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Altar arrangement in white

Wedding flowers at the altar or chapel are an important statement for wedding ceremonies. When you first meet with the bride and groom or partners to discuss the church flowers for their wedding, be sure to ask three important questions: What are the colors of the wedding party? What colors will be used in the bride’s bouquet? What colors will be used in the groom’s boutonniere? It is from these three questions that the colors for the altar, the pew flowers (for denoting reserved pews) and ribbons are determined.

Once you know the colors to be used by the wedding party, visit the flower markets or gardens to see what type of flowers are available and will be suitable for use. You’ll also need to review the budget allocated to the church for flowers as these are often part of the church’s package, which includes clergy, organist, flowers, and sexton services.

Don’t be daunted by the size of the budget. At Buds Designs we have done many weddings with all ranges of budgets: We’ve done simple, tasteful arrangements at the altar using greens with azaleas, or sunflowers, or camellias. We’ve also done elegant arrangements using only white flowers such as roses, white phalaenopsis orchids, Asian lilies, arum lilies with Achillea Mollies and green dill (smells wonderful).

Tropical wedding arrangement

There are many combinations of colors and flowers that can be used at the altar. Think about how you can then mix them into the wedding party’s flowers and color scheme. Think, too, about the time of year and let the season influence the arrangements you create. For one wedding here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we used autumn decorative cabbages, rust-colored carnations mixed with orange roses, rose hips, sticks and variegated ivy.

If the wedding reception is held in one of the church halls, carry through the message of the wedding celebrants by incorporating the flower and color combinations used in the church into the table arrangements, entrances, women’s bathroom, and men’s room (where you can mimic the groom’s boutonnière).

Nuptial candle wreath

Over the past six months, I have seen many beautiful flower altar arrangements for weddings in our Episcopal churches in South Florida. Each time I’m reminded that wedding flowers are more than pretty arrangements to be viewed by God, His clergy, the wedding party and the congregants: When used in creative ways, wedding flowers convey harmony, consistency and a wonderful well-thought-out message for hope, love and blessings.

by Mike Kobel and Keith Shaw, Buds Designs

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