LLD wedding DIY: driftwood arch {pretty huge task, but doable!}

{image from my iPhone, shared via instagram}

Remember C+C’s wedding that I was prepping for in May? I’m pretty sure I mentioned the driftwood arch but had never really gone in to the details of how we built it. Cary had mentioned that she envisioned a beachy, driftwood arch and of course I said “no problem!” I had never built an arch before but that wasn’t going to stop me from trying. After searching the flower mart and asking my SF florist friends where I could get one, I was not able to find one.. anywhere. So the next logical thing that came to mind was to make it (ha!).

The funniest thing, besides building this contraption in my backyard with my trainer, Jonny, who I roped in to help me volunteered to help, was when Cary decided to provide all the driftwood by scouring local beaches. Wait, that’s not the funny part. My personal favorite (and I wish I got a picture) was when Cary showed up to my apartment one Saturday morning and texted me saying “I have the driftwood!” Guys - she has a mini cooper convertible. You should have seen all these HUGE (like 6′ tall) pieces of driftwood lodged in that tiny car. It was priceless! And we had our first material all set :)

Here’s how we did it…

- (2) 5 gallon industrial buckets from the local hardware store
- (1) 60 lb bag of quick set concrete
- (1) 4′ metal pipe used to stir the concrete (just buy the mini concrete mixer next time, trust me)
- driftwood pieces - we used 5-6 pieces in total
- twine
- drill & wood screws
- burlap or some kind of fabric to match your decor
- misc florals for detailing


1. Lay out your driftwood pieces to form the shape of the arch you would like to create. This helps you determine how much wood you will need, and mark where pieces will be tied with twine, etc. You might have to bust out the drill at this point, if you have to bolt a few pieces together to make even sides.

2. Ask dog to move out of the way for 400th time. Then forgive him because he’s so freaking cute.

3. Split your cement bag in to both buckets. Add water (as instructed on bag - less is more) and stir quickly to mix thoroughly. Once mixed, insert end of base arch to each bucket. Tie to tree or secure so it won’t blow over. Yes, we’re arch professionals here - we tied to a nearby tree and prayed for no wind :)

{oh hey Jonny!}

4. Once the cement has set and your arch bases are secure, you can do a test run with the top section, securing the top piece with twine/floral wire. Depending on the shape, you might have to drill a few more pieces to the top to make everything stay secure. Don’t drill the top of the arch to the bases, though, because remember - you still have to transport this little beauty to the wedding!

5. On wedding day, once the arch legs are in place, take your pieces of fabric and place under each bucket, folding up and over in to the top. This seemed to be the cleanest way to cover the buckets.  Then, re-attach the top piece as you practiced in step 4.

6. Once the arch is fully assembled, you can add your decor. I chose lots of coral charm peonies, pampas grass, hydrangeas for the base and large beach shells and eucalyptus to accent the arch. I didn’t want to add too much, though, because we really wanted to keep it simple and natural looking. Use floral wire/twine/wreath velcro to attach the florals to the arch (I’ve used this method with chuppahs, too) and it will stay secure throughout the day.

{image by Volatile Photography}

If you try this out, please please let me know! I’d love to see it :)

Stay tuned for more pics from C+C’s wedding, being published soon on one of my favorite wedding blogs!

  • chandra ~ Oh Lovely Day says on July 19, 2012 Reply

    that turned out so pretty! great job Jacin!

  • aleah and nick says on July 19, 2012 Reply

    Loving this! We wish it was as easy to find driftwood in SoCal as it is back home - we’d recreate for our back yard!

  • Christina says on July 19, 2012 Reply

    it looks so good! i was so impressed when you posted those pics on instagram, you can do it all! lol cant wait to see the rest of the wedding!

  • bethany says on July 20, 2012 Reply

    You are so hardcore! I loved seeing the Instagrams while this was being built. It came out beautiful. Not that I expected anything else. :)

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