60 Incredible Wedding Altar Ideas for Your Ceremony

Couple holding hands at lavender altar

Paco and Betty

 

Between exchanging your vows, putting on your rings, and sharing that first kiss as a married couple, the ceremony is the most important (and most photographed) part of your big day. Of course, you want a beautiful wedding backdrop for such an important occasion!

That's where your wedding altar comes in, and your options here are truly endless—from flower-filled wedding arches and modern chuppahs to even a simple display of candles and a blanket. "Within the overall wedding design, you have a few choice moments that will make a tremendous impact," says Lindsey Boyce, owner of Host and Haven. "I think the ceremony, and specifically the altar, is one of those moments."

Meet the Expert

Lindsey Boyce is the owner of Host and Haven, a full-service event and home design firm based in South Carolina.

This one décor element will set the scene for the whole ceremony and define the entire wedding's design theme. "It's important to take all of the design elements into consideration and make sure you're looking at the whole scope when choosing your altar," says Boyce.

Everything from romantic rose-covered altars to natural tree-inspired designs have been used as altars by real couples at a variety of gorgeous venues. It's all about finding the ideal fit for you and your partner and the way your altar will tie in with the overall look and feel of your wedding.

Ready for some major inspiration? Here are 60 of our favorite wedding altar ideas to get you started on designing your own.

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An Antique Folding Screen

Antique white folding screen with florals for wedding altar

Ariel Renae Photography

If you're into the vintage vibe, look no further than an antique folding screen dressed with white blooms. This could serve as the ideal backdrop for saying your vows, and it's easy to move to incorporate into the reception later. "Your altar can also become a photo moment for guests during a cocktail hour and enjoyed as the day continues," says Boyce.

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A Floral Covered Chuppah

Floral covered chuppah

Jose Villa

This floral-covered chuppah is a showstopper from every single angle. We love the way every leg of the structure, and even the top, is decked out in florals and greenery. This is beautiful for a garden-inspired wedding, but we could imagine this look in the middle of a forest as well. What a stunning canopy!

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Tropical White Curtains

Wedding ceremony with white sheets

Photo by This Modern Romance; Joey Lizotte of Artisan Events

 

What a beautiful display for a destination wedding on the beach! This tropical set-up makes quite a statement with a white curtained tent, paired with greenery and white florals. This is definitely an option to consider if you're hoping to make a splash, and the florals could be swapped out to match your floral design and color palette.

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A Greenery-Covered Chuppah

Hanging greenery with candles

Lauren Fair Photography

Want a rustic outdoor wedding without worrying about the weather? This lush chuppah literally brought the outdoors inside. This is such a fun display for an industrial wedding, with beautiful greenery and simple candles. Could you imagine what it might look like with a colored candle to match your palette? Absolutely stunning.

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A Wonderful Waterfall

Wedding ceremony with waterfall backdrop

Photo by MEGAN AND TIM STACK; Planning and Design by Wildly Collection

Is it possible to find a more beautiful backdrop for an outdoor ceremony than this? This outdoor-loving couple utilized a waterfall as their altar, and we can't get over it! This was the perfect set-up for an outdoor summer wedding, with simple florals on either side of the couple to frame the moment.

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A Statement Tree

Wedding ceremony under Joshua Trees

Cameron Ingalls

Sometimes the most beautiful altar options are those already present in the landscape. We love the way this couple chose to incorporate a Joshua Tree into their ceremony, with the simple addition of lanterns for a splash of décor. Of course, this is a gorgeous set-up for a wedding in Joshua Tree National Park, but the same concept could be utilized in any National Park wedding.

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A Rose-Covered Altar

Bride and groom at floral altar

Jeremy Harwell

Add a rose-covered altar with a greenery backdrop for a next-level flower wall. This is such a beautiful way to incorporate fresh blooms into a garden-inspired wedding. Plus, once you've said your vows, it can be used for the beautiful backdrop for newlywed and family photos.

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A Laser-Cut Backdrop

Laser cut white altar

Margaret Austin Photography

This laser-cut (and personalized) backdrop is perfect for the couple looking for something truly unique. We love the way this look could be customized to fit any wedding palette, by swapping out the colors. Or, you could even opt to switch up the pattern to fit another theme.

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Desert Simplicity

Couple kissing under simple wooden altar

Saje Photography

This structure is simply perfection. This altar option is the perfect addition to a desert wedding. We love the two simple lanterns paired with this look. Could you imagine adding a boho-style rug to add a splash of color?

