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Whimisical wedding “altar” from strung flowers

Wedding Decor :: Floral garland Kathy Beymer, Photograph by PenCarlson

One of the biggest challenges of getting married in a “non-traditional” space is that the backdrop might look a too plain or stark during your ceremony.

We got married in a Chicago loft space with exposed brick, glass and steel. So we decided to add warmth and focus by creating an “altar” of our own. Based on our orange, brown and yellow color theme my friend Liz concepted and sketched the idea of having us stand on an orange rug, surrounded by candles on metal pedestals, with an orange floral garland “altar” hanging above.

Wedding Decor :: Floral garland by Liz Meitus for Kathy Beymer

The wizards at A New Leaf used the sketch to create nine floral garlands made of marigolds, bittersweet and dried oak leaves hanging from brown silk ribbon. While we used a florist to execute Liz’s concept, this project could also be done DIY.

Creating an “altar” in non-traditional spaces gives focus to the room and adds personality to your ceremony and wedding photos.

Wedding Decor :: Floral garland Kathy Beymer, Photograph by PenCarlson


  • Marigolds or mums
  • Bittersweet
  • Dried oak leaf branches
  • Satin ribbon
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Floral wire and cutters
  • Thumbtacks or ceiling hooks

Cut your twine to the length you’d like for your strand; ours were about 2.5 feet long each. Take 6-9 marigolds or mums, cut the stems about 2 inches from the flower head and wrap them together with floral wire close to the flower heads. Affix the floral bundle to the twine using more floral wire. Repeat until you have the coverage that you’d like up and down the twine, leaving about 4 inches at the top of the twine free to tie to your satin ribbon. Trim any end of the stems that peek out as needed.

Add bittersweet and dried oak leaves in the same way. Affix bittersweet and oak leaf branches sporadically up and down the strand, being sure to balance the branches around the strand so that weight-wise the strand will hang straight down. Refrigerate strands until use, either before or after adding your bittersweet and oak leaves depending on available space.

Cut a long piece of stain ribbon; the length will depend on your ceiling height. Tie the ribbon securely to the twine, making several tight knots. Trim any extra twine.

Hang your altar from the ceiling using thumbtacks or ceiling hooks. We used nine strands and varied the heights to create a seasonally stunning backdrop to our candlelit ceremony.

Wedding Decor :: Floral garland Kathy Beymer, Photograph by PenCarlson

{ Joy } @ Wedding Planning with Joy

Wednesday 8th of July 2009

I just wanted to tell you that your wedding has being such an inspiration to me :) I'm a BIG fabric lover so everything you have done it's AMAZING to me. I've been here before but I thought I just let you know, cause your wedding was sooo CUTE!

Kathy Beymer

Friday 10th of July 2009

Hi Joy, thanks so much for your kind words! I checked out your blog and you are finding really great things for your wedding. I especially like the Patagonia wood wedding rings and the little white and purple clay flowers. Have fun planning, and please stop by again soon!


Wednesday 6th of May 2009

I was googling how to create an altar for my loft/warehouse Chicago wedding (at Gallery 1028), and found pictures of your incredible "altar" at A New Leaf. The sketch shows tables on each side of the altar -- what kind of tables did you use, and did you buy or rent? We are actually thinking of hanging candles above us, but I still want tables with flowers or candles on each side, and I'm trying to come up with a good substitute for those ugly greek pedestals that I see in so many wedding pictures! I would love to hear what you guys did!

Kathy ::

Wednesday 6th of May 2009

Glad you liked the altar! My friend Liz concepted that and we loved how it turned out.

As far as the side tables, we used the metal ones that A New Leaf already had could call them to see if you could rent them but they may have a wedding on the same day (plus they're really heavy).

I'm wondering if you could just make them (Home Depot will cut wood for you and you could just make a tall box with a top) and then cover them with pretty fabric with a ribbon on the bottom to secure them.

Good luck! Curious to see what you find so send me a pic if you think of it.


Saturday 24th of January 2009

Oh, how I love this! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous!

We were married at A New Leaf in October. I wasn't too pleased with our mock altar decorations, as they made them floor arrangements. Oh well...

Kathy Beymer

Monday 26th of January 2009

Thanks, Tina! While you may not have liked your mock New Leaf altar, I'm sure no one noticed with your super cool hair and gorgeous bouquet! Thanks for sharing your blog with me.

liz meitus

Friday 15th of February 2008

you're amazing. I only wish I hadn't just given birth and not so bloated from all the drugs... i look a marshmallow. but you guys look fantastic. the orange and gold is was such a nice contrast to your dress, plus, I really loved your makeup. You had an autumn glow to you that mirrored the altar space. so beautiful!