60 Amazing Wedding Altar Ideas & Structures for Your Ceremony

Say "I do" in front of (or below!) something beautiful

Updated 09/14/17

Photo by M & J Photography

The ceremony is the most important (and most photographed!) half hour of the entire wedding day. During this time, you have the vow exchange, the first kiss, the cheerful exit—and, oh yeah, you become officially hitched! That's why it's important to put some serious thought into the wedding altar, aka where all of this is going to happen. Your options here are endless—think flower-filled wedding arbors, candlelit chuppahs—but remember: This one décor element will set the scene for the ceremony and define the entire wedding's design theme. Yes, a ceremony structure does have that kind of power. (Do you need photo evidence?!)

Well, since you asked, we searched our real weddings on Brides.com, Instagram accounts, Pinterest pages, and more to find 60 examples of unique wedding altars. That's right: We searched high and low for the prettiest, jaw-dropping, and just downright cool wedding pergolas and wedding arbors around. Below, you'll find it all—from a rustic birch teepee to a overflowing floral canopy—so we recommend going in with an open mind. Now, with that mindset, we must also note a few things before you start. In this gallery, you'll also find the newest wedding décor trends around. A few that stand out: Circle installations, palm frond-covered statements, Persian rugs, and macramé anything. But even if being in-the-know isn't your thing, that's OK. We have a flower-covered altar that rivals all for you romantic ladies; a retro, modern one for any of you with an old-school music theme happening; and if you're all about enhancing a naturally beautiful setting, we have that for the mountains, beach, desert, and more.

With that said, get to scrolling, pinning, and sharing away. We hope you find the wedding ceremony altar of your dreams—but with this many, we can't promise you'll fall in love with only one!

Laser-Cut Backdrop

Photo by Margaret Austin Photography

Can you say destination wedding?! This laser-cut (and personalized!) backdrop is destination wedding perfection.

Circle Installation

Photo by James + Schulze

Yes, the circle installation trend can do no wrong—as evidenced by this frond-covered altar. (That's BTW perfect for a modern beach bash.)

Greenery-Covered Altar

Destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Photo by Forged in the North

When you're exchanging vows overlooking the Pacific, don't let anything—and we mean anything—take away from that view. That's why this simple, greenery-covered altar fits your design bill.

Simple Perfection

Photo by Saje Photography

Two words: simple perfection.

Suspended Structure

Photo by Cacá Santoro Photography

Don't think you're limited to standing structures only. A suspended one (of greenery) can be equally as eye-catching.

Birch Tee-Pee

Photo by Phil Chester

Boho brides, take note: This birch tee-pee is the perfect complement to a bright Persian rug.

Pampas Grass Backdrop

Photo by Ivy Road Photography

Think from the ground up when you have a view like this. And the pampas grass works especially well as it's a neutral backdrop!

Greenery Circle Installation

Greenery-Covered Circle Installation

Photo by Bottega 53

What's more beautiful: This greenery-lined aisle or the epic circle installation? We seriously can't decide.

Modern Chuppah

Bride and Groom at Ceremony

Photo by Cambria Grace

At this fashion-forward ceremony, the bride and groom shared traditional vows under a modern chuppah that they designed together.

Surround Yourself

Flags in a field

Photo by Red Aspen Photography

Here's an idea for you: A ceremony in the round! This way, you're literally surrounded by the ones you love most.

Statement Tree

Photo by Cameron Ingalls

Sometimes, you've got to work with what you've got. In this case, a statement tree!

Embrace Local Flora

Photo by Kallima Photography

It's smart to embrace the local flora—especially if you're having a destination wedding.

Lavender-Covered Structure

Photo by Paco and Betty

We bet this lavender-covered structure smells just as pretty as it looks.

Cacti and Sheer

Photo by Birds of a Feather

At this desert wedding, potted cacti, sheer draping, and a bohemian accent rug make for one beautifully unexpected combo.

Wooden Pergola and Dried Flowers

Photo by Pablo Laguia

Take this as proof that you can bring in décor (in this case, a wooden pergola and dried flowers) that looks as if it's forever meant to be.

Go Tropical

Ceremony venue set up

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Tropical brides, pull this as your perfect ceremony inspiration.

Statement Aisle

Ceremony Structure

Photo by Corbin Gurkin Photography

Now this is how you do a statement altar and a statement runway—um, we mean aisle!

Rose-Covered Altar

Bride and groom at altar

Photo by Jeremy Harwell

Add a rose-covered altar with a greenery-backdrop for a next-level flower wall.

Flower-Dripping Installation

Bride and Groom at Cermony

Photo by Cinzia Bruschini

Yes, yes, yes! This flower-dripping installation is everything.

Greenery-Covered Chuppah

Hanging greenery with candles

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

At this modern Philadelphia wedding, the candle-lit, greenery-covered chuppah quite literally brought the outdoors inside.

For Cool Girl Brides

Photo by Let's Frolic Together

Hey, cool girl brides, this one's for you.

Modern Meets Rustic

Photo by Shannon Von Eschen

We're obsessed with this modern-meets-rustic backdrop for a mountainside ceremony.

Potted Cacti and Persian Rugs

Photo by Katie Shuler Photography

A marriage of two wedding décor trends: potted cacti and Persian rugs!