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A Suspended Greenery Structure

Hanging greenery in industrial white ceremony location

Cacá Santoro Photography

Don't think you're limited to standing structures only. A suspended altar (of greenery) can be equally as eye-catching. We love the way this hanging altar pairs with greenery staged on the floor below. This look could be adapted for any industrial wedding, and various florals can be incorporated to accommodate so many looks.

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A Birch Tree Structure

Couple under birch altat

Phil Chester

Boho brides, take note: This birch teepee is the perfect complement to a bright Persian rug. We're obsessed with this look; perfect for a lakefront wedding or a ceremony in the woods. Omit the rug or swap it out to accommodate any color palette.

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A Pampas Grass Backdrop

Pampa grass altar

Ivy Road Photography

It's important to think from the ground up when you have a view like this. And the pampas grass works especially well to provide a neutral backdrop. This is the most beautiful way to bring together natural elements for a stunning outdoor wedding.

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A Circular Installation of Greenery

Greenery-Covered Circle altar installation

 Bottega 53

What's more beautiful: This greenery-lined aisle or the epic circle installation? The way the two décor elements work together is simply stunning. We love the idea of a circular altar, representing eternity, and it can be displayed with simple greenery or with the addition of florals to match any theme.

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A Modern Chuppah

Couple under white altar with greenery and flowers

Cambria Grace

For this fashion-forward ceremony, the couple actually worked to design their modern chuppah together. The structure was adorned with orchids, calla lilies, and greenery for a simple, yet stunning look. We love this design for an outdoor sculpture park or garden wedding, keeping the structure design of the chuppah intact, and simply swapping out the floral design to match any theme.

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Flags in the Round

Wedding ceremony set-up with flags in a field

Red Aspen Photography

What about a ceremony in the round? This unique set-up makes it so that you're literally surrounded by the ones you love most. Add a beautiful rug to mark where you'll say your vows, and enjoy having everyone near and dear with you to celebrate.

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A Structure With Local Flora

Beachside wedding with altar of twigs and pink florals

Kallima Photography

It's smart to embrace the local flora—especially if you're having a destination wedding. The contrast of bright blue-hued water and bright fuchsia florals is simply stunning. Plus, with low-level seating, you'll know all of the attention of your set-up will be on you as a couple under the altar.

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A Lovely Lavender Display

Couple holding hands under lavender colored altar

Paco and Betty

We bet this lavender-covered structure smells just as pretty as it looks. We love the way natural woods, lavender, and corresponding blooms were added to this display for a stunning ceremony. What a beautiful way to embrace your natural surroundings at an outdoor wedding, with a simple pop of color.

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Cacti and Sheer Drapes

Potted cacti and white drapery for wedding ceremony

Birds of a Feather

At this desert wedding, potted cacti, sheer draping, and a bohemian accent rug made for one beautifully unexpected combo. We love this look for a desert wedding, but it could easily be transformed for a woodsy wedding by trading those cacti for mini evergreen trees. And if you want more color to the look, simply go for a bolder rug.

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A Wooden Pergola and Dried Flowers

Wooden pergola altar at church

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. This altar had an old-time feel set against a beautiful historic building. And we love the way dried florals were incorporated to keep up with the Old West vibe.

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A Tropical Structure

Ceremony venue set up with simple wooden altar and palm trees

Jillian Mitchell

Tropical-obsessed couples, pull this as your perfect ceremony inspiration. If your ceremony is set amongst palm trees, bring in an altar that will embrace the setting, rather than detract from it. This wooden structure adds a pop of tropical florals for a simple look.

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A Statement Aisle

Wedding ceremony with pool in the background

Corbin Gurkin Photography

Now, this is how you do a statement altar and a statement aisle. What a way to make a grand entry, putting your altar center-stage no matter what angle you're looking at it from. Plus, we love the way this arch still shows off the beautiful backdrop, all while tying in greenery and beautiful florals.

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An Installation Dripping With Florals

Bride and Groom at Ceremony under hanging white florals

Cinzia Bruschini

This display is just beaming with garden inspiration. If you're embracing the outdoors and having an outdoor wedding, you might as well go all in, right? We love the way this floral-forward display utilized a simple palette of green and white, with hanging florals and petals on the ground, but it could be adjusted to fit any floral color palette.

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A Boho Ribbon Display

Minimal altar with orange ribbons

Let's Frolic Together

This is such a fun boho display. With a simple frame, paired with dried branches, ribbons, and lanterns, this couple brought a ton of personality to their altar. We just love the way the bright pops of orange pair with the ribbons hanging down.

