Trees are the universal symbol of eco-friendliness. They keep our air clean. They are home to many of the world’s animals. They protect our precious land, holding our soil firmly in place so that we don’t all slip into the sea. And, on top of everything else, they are uniquely beautiful. The shape of a tree mirrors the shape of neurons in the brain—a cellular structure that transcends the organism, tying together all living things. The tree’s tall branches reach upward, hopeful and graceful, symbolizing achievement, health, growth and life. Using trees and tree branches in your décor evokes all of this symbolism and, more simply, it brings the shapes and textures of nature to your celebration. Trees and branches are versatile. They work as well in rustic weddings as they do in black-tie affairs.
The Living Archway
One of the most beautiful and dramatic uses of potted trees I’ve seen is in the living archway. You can use many different types of tree to create archways, though some varieties will be easier to work with than others. While live trees are supple (read: easy to bend and manipulate) and still hold their leaves or flowers, you can also use clipped branches to create an archway. Vines may be a better bet, since they’re naturally malleable and easily wound together. If your chosen trees are too thick or brittle to bend, consider leaving the top of your archway open and allow the branches of the trees to create the suggestion of a top. Decorate your archway with recycled ribbon, paper garlands, flowers, or keep it simple and let them speak for themselves.
Branches as Wall Hangings
Putting branches on the wall creates the feeling that you’re celebrating in the treetops. Branches are great neutral objects to use as decorations. Browns and grays are neutral colors that will complement any color scheme and you can use the branches as anchors for other decorations like hanging garlands, hanging tea light lanterns, or faux birds on their perches (as pictured above.)
Collect downed branches and gather them in vases for simple, elegant centerpieces. Add some green with fern fronds, tall grasses or moss; add some color with wildflowers, berries, or baby’s breath. Use the branches to hang place cards or small favors for your guests.