Weddings seem to revolve around the perfect flower bouquets and arrangements, so today I thought it would be a good idea to discuss a few non-floral decorations for your wedding altar.
I completely understand if being surrounded by big flower bouquets at the altar is one of your top must-haves for your wedding day. Lots of couples choose florals as the defining feature of their altar. Personally though, I want to save a bit of extra cash and spend it on the honeymoon, rather than spend it on flower arrangements.
Are Flowers at the Altar Important?
Have you gotten to the wedding planning stage where it is time to pick out flowers?
First I have to state that I LOVE flowers:
- I love receiving flowers from just about anyone
- I love to smell flowers when I go for a walk
- I like the look of flowers upon entering a room
What I don’t like about flowers is the price tag!
A bride and groom enjoy the flowers at their wedding for 7 hours maximum. During that time the couple likely get to peak and admire them once or twice, if they notice them at all! Trust me, their is a lot of important and memorable activity at your wedding ceremony and reception. Which relegates flower appreciation time way down the list.
Sure, they are great to include for ambience, aesthetic beauty, and as a general backdrop in wedding photos you’ll look back on for years to come.
But to conclude my mini flowers-at-the-altar rant I will advice: think before you spend all that money on flowers that you may not even get to enjoy, let alone keep at the end of the night because you’re flying out on your honeymoon the following morning.
My Wedding Altar Decision
I was very much torn with what to include at the altar. I knew I was going to have flowers on the reception tables, but originally planned to have two big urns with flower decorations at my altar. In the end I opted for ‘no flowers at the altar’ and let the venue speak for itself.
Let’s see what others have done with regards to their non-floral altar decorations.
1. Vow with a view
With a view of the mountains to frame your wedding ceremony, it is no wonder flowers are not required.
Majestic New Hampshire Outdoor Wedding – Simply Bloom Photography
2. Candles at the Altar
Nothing says romance more than candles. Whether you have a few or many candles lining the aisle all the way to your alter, the effect can be magical. Just make sure to check with your wedding venue to make sure they allow real candles to burn throughout your ceremony and/or reception.
New Orleans Wedding – Julie Harris Photography
3. Magnificent Venue
Let the building or architecture speak for itself. Sometimes less is more.
Arctic Club Hotel Wedding – Yvonne Wong
4. Balloon Altar
A cute geronimo balloon arch for a fun, whimsical type wedding. I love how the oversized balloons add a bit of color to the backdrop, instead of what is mostly a green color palette. As a bonus, the balloons can be re-used during both your wedding reception as well as your photo shoot.
I have seen some wonderfully creative and artistic wedding photos that include geronimo balloons at weddings!
Balloon Ceremony Backdrop – Fede Photography
5. DIY Backdrop
Add a splash of color to your ceremony and get creative with this total DIY ceremony backdrop. Who needs flowers when you’ve got so many wonderful colors to enjoy at the altar!?
Whimsical Animal Styled Shoot – Paige Newton Photography
6. Doily Altar Love
Didn’t you ever wonder as a kid why mom always had a pack of doilies in the cupboard and never used them?
She was clearly waiting for your big day to break them out in all their glory. So here is your chance to put them to good use! An easy DIY project for your altar that offers the opportunity to include a bit of nostalgia.
DIY Backyard Wedding – First Mate Photo Co
7. Bunting Wedding Altar
50 Shades of Bunting anyone? Why not?!
Head to the clearance section of your local fabric store and go wild. Choose a boho, mismatched chic look like the one below, or come up with your own unique patterns. Minimal assembly required.
Budget Friendly DIY Wedding – Faithfully Focused Photography
Washington Farm Wedding – Jagger Photography
8. Fireside Vows
A fireplace mantel is such a great idea because you can dress it up with just about anything. This one in particular is very rustic whimsy. Whether your ceremony a fake fireplace outdoors or a real one inside, the look provides a beautiful focal point.
Styled Winter Wedding Shoot – Chelsea Dvorak Photography
9. Flower-esque Foliage Look
Instead of flowers you might want to try a foliage look. I love these eucalyptus leaves – perfect for this romantic whimsical altar backdrop.
James and the Giant Peach – Catie Coyle Photography
10. Metal Arbor Altar
If you know somebody with a big garden, chances are you know somebody with a metal arbor. And if not, I know that local home hardware stores carries them. After the wedding you can then either sell it or use it in your own garden as an ultimate giant keepsake.
Simply Country Rustic Wedding – Jessi Nichols Photography
11. Twinkling Lights
Pull out the white Christmas lights from the boxes in the garage and use the great outdoors as your canvas. Don’t have quite enough? Ask your friends, relatives, and neighbors if you can borrow some of theirs. Of course, the effect is much more magical if the lights all match. In any case, your budget will thank you!
Oak Tree Outdoor Wedding – Ryan Price
12. Pom Poms & Paper
If you have a good altar foundation such as a building or a wood frame structure, spruce it up with some homemade paper flowers or origami doves. It will be a lot cheaper and could be a fun girls night creating them. (Trust me, you don’t want to tackle this project alone!)
13. Rustic Twigs & Branches
A true rustic look utilizing twigs and branches can be simple yet effective. This particular outdoor wedding altar blends seamlessly into the rustic landscape providing a unique and harmonious ceremony option.
Rustic Wedding with a Touch of Quirkyness – Lizelle Lotter Photography
14. Theatrical Curtains
Planning and decorating: check.
Dress rehearsal: check.
Putting on a production for everyone else: check.
Sounds like the makings of a well organized theater performance. I love the dramatic appearance of large curtains. Why not draw back the sheer curtains as if it were the opening night? In essence, it is the opening chapter of your life together as a new couple!
Enchanting Backyard Wedding – Amenson Studio
Apple Decor Wedding – Don Mears Photography
15. Swing from a Chandelier
Now you have the curtains, so get dad to create your very own stage complete with chandelier!
Handmade Rustic Barn Wedding – christine leGrand photo
See, you’ve got options! You just have to get creative and envision what your non floral altar decorations will include.
What are you planning for your ceremony decor? Can’t wait to hear your ideas.