How several local couples added style and a personal touch to their ceremony backdrops

Depending on the location of your ceremony, the addition of a backdrop can bring a needed personal touch that will warm the space and provide the perfect aesthetic for your wedding day. You will want to consider the setting when determining what type of backdrop to use or create. In some instances, the ceremony location might be determined by existing backdrops, such as a garden or windows with a view; in other cases, you may want to build your own archway or assemble other décor to add a special touch to the existing scene.

Andrea and Michael Carmody were married Oct. 7, 2016, at Scioto Reserve Country Club in Powell. According to catering director Ann Marie Orren, Scioto Reserve has both an indoor and an outdoor ceremony option. For couples who choose to get married indoors, the ceremony location features floor-to-ceiling windows, so “you still feel like you are outside,” says Orren.

“We had no idea what we wanted, but we knew indoors because I don't trust Ohio weather,” says Andrea. “When we showed up at Scioto, I loved the huge windows.”

The couple exchanged vows in front of the windows, but added an extra decorative element: an arch to stand under during the ceremony. Andrea says it was more meaningful because Michael worked with her brother and his father to build the arch out of recycled wood a few days before the ceremony. When the wedding party arrived days before the event, they helped stain it; finishing touches included fabric draping and floral arrangements from Avant Garden in Bexley.

Though the arch currently resides in the Carmodys' garage, one of Andrea's friends plans to use it in her upcoming wedding.

But a ceremony backdrop doesn't have to blend in perfectly with its surroundings. Sometimes, it can be just as aesthetically pleasing to design one that contrasts with the space it's in, as Halle and Chris Kost did for their Aug. 5, 2016, wedding at Strongwater Food & Spirits in Franklinton.

The bride, vice president of sales at Grandview boutique Thread, has an eye for design and wanted to soften the industrial look of their venue with light colors and movement. Halle laughs when she says she found inspiration on Pinterest, “where everyone finds inspiration.”

“I found what I liked and what was dramatic enough for my taste, bought the fabric, cut it into strips, and then the amazing ladies at All Together Now Ohio made it happen.” (All Together Now Ohio is a local event styling firm that specializes in weddings.)

Arielle Gavin, event coordinator at local event planning company Wedded Perfection, echoes Halle's comments about Pinterest, adding that creating boards to reflect personal style can be helpful when her staff designs a backdrop for to-be-weds.

Gavin says that once the idea for the backdrop is in place, her team creates a 3-D mockup of the space so couples can envision the reality and make adjustments as needed.

“I really love backdrops that flow with different layers of material that cross each other,” she says, adding that she also likes floral backdrops. Those come with a caveat, however: They can be costly, depending on the extent of the floral arrangement.

For Megan and Tristan Herstol—married May 23, 2015, at Station 67 in Downtown Columbus—a ceremonial arch was more about photo styling than beautifying a space.

“I had always wanted a lot of flowers, and my husband and I both wanted an outdoor ceremony,” Megan explains, adding that she searched Pinterest for backdrop ideas. “I picked out several different arches that I liked, and my brother-in-law ultimately designed the final structure.” On the day of the wedding, Megan's sister and sister-in-law attached roses as a final touch.

Whitney and Evan Nieto were married June 25, 2016, at Irongate Equestrian Center near Mount Vernon. The bride says that while the view at their outdoor ceremony would have been beautiful without a backdrop, she and Evan decided to use a backdrop to keep the guests' focus on the ceremony.

“The design inspiration came from seeing others use rustic backdrops at the location where we had our ceremony,” Whitney explains. “We knew that we didn't want a rustic backdrop, so we looked on Pinterest for some ideas on how to turn that rustic-looking backdrop into something elegant.” With help from family and Prema Designs in Grandview, the couple created a wood structure and transformed it into a beautiful backdrop by adding flowers and sheer fabric for an elegant touch.

While some backdrops already exist (the windows at Scioto Reserve Country Club, for example), others that are designed especially for the wedding day can live on, whether as home décor or in another friend's wedding, as was the case for the Carmodys.

“Whenever people can incorporate something they build that they can use it forever, that's really cool,” adds Orren.