Your wedding ceremony is THE most important part of your wedding day and the first time on the big day that your guests will be dazzled with your wedding style. In the age of Pinterest and endless bridal inspiration magazines and blogs, it can be overwhelming to understand what is attainable within budget as a couple planning your big day (those giant floral arches don’t come cheap!). Whether you’re looking for DIY ceremony decor ideas or want to splurge on the luxury wedding ceremony of your dreams, here are 6 of the top ways you can add high-impact decor to your wedding ceremony.
Tie some loose greens with ribbon and hang on the seating closest to the aisle
Frame the aisle with a few lanterns
Toss down some biodegradeable/water soluble paper confetti or rice paper rose petals for a colorful, budget-friendly AND eco-friendly aisle
Add a set of chapel-style doors to your outdoor ceremony to really create the drama of a grand entrance!
Add garlands of greens, such as eucalyptus, boxwood, or a fun mix of greens to line the aisles
Create a carpet of rose petals or other flower petals in your palette colors (or for a fun touch, create an ombre effect!)
Add lots of lush florals in ground arrangements or as topiaries.
Disregard simple aisle runners outdoors — they can be a tripping hazard!
Shepard’s hooks with mason jars + baby’s breath are out
A few simple blooms and greens can be hand-tied or DIY’d for the budget-conscious bride
A simple way to add impact is to add a ribbon to your bouquet. The thicker, the better. Make sure it doesn’t have any wire in it, as it should free-flow in the breeze!
Adding a lot of extra greenery can help fill out a bouquet and make it look fuller / richer in texture. Adding variety to those greens can really make the bouquet pop as well.
Using common blooms like roses or daisies can significantly lower the cost of the bouquet
If DIY isn’t your thing, you can source affordable already-done-for-you bouquets from Sams Club or Costco
Adding more luxurious blooms can really take a bouquet from pretty to WOW!
More organic or deconstructed cascading bouquets really add a punch of current bridal style
Larger, lush bouquets often include bridal favorites like peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and include a wide variety of blooms and greens.
Add a hand-died silk ribbon to the bouquet for extra color and style
Skip the DIY on the bride’s bouquet — we HIGHLY recommend splurging on at least the bride’s bouquet — it will be seen in countless photos.
SILK FLOWERS. Unless you’re allergic to the real thing, silk flowers definitely don’t look like or photograph like the real thing. By the time you’ve invested in the materials, you might as well have invested that money into a really stunning real floral bouquet you love!
Baby’s breathe is out
Round, ball-style bouquets are out
Create a stylish paper program that can double as a fan (especially great for those hot summer days!
Skip the printed programs and use a single sign on an easel or sandwich board that can greet your guests as they enter your ceremony site
Add style to your paper programs with foil, ribbon or other pretty or textured elements; choosing a heavier paper stock with a fun finish (like pearl or linen) can add a sense of luxury to this small detail
Have an oversized, show-stopper of a program sign, complete with lush florals or greens to greet your guests.
Create unique, storytelling trifold cards that allow you to share the details of your ceremony, wedding party and your love story with your guests
Don’t print programs for programs’ sake if you don’t feel like it — your invite lists the ceremony time, and everyone who shows up knows what you’re there to do!
Skip the fading trend of “mirror signs”. Not only are the difficult to photograph, they can cause issues if the sun is beaming into them / blinding your guests!
4. ARCH / BACKDROP
Hang a single garland of greens across your arbor or arch
Add a single swath of fabric draped elegantly over a tree branch, pergola, arbor, or chuppah (or whatever other structure exists at your ceremony site)
Create your own DIY ceremony backdrop with PVC or copper piping. For an added touch, add greens or fabric swath to really draw attention to it
If you want to go for the dreamy effect, an oversized floral arch / arbor can really dazzle and provide a two-fold benefit: not only will you have gorgeous ceremony photos, but it also makes a perfect backdrop for additional portraits with family, bridal party, and the wedding couple!
Think outside the box and create a cascading effect of lights — chandeliers are always eye-catching (and my personal fave!). You could also achieve a beautiful light effect with hanging Edison bulbs.
Oversized hanging fabric or custom canvas can be an amazing way to create depth in your ceremony space — this is especially useful for multi-story ceremony spaces or if you desire to “block out” another area of your venue with the fabric.
Be mindful that any decor placed on the floor (ie - at the base of the arbor) will not really be seen in your actual ceremony photos! This is true for florals, candles in large hurricane vases, etc. Typically, any decor of this nature is best suited to be above/taller than the couple and/or wedding party and officiant if you want it to actually be seen in ceremony images.
Skip the bare arbor or arch for decor’s sake. Dress it up a bit or disregard — it is not a necessity to have an arbor or an arch, as much of it is hidden by you during the ceremony itself! It can also impede any alternate view images (such as a photo of your first kiss with your guests in the photo… think the opposite of the “typical” kiss shot)
More of a note… depending on the sun’s placement in an outdoor ceremony, it may be advantageous to skip your arbor / arch all together if it will cast a lot of directional shadows across your faces. Consider if it will be Sun > Arch > Couple > Photographer. If sun falls behind the arch, it may not have as nice of light as desired for your important ceremony images.
5. LIGHTS / CANDLES
Candles are, and will always be, my favorite all-purpose wedding decor. Not only are they budget-friendly, but they also add to the romantic ambiance of your day AND provide a bit of extra light (especially great for darker venues or if you just want to add some affordable ambiance!) You can line your aisle with candles, add candles to the “background” of your ceremony site or even create clusters of candles in small hurricane vases that can add a bit of light and style all around your ceremony space. Definitely make sure to get long-burning candles! NOTE: If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony and want to use candles, make sure you are using extra tall hurricane vases or enclosed lanterns, as wind can easily extinguish your flames if they are not deep enough and a breeze picks up.
Add uplights for indoor ceremony spaces. These affordable LED light options come in a variety of colors and add a little POP
Cafe lights are a lovely option to add some eye-catching style that is both beautiful AND functional; this option isn’t really useful for ceremonies that will be outdoors in bright sun.
Create a sea of candles to create a romantic ambiance. Tall taper candles are my personal all-time favorite
Hang chandeliers all over your ceremony site to create a glamorous effect that also doubles as a light source
If you’re having an indoor ceremony or a ceremony in a darker venue, a spotlight is a really useful way to make sure you POP and all eyes are on you as you say your vows
If your venue offers less-than-pretty chairs/benches, simply rent or buy chair covers or cover benches with linens. It’s an affordable way to transform existing seating into something a bit more pleasing to the eye
Rent basic wood folding chairs if you want to ditch ugly plastic or metal chairs that are included in your venue rental
Splurge for beautiful chiavari or cross-back style chairs to add polish to your ceremony site.
Rent some luxury seating for your guests of honor — velvet couches or tufted chairs for parents, grandparents, etc.
BONUS: CELEBRATORY EXIT
MINIMUM SPLURGE FOR MAXIMUM FUN AND GREAT PHOTOS!
Whether you opt for fresh flower petals or biodegradable rice paper confetti, you can leave your ceremony with a blast of fun (and color!) during your recessional. Not to mention, it makes for the BEST PHOTOS!!!
For more great Wedding Planning Tips, click below!