A wedding is a very joyous occasion to celebrate, and the appearance of the church should reflect this, with the help of carefully chosen flower arrangements.
Visit the church or venue where you would like to get married, to decide on which areas are best to decorate, and how to best achieve the desired effect. Think about the backdrop to the flower arrangements – pretty and colourful stained glass windows, a brightly coloured carpet, stonework and woodwork. You should consider placing flower arrangements in dark areas to brighten them up, perhaps by arranging for lights to be placed around an arrangement.
The flower arrangements for the church should be discussed with the minister at your first meeting with him. You should check with the minister whether an outside flower arranger is allowed to take care of the flowers, and when the best time for the florist to set up before the ceremony is. Make sure you check with the minister if there are any places that cannot be decorated; some do not allow the altar to be decorated, to make sure that the cross is visible. Many churches do not permit flowers to decorate the church during certain festivals such as Lent (between Shrove Tuesday and Easter) and Advent (about one month before Christmas).
You should be able to place flower arrangements at some or all of the following positions:
Altar (the Communion table) Place an arrangement on the altar, a pedestal either side of the steps leading up to the altar, or drape garlands on the choir stalls
Pulpit (raised enclosed platform for preaching from) – Place a flower arrangement along the front of the platform, or drape garlands along the front
Lectern (stand for holding bible) – Place a small arrangement along the front of the stand
Windowsills – Allow the arrangements to drape over the edge, and perhaps pick out colours from the stained-glass windows
Font (contains baptismal water) – Place an arrangement in front of, or on top of it
Columns – Hang garlands or swags vertically, or wind foliage and flowers around the columns
Church entrance – You may like to arrange for an archway of flowers and foliage or garlands to be placed around the door, or topiary trees placed on either side of the door. You could also place an arrangement in the porch
Chancel steps (near the altar) – Place a pedestal either side of the steps
Pew ends – either tie swags or garlands to the ends or hang small hand-tied bunches of flowers from them
Lych gate (the roofed gateway of the churchyard) – Hanging arrangements such as flower balls, baskets, garlands or swags of blossom are suitable
You may choose to decorate every pew end, but if your budget is limited then you may like to decorate every second or third pew with a bow. Alternatively, you could choose to just decorate the first six to ten pew ends. Some brides choose to have flower trees on either side of the aisle, and coloured ribbon wound around the stems will complement the colour scheme of the other flowers.
If several weddings take place on the same day, it will not be practical for four or five sets of floral displays to be installed and dismantled. Instead, the cost of the flowers is divided between all of the couples that are getting married on the same day. You will have to liase with the other couples, and you will all have to meet the church flower arrangers to agree on which flowers you will all be satisfied with.
You may be satisfied with whatever flowers happen to be in the church at the time of your wedding. Certain times of the year such as harvest festival and Christmas, means that the church will be more greatly decorated. This may mean that you will not have to make a contribution to the weekly flower arrangers, with the benefit of having more elaborate flower arrangements.
In a register office, flower arrangements brighten up the marriage room and make it more attractive. The marriage room is usually decorated with silk or fresh flowers, although you can organise extra arrangements. There is usually an arrangement of flowers on the registrar’s table, and the bride may choose to carry a bouquet. The men will also wear buttonholes like at a church wedding.
If you decide to have a marriage ceremony at a register office or a licensed venue, then your first meeting with the Superintendent Registrar or venue owner will decide whether you are allowed to bring in your own flower arrangements. If the register office is very busy, you will not be able to arrange for new flower arrangements to be positioned before your wedding ceremony. The flowers may be provided by the management of the registered premises, and you should discuss with them exactly what is usually provided and what kinds of decorations you would like.
For wedding ceremonies at licensed venues, you are usually free to place flower arrangements wherever you wish. You may like to arrange for an archway of flowers to be erected, under which you can stand for the ceremony. The decor of the premises will probably affect the type of flowers that you choose. You may like to compliment the historical period of the building, or to allow the flowers to enhance the theme of your wedding.
For weddings in synagogues, the style in which the synagogue is decorated must be discussed with the Rabbi or Secretary. Like churches, synagogues differ greatly in style and layout, and also have high echoing spaces. However, the ‘Chuppah’ is greatly decorated with flowers, the canopy under which the service is conducted. The Jewish Chuppah symbolises the home that the couple will now set up together.
Not all churches and register offices will allow confetti to be thrown after the wedding, so as an alternative guests may like to use bubbles or dried flower petals that are biodegradable. You may like the flower girls to hand out cones or boxes of floral confetti as the guests enter the ceremony venue. Please contact your licensed venue to find out whether you can use metallic confetti.