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30 Unique Altar Alternatives For Outdoor Weddings

Jun 27 2014 - 3:01am

Outdoor weddings offer all sorts of possibilities for ceremony decor — especially when it comes to creative, unexpected altar alternatives. Whether you're into ornate, romantic archways or delicate DIY [1] details, we've rounded up some of the most original backdrop ideas from across the web. Hoping to bring a bit of personality to your ceremony? Here are 30 must-see ideas to spark your inspiration.

— Additional reporting by Angela Elias

For a fun, whimsical twist, try creating a unique backdrop with found objects or a specific item that means something to you as a couple.

Photo by Focus Photography [2] via Green Wedding Shoes [3]

Bring a bit of personality to your ceremony with bright, punchy garland and big, oversize balloons.

Photo by Heidi Geldhauser of Our Labor of Love [4] via Green Wedding Shoes [5]

Bypass the standard arch routine, and try a unique table setup instead. Use lanterns, flowers, boxes, suitcases — whatever seems to fit in with the rest of your wedding [6] decor.

Photo by BLR Life Photography & Cinema [7] via Style Me Pretty [8]

Have a special quote or phrase that speaks to you? Hang it from a wooden archway to make it part of your big day.

Photo by Photoshoots Vallarta [9] via Style Me Pretty [10]

Dainty and delicate, colorful paper cranes add a dreamy, quirky touch to an otherwise soft, romantic setting.

Photo by Heidi Geldhauser from Our Labor of Love [11] via Green Wedding Shoes [12]

For an Anthropologie-esque setup, try stacking pallets on top of each other to create a mini wooden stage. Then slip in some flower arrangements to brighten the look.

Photo by EE Photography [13] via Green Wedding Shoes [14]

Paint the words to one of your favorite songs — the processional or first dance song, for example — on two large banners, and stand them up on either side of your traditional archway for a personal touch.

Photos by Paige Newton Photography [15] via Green Wedding Shoes [16]

A pair of standing doors perfectly sets the ceremony scene, and the type of doors can make a major statement. Arched glass doors say something very different than antique wooden doors, for instance, so get creative with your options.

Photo by One Love Photography [17] via Style Me Pretty [18]

If you have a specific shape or logo that's running throughout your wedding [19] design, then consider creating a large floral version for your ceremony backdrop.

Photo by Ashley Rose [20] via Green Wedding Shoes [21]

Dainty lace curtains, natural arrangements, and a delicate white birdcage create a rustic, elegant vibe.

Photo by Mile Photography [22] via Style Me Pretty [23]

If you're in the midst of gorgeous scenery, then why not try a ceremony in the round? Not only will your guests get a unique view, but you'll also be (literally) surrounded by your loved ones during that special moment.

Photo by Jose Villa [24] via Style Me Pretty [25]

Delve into the popular ombré trend with layers of colored bunting in a variety of shades — simple, festive, and totally original.

Photo by Sweet Little Photographs [26] via Green Wedding Shoes [27]

With large potted plants and gorgeous, sprawling flowers, a sculptural piece is transformed into a beautiful backdrop that's perfect for a romantic beach wedding [28].

Photo by Braedon Photography [29] via Style Me Pretty [30]

Create your own "outdoor chapel" with standing arches at the end of the aisle, and then add a crystal chandelier to amp up the romance.

Photo by Tanja Lippert Photography [31] via Style Me Pretty [32]

Having a more modern affair? Construct a contemporary arch with simple shapes and bright, fresh shades.

Photo by This Modern Romance [33] via Green Wedding Shoes [34]

Make any space feel like home with a DIY [35] wooden fireplace lined with mismatched vases and colorful flowers.

Photo by Ryan Ray Photography [36] via Style Me Pretty [37]

Are you the crafty type? Channel that DIY [38] charm with fabric flowers, yarn, wooden monogram letters, and the rest of your favorite go-to materials.

Photos by Clayton Austin [39] via Green Wedding Shoes [40]

Set the stage with tall curtains in a neutral shade; then hang a ribbon garland that goes with your color palette.

Photo by Mr. Haack [41] via Style Me Pretty [42]

Lots and lots of hanging streamers feel fun and festive, adding a bit of whimsy to your big moment.

Photo by The Nichols [43] via Green Wedding Shoes [44]

Hung frames in all different shapes and sizes give the ceremony space an eclectic, contemporary style.

Photos by Kristen Marie [45] via Green Wedding Shoes [46]

If you share a sweet, special saying as a couple, then create a hanging banner to personalize your ceremony.

Photo by Jason + Anna Photography [47] via Style Me Pretty [48]

Alongside natural, rustic details, the simple word "Beloved" stands out as a sweet, unexpected touch.

Photo by Smitten Photography [49] via Style Me Pretty [50]

Why use one door when you can use four? Create a unique backdrop with two sets of french doors.

Photo by Q Weddings [51] via Style Me Pretty [52]

Dainty and charming, a simple garland in bright colors lends a sweet dose of character to the setting.

Photo by Lexigraphics Photography [53] via Style Me Pretty [54]

Although it's simple, the added touch of hearts on the archway makes the setting all the more special.

Photos by Jagger Photography [55] via Green Weddings Shoes [56]

Against a gorgeous view, a simple white archway helps you and the scenery stand out.

Photo by Angie Silvy Photography [57] via Style Me Pretty [58]

To keep up the natural, earthy style, try an archway made of branches. Dress it up with flowers and greenery — or don't, since it's gorgeous all on its own.

Photo by Matthew Morgan Photography [59] via Green Wedding Shoes [60]

How elegant are these draping floral curtains? Go all out with fresh blooms, or try to DIY [61] with fake flowers.

Photo by James Christianson [62] via Style Me Pretty [63]

Don't just think about what can stand on the ground — consider adding unique touches to surrounding trees or structures for a greater visual impact.

Photo by Ashleigh Taylor Photography [64] via Style Me Pretty [65]

If you're going with simple drapes, then ground the look with sturdy flower baskets to create a gorgeous tableau.

Photo by Wendy Laurel [66] via Style Me Pretty [67]


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