To Arch or Not to Arch: Do You Really NEED One? (Complete Guide with Alternatives!)

To arch or not to arch, that is the question! Can you get by with no wedding arch? Read on to find out, plus check our favorite alternatives!

So, it’s getting closer to the big day and you suddenly realize you have no wedding arch plans in place. Is this absolutely necessary? If not, what are the alternatives? If you’re unsure, left it a bit late, or don’t know how you feel about arches, stick around! We’ll go over some alternatives and other things to consider in the great “to arch or not to arch” debate!

To Arch or Not to Arch: Do You Really NEED One?

Let’s get the main question out of the way first, shall we? Despite what Pinterest and Instagram would have you believe, no, you do not NEED a wedding arch to get married. Heck, you don’t even need a wedding! Literally the only things you need are a willing partner (this isn’t the stone ages, after all), a license, an officiant, and maybe a couple of witnesses (some areas don’t require witnesses).

So, if you want to go the “no wedding arch” route, don’t let anyone make you feel like your big day is incomplete. Need proof? Let’s talk scenarios and check out some amazing photos of brides and grooms who went without one!

[embedpost postid=”10861″]

Beach wedding

Arches- especially the ethereal portable arches with flowing fabric- are super popular for beach weddings. I must admit, they frame the ocean beautifully and just sort of pull the whole wedding look together, as you can see above.

However, they’re not essential by a long shot. If you want a free alternative, try drawing a heart in the sand! You can also use candles or seashells to create one.

heart drawn in the sand, a good no wedding arch alternative

Outdoor wedding

Like beaches, arches create a beautiful focal point for an outdoor wedding. However, there are SO many other alternatives! I love the example above, how they used the colorful flowers to create a a border. Just look around your venue (or your garden or yard) and I bet you’ll find something perfect. The best part? It’s totally free!

Indoor wedding

Whether you’re hosting your ceremony at a church or in a ballroom, when it comes to indoor weddings you can absolutely get away with no arch. In fact, most of these places either provide one for you or have a built-in “focal point” ready and waiting.

Destination wedding

If there’s one situation where I’d say definitely skip the arch, it’s destination weddings. Why go through the extra hassle of finding an arch for rent, along with someone to set it up? Instead, just use your destination itself as your backdrop. An amazing building, a gorgeous bridge, a natural arch- anything goes. If you’re planning to wed in Rome, for example, the Coliseum makes an extraordinary “frame” for your ceremony!

Okay, we’ve seen that it’s totally possible to get by with no wedding arch by using what’s already around you- whether it’s nature, a super gorgeous building, or a venue that includes an arch. What if those aren’t options, though? Maybe you’re tying the knot in your “not exactly Instagram-worthy” backyard? Hey, mine doesn’t scream “wedding venue,” so I know your struggle. If that’s the case, read on for some other alternatives that you can buy.

Full disclosure: We do use affiliate links in this article, so we earn a small commission when you buy something using one of our links. This comes at no extra cost to you.

Alternatives to the “traditional” wedding arch

Let’s be honest, arches can be pretty darn pricey. In fact, one Redditor felt that they’re so “stupid expensive, he made one himself! While that’s definitely a viable option- which we’ll discuss later on below- it’s far from the only route when it comes to arch alternatives.

The Wedding Wire forum featured one bride who was searching for either an inexpensive arch or a cheap alternative, which would look just as good. She said,

So, I’ve been scouring Pinterest for a simple, inexpensive DIY wedding arch or backdrop to be married in front of and none are really catching my eye. Did anyone forgo (or planning to forgo) an arch of any sort?

Here are some of our favorite recommendations, along with examples and shopping links!


1. A Photo Backdrop

photo backdrop no wedding arch alternative

One user suggested that a photo backdrop and some ribbon was the perfect option for her – and worked just as well.  Nowadays, everyone with a good camera phone fancies themselves a “professional” photographer, and retailers are catering to them big time. Where you’d once have to go to a specialty photography store to get backdrops, now you can just pop on Amazon and pick up a dozen for a bargain.

If you want a cheap backdrop, this rustic style one would look great at a forest or vintage style wedding. This is a great option, especially if you’re leaning towards not having an arch at all. If that’s not your thing, though, you can find countless options on both Amazon and Etsy.

