How to Decorate a Church Altar With Flowers for a Wedding

Updated April 27, 2018

The altar of the church is where you'll exchange vows, and it's also where your guests will be focusing their attention for the entire ceremony. To decorate this space, well-positioned flowers are all you need. You may choose to work with a florist or handle these decorations on your own, but in any case they should be one of the first details you consider. The flowers you place on the altar will be in the background of all the photos you take in the church, so they'll be with you forever.

Visit the church so you can take note of the colour scheme and meet with officials to find out the church rules about decorating the altar. Take notes or photos so you can recall this information when it's time to start shopping. If you're going to be married around Christmas, ask what decorations will already be at the altar since many churches decorate for the holidays.

Do a walk-through with the church officiant to figure out where you will be able to place flowers. You may need to walk around the altar to light candles or the bridal party may need room to move around during the ceremony, so these areas will need to be clear of flowers.

Choose flowers and containers. Depending on your budget, you may create two or four flower arrangements, with two shorter arrangements in front of the altar and two tall arrangements in back. Pick flowers that will complement the colours of the church and will look attractive next to the bridesmaids' dresses. For the smaller arrangements, choose vases with wide bottoms so they won't tip over. You may also buy tall vases that are attached to stands to place behind the altar.

Arrange flowers in their vases one or two days before the wedding. Since flowers will only be seen from the front, arrange all of the most attractive blooms on one side of the arrangement. You may tie ribbon bows around the top of each vase to add extra decoration and colour.

Arrange flowers on the altar the morning of the wedding. Ask the officiant to approve the placement and make adjustments if necessary. Move to the back of the church so you can see if the arrangements look right from a distance.

Things You'll Need

  • Vases
  • Ribbon
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About the Author

Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.