Creating your Wedding Exit can be one of the most fun planning features of your day! We all know that wedding exit photos are some of our favorite photos from weddings. There is something about all the smiling faces surrounding the happy couple as they cheer them on to their new life together that give us ALL THE FEELS.

We love a good DIY and this is the perfect spot to push up your sleeves and make a statement piece for your wedding that is one of a kind. Today’s DIY comes straight from our time with the Big Fake Wedding in Knoxville last month. Bells Box had the pleasure of creating the Wedding Exit for the event and we knew that we wanted to make sure that whatever we did turned heads. The only problem? We didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg creating the moment.

Knowing that our venue had a glass entrance that would serve as both the entrance to the wedding ceremony and the grand exit in a downtown setting, we set out to create a gorgeous and budget friendly wedding arbor. Guest walking into our event would immediately feel the excitement of the day as soon as they stepped foot through the billowing curtains, as well as serve for a backdrop to some really awesome photos when our couple made their grand exit!

While we used this as a piece to frame the entrance of the wedding and for the main character in our wedding exit, this can also be used as a blueprint for an awesome backdrop for your ceremony.

Follow along below to check out how we did it!

Materials

FULL DISCLOSURE: We worked on this for 2 full days so if you are trying to budget time on this, know that you will want to start on this well before the week before your wedding!

THE MAKING OF THE ARBOR

First we picked out a tree that looked like it was tall enough and pretty symmetrical all the way up. Once we cut this down, we sectioned it off into 3 parts (one for the right side, one for the left side and one of the top.) By we, I mean my super handy & talented brother! Then we took off the small branches that were on each piece, leaving some numbs to add character and one larger one towards the top on each side to help stabilize the top section.

After the 3 pieces were cleaned up and the height that we wanted, we used a jigsaw to section out a 2.5 inch spot on the back of each post while the arbor was laying face down. Then we added corresponding spots on the front top piece for each side.

Hint: Think fitting Lincoln Logs together so that the posts interlocked with each other. 

After we fit the pieces together, holes were drilled through the back of both sides in the center of where the horizontal and the vertical posts came together. Make sure that your holes don’t come through the front, you simply want to be able to use this as an extra tool to secure the posts together. Using 5 inch bolts, we screwed those into both holes to make certain that we wouldn’t run the risk of our arbor falling down on our bride and groom! This also makes it easy to screw & unscrew, allowing you to partially dissemble the arbor to make it a bit easier for transporting to your venue and back.

At this point,  the frame work of your arbor is complete and you are ready to start mixing your concrete. We used quickcrete for ours. Mixing half the bag in each bucket (follow the instructions of what concrete you are using ) we then placed each side of the wooden portion of the arbor so that it would stand straight up in the buckets filled with wet concrete. Then you let it dry overnight!

In order for the arbor to dry standing straight up, you will need to prop it up against a deck or something that has an overhang so that your buckets can be directly under the wooden section. You do not want to have your arbor leaning backwards while it is drying or it will not be as sturdy and could fall. We ended up using our garage with the door 1/3 of the way open so that the buckets could slide under the opening a little bit and the wooden section could be propped up right. 

THE STYLING OF THE ARBOR

Next you are ready to style your arbor! Our theme for the night involved a Romantic Dessert Night so we used a cow skull that we had chalk painted white and dusted with gold spray paint as our main focal point on the top. We secured this on there secured with rope. We framed the skull with Ikea Sheer curtains that we stapled to the back of the top plank to make for a more dramatic & romantic entrance and exit.

In order to hide the tan buckets filled with concrete, we placed them both in olive baskets and styled them with burlap to help conceal. We topped these off with variations of cacti  and brown moss to bring home the desert feel. The result beautiful!!

However you decide to style your arbor to fit your day, it will be gorgeous and it will be a sweet reminder of the hard work that you put into making it so special! AND being strategic with your resources means that you can build a staple piece in your decor for under $50!

How would you style a wedding arbor to fit your dream day?