Can You Decorate a Catholic Church for a Wedding?

Every couple wants to spice up their wedding venue with classy and elegant décor, whether it is the main ceremony or the reception. One concern for a Catholic wedding is if there are any restrictions about how far one can go with the decorations, given the Catholic Church’s conventional nature.

So, can you decorate a Catholic Church for a wedding? A Catholic church can be decorated for a wedding but under strict guidance from the parish. Some parishes may be liberal in allowing couples to decorate as much as they would like, but some may limit the number and type of decorations. The best step is to consult with the church leaders to determine the church’s stand on such issues.

If the parish allows it, the couple can use several brilliant ideas to decorate your wedding venue.  As long as your church welcomes the idea of wedding decorations, there are several unique styles you can incorporate. We delve into the world of wedding décor to bring you the latest trends that will make your decorations one of the most memorable aspects of your wedding. Read on as we give you all the tips you need.

Does the Catholic Church Allow Wedding Decorations?

The Catholic Church is one of the most traditional churches in matters of ceremonies. Therefore, you need to be careful when making any decisions concerning any alterations to the venue.

While the Catholic Church does not have a specific rule about decorating, the decision solely lies in your parish. It would be best if you run such decisions by your priest to avoid inconveniences along the way. Similarly, knowing the church’s stand will help you plan for the décor; you will base your choices on what the church dictates.

You need to consult with your parish to determine how far you can go with the décor. Some churches may have some decorations put up already, so it’s best to consult with the church on whether you can remove them and add yours.

Secondly, some churches have their reservations about too many decorations. If your parish allows it, you can decorate, but still, ensure that you do not go overboard, especially at the altar. Doing so may interfere with the wedding liturgy by blocking the congregation’s view.

Different parishes have different rules about decorating for any ceremony. Adhering to these rules is not only a sign of respect to the institution but is also necessary to avoid taking care of damages after the event.

One such case is that some churches will have reservations about candle use to avoid any accidents at the church, and others would not allow the use of items such as birdseed in the compound. Some churches would also have strict guidelines on the flower choice; some will only allow artificial flowers and not real ones.

Lastly, some institutions will restrict you from decorating some church places, like the altar or church pews. These rules will vary from parish to parish, so consulting is the best cause of action to avoid purchasing items that the church won’t allow you to use.

Why Decorate the Church for a Wedding?

Even the most conservative couples would love to lift the face of their wedding venue. Some couples know how important décor is, and it does not come as a surprise when they decide to invest in it heavily. Some hire the decorations while some choose to buy so that they get to keep it after the celebrations. So what is the essence of wedding decorations?

Decorations are a great way to set the mood and add color to any event, and so many factors come to play whenever you wish to decorate. The way you select and arrange your colors can highlight your personality and set the entire event’s pace. From the moment people walk into the function, the décor is the first thing they notice, so choosing the perfect décor is an important choice.

Whether you decide to hire or purchase, you need to plan carefully to get the best results. With so many options to choose from, it is a guarantee that you will find something to accentuate your personality and bring out the intended mood of the ceremony.

You can also play around with your options to create what you want the event to portray; nature, elegance, magic, or your personality. The key is to wisely invest your time and money to get the perfect theme to leave your guests talking even when the event is long over.

Before You Choose the Ceremony Décor

So, you have discussed at length with your church leader, and he has given you the go-ahead to decorate the church for your wedding. So what do you need to consider before deciding on the type of décor?

The Theme

Before the decoration, you need to have a theme in mind. Every decision you make will be about that specific idea. This theme ranges from the couple’s favorite colors, preferences, or personalities. You can also base your theme on time in history to make it more interesting. Most couples would choose elegance, while others would go for a simple approach.

However, many people chose the western theme, which is classier and easier to use. Your theme will also depend on your budget; if you have enough finances to spare, then there’s no limit to how much detail you can put into your theme. 

The Location

Your decision will depend on your venue; how you decorate an outdoor wedding and a church wedding is not the same. In our case, our venue is indoors, which is easier and straight forward to decorate. The church already has a structure; thus, some aspects are in consideration.

For instance, you don’t need to worry about the weather (strong sun and wind) ruining your flowers since they are well sheltered. Secondly, there is no extra budget in terms of pillars and support. The church has taken care of that. Another plus for an indoor wedding is that the church building is already a beautiful work of art to complement any decor.

Your Budget

Your budget will always guide you when making any decision about your wedding. Some couples find hiring the pieces the better option since they are cheaper and more convenient. Whether you hire or purchase, the key is to find amazing décor that fits your budget, so it would be best to find minimalistic yet classy pieces since all that matters is how well you execute your idea.

Your theme also relies on your budget; the simpler your theme, the less money you will spend on it. The best way to go is to find more pocket-friendly pieces that are still elegant; this way, you won’t strain your resources.

You can pick the most important pieces that fit your theme and do away with other unnecessary purchases. If you get a great wedding planner, he/she will advise you in decision making.

Church Decoration Tips

There are various places to add your décor to the church. Note that the type of decoration you select will depend on your parish, so obtain their approval first before incorporating these ideas. Let’s look at some tips to help you in decorating the church for your big day.

The Outdoors

Your guests will notice the decoration that greets them before they even enter the church. An attractive decoration is sure to capture their attention and set the mood for the ceremony. This decoration may also help guide the guests to the wedding’s main entrance. You can go for an arch surrounded by flowers, balloons, and beautiful vegetation at the church’s main door.

