Alternative Altars

Planning an outdoor ceremony, Houston bride? An al fresco vow exchange is a great opportunity to get creative and show off your personal style with an altar that goes beyond the basic flower-twined arch or filmy canopy.

Don’t overlook interestingly textured materials like bamboo, wrought iron and driftwood, which make sturdy foundations and offer interesting contrast to softer textiles and floral. Maybe you want to add internal illumination to stretched-fabric posts, or forgo floral in favor of hanging crystals, seashells or sculpted branches. Perhaps your ceremony setting has the good fortune of a natural feature—say, a massive willow tree or sparkling lake—that can serve as a special focal point for your nuptials with little or no added decoration.

While you’re considering these altar alternatives, have a look at a handful of intriguing, unexpected, and altogether wonderful altar examples we’ve pulled together for you:

How cool is this “stage” altar, crafted by Oakland, Calif.-based Because We Can for the wedding of stationery company Hello!Lucky’s creative director?

Photos by Gia Canali with Sara Remington

Photos by Gia Canali with Sara Remington

This contemporary, elegant black wrought-iron chuppah, on the Fountain Terrace of The Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas, doubled as a canopy for the reception’s sweetheart table. Stylish and practical.

Wrought Iron Altar

Wrought Iron Altar

Photos by altF Photography

Photos by altF Photography

We love the glowing, ethereal “posts” on this simple but spectacular outdoor canopy. And the bright, willowy-stemmed flowers? What a magical effect.

Illuminated Altar

Illuminated Altar

There’s not much to this understated bamboo canopy—but what is there is refined and lovely, and draws attention to the wedding couple, rather than to itself. You could always add tropical foliage or accent the aisle with floral for a lusher, more feminine look.

Bamboo Altar

Bamboo Altar

And, finally, we are totally in love with this hand-hewn altar, made by the bride’s younger brother to resemble an old-time country church. Check out the “windows,” the yellow dresser, the black iron chandelier and antique candle-holders—amazing, totally original, absolutely beautiful.

Photos by Stephanie Fay

Photos by Stephanie Fay

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2 Responses to “Alternative Altars”

  1. I love these ideas!!

  2. Michelle says:

    We built a pergola for our outdoor wedding. It created a beautiful and intimate space for us to exchange our vows. These structures can get expensive though – we had a family member build ours and we saved a fortune!

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