15 Ideas for Gorgeous Wedding Ceremony Backdrops

Ideas that go way beyond the traditional altar.

The ceremony backdrop is the focal point of your I dos and one of the most photographed locations of your entire day; it will help set the tone and aesthetic of everything that follows. Whether you rely on your venue site as the source of the breathtaking views or design your own scenery, we’ve compiled a list of innovative options—with help from some of the wedding industry’s elite—to help you decide what’s best for your big day.

1. Highlight your venue.

“Select an incredibly beautiful architectural structure, such as a historic greenhouse, to serve as the background for the ceremony,” advises Becca Atchison, founding partner and creative director of Rebecca Rose Events. Keeping floral elements and installations to a minimum will guarantee that the focus stays on the uniqueness of your venue.

2. Rely on your surroundings.


For ceremonies hosted in the center of nature’s most striking settings, what better way to create a noteworthy backdrop than to let your landscape take center stage. “The wooded surroundings of this lush ceremony site paired perfectly with the earthy florals of the arch,” says Jennifer Haf, owner of Bloom Floral Design.

3. Go modern and minimal.

With wood as a central element in this ceremony’s outdoor design, Bree and Freddie, owners of Rockrose Floral, kept a minimalist mindset when embellishing the triangular altar in simple, fresh blush-colored flowers and delicate greenery.

4. Occupy unconventional spaces.


“This chuppah was created in the center of a sea of tall trees,” says Kelly Cavanaugh, owner and senior event consultant at Clementine Custom Events. A unique aisle set in the middle of lush, natural greenery, made for a ceremony set up that was one-of-a-kind.

5. Create an eccentric altar.

“Adding a unique shape and different textures to your altar will catch your guests’ eye as they arrive at the ceremony,” says Kerri-Lynn Mulhearn, owner of Stella Day Events. The circular altar choice for this outdoor ceremony was the perfect balance of alternative and refined.

6. Be as original as possible.


What better way to standout then to create a ceremony setting that’s completely innovative. “Create a unique backdrop that guests have not seen before,” suggest Tessa Brand, owner of Tessa Lyn Events. Fabric crossed in a white display, embellished with white blooms, made for a show-stopping backdrop to these outdoor I dos.

7. Don't be afraid of a little opulence. 

For this standout setup, Andrea Eppolito, founder of Andrea Eppolito Events created a semi-circle of crystals to serve as the backdrop for a lavish ceremony. “For extra glam and a lot of sparkle, consider doing a fall of crystals,” Eppolito says.

8. Use Unusual Materials


“We worked with Adore Folklore to create this brass ceremony arch to give a modern feel to this couple's romantic ceremony!” says Heather Balliet, owner of Amorology. Flowers and vintage rugs were added to warm up the space.

9. Consider a color scheme.

For this lavish backdrop, all-white elements were used to embellish this grand indoor space, including features like draping, flowers, and columns. “Using a color scheme, or an all-white color palette for your backdrop, makes for a cohesive and elegant design,” says Erin Sellers, director of weddings at Revel Décor.

10. Grab Their Attention


Lauren Emerson, owner of Lauren Emerson Events & Design, is a firm believer in creating a backdrop that will set the bar for the rest of your day. “Having a significant floral piece as your ceremony backdrop is not only timeless, but it also sets the tone for the rest of the evening,” she says, adding, “The floral arch or installation also doubles as a great backdrop for guests to take photos during cocktail hour.”

11. Go Low When Everyone Else Goes High

Not all altar choices have to be grand and excessive. For this ceremony, set amongst a mountain backdrop, Emily Clarke, owner of Emily Clarke Events, implemented a low floral installation (with the help of Bows and Arrows Floral) to show off the ceremony’s striking location.

12. Or Go Higher Than Everyone Else


Whether working with an environment that’s outside, or with an indoor space equipped with high ceilings, the height of your arch, altar, or chuppah, can be a defining factor in the overall design of your ceremony. When photographing this alfresco fete, Genevieve de Manio, owner of Genevieve de Manio Photography, made sure to capture the presence of this striking chuppah. “This beautiful chuppah provided a focal point for the ceremony in such a majestic setting,” she says.

13. Play into other elements of décor.

If your ceremony site includes surroundings with dominant elements of décor—like this beach location where palm trees served as a focal point—consider designing your backdrop to work with those leading elements. “A wooden altar with minimal draping and florals was the perfect complement to the beach’s prominent natural features,” says Jennifer Stiebel, founder of SoCo Events.


14. Construct a flower wall.

The perfect alternative to a traditional flower arch or altar, a flower wall is both captivating and original. For this indoor ceremony, Lori Stephenson, owner and principal of LOLA Event Production, used various florals in hues of pink and white to create a romantic live backdrop.

15. Honor your tradition.


It’s possible to create an eye-catching backdrop while still honoring the traditions of your heritage and ceremony. For this Mandap, Ali Phillips, owner of Engaging Events by Ali, created a bold focal point that transcended the traditional Indian setup.

*This story originally appeared on

*Minor edits have been made by the editors

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