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A Mix of Modern and Rustic

Couple kissing under simple wooden altar

Shannon Von Eschen

We're obsessed with this modern-meets-rustic backdrop for a mountainside ceremony. This couple let their setting do all the work, creating a frame to capture it beautifully. And with just a few sprigs of greenery to tie it all together? Perfect for outdoor nuptials.

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Potted Cacti and Persian Rugs

Wedding ceremony set-up with blankets and candles

Katie Shuler Photography

Who says an altar needs to stand tall? Why not create a scene? This desert wedding utilizes potted cacti and Persian rugs, paired with a few pops of color from beautiful florals in between.

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An Iron Gate

Couple in front of iron gate

Megan Welker Photography

With an iron gate this pretty, you only need to add a few blooms (or nothing at all). We love the idea of finding a ceremony location with a beautiful backdrop already available on the grounds. This is the perfect setting for a rustic, garden-inspired wedding, with room to add a few simple floral touches to round it all out.

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A Geometric Retro Altar

Bride and groom at modern gold altar

Cambria Harkey

Looking for a cool, retro altar? We found your mid-century modern dream. This gold, geometric structure is perfect for making a simple, fun statement. And if you're not into gold, it can easily be changed to white, or maybe even black. We just love the simple floral display on one of the top corners, rounding out this sweet look.

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Perfectly Framing Palm Fronds

Couple posing in under palm fronds altar

Sean Cook Weddings

What a stunning way to frame the ocean as your backdrop! "It's important to think about natural grains native to the area," says Boyce. "When looking at a space, think about the elements it already has. This will inevitably elevate your theme and style." This stunning set-up was the perfect way to incorporate natural elements from the area and make the blue ocean hues stand out even more.

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Embracing a Stunning Setting

Italian cathedral venue

Lisa Poggi

If you have an already stunning venue, don't let the décor take away from it too much. And that rule especially applies if you're getting married in a historic setting. There's no need to add any other décor elements here, as the venue can simply speak for itself, providing a beautiful backdrop as an altar.

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A Macramé-Enhanced Altar

Couple in front of boho ceremony Backdrop

India Earl

Tie the knot—literally—with a macramé-enhanced altar. This is such a beautiful altar option for an outdoor boho ceremony. And the way the bride's floral crown ties in with the floral addition on the altar? Absolutely gorgeous.

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An Enchanted Forest

Bride and groom kissing at woodsy ceremony

Hailley Howard Photography

This ceremony backdrop is literally an enchanted forest. And with that as your setting, you certainly don't need to add too much more. The simple addition of a short display of white flowers and greenery brings this natural look together beautifully.

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A Simple Wooden Structure

Bride and Groom Exchanging Vows under A-frame altar

Christopher Velasco

This modern structure gets straight to the point. Set up for a super fun wedding in Palm Springs, this simple wooden display brought the couple together during a ceremony in the round. This minimalistic look is perfect for an outdoor wedding, and it could be customized with florals to fit any setting.

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Macramé and Florals

Couple holding hands in front of macrame altar

Chelsea Maras Photography

Put trendy macramé front and center by designing your structure around it. There is no rule about choosing one décor element for your altar if you want to make a big splash. This couple utilized a wooden structure, decked with macramé, greenery, and even rugs to bring their palette of green, orange, and white together into one statement piece.

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Hanging Dream Catchers

Couple holding hands in front of hanging dream catcher altar

Regina as The Photographer

Start your dream day (and married life) with ivory-colored dream catchers. Who says an altar needs to be a certain size or shape? This couple utilized beautiful and meaningful dream catchers to make a statement under a tree at their outdoor wedding.

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Accenting Ancient Ruins

Simple wooden altar with fabric and florals housed at ancient ruins site

O'Malley Photographers

We love a ceremony in the round, especially when it's set against the ruins of a gorgeous French château. And with a setting this beautiful, all you need to round it out is a simple altar. With a wooden structure, paired with white draping and simple hanging florals, this display is rustic and elegant.

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Floor-to-Ceiling

Minimalist ceremony venue with lights and white drapery

Chaz Cruz

Why not think about the whole room as you're designing your altar? This was the perfect set-up for an indoor industrial vibe. The couple considered a floor-to-ceiling look, complete with white draped curtains and greenery with sparkling lights.

