Creating a beautiful wedding arch, simply and cheaply, is not as hard as you may think. Weddings can be expensive, but you can save money by decorating the arch yourself and it's a lovely way for the bride or groom to express their artistic side. If a guest has a flair for the creative, she can offer to make the arch as her wedding gift. Either way, the arch can be a beautiful centrepiece for your wedding that will give a lasting impression and fond memories for years to come.
Buy or rent a wedding arch. Wood is elegant, especially if it's kept in its natural state. White metal can also be tasteful. A wedding arch with carved wood or curled metal works well for this project, as it will have more crevices to weave your fabric and flowers through.
Choose a neutral colour like white or cream for your main fabric, then one or two complementary colours to go with it. The same applies to flowers and ribbons. Keep it simple and tasteful; don't get colours that obviously clash or distract from the overall colour scheme of the wedding. However, if you have a dominant colour scheme like blues, white and greens, it is OK to introduce one contrast colour. Bear in mind fabric type. Silks and satins always look good, but it's nice to have some texture like lace or tulle, although both of these are generally more expensive than plain fabrics.
Purchase material, flowers and ribbon. Have the material cut into 8- and 4-foot lengths for you at the store. The swathes of fabric you are left with should be about 2 feet in diameter. Depending on the size of your arch you should have at enough material to wrap around the entire arch from the left side over the top and down the right. While you won't be covering every part of the arch, it's better to have more than enough fabric to complete the job.
Lay out all your materials on a clean surface in front of your wedding arch, then determine how you want to arrange the fabric. Starting at the left, wind the material through the arch, leaving enough space for a complementary fabric (about 3 inches) to show through and for some of the arch to show through. Weave the material around each post of the arch, zigzagging across each leg of the frame if it's a double arch. Always remembering to keep the fabric either smooth and even or intentionally draped. Follow the same pattern over the top of the arch and down to the right-hand side. Because nothing is glued or fixed, you can rewrap if you're unhappy with the first attempt.
Once the material is arranged to your liking, weave in the flowers or other ornaments you have. Try starfish if it's a beach wedding or pine cones if it's a fall wedding. When placing flowers in the arch, keep the arrangement symmetrical on both sides with the heaviest and most elaborate arrangement at the apex of the arch above where the bride and groom will stand.
The fabric can easily be tied off at the end and hidden behind flowers, but if you're having a hard time with that, use a very thin wire to secure the fabric to the arch. The same goes for flowers and ornaments--they should be able to support themselves in the structure of the arch, but a little wire will help and be very inconspicuous.
Don't wrap the arch completely in fabric so you can no longer see it's natural shape and colour. Allow the arch to do some of the work for you, buy renting or purchasing a tasteful arch to begin with. Don't overdecorate an arch with flowers or ornaments.