Between the ceremony, the reception, and the honeymoon, weddings tend to be super expensive. Most newlyweds don’t want to begin their lives together having depleted all the savings they had between them or having amassed a big pile of debt after paying for a wedding and honeymoon on credit. At a time when it’s important to have money saved for things like buying a furnishing a new home or starting a family, the expense of getting married would seem to defy financial common sense. However, the thrifty romantic can spot ways to minimize the cost of getting married if they know where to look.
Among the many ways to make a wedding more affordable, one of the most common is to create your own wedding decorations and centerpieces for tables at the reception. Flowers — especially any of the flowers that you’ll actually want to use — are a significant portion of a wedding’s decorating expensive, but it’s also one of the greatest opportunities to save. Choosing do-it-yourself centerpieces for your wedding will substantially lessen the blow to your wallet, but doesn’t mean sacrificing your fairytale wedding. If you’re worried that your wedding decor will look like something more fitting for a second-grader’s birthday party, check out some of these do-it-yourself wedding centerpieces that are shockingly beautiful and absurdly inexpensive.
Do-It-Yourself Wedding Centerpieces
Floating Candles and Flowers
If you had your heart set on flowers, this is a centerpiece you should consider. Find some large inexpensive bowls — whichever style of color you like; dollar store-type places and big-box stores like Target often offer a variety of inexpensive options — and fill them with water. Then add a few floating candles and a handful flowers, heads only, and you’re done.
What’s great about these bowls is that they’re super simple to put together, but still very elegant. They’re also very inexpensive; the most costly component will likely be your flowers depending on which you choose, but this route requires far fewer flowers and significantly less money than floral arrangements. Just place one bowl at the center of each table, light the candles, and let your guests celebrate your union by candlelight.
Shabby-Chic Canned Flowers
Those who prefer a shabby-chic, creative look might like this fun do-it-yourself centerpiece project. Collect cans of a variety of shapes and sizes, then spray paint them metallic. You could even throw a similarly-sized jar into the mix here and there to keep it interesting. Additionally, you could either use a single metallic color for all of them, or choose a few metallic hues for a mixed-and-matched look. Once your cans dry, stick one or two fluffy flowers — think magnolias, peonies, gardenias, hydrangeas, and so on — in each can and arrange three to five of them at the center of each table. It’s simple, quick, inexpensive, and adorable.
Creative with Crabapple
Outside of its blooming season, you probably wouldn’t give a crabapple tree a second look. However, the unique angular branches of the crabapple tree can make for a creative, unique, and very modern wedding centerpiece. Simply cut some branches from a tree and remove its leaves. You can put one or two branches in multiple vases, or create one larger arrangement for each table using several branches. Put the crabapple branches into glass bottles, then group bottles of varying sizes together in the center of each table. It’s subtle and understated, but there’s a hint of drama that’s sure to be a hit among guests.
Let’s forget flowers for a moment and consider something a little more unique. If you want to create centerpieces that your guests will have never seen before, something that’s timeless, elegant, and inexpensive, considering these papier-mâché fruits. Don’t be fooled by their appearance; they’re actually very easy to make.
First you need an assortment of wax fruit. Prime the fruit using a general-purpose primer, then paint them with white acrylic paint. Once they’re dry, glue rectangular strips of white tissue paper — roughly two-inch by three-inch pieces — to each piece of fruit with a glue mixture that’s half water and half white all-purpose glue, making sure the surface of each piece is completely covered with pieces of tissue paper that overlap slightly. When they’re dry, repeat the process for a second layer. After you’ve finished, arrange the fruit on a white cake stand or in a white bowl and you’ll have a three-dimensional still life for the center of each table. It’s like you’ve sketch to life. This is gorgeous, fun, and the beauty of these centerpieces will embed themselves into memories of your wedding day for anyone in attendance.
Many brides feel lost when searching for the wedding reception floral arrangements because the flowers for the season of their wedding are not to their liking or their colors don’t match their wedding décor color palette. This past season, our New York wedding photographers have noticed the trend of wedding receptions centerpieces that rely on simple elegance and not flowers for their beauty. Flowerless wedding centerpieces are a great option for any wedding style.
For beach wedding receptions, glass vessels or votive centerpieces filled with coral make elegant wedding reception decorations. Natural coral comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors but we recommend small white coral for your summer-inspired wedding centerpieces. Another option for beach wedding reception centerpieces would be to include pieces of driftwood found on the beach.
For rustic wedding receptions, there are plenty of great options for wedding reception centerpieces. For vintage inspired wedding decorations, use old hardback books and candles on your wedding reception tables. Another great idea for retro-inspired wedding reception centerpieces are hand-painted serving-wear filled with fruit, like clementines and oranges. You can also add other non-floral plants, like succulents to give your rustic wedding décor a more southwestern flair.
