Most people give money as a wedding gift, or, if they’re feeling particularly motivated, a place setting of china or shiny new Instant Pot from the couple’s registry. When Steve and Maureen Garceau’s nephew Geoff got married last August, they made him and his bride Sarah a custom wedding arbor made from reclaimed wood — and trucked it all the way from Connecticut to the couple’s home in West Gardiner, Maine, where both the ceremony and reception took place. Now we’re talkin’!
The Garceaus own Reworx, a Watertown-based wood and metal shop and design studio where they handcraft custom furniture and all manner of accessories created from reclaimed woods and found items from the past. In the spring of 2018 they added wedding arbors crafted from reclaimed wood (and more) to their repertoire.
“Reclaimed wood tells a story,” Steve says. A story that not only adds “warmth and simple elegance” to a wedding, Maureen adds, but also “incorporates a sense of history that brings meaning to the day.”
When it comes to the arbor that will set the stage for your big day, “We can do as much or as little as you need us to do,” Steve says. Reworx had two arbors that are available to rent, as of this writing: the Scoville, a four-poster looker made from reclaimed beams from a barn in Falls Village, and the whimsical Whitney, crafted from a vintage door and two sets of arched walnut frames rescued from a 1920s home on Whitney Avenue in New Haven. But it also stocks a shop full of reclaimed wood with tales to tell to brides interested in either DIY or a Reworx custom design. Up for consideration are chestnut beams, rafters, doors and shelving from Falcon’s Flight Farm in Litchfield, eastern white pine from a South Windsor tobacco barn and maple from the former Sky Top Lanes bowling alley in Torrington just waiting to be made into something spectacular.
“We are the place for brides looking for one-of-a-kind,” Maureen says. “The projects we really like are ones in which we’re asked to incorporate materials with special meaning to the bride or groom’s family.” Wood from the family tree, so to speak. Geoff and Sarah’s stunner, for example, included beams reclaimed from Wilmington, Vermont, where the groom was born. Thinking waterfront for your wedding? “I’ve been wanting to do something with wood from a vintage boat or canoe,” Steve says. Meanwhile, steam-boiler pipes salvaged from the building in which Reworx is headquartered have already been set aside to frame a wedding Steve and Maureen will be styling for their landlord’s sister, who is planning her October 2019 nuptials at the 19th-century textile mill.
“A four-post white-birch arbor will forever be a classic,” Amy Jones of Amy Champagne Events in Westport says of trends in wedding arbors. That being said, “No one really wants what’s ‘typical’ here in Connecticut,” says Jones, who has begun to see wedding arbors (some in nontraditional shapes like octagons and triangles) turn sleek and streamlined. Whatever materials you choose, reclaimed or otherwise, “keep it simple,” Jones says. “You don’t want to distract from what’s actually happening here: you’re getting married!”
As for inspiration: As this issue went to press, Reworx was planning for the Jan. 1, 2019, opening of an additional design studio located within Mongers Market, a 70,000-plus-square-foot wonderland of industrial, architectural, vintage, salvaged and reclaimed objects set in a former Bridgeport factory. Choose the materials for your arbor from among Mongers’ vast stash and Reworx will make the magic happen.