Catholic Weddings

floral rules in church

I want to incorporate winding floral vines around my church's alter columns (1st picture example, 2nd picture my church's alter). Has anyone attempted decorating a catholic church beyond just doing something with the pews? If so, was your church pretty understanding and accommodating of your decorating wishes? I'm trying to gauge other people's exeriences before bringing this up with my priest. I appreciate your input!


Re: floral rules in church

  • Theresa626Theresa626
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    edited December 2011
    No offense, but this post makes me laugh.  Don't even bother bringing this up to the priest.  Not only would they never ever allow you to do this, they'd probably be appalled that you want to.  Not that I am appalled, I'm just saying.  Most Catholic churches will not let you do anything at all practically to decorate.  If you want to decorate, you have to get married outside the church basically.  Some churches are more lenient then others in how much they let you decorate but the altar is pretty much completely off limits because it is very sacred.  Notice that they never put floral arrangements on the altar, not even at Christmas though they may have them in other places around the church. 

    My church allows no decorations.  I can't have a flower girl throwing petals, bubbles or anything like that, no aisle runner, no decorations at all except for one or two arrangements next to the altar.  that's it. not even pew bows.  They have a lot of rules. 

    Also, the church in general is neither accomodating nor understanding of anyone's wishes regarding their wedding (in my own experience anyway). 
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
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    edited December 2011

    Notice that they never put floral arrangements on the altar, not even at Christmas though they may have them in other places around the church. 

    what?  the only time of year our church doesnt have flowers is Lent.  at Christmas tehy always have pointsettias, and other times they always have a small vase of flowers or a potted plant on each side of the altar.  often times there will be flowers on the Virgin Mary's side of the church, before her statue.


    that said, though, i doubt your priest will let you do waht you illustrate here.  also, logistically,  how would you get them up after the last Mass and tehn down before the next Mass?  timing might be an issue.  if you have, say, a 4pm Mass and then your wedding 530, your florist would have only about 1/2 hour to put up the decorations.

  • Riss91Riss91
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: floral rules in church:
    No offense, but this post makes me laugh.  Don't even bother bringing this up to the priest.  Not only would they never ever allow you to do this, they'd probably be appalled that you want to.  Not that I am appalled, I'm just saying.  Most Catholic churches will not let you do anything at all practically to decorate.  If you want to decorate, you have to get married outside the church basically.  Some churches are more lenient then others in how much they let you decorate but the altar is pretty much completely off limits because it is very sacred.  Notice that they never put floral arrangements on the altar, not even at Christmas though they may have them in other places around the church.  My church allows no decorations.  I can't have a flower girl throwing petals, bubbles or anything like that, no aisle runner, no decorations at all except for one or two arrangements next to the altar.  that's it. not even pew bows.  They have a lot of rules.  Also, the church in general is neither accomodating nor understanding of anyone's wishes regarding their wedding (in my own experience anyway). 
    Posted by Theresa626
    Yikes! Someone had a bad experience at their church! I agree that the church does have certain rules about what decoration is appropriate, so it would be best for you to speak directly with your specific church about what they would allow. The churches I've dealt with would allow altar arrangements, pew decorations and certain decorations elsewhere (lobby/entryways). I agree with Calypso that what you're looking for might be too much of an undertaking on the day-of even if the church is okay with it. I'd also like to put out there that sometimes less is more. It draws focus to the important events going on. There are so many beautiful churches and beautiful altars that I often think they need no further adornment.

    I also would like to say that the church must uphold certain standards that others might see as not "accomodating nor understanding" of the couple's wishes regarding their wedding. To that I say - this is a very important, serious religious ceremony and the couple should respect that and not be concerned with the unimportant "fluff". The reason why many chruches don't allow petals, aisle runners, bubbles is for liability purposes and the additional clean-up costs. It's not to ruin your wedding.
  • edited December 2011
    Our church is pretty small and cute, and the altar is quite simple. The priest told us that we are allowed up to two decorations, but I think I don't want any, because the altar is so beautiful by itself. 

    To be honest, I really don't like these floral decorations around the columns, and your church's altar does not look like these would match it.  You don't want to end up making the altar look like a club on madri gras.  Plus, I can imagine these elevating your flower cost by A LOT!.  Calypso is also right, you have to think of how to incorporate that arrangement time wise... Sorry if I am harsh, but this is just my opinion... churches tend to be really pretty as they are.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
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    edited December 2011

    You don't want to end up making the altar look like a club on madri gras.  

    sorry, that made me laugh! 


    theresa, have you looked into a pomander (i think that's the name of it) for your FG?  its basically a ball of flowers on a ribbon that she can carry.  pretty cute, and definiteily less messy than petals.

  • clearheavensclearheavens
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    edited December 2011
    I agree with most ppl.

    I would also add that most guests would only notice the flowers at the end of their pew and that's about it.  I would focus on decorating at the reception instead, like the entrance and their dinner tables.