Funnytree 7x5FT Rustic Glitter Wood Photography Backdrop for Wedding Party Banner Birthday Bridal Shower I Do BBQ Baby Shower Background Photo Booth
  • 【Size&Color】: 7x5ft/(82in x 60in), High-resolution digital print with eye-catching details and lifelike colors.No reflective or faded.
  • 【Material】: Econ Vinyl Backdrop-Durable, Tearproof, Seamless,Easy-carrying, Light weight, Collapsible, Not waterproof.
  • 【Features】: ☆Custom Service: Contact us before payment. Send the custom information by Amazon Message (Size, Words, Color or any parts to change).
  • 【Warm tips】: 1.Not waterproof. Don't touch it with water. 2.Only Backdrop included,no stand; Item will be sent by folded. 3.Use Clamp,Nails or Tape on the wall. 4.Here are ways to reduce wrinkles: If necessary, please iron the back side (not the image side) with low temperature to easily reduce the wrinkle. To avoid possible steam damage, place a layer of dry cloth between the backdrop and the iron.
  • 【Wide Application】: This rustic glitter wood photography background can be used as Party supplies(baby shower, bridal shower, wedding, birthday, holiday, baptism, graduation, retirement, etc). Other usage(wallpaper, curtain, tapestry, tablecloth, home decor, etc). Professional photography(recommend to buy econ polyester or pro polyester material).

2. Floral arches

Another option is to have a floral arch or floral posts – these are breathtaking and differ slightly to your traditional arch. You can order these from your local florist.

Or, save money and make it yourself! I highly recommend checking out Etsy. They have extraordinary DIY kits loaded with gorgeous real blooms.

3. Surfboard arch

If there’s a certain aesthetic/theme to your wedding which you think would look great, go for that. How great do these surfboards look in place of an arch? They’re a lot more personal and unique – we love these.

4. Fabric arch

fabric arch

While we usually thing about fabric as something that goes on the arch, you can also just use it to mimic an arch itself on its own! You’ll need something to secure it to, obviously. If you’re outdoors, try using tree branches as supports.

Ling's moment Artificial Wedding Arch Flowers Kit(Pack of 3) - 2pcs Burgundy & Dusty Rose Arbor Floral Arrangement with 1pc Semi-Sheer Swag for Ceremony and Reception Backdrop Decoration
  • Dimensions: the corner swag: 50*70cm/ 20*27in;Tieback flower: 50cm/20in long, Semi-sheer drape: 600*75cm/21*2.5ft (the wood stand on photo: 140*200cm/4.5*6.5ft), best for small wedding ceremony arch decor
  • Package including: Set of 3 , including 1*Large corner piece + 1* tie back + 1* fabric drape + 5* zip ties (not include wood stand)
  • Ready to use straight out the box and easy to assemble.Comes with easy cable ties included for simple attachment anywhere.
  • Budget-friendly substitute for real flowers. Great way of saving money compared to real flowers. The artificial flowers are durable yet remain gorgeous.
  • Multipurpose for use in different environments anywhere during your big day. The frame has a flexible base which can allow for extra versatility and placement anywhere in the room.

5. DIY wedding arch

Obviously, there is the option of making a wedding arch yourself. This is a great alternative – it’s easier to personalize and ends up tons cheaper. For instance, take a look at this arch made from sticks and other natural pieces found. This would look incredible at an outdoor wedding, and costs virtually nothing to create.

If you want flower arrangements like this, you can find them on Etsy – faux/paper flowers are the best as they are easier to work with, and do not die/fall apart. This means you can have your wedding arch ready sometime before the big day – important, especially in such uncertain times.

We love these faux flowers, as they would look absolutely amazing next to rustic wood/sticks, like in the picture above.

DerBlue 60pcs Artificial Roses Flowers Real Looking Fake Roses Artificial Foam Roses Decoration DIY for Wedding ,Arrangements Party Home Decorations
  • 1. This artificial Roses flower is made of high quality soft latex foam.Eco-friendly PE material,realistic fake flowers looks like fresh rose.
  • 2. SIZE: total height 23cm/9inch,Each rose head diameter 8cm/3.1inch. Stem height 18cm/7.1inch,It's proper artificial flowers for DIY decoration.
  • 3. The stem is thin wire stem,It’s easily bent or cut down as you need. They are perfect for making bouquets,centerpieces,kissing balls,boutonnieres,cake flowers or any other flower decorations/arrangements that you want at your wedding, party, baby shower or home.
  • 4. The artificial flower is perfect for wedding, party,home decoration,office decor,cafe decoration,etc.You can also use these artificial flowers to make bridal bouquets,boutonnieres,wedding centerpieces and more.
  • 5. Packing:Pack of 60pcs individual artificial flowers bulk (Not a bunch of artificial flower).

To arch or not to arch, that is the question! Can you get by with no wedding arch? Read on to find out, plus check our favorite alternatives!

Remember, it’s your wedding, so anything goes as long as it makes you happy! Whether that’s no wedding arch at all, an arch alternative, or just standing naked together in a field, if it fits your dream, go for it! Um, for that last example, you’ll definitely want to check local laws! No one wants to get arrested for “indecent exposure” on their big day. :D

What was your favorite idea? Would you opt for no wedding arch, or do you feel like it’s a necessity? Share below!




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