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A Grand Entrance

Suspended greenery altar in front of open doors

Cassidy Carson

Don't forget to think about existing doors—there may be a grand entrance at your venue for a reason. This set-up makes a beautiful splash, utilize the outdoor backdrop to literally bring the outside in. The hanging greenery display just seals the deal.

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A Display of Candles

Newlyweds kissing in front of altar of candles

Emilie White

We love the way this couple incorporated a simple display of candles as their backdrop, bringing together a gorgeous rustic vibe. "Don’t fight the grain," says Boyce. "It's important to be in tandem with where you are." And this look pulls that off perfectly, shining a light on the couple.

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Contrasting Colors

Simple black wedding ceremony altar

Mirelle Carmichael

We love the contrast here between the black chuppah and clear ghost chairs. This is such a gorgeous way to make sure your altar is truly shining, without bold colors distracting from the chairs. Utilize this set-up idea for a beach wedding, creating a statement to draw your guests' eyes to the beautiful turquoise-hued sea.

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A Vintage Mantle

Vintage fireplace with exposed bright, candles, and greenery

Matt Lien Photography

Create a homey setting with a vintage mantle, greenery, and plenty of pillar candles. This set-up could be recreated in a historic venue such as a mansion, or even in an industrial warehouse venue if you're lucky enough to have a mantle on display. Switch up the color of candle holders or candles to fit your color palette.

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Streamers and Confetti

Colorful tassel wedding altar

Rachel Photographs

Ombré streamers and confetti get the party going early! What a way to make a colorful splash. This display brought multiple colors from this couple's palette to serve as a bold backdrop, with the hanging streamers and confetti making it all the more fun.

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A Birch Tree Chuppah

Couple standing under birch chuppah

Curtis Wiklund Photography

This birch tree chuppah is rustic perfection—even when done on a beach. This juxtaposition of elements is simply beautiful. We love the way this set-up could easily be utilized for a beach wedding or a rustic woodland party.

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A Bright Banner

Bright pink fabric banner wedding altar

Maple & Elm Photography

A punchy-hued banner creates a modern-meets-whimsical setting. This couple utilized two trees to set the stage, adding a pop of color in between. With a few colored ribbons and matching florals, it's a stunning splash of whimsy for a woodsy wedding.

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Crawling Vines

Sprawling greenery altar

Gregory Ross Photography

This boho-inspired altar is simply a wall of wild crawling vines, and we're definitely here for it. "If the goal is to focus on the two of you, keep in mind where you want your eye to go," says Boyce. If you want to make sure the two of you as a couple are the main focus, consider a subtle, sweet, and simple option.

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Floor-Grazing Macramé

Bride and groom in front of macrame altar

Joielala Photo

This backdrop of floor-grazing macramé and a hanging potted flower arrangement looks straight out of a home décor catalog—and for good reason. While the macramé backdrop is certainly fun on its own, the real hero here is the potted florals. Could you imagine adding a few more hanging pots to really make a splash?

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A Rustic A-Frame

Rustic a-frame altar with chairs and blankets

Laura Murray Photography

The rustic, outdoor ceremony altar at Dunton Hot Springs is winter wedding perfection. The A-frame structure sets the perfect tone for a couple who loves the outdoors. And with the addition of simple evergreen greenery and wool blankets? We're obsessed.

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A Natural Bundle of Logs

Natural wedding ceremony with tree altar

SARA LOBLA

If you're embracing a super neutral backdrop, whether set in the desert or even a beautiful farm, why not stick with the theme with your altar? This couple brought a simple altar look together with three logs, adored with rocks at the base. This is the simplest idea to put together on your own, providing a unique backdrop for the most rustic, neutral vibe.

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A Flower Filled Arch

Bold floral altar

 Photo by NORMAN + BLAKE; Planning and Design by 42 North

Sometimes, you just have to go all-in on embracing bold florals. Whether for a garden-inspired tented dinner, a backyard wedding, or anything in-between, bringing a ton of flowers to the party is absolutely beautiful! This is one of the simplest ways to accommodate any wedding theme or color palette, simply by swapping out the type of blooms.

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An Aisle of Greenery

Wedding ceremony aisle of greenery

Photo by Rachel Red Photography; Planning and Design by Host and Haven
 

 

We love the idea of going with a minimalistic look, especially for a church wedding. "Traditionally in a church setting, it's important to still connect the reception to the church," says Boyce. This altar of lush greenery and florals was complemented by an aisle of lush greenery, setting the tone for a beautiful outdoor garden reception to follow.

