Church News

Best Ways to Decorate a Church for a Wedding

church wedding decorations

Can I decorate the church for my wedding?

If you have chosen to get married in a church, either the one near your current home or the church you attended when growing up, you may decide to decorate the church for your big day. Quite often churches have their own set of rules regarding decoration so before you make any firm plans you should consult with the church.

The best way to decorate a church for your wedding is to select a theme and fit all the decorations into that theme, rather than simply adding a random selection of decorations. Consider the overall look of the church.

Consider whether the addition of a lot of garish decorations will enhance the look of the church or be detrimental. A church that is already attractive may be better left with no decorations or perhaps one central decoration.

Outdoor church décor

The first thing that people will see when they arrive for your wedding will be the exterior of the church and the church grounds. It may be a great place to introduce the theme of your wedding.

You can welcome guests, when they are about to enter the church, with a simple easel standing by the door, that displays a plain sign with your names and date. Do not make it over-elaborate, in this situation less is more. A plain white sign with a white easel is very attractive, or you may go with a brown that matches the woodwork of the church.

An interesting idea for positioning just inside the gate to the church is a decorative arch, containing flowers and greenery, which will make an excellent photo prop and can be used to frame the happy couple as they leave the church. Add some floral displays to highlight architectural features on the exterior of the church.

Some churches already have archways at the entrance to the church grounds. Take advantage of this by fixing a floral display to this arch to add a splash of color as people arrive at the ceremony.

A simple but effective exterior decoration are wreaths of “baby’s breath,” which is a plant that symbolizes ever-lasting love. These wreaths may incorporate a plan plaque in the middle with the name of the couple.

Of course, if you are on a budget, it is better to forego the exterior decoration and utilize what funds you have on the church interior.


Some churches have a balcony above the altar, or at the back of the church. A few may even have a balcony outside, and any of these balconies can be utilized to hang garlands. Balconies, especially those above the altar can extend the decorations vertically and are very appealing visually.

How do I decorate my wedding aisle?

The aisle of the church is usually the focus of church decorations. A common way to improve the look of the aisle is to have a plain colored runner stretch the length of the aisle. This adds a degree of elegance to the décor (the church may even own one so do not forget to ask). For a touch of drama, the ushers can unroll the runner just before the bride makes her entrance.

If you plan to have a flower girl distributing real flower petals in front of the bride as she walks the aisle, the church may insist that a runner is used, as flower petals have the potential to stain floors and carpets.

Aisle decorations are an ideal way to add a touch of color to a simple church. A frequent method of decorating the aisle is to place a small bunch of flowers at the end of each pew. Place larger floral decorations either of the aisles at the back of the church and just before it reaches the altar.

An attractive effect can be achieved by lining the aisle with vines attached to the end of each pew. A particularly stunning effect can be created by constructing an archway made of vines at the back of the church

Other decorations that can be placed at the end of each pew would be candles, ribbons, or tree-like features. The aisle is an important area to decorate, so should be one of the priorities when working on a budget.

wedding aisle decorations

Decorative Columns and Lighting

Place several plaster columns along the aisle to create a vertical break to the length of the aisle. On top of the columns, you could place vases with floral displays, or you could link them with ribbon.

Instead of adding physical objects to decorate your church, have you thought about the creative use of mood lights that bathe the architecture of the church in swathes of color. Highlight those extensive rafters by bathing them in colored light, imagine the upper area of the church glowing in purple color, for example.

Alternatively, highlight key areas of the church by spotlighting. Many lighting effects can easily be created and that will be tremendously effective in adding color and light to the church. Lighting can also be a much cheaper solution for those on a budget.

Church Altar Decoration Tips

Most churches are naturally designed so that the altar is the focus of attention, it also serves as a backdrop to the proceedings during the wedding ceremony. A nicely decorated alter can make a huge impact on the way your wedding looks for those seated in the stalls. There are a variety of ways that the alter can be decorated.


A large selection of candles in candelabra, different heights, sizes, and colors can look very effective and cast a nice glow behind the bride and groom. They will look particularly good in any photographs.


A beautiful floral display 0n the alter adds a blaze of color behind the bride and groom when viewed from the pews. For floral displays in the vicinity of the alter, consider using moveable pillars/plinths.