Iron Gate

Photo by Megan Welker Photography

With an iron gate this pretty, you only need to add a few blooms (or nothing at all).

Floral Chuppah

Photo by Jose Villa

This floral-covered chuppah is a show-stopper from every single angle.

Retro Altar

Bride and groom at modern altar

Photo by Cambria Harkey

Looking for a cool, retro altar? We found your mid-century dream.

Palm Fronds

Photo by Sean Cook Weddings

For your beach wedding, the only question is where to buy palm fronds this large?

Stick With The Settings

Italian cathedral venue

Photo by Lisa Poggi

Rule #1: Don't let the décor take away from an already stunning setting.

Macramé-Enhanced Altar

Boho Ceremony Backdrop

Photo by India Earl

Tie the knot—literally—with a macramé-enchanced altar.

Palm Fronds and Monstera Leaves

Tropical ceremony backdrop

Photo by Lauren Scotti Photography

Palm fronds and monstera leaves for the win!

Flower-Covered Chuppah

Bride and Groom Exchange Vows

Photo by Westlund Photography

A flower-covered chuppah is always a good idea.

Go Vintage

Outdoor Altar for Atlanta wedding

Photo by Kelly Anne Berry

With all the vintage rentals on the market, why not use them as your ceremony backdrop?

Enchanted Forest

Bride and groom kissing at altar

Photo by Hailley Howard Photography

This ceremony backdrop is literally an enchanted forest.

Create Your Own Floor

Photo by Samuipics

This bride not only created her own altar—she created her own floor, too!

Modern Structure

Bride and Groom Exchanging Vows

Photo by Christopher Velasco

This modern structure gets straight to the point.

Macramé Structure

Photo by Chelsea Maras Photography

Put trendy macramé front and center by designing your structure around it.

XO Banner

Photo by Alison Vagnini Weddings

You're already giving each other hugs and kisses, right?

Hang Dreamcatchers

Photo by Regina as The Photographer

Start your dream day (and life!) with ivory-colored dreamcatchers.

Ancient Ruins

Photo by O'Malley Photographers

We love a ceremony-in-the-round, especially when it's set against the ruins of a gorgeous French chateau.

Perfect For A Rooftop

Bride and groom kissing at wedding reception

Photo by Jenn Emerling

This ceremony structure was made for a San Fran rooftop event (but actually, it was!).

Think Floor-to-Ceiling

Minimalist ceremony venue with lights

Photo by Chaz Cruz

This Brooklyn bride thought from floor-to-ceiling for her dreamy, light-filled backdrop.

Pampas Grass Circle

Bride and groom during ceremony

Photo by Jamie English

We thought pampas grass looked pretty in a line—but have you ever seen it in a circle?

Add Warmth to Wood

Bride and groom kissing

Photo by Jenny Haas

Ferns, greenery, and roses add warmth to this simple wooden structure.

Grand Entrance

Photo by Cassidy Carson

Don't forget to think about existing doors—there may be a grand entrance at your venue for a reason!

Lots of Candles

Newlyweds kissing

Photo by Emilie White

Candles, candles, and more candles, please.

Contrast Colors

Wedding Ceremony

Photo by Mirelle Carmichael

We love the contrast here between the black chuppah and clear ghost chairs.

Suspend Greenery

Bride and groom smash glass

Photo by Chaz Cruz

Another suspended greenery altar for the win!

Mix Vines and Roses

Flower-Covered Ceremony Altar

Photo by Mariel Hannah Photography

We love how these muted vines (and pale pink roses!) look naturally beautiful against this vineyard backdrop.

Vintage Mantle

Photo by Matt Lien Photography

Create a home-y setting with a vintage mantle, greenery, and plenty of pillar candles.

Streamers and Confetti

Photo by Rachel Photographs

Ombré steamers and confetti get the party going early.

Birch Tree Chuppah

Couple standing under chuppah

Photo by Curtis Wiklund Photography

This birch tree chuppah is rustic perfection—even when done on a beach!

Bright Banner

Photo by Maple & Elm Photography

An punchy-hued banner creates a modern-meets-whimsical setting

Sheer Drapes

Photo by KT Merry

Breezy, sheer drapes always add a dreamlike element an already dreamy setting.

Earthy Chuppa

Photo by Taylor Lord Photography

This earthy chuppah features a draped fabric ceiling and naturally dark greenery.

Crawling Vines

Photo by Gregory Ross Photography

This boho-inspired altar is simply a wall of wild crawling vines.

Antique Folding Screen

Photo by Ariel Renae Photography

If you're into the vintage vibe, look no further than an antique folding screen dressed with white blooms.

Asymmetrical Backdrop

Photo by Kate Ignatowski

How fun is this asymmetrical backdrop when accessorized with crawling greenery and ribbon streamers?!

Floor-Grazing Macramé

Photo by Joielala Photo

This backdrop (of floor-grazing macramé and hanging potted flower arrangement) looks straight out a home décor catalog—and for good reason!

Organic Backdrop

Photo by onelove Photography

Everyone loves an organic-looking backdrop in a natural setting, but we're especially into this iron arch covered in magnolia leaves.

Winter Wedding Perfection

Photo by Laura Murray Photography

The rustic, outdoor ceremony altar at Dunton Hot Springs is winter wedding perfection.

Related Stories