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Individual Hanging Florals

Bride and groom kissing under floral altar

Photo by Tony Wodarck; Planning and Design by Courtney Tibbets of After The Engagement

 

Hoping for florals, but you don't want to go too bold with them? This display of individual hanging florals will do the trick! This couple wanted to add contrast throughout their wedding, and their use of white florals did just that. We love the way these florals are individually strung for a modern vibe.

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Asymmetrical Greenery

Asymmetrical hanging greenery altar

PHOTO BY KATIE GRANT; FLORAL DESIGN BY MYRTLE ET OLIVE; PLANNING AND DESIGN BY NATALIE PALMER OF PAPER DIAMONDS

Who says your altar needs to be standing up straight and tall? This display breaks the traditional rules of hanging greenery in the best way. With an asymmetrical design, with gaps in between each row, this is such a fun backdrop to utilize for a rustic wedding with a bit of elegance and historic charm.

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A Geometric Frame

Wedding ceremony set-up with geometric gold altar

PHOTO BY JULIETA AMEZCUA PHOTOGRAPHY; PLANNING AND DESIGN BY AMY ABBOTT EVENTS AND EVERYDAY PURSUITS

This look was all about embracing the existing surroundings. With pots of pampas grass, and a geometric, gold display, the neutral colors tied together perfectly. And while we love a good neutral color palette, perhaps the backdrop framed by the gold structure is what really makes this look shine even more.

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A Barn Backdrop

Barn wedding backdrop

LaRISSA CLEVELAND

Hosting a beautiful barn wedding? Why not utilize the barn to really tie in your theme! This simple altar put on a stunning display to draw attention to the barn. We could see this look without as many florals and greenery too, using a simple structure with the barn showing through even more.

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Embracing an Organic Backdrop

Simple greenery altar

Onelove Photography

Everyone loves an organic-looking backdrop in a natural setting, but we're especially into this iron arch covered in magnolia leaves. This was the most beautiful way to incorporate natural elements from the ceremony location. And with just the arch, without any other bright, bold pops of color, it still truly brings the eye to the natural elements being celebrated in this location.

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A Sweet Banner

Colorful florals and banner on wedding altar

Alison Vagnini Weddings

This is the cutest boho structure, decked out beautifully. With greenery and strands of florals to match, it's such a unique idea to fit an outdoor aesthetic. The addition of the hugs and kisses banner makes it that much sweeter.

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Modern Meets Tropical

Wedding ceremony in front of white patterned backdrop

Photo by Biancca Wallace; Planning and Design by After the Engagement

What a beautiful way to create a modern backdrop! This tropical wedding featured a large white structure with a cutout pattern, paired with a gorgeous addition of monstera palms. This is such a fun way to bring a modern touch to a tropical ceremony, but the palms could easily be swapped out for a floral display to fit any wedding theme.

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A Decorated Arch

Wedding altar with bold florals under arch

 Photo by Alex Lasota; Planning and Design by Tin Sparrow Events

You would never be able to tell this arch was constructed from plain wood just by looking at it. The couple created a custom display for their ceremony, decorating the wooden arch with florals, dried palm leaves, and pampas grass. Additional pieces of wood were crafted and painted to create a stunning arch effect, making the most beautiful statement for a summer wedding.

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A Heart Shaped Display

Heart shaped altar set-up

PHOTO BY I HEART MY GROOM; Planning and Design by Jaime Kostechko of Wild Heart Events

Why not make a bold and beautiful statement, and tell your guests just how much you love them too! Constructed with baby's breath that had been dyed pink, this altar was such a sweet touch, paired with pink pampas grass. But this concept could definitely be altered for any type of wedding, switching up the shape and color palette to accommodate another theme.

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A Growing Tree

Couple kissing in front of tree altar

PHOTO BY HENRY + MAC; Planning and Design by Nicole Mower Wedding + Events

When you want to embrace natural beauty, making a statement with simple elements is definitely the way to go. This altar was constructed utilizing lunaria branches, providing the most beautiful backdrop. We just love the way the display looked as if it was continuing to grow around the happy couple.

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A Vineyard Vibe

Couple kissing at winery wedding ceremony

PHOTO BY O'MALLEY PHOTOGRAPHERS; Planning and Design by Valley & Co.

Planning a vineyard wedding? Embrace the natural beauty of grapevines and let them shine through your backdrop. We love the way this simple arch utilized greenery that resembled grape leaves. With very little distractions, it provided the most beautiful frame to showcase the stunning vineyard in the background.

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