to attach securely, even on windy days,” he says.
If the structure support is wide, a row of TRIBUTE CAGE® Holders
or OASIS® Jumbo Cages
can be used to hold larger arrangements of flowers.
“Insert 12-inch wooden picks in between the cages to stabilize them and keep them from rolling,” suggests Loann Burke AIFD, AAF, PFCI, event specialist for Furst Florist
in Dayton, Ohio, and a Smithers-Oasis design director.
Adapt materials to unique spaces
OASIS® Floral Foam Tile
can be used to cover a large space, like the back wall or side panels of a structure, in flowers. The tile can be cut to fit the panels as needed.
When an unusual shape is needed to fit the structure of an arbor, OASIS® Sculpting Sheet
may work best. Before designing on the sculpting sheet, drill holes through the sheet to allow for inserting the wires or cable ties needed to attach the design.
There are as many design ideas for wedding arbor décor as there are designers. While opinions vary as to which floral mechanic works best, the key is to select the one that meets the needs of each specific event.
Which floral design mechanics do you prefer to use when decorating wedding arbors?