Other ideas

  • · Consider using an arch in the vicinity of the altar, it creates an attractive effect.
  • · Another beautiful effect is to place tree-like vegetation on either side of the altar with white lights hanging from the branches.
  • · Hire two candelabra and place them at each end of the altar with some attractive candles.
  • · Think about leasing two statues or large crosses and placing them on either side of the altar.
  • Maybe add birds like a quaker bird to liven up your color palette as well as add some fun.

Winter Church Decorations

The winter can be quite a romantic time and if you think about decoration for the church in the winter, there are several perfect options to choose from.

Imagine arriving at the church, as a guest (or the bride) and seeing all the trees in the churchyard decorated with while decorative lights, creating a fairyland look. String some market lights around the limbs of the leafless trees.

Scattering dozens of white floating candles around the altar area, with the lights, turned down low will create a romantic look.

Decorate the aisle with sets of candles of various sizes at the end of each row of pews. Alternatively place small branches from trees in vases, with the branches sprayed with frosting, and draped with colored beads.

Think about utilizing pines cones and winter foliage in displays.

A practical decoration that I saw once was to have small knitted plain blankets in a variety of warm colors draped over pews. It adds a beautiful splash of color and where you are using a cold church building is very practical too.

Choose seasonal décor

Every season has its unique qualities, we just looked at winter and how a seasonal look can be used to decorate the church. Other seasons also have a character that can be used for inspiration. Do not forget to consider all four seasons and what is right for each one. Consider the range of warm, browns and oranges captured in autumn leaves. How can you translate that into a theme for your décor? Do not feel bound by tradition. Think about the light, the yellows and greens suggested by springtime. A spring theme can make the church that much lighter and connect your special day to this joyous time of the year. Just take a few moments to visit the church and just sit quietly, taking in the natural features of the church, and imagine how it would relate to the four seasons.

Photography in the church

When thinking about the decoration of the church, it is sensible to think of the implication for any photographs taken in the church.

Taking photographs in a church can sometimes be very problematic. Some churches impose restrictions on what photographs are permitted and where the photographer is permitted to stand. The photos taken in the church can often be the most important, after all the key moments of the whole wedding take place in the church. It is important to know, understand, and plan for making the best of the situation in your church.

Sometimes photographers are only allowed to stand on a balcony to take photos or stand behind the final row of pews, neither of which is the ideal position to get the best shots. Because of this, it is wise to find out at an early stage what the policy of your chosen church is on photography. You can then plan your decorations with this is in mind.

Good wedding photographers will work as best they can within these constraints, and produce the best shots that are possible. One popular shot is where the couple is facing one another and so when planning decorations for the church, take this into account, and if this shot is possible with the church restrictions, consider what will be in the background. Place attractive decorations behind to enhance the shot. Other popular shots are looking at the faces of the bride and groom while they face the priest. These will only be possible if the photographer has access to behind the priest and slightly to the side. Once again, if that shot is going to be possible, consider what will be in the background. All of this should be considered when you are planning the church decorations.

wedding decorations for a church

Remember the rules

Before you start to plan your wedding decorations for the church, you should meet with the church and find out what rules they may or may not have regarding decorating the church, and when this can be done. Most churches will have some sort of guidelines on what can or cannot be done that you can check. By adhering to these rules, not only are you avoiding any last-minute hitches, but you are also showing respect for the church. If you have no respect for the church then why are you getting married in a church?

Typical rules

· Restrictions on the use of candles and naked flames

· Floral Guidelines, real and artificial

· Rules for how you attach decorations to pews, the altar, and balconies/walls.

· Restrictions on confetti and flower petals

· Rules regarding cleaning up and removal of decorations, including timescales.

Finally: Do you really NEED to decorate the church?

We have spent a lot of time talking about decorating the church, thinking of exotic ways to do this, and worrying about breaking and rules the church may have. Perhaps there is a case for not decorating the church, or for just adding a couple of vases of flowers at the front. Perhaps all the wonderful ideas are not necessary.

Why did you choose that particular church? Was it because you were awed by that magnificent historic architecture? Is it the classic grandeur that attracted you? Have you thought that the venue might not look a lot better in its authentic look?

You may not need to spend a lot of money decorating the church and changing its ambiance when just a few flowers are all that is required. Imagine a high roofed classical church with stone walls and wonderful wooden ceilings with just a couple of colored uplights strategically placed.

In short, before you go overboard decorating a church, really look at the church and decide if a more natural look might not be more appropriate.