A simpler approach would also be curving some tree branches with flowers and pinning them to the entrance sides. Another idea is to hand-make some elegant welcome signs to direct your guests to the church’s main entrance. If you want to make the decorations reusable; hence, pocket-friendly, you can use portable decorations to move to the reception once the mass is over.

The Altar

This part is one of the most important and noticeable areas of the church. It is also where the couple takes their vows, thus, the backdrop of many wedding pictures. It is also the center of attraction for the entire ceremony, so you need to make it look better than any other place. You can incorporate pillars with flower arrangements, an arch decorated arch, or candelabras on both sides of the altar.

You can also place a sculpture in line with your theme or have a table with the unity candles you will use after your vows. The key to decorating the altar is to try making it look elegant but not overdone. Most Catholic Churches have reservations about altar decorations, but if your church allows it, ensure that it does not block the congregation from witnessing the ceremony.

The Aisle

It is another important aspect to consider. All the guests and the bridal party will walk down this aisle, so it needs to stand out too. The basic decoration item is the aisle runner and the pew decorations. You can either use the church’s runner or find another one that blends well with your theme. 

A runner will spruce up the church by adding a touch of color. To keep it intact, you can instruct the ushers to place it right before the church leaders, and the bridal party arrives.

You can also go a different direction by using colorful columns at the end of each row. These columns will run down the aisle making the whole walk look elegant. For a simple touch, go for flower decorated columns, but for more flair, you can go for more sophisticated columns such as LED-lit columns, especially if your wedding is taking place in the evening.

The Pews

Just like the aisle, the church pews are also very noticeable; hence decorating them would ensure that you save on decoration budget. A brilliant idea would be nice little bows or mini bouquets at the pew’s ends. We also recommend using wreaths, floral balls, tulle, or mini baskets/ vases with flowers.

You can easily switch up the design of these decorations depending on your budget. To save more money, you can decorate every third row instead of every pew (this is also efficient in preventing over decoration). Always note that the pews are very conspicuous, so you should go easy on the amount and type of decorations; otherwise, they would get in the way of the aisle.

The Ceiling

Most churches have elegant high ceilings, which is already a plus. But you can still go ahead and have the ceiling look even better. The tip here is to have amazing hanging pieces that the guests will immediately notice. You can go for hanging flowers, decorative fabrics, or tulle. You can also string some decorative strands or lighting across the ceiling for a more dramatic effect.

If it is an evening wedding, you can play around with the lighting to get that classy effect. Make use of colorful bulbs or LED lighting, ensure that it isn’t overdone, just soft hues and light glows. We don’t want the guests staring at dancing lights throughout the service. 

The Balcony

A great place to decorate the church is the balcony area. Some churches either have one in the back or outside. These decorations are attractive due to the elevated nature of the balcony.

You may go for the traditional flower arrangements at the railings or spice it up with banners and ribbons. Some couples would also opt for welcome signs with their names on them at the front balcony. Such a backdrop would also look great in the wedding pictures.

Window sills

Luckily, some churches have giant windows, which make it more artistic to decorate the window sills. Consider the windows’ design before you pick a decorative piece; the larger the window, the bigger and bolder your piece can be.

You may go for a flower holder or have flowered branches. One unique choice for an evening wedding would be candles that create a calm ambiance for the guests; go for the tea lights, which are minimalistic yet classy. 

Dos and Don’ts of Decorating a Catholic

We drew up a list of what to do and what to avoid in matters of church decoration. It will help guide you even before you consult with your church leader on the way forward.


  1. Conduct proper research.

First, determine if your parish accepts decorations and to what extent. Also, find out whether you are using flowers or props, the best way is to ensure that you blend all the items properly and match the look you wanted.

  1. Follow your budget.

If your budget is limited, you can find an affordable supplier or a wedding planner to help you work around the amount you have. There’s no need to go over your budget if you can do away with other things; the same goes for any other aspect of your wedding.

  1. Take your time.

Please do not make any décor decisions in a hurry since it may inconvenience you on your big day. You want to avoid cases such as missing items or absent suppliers. Carefully go through your expectations with your planner so that everything you need may be available and timely.

  1. Be strategic.

If you want to save more on decoration, choose a day that coincides with a holiday, when the church has already decorated the church. You will only need to add a few items of your own if it isn’t enough. Similarly, you may decide to share the venue with another couple, so that you can share the decoration costs.

  1. Practice etiquette.

If you hired the items, ensure that you return them in one piece and leave the church in the original state, unless you want to leave behind some items for the guests to enjoy.


  1. Don’t over decorate the altar.

Some churches may prohibit decorating the altar altogether, but if your parish allows it, ensure that you don’t go overboard. You may end up diverting the guest’s attention or obstructing their view with overly done pieces.

  1. Don’t be disorganized.

The reason for themes is to avoid mixing up colors and ideas that do not complement each other. Pick one style and consistently use it for the entire ceremony.

  1. Don’t be too extra.

It isn’t advisable to combine every decorative piece in the décor. You cannot use flowers, ribbons, and balloons simultaneously; it may be too much.

Final Take

The decision on how far you can go with the decoration depends on your parish. However, most Catholic Churches have the intrinsic architectural beauty that is enough to make your wedding magical. Sometimes all you need is to add a few pieces; otherwise, you may take away the church’s aesthetics.

The key to church decorating is to be strategic and creative. You also want the décor to be classy but not over the top since this is a church setup. If you pick a great theme, tie it to the season and the reason for your ceremony, you are well on your way to having the most memorable event of your life. With the keen selection and proper planning, you will get the decoration right; the color, theme, and arrangement will be excellent.

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