Tips for Church Wedding Decorations

Amy Hoover
Church decorated with beautiful greenery for a wedding

Distinguish your wedding from everyone else's by following some simple wedding church decoration tips. For instance, even if pew bows are all your budget allows, you can still find easy ways to dress them up to make the church's decor fit your wedding vision.

Remember the Rules

The first item to do is speak with the clergy or secretary at your church about rules for decorating. Most religious institutions have stipulations about particular things that can and cannot be used. Following the wedding decoration rules not only is a sign of respect towards your church, but can help you avoid fines for damages afterwards.

Common rules at churches might include:

  • Restrictions on candle use
  • Floral guidelines, real and faux
  • Rules for affixing décor to church pews, altars or balconies
  • Restrictions on outdoor items, like birdseed
  • Clean-up instructions

Decoration Tip: Make a short note about the rules to tuck into your purse or wallet. This way, you can reference the rules before you make a purchase of church decorations.

Outdoor Church Décor

Greet your guests before they even get to the ceremony. Country or difficult to find churches might need directional signs to help point guests in the right direction. Luminaries can line a sidewalk or stairs leading up to the entrance at an evening wedding.

Vinyl wedding stickers in your initials, names or themed graphic are a unique alternative to hanging wreaths or bows on the door. In the spring or summer, small citrus plants can be placed next to the doors, while a corn shock will look splendid in autumn. During the winter or holiday season, flank doors with miniature evergreens.

Decoration Tip: A decorated entrance is inviting to wedding guests.

Church Pew Decorations

Although pew bows are traditional and affordable, you can add a few fun twists to dress them up. Improve on simple bows by adding a charm in your wedding theme to the bow. A Christmas ornament can be added to a red velvet bow, a mini cowboy hat can be attached to a rope bow or a few faux butterflies can be perched atop bow loops.

Contemporary and unique alternatives to the traditional bow are available. Consider the following ideas to decorate your church wedding pews:

Floral pew decoration for a Christmas wedding
  • Mistletoe, holly and ivy
  • Floral balls
  • Mini wicker baskets with petals
  • Dried wreaths
  • Tulle or ivy swags
  • Horseshoes
  • Small umbrellas hung upside down, filled with flowers
  • Corded lasso
  • Accordion fold fans
  • Beach pails with seashells and shovels

Items can be tied on with elastic bands. Using adhesives, glue or staples is usually prohibited at most churches.

A larger pew decoration can be done using a shepherd's hook. Hooks can be tied to pews or attached with clips made for that specific purpose. Candles in hanging vases can be attached to the curved end. Floral balls, mini baskets of flowers or a wreath can also be hung from the hook.

Decoration Tip: Save money by placing decorations on every third pew.

Wedding Church Decoration Tips: Altar Area

The front of the church and altar area is where many of the posed professional photographs are taken. It is also where the bridal party stands during the wedding, so all of the guests are directed towards this area of the church almost the entire wedding. Therefore, decorating the area is considered a vital part of decorating for a church wedding.

Altar area wedding church decoration tips for this area include:

  • Use moveable pillars or columns for wedding flower arrangements. They can be moved in and out of photos as needed. Place them in front of the pulpit for the ceremony itself.
  • An arch can be placed at the end of the pews before the altar area for the couple to pass through.
  • Weave tulle and lights or green garland around stair banisters and communion rails.
  • Add small white lights to any large trees or foliage that flank the altar itself.
  • Rent two candelabras from a party supply store to place on either side of the altar if there are none in the church. Decorate with silk wedding flowers that match the bridesmaids bouquets.
  • Large sculptures can be rented and placed in the altar area, such as hearts or crosses.
  • Position a small table for a unity candle ceremony in a space where it can easily be moved into view of all the wedding guests. Pick out a candle that fits with the overall wedding theme, whether it is Celtic or winter.
  • A lengthy spray of wedding flowers for church altars made with large blooms will dress up the actual altar and be visible even to those seated in the back of the sanctuary.

Decoration Tip: The altar is often considered a sacred part of the church, so be sure to double check with your religious leader if you are unsure about any decoration ideas you may have for this area.

Aisle Runners, Windowsills and Balconies

Attention to the aisles, windowsills and balconies can complete the church's wedding decorations. While many couples do not bother with decorating these areas, taking a few moments and a few dollars can bring the whole interior together.

Aisle Runners

A simple aisle runner in white may be available from the church for free or a very small fee. This can cover unattractive carpeting and add an air of elegance with almost no effort. Have the ushers put it down the aisle just before the bridal party walks to the altar.

Couples who plan to use real flower petals might be required by the church to put a runner down before the flower girl walks down the aisle. Petals have been known to stain carpeting.

Decoration Tip: Purchase a customized aisle runner that has your initials, names or theme printed on the ends.


Windowsills are perfect areas for a simple candle display. Twinkling tealight candles in the evening against stained glass will create a dazzling effect. Tapered candles in varying heights can also create a lovely appearance.

Seasonal wedding flowers can be placed in an elegant vase or basket on the windowsill. For more informal weddings, a whimsical holder may be appropriate for displaying flowers.

Decoration Tip: Honor your religious beliefs by placing a small standing cross on windowsills.


Churches may have a balcony above the altar area or in the back of the church. Tulle or ivy garlands may be swagged across the top of the balcony in a similar fashion to the altar railing. Nestle votive candleholders between garland sections on top of the balcony railing, or cover wedding light strands loosely with tulle for a soft glow when the balcony is at the front of the church.

The church may have banners available to you for little to no charge. Pick ones out that have appropriate themes, such as when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Couples who choose to partake in communion during their wedding ceremony may want to pick a banner that reflects that theme. Hang the banners across the balcony for guests to view as the exit the church.

Decoration Tip: Try to incorporate as many items provided by the church as possible to save time and money, especially in areas that are often neglected but visible to guests.

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Tips for Church Wedding Decorations