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Wedding/Church/Ceremony/Alter Flowers- You Decide

Choosing how to stylize a wedding ceremony is something that can be  hard to figure out at times. After all, getting married is something most people don’t have a lot of experience with; hopefully, it is something one does only once in an entire lifetime. Being a bride and making choices for yourself is WHOLE lot different  than being a bridesmaid or guest at a someone else’s wedding. Therefore ,as a master floral designer, I am often asked for my thoughts regarding ideas for embellishing a church or site for wedding nuptials:

My fist advice to brides when they are thinking about wedding decor is to ask the church or venue what rules they may have regarding decorating their space. Often couples marry in churches or spaces that they are not parishioners or patrons of on a regular  basis. Asking a venue about their guidelines not only gives you valuable informationWeddings at the Jersey Shore but it also shows that you are respectful of the  business or place of worship and that treating it well is important to you.

After finding out what will and will not fly regarding wedding decor,  is to ask what has been done, both successfully and not,  in the past.   Some of the best ideas come from people at your wedding site.  Most brides want their ceremony to be original and different and therefore don’t ask about previous weddings.  This is not wise;  building upon ideas that have worked well in the past and staying away from things that have not is a great tool to developing a ceremony that is  beautiful and suits your style while also being functional and avoiding past disasters made by other brides.

The next step I take in developing ceremony decor is to evaluate the space itself.  I often have some great ideas and elegant plans for wedding ceremonies that don’t end-up working  in a space once I see it.

I find that most of the churches I have designed in over the years to fall into two categories: Traditional and Modern.  Both of these different architecture styles have their pros and their cons.

Traditional Church– These  churches tend to be heavily embellished with woodwork, frescoes and elaborate windows.   Most seem have every inch of them so heavily ornamented that adding more seems like chaos.   These churches also tend to be  very dark  or dimly lit inside.  Traditional Church SettingGood choices that always seem to  work in spaces like these are flowers or greenery embellishment on every other or third pew and some kind of floral design on either side of the alter.  If your church is dimly lit it is a good idea to use white flowers or very bold colors. Pastels and diminutive foliage do not have the power to stand out in dark, ornate spaces, unless a WHOLE lot of them are used.  Candles are often very effective in traditional churches and very dramatic if used in profusion.

Modern–  These churches are challenging to work with as they are built with an asymmetrical feeling in an effort to convey an open, all encompassing worshiping environment.  Modern churches are particularity hard to work with for weddings as it is costly to decorate an entire open church nave as well as difficult to create a center of focus for the bridal party to enter and place themselves in this kind of space.  Pew decor is especially helpful for guests and photographers in Modern church settings as they help to establish an understanding of where the nuptials will take place and where guests are expected to sit and focus.  Similar to traditional church settings, flanking the alter with some kind of frame of foliage tends to work well.  Modern churches often have a lot of open space around the sanctuary area which can often overpower a bridal party.  Modern Church AlterBy placing tall flowering branches and oversizes containers around the alter area one can help give visual weight to the  empty space around the alter while also adding drama and romance to the space. Modern churches often are full of light which is wonderful for great photos to be taken however, a church that has too much light can be as difficult to work with as one that is too dark.  If the church you have chosen to say your vows in is extremely light filled using colorful flowers rather than whites or pastels will help absorb light and reduce glare for you, your guests and, most importantly , your photographer.

Alternative Ceremony Spaces- For many reasons many people are gravitating away from  traditional church ceremonies toward nontraditional wedding ceremonies.  Here, again, non traditional  ceremonnies seem to fall into two categories; indoor and out door.

Indoor-If your ceremony is to be held inside many of the same rules of church decor are appropriate.  Floral embellishment help explain to your guests where they are expected to stand and where you are expected to say your vows.  Having a ceremony in a building other than a  church leaves way for a lot of personal expression.  Because there are no religious rules to worry about brides are as free with the design of their ceremony as they are with their reception. With the use of such things as: garden arches, branches, hanging candles, fabric, ribbon and chandeliers a bride is able to create her wedding ceremony to be as romantic, reflective of her style and dramatic as she would like it to be.  In addition, choosing to have an indoor ceremony not only allows for in-climate weather but, also offers a ceiling and walls for one to hang or attach decor to.

Outdoor–  Choosing to have an outdoor ceremony  has only one draw back: weather.  If you choose to have an outdoor ceremony it is important you have an indoor back up plan.   Other than Mother Nature, choosing to get married outside is a great choice. Outdoor light is wonderful for photos. Outdoor Wedding Design If the right place is chosen no decorative support is needed for an alfresco ceremony.  Flowering shrubs, trees, water ,or  hills of green grass all make for the most romantic and tear jerking wedding ceremonies of all.  Also special are wedding ceremonies where the inside is brought outside.  Chandeliers hung from trees, carpets on the ground, elaborate chairs for you guests…the ideas are endless.

There is no “bad’ choice for a place to say your vows,only a “right” place; the one you feel is best for you.  By being true to yourself, your choice for a traditional, indoor or outdoor ceremony will then set into motion the appropriate ceremony decor to surround you and your fiancée  as the two of you begin the first moments of your “happily-ever-after” together.

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