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When you have a traditional indoor wedding, usually you don't have to concern yourself with how the bridal party will enter.  For example, if you're getting married in a church, there's almost always a nice set of doors at the beginning of the aisle in which you enter.  With an outdoor wedding there may not be an existing structure which can be used.  You want your wedding day to be memorable, right?  Then making a memorable entrance is a must. Don't panic, you can make a great looking entry way in an hour or two for less than what it would cost you to rent or buy one. This is an easy project that pretty much anyone can do.

Following is the materials we bought for the entrance we built.  Unfortunately we were strapped for time so we ended up buying the wood.  If you have the time you can likely find most of the wood needed to build this extremely cheap, or even free if you search your local classifieds.  You can modify this depending on the size of the entrance you'd like to create.  We actually ended up having to shorten the height of ours by a foot after it was all together as it looked a little too tall:

- 10 ea. 1" x 8" x 8' Standard Boards

- 11 ea. 1" x 2" x 8' Standard Boards

- 3 ea. 2" x 4" x 8' Standard Boards

- 4 ea. 8" lag screws

- A bunch of 2" wood screws

- Wood Stain or outdoor paint (optional)

- A curtain, sheet, table cloth (whatever strikes your fancy)

- A curtain rod

Tools Needed:

- Drill

- Circular Saw or Miter Saw  NOTE: You can still do this with just a hand saw but it will take a little longer.  Besides, if you plan on completing more do it yourself projects now might be the time to invest in a circular saw.

1. The first step is to lay 5 of the 1x8x8 boards on the ground directly next to one another lenth-wise, this will be the size of your doors. In my case I ended up making them a foot shorter after they were all assembled. So if you want them narrower or shorter, now is the time to make that change to save yourself additional work down the road.

2. Now that you have made any adjustments to the size, lay one of the 1x2x8's the long way on either the left or right side of the door.  If you didn't shorten the doors at all it shouldn't be necessary to make any cuts as it should nearly match the length of the board it's laying on top of.  Remember, we aren't looking for perfection here so if it's a half inch too long or a half inch too short, don't worry about it.  Make sure the outside edge of the 1x2x8 is flush with the 1x8x8.  Next, attach the 1X2X8 to the 1x8x8 boards with 5 or 6 screws down the entire length of the board.  I found it easier to put one screw at each end first to hold it in place before driving the middle screws.  Now repeat the same process on the other edge of the door.

3. We now need to cut and attach the boards running horizontally across the door. To begin, take another 1x2x8 (depending on the width of the door your making you may need two of these) and lay it horizontally at the top edge of the door.  With a pencil, mark the distance between the inside edges of the boards attached in the previous step.  This mark is where you will cut the board in order for it to fit between the boards on each end.  Once it has been cut and you've verified it will fit, set the board in place. Before driving any screws, make sure the boards running perpendicular are set tight up next to one another.  Attach your newly cut board by driving a screw through it in the middle of each place it intersects a board that runs perpendicular. If you're using the exact boards I went with, you will have driven 5 screws through it, one for each of the 5 1x8x8's.  You will repeat this process to attach two more boards, one for the middle and one for the bottom of the door.

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4. The 1x2x8 boards on the outside perimeter and in the middle serves two purposes, they hold the door together and create a border.  There, that wasn't too bad was it?  Now you'll want to flip the door over so the side in which you just attached the boards is lying face down.  Now comes the hard part (just kidding), repeat steps 2 and 3 on this side of the door.

After you have completed all of the above steps, you guessed it, go through steps 1 through 4 again to make the second door for the entry way. Depending on your tastes and what type of wood was used for the doors you may want to stain or even paint the two doors. I would imagine a barn red would look attractive.  In our case the doors looked a little plain and bard red wouldn’t match the setting so we stained them with an oak stain. If you're going for a distressed look you can beat them up with a hammer, chains, or even scuff them up with sandpaper after they are painted or stained.

How the doors will be stood up can depend on several factors such as the type of surface they will be placed on and if they’ll be in an area that has a potential for high wind.  We are located in an area that is usually windy and the area we are placing them is not completely level.  In the next paragraph I will describe how I stood them up, however you might come up with a different way that works better in your situation.

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Begin by taking both of the 2x4x8's and cut them in half. You now will have 4 boards that are each 4 feet long.  Now stand up one of your doors on its side, this step will require 2 people, if your Fiance hasn't taken part in this project yet now is the perfect time to get them to join.  With one person keeping the door up, lay one of the cut pieces on the ground perpendicular to the door.  Envision an upside down capital T, as this is what it should look like when viewing it on end.  The wide side of the 2x4 should be butted up against the bottom of the door. Drill a pilot hole for the lag screws through the 2x4 and into the base of the door.  Doing this before inserting the lag screws will prevent the wood from splitting.  Next drive your 8" lag screw through the 2x4 and up the base of the door.  You will want to do this on the bottom left and right of each door as it will serve as a base to prevent the doors from tiping over.  However just the 2X4 with the lag screw through it will not provide enough support to keep them from falling over.  To reinforce the base further, I cut 2x4's at 45 degree angles on each end and attached one of the angled ends to the base and one to the door.  I did this on both sides of each door, for a total of 8 angled 2x4 pieces.  In our case, this then provided enough support to prevent them from being tipped over.  As I said, this could be different in your circumstances.  However you decide to support them, make sure they are sturdy and not easily knocked over.  If these were to fall on someone they could cause serious injury. I would also recommend setting these up the day of the wedding, you don't want them to get damaged or blown over by a storm by leaving them setup outside for an extended period.

The last (and easiest) step is to stand the doors up and place a curtain rod between them with a draping of your choice. You now have a fantastic looking entry way for your outdoor wedding.  Once the wedding is over, you can recoup most, if not all of what you spent on the doors by listing them for sale in your local classifieds.  During the summer there is a lot of demand for outdoor wedding items, I even received requests asking if I would rent them out.

I hope you enjoy the above project if you decide to pursue it.  If I'm missing anything, or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.


 

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