top of page

What Flowers Do You Need For A Non Church Wedding?


Today I thought I might give an insight a to what flowers might be required for a civil wedding, or non church wedding ceremony.

What might be required is all down to your ceremony location.

White and green wildflower style meadow arrangements at civil wedding ceremony directed by Amy Daunt Design - Image by Studio Lordan - Flowers by Howe Hill Flowers
Meadow Style Arrangements across the back rows of chairs at an outdoor ceremony in West Cork.

Many of the weddings we design for opt for a non religious outdoor ceremony. Our advice is usually to create impact and focus on the area in which the couple stand or sit throughout the ceremony itself.

Couple kissing under a natural floral display at a gastro pub in Timoleague, Co.Cork. Image by John Beasley. Venue Monks Lane Timoleague. Flowers b y Howe Hill Flowers
Anne & Jamie stealing a kiss under the pergoda at Monks Lane, Timoleague at the end of their wedding ceremony.

Impact and focus is key. Many couples come to us thinking to have lots of smaller designs, or aiming to have items usually seen at a church ceremony, like posy style pew end bunches. Smaller elements are often lost in an open outdoor space. Rather than having 10 little posy bunches at €35 to €50 each, consider spending €350 to €500 or even a little more on a more dramatic and significant item, such as 2 large meadows as a backdrop.

Image by Flowers by
Magical locations with beautiful views benefit from low framing designs which simply and beautifully mark the ceremony space. Image via

Image by Flowers by
The flowers were all about enhancing the couple amid the scenery. Image via

Often in Irish civil ceremonies, there is some focus on a ceremony table. I'm not sure if this is something which again comes from the idea of an altar or if it is something that celebrants like to include? My own personal feeling is that it creates a kind of transactional vibe, like signing legal papers at an office desk, especially if the celebrant sits on one side opposite the couple at the other!!

Rather than this type of set up, we usually advise that if there is to be a ceremony table, that it might instead be placed to the side of the focal ceremony area. The ceremony is all about you, as a couple and that is where the focus should be.

Autumn wedding at Courtmacsherry hotel, image by Kate Bean Photography, flowers by Howe Hill Flowers
Emma & Mike's handfasting ceremony in Courtmacsherry, with a styled arch backdrop, couples seats to the left and ceremony table to the right.

wildflower arch beside the sea in West Cork
Triangular backdrop with large meadow style arrangements at the base, here the table is to the left back and has a simple urn arrangement. Location Dunmore House Hotel.

If your budget extends beyond creating an impactful ceremony space, you might consider further enhancements, possibly along the aisle or walkway to the ceremony space, or at its entrance.

wildflower aisle and ceremony backdrop at Dunmore House Hotel, flowers by Howe Hill Flowers
For Isobel & Anthony's wedding at Dunmore House Hotel, we lined the aisle also with large meadow style arrangements

gypsophelia lined aisle and broken arch backdrop by Howe Hill Flowers at The Anglers Cork
Babies breath reaching arch backdrop and "growing" aisle at The Anglers Cork

Seasonal aisle meadows by Howe Hill Flowers - Image by John Gillooley
Meadow style aisle markers at every other chair row end at the clifftop ceremony location Dunmore House Hotel.

Usually, outdoor ceremony spaces are large and open areas. The aisle is generally wide. If you have a big, wide space, floral decor here needs to match and be impactful.

Image by Studio Lordan. Flowers by Howe Hill Flowers. Planning and styling by Amy Daunt Design.
Large impactful meadow style designs lining the aisle at an outdoor ceremony space. The effect was a feeling of walking up a country lane, where the flower laden sides spilled onto the pathway.

Some outdoor spaces have a more intimate feel and set-up. In this case smaller aisle markers can certainly work.

Sarah & Danny's wedding aisle at Fernhill House Hotel with simple tied on posy aisle markers. Image via

It's also worth thinking about the back-up location, because Irish weather won't always allow a planned outdoor ceremony to go ahead!

It's important that designs can be versitile, and work or be adjusted to suit an alternative location.

meadow surrounded love seat at Fernhill House Hotel in the marquee
Lauren & Shane's meadow surround for their ceremony seat a Fernhill House Hotel - this focal item can work inside or outside and provided a beautiful photo opportunity

tree lined aisle in industrial loft space
Bringing the outside in! This tree lined aisle brings an outdoor feel to an indoor space. Image via

So here are our key tips!

  • Create impact & focus with the flowers

  • Mark the ceremony space

  • Don't think about having items you would "normally" see at a church wedding for an alternative ceremony space. Instead, think about the type of ceremony you are having and that ceremony space.

  • If your ceremony revolves around a ceremony table, add flowers to make it photo beautiful. Consider a stylish arrangement in a bowl over a traditional church style arrangement.

  • Consider the aisle space (wide, narrow, ooutdoors, indoors) when thinking about aisle markers. What will suit the space?

  • Are the designs you are considering versitile or are they site specific? ie. can they be moved to suit another space at the last minute?

  • Think like a photographer, or at the very least, ask your photographer what is going to make the best photo opportunities. You might be better to create one large impactful design over many smaller elements.

I really hope this helps if you are considering a civil, or non religious ceremony for your wedding! Be sure to follow out Instagram page @howehillflowers to see all the beautiful ceremony florals we have created.

Flicky x

50 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page