    For me, personally, the only flower arrangement that I'm having at the church is the flower for Our Mother because that means a lot to me.
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  • LittlinLittlin
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    edited December 2011
    Our priest told us to save our church decor money for an amazing honeymoon!!!! I laughed pretty hard when he said that.  I think we'll just get a simple floral arrangement for the front.

    I agree that the decor should be a bit toned down from the pictures you posted - it would be much more challenging to do that sort of arrangement in a church compared to a reception venue, because of time constraints, labour, and church rules.  Could you have a decorated entrance like that at your reception instead?

    Hope that helps!
  • Theresa626Theresa626
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    edited December 2011
    Calypso, many churches have lots of flowers around the altar and around the church but never sitting on top of the altar.  That's the difference.  I don't think they'd have a problem if she wanted to put arrangements on either side of the altar but they wouldn't want them on the actual altar.  The places you mentioned many churches do have flowers just not on the altar. 

    As far as the flower girl, I'm not having one.  I'm not really that close to any little girls anyway and if she can't throw flowers it seems silly to have her walk down the aisle for no reason and buy a dres and all that so whatever. 

    Riss... as far as the bad experience goes... it's not so much the rules that have left a bitter taste in my mouth, it's the money hungriness.  It made me really angry that many of the churches wouldn't give us a date till we donated on the envelope system for six months.  Didn't matter if we had been going to church every week there if we hadn't been donating, we didn't get a wedding date.  So, six months of donating in addition to the eight hundred dollars they're charging us as a "mandatory" donation to have our wedidng there and then on top of that having five million completely unflexible rules about everything. 
  • ootmother2ootmother2
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    edited December 2011
    The church for the wedding was not their parish chuch, just a lovely small church on Cape Cod.

    The only instructions from the priest was if you bring it in, you take it out.

    We put one lovely arrangement on the alter, pew bow W/ hydranges on every other row and two hydranges wreaths on the outside dooor.  Pretty simple but it suited the church.
  • edited December 2011
    I think most of the responses are on point.  But, please be aware that it will vary from church to church how much you can decorate.  At my parish, my priest LOVES to decorate for every occassion.  But, the altar never has any flowers.  Flowers are permitted at the Marian altar.
  • edited December 2011
    my church always has flowers on and around the alter.  it was required that we provide the church with flowers for our wedding.  the pew flowers we added and took down after.

    to OP: that is too much.  it looks like a cheap reception hall and not a place of worship.  stick to the basics and take your priests advice; you don't need to give him any ideas.
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
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    edited December 2011
    It made me really angry that many of the churches wouldn't give us a date till we donated on the envelope system for six months. 

    i have never heard of this.  we donate regularly, but never in the envelopes.  waht if you had been going and putting a $20 bill in there every week?

    that aside, $800 is a tad high, but at the same time, some folks spend that to feed 6-8 people at their reception.  you have to keep it in perspective.  but in general, i don't agree with churches "charging" for sacraments.  however, tehy probably have to in this day and age since many wouldnt know enough to give a proper stipend or donation on their own. 
  • ootmother2ootmother2
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    edited December 2011
    Our priest sad just give to th church what you tell the IRS you give and everything will be okay.

    Smart guy there
  • Theresa626Theresa626
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    edited December 2011
    Calypso, I asked that question. In fact, at the church that is our regular parish, I had given money in a check before but I hadn't filled out the parishioner form yet.  I asked about my previous donations and they said they had record of them but they ddn't count because I had not been a registered parishoner when I donated and when I became a registered parishoner, I hadn't been donating for six months regularly.  Also, if you gave money and it wasn't in the envelope system, it wouldn't count because then they can't keep track of it or something. 
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977
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    edited December 2011
    that is ridiculous.  i dont blame you for being annoyed.  ive never donated wtih envelopes, and my family never did either.  we always just put greenbacks in the basket.
  • edited December 2011
    My church allows everything except:

    1) Flower girl throwing things.  This is because there is no janitor who comes in on saturdays, so there would be petals everywhere still come sunday morning.  Okay, fair enough...so the flower girl is carrying the virgin mary bouquet.

    2) No runner, because you would slip with the combo of fabric + their tile.  I wasn't going to have one because of that, even before it was in the contract.

    3) No flowers on the altar itself...the stuff behind the altar, sure.  We use a high altar (as in, pre-vatican II) and there are steps sort of behind it...those steps can be decorated, but the actual altar itself which is used for Mass cannot be.  Also fine.

    So, really, they've been reasonable.  My priest told me "you can have nothing...you can turn it into the conservatory of flowers for all I care...just don't break those three rules."

    There is also stuff in the contract about not nailing things to pews and other damaging things, and that's also fair. 
  • edited December 2011
    Our church doesn't have any rules about donating. We contacted them about RCIA & a wedding before we even started going (cause FI wasn't practicing at the time). We were immediately put in touch with a deacon & the RCIA lady - who encouraged us to go to mass. We only throw a couple of dollars (cash) in collection when we can afford it. They didn't even mention any donation when they baptised my daughter.
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