There are so many great options for wedding centerpieces that flowers are no longer necessary to have a beautiful wedding reception. Not using flowers for your centerpieces will not only give you more creativity to match the style and theme of your wedding but it will also save you money. Non-floral centerpieces are an exciting new trends for weddings in 2014 and we can’t wait to see how you will interpret it in your wedding reception décor.
Wedding centerpieces are a wonderful way to incorporate color, theme and personality into your wedding reception. Centerpieces are also a great way to bring the season indoors. Getting married in April? In this case you should be looking at pastel colored flowers like lilacs, lavender, sweet peas, pastel colored roses, hibiscus or tulips. These flowers look great in vases that sit low to the table top. Find containers that are no more than 6-8 inches tall. Cut your flowers to be just above the rim of the container. Wrap the container with a pastel colored ribbon.
Centerpieces by Season
Having a June wedding? Think about brightly colored flowers like bright red roses, bright carnations, bright gerber daisy’s, and lily’s. You can chose to place the flowers in colored vases or in clear vases. It is recommended that these centerpieces be tall enough so that your guests can see across the table without an obstruction. You may also choose to find a tall container and place the flowers inside and fill with colored water. Make sure the water is a soft shade so that the brightness of the flowers show through.
Another popular time of year to get married is Autumn. Autumn is known for its deep rich colors. Think deep reds, rust, oranges and golden yellows. Some of the flowers you may consider for this time of year are sunflowers, poppy, ranunculus, mums, or chrysanthemum’s. Don’t just think of flowers. Leaves and also make good centerpiece decorations.
Last but not least is wintertime. There are a couple of ways you can think of winter, either winter wonderland or Christmas. If contemplating winter wonderland, think white, blue and silver. Some of the flowers for a winter wonderland include mums, calla lily, delphinium, or star of Bethlehem. One idea not using flowers is to take empty branches and spray them white. Place them into tall clear containers and then decorate the branches with crystals hanging from sparkly ribbons. You can also use snowflakes or ornaments to hang from the branches. Taller containers work best for this idea due to the height of the branches.
If you are thinking about a Christmas theme, think red, green and black. Some flower ideas include poinsettias, holly and amaryllis. Don’t forget pinecones and lots of greenery. If you are looking for an idea that doesn’t include poinsettias, try collecting different size containers with or without lids. Then, fill those containers with ornaments, pinecones, or colorful Christmas ribbons.
Keep in mind that many flowers come in a variety of colors and shades. These are just a few ideas to get you started. Happy decorating!
Having a country wedding? Looking for some table decorations to save some money? Why not try one of these ideas.
Herb Pots – Go to your neighborhood home and garden center and pick up the following items: Flower pots of varying sizes, potting soil and either small, already started plants or seeds of different herbs, like basil, oregano, chives, thyme, etc. You have a couple choices when it comes to the flowerpots. You can either paint them to match your wedding colors, or leave them natural looking to enhance the country theme. You can also decorate the pots with different items, like gingham ribbon, or raffia.
Next, take the pots and partially fill them with potting soil. Release the starter plants, or take the seeds, and place them into the pots. Continue to fill the pots with remaining soil until about a half inch from the top edge of the pot. Make sure you give each plant some water. If you are using seeds instead of starter plants, you need to start this project about 3-4 weeks prior to your wedding. This way the plants will be large enough to decorate your tables with. You can also use this same idea with dried flowers if you would like. Instead of potting soil, use flower foam and cover with moss, but by using real herbs you have the added bonus of the fragrance. Encourage your guests to take the plants home with them at the end of the reception.
DIY Country-Style Table Decorations
Another idea with a country theme is either burlap or linen gift bags. You can fill them with goodies. You have the option to purchase pre-made bags or sew your own. Check you local craft store, or the Internet, for pre-made bags. If you choose to sew your own, you will need some linen or burlap material, thread and a sewing machine. Decide the size you would like your give bags to be. The easiest way to sew the bag is to cut a strip of material twice the length, plus a ½ inch; you would like the finished product to be at the width plus ½ inch. For example, if you would like your final gift bag to be 3 x 5 inches, then you need to cut your fabric 3 ½ inches x 10 ½ inches.
First, fold the short ends of your material over ¼ inch and sew a straight line to hold the seam in place. Next, fold your fabric in half (long ways) with the right side of the fabric on the inside. Sew a straight-line ¼ inch from the edge to close the sides. Do this on both edges. Turn the bag right side out. You can now fill each bag with whatever you choose (candy kisses, Jordan Almonds, etc). You have the option of keeping the gift bags clean and simple or to decorate the outside of each bag. You can use fabric paints, flowers, embellishments, etc. Tie each bag closed with some ribbon.
Either of these ideas would look great on a country style reception table. Think about maybe combining both of these ideas together to make your tables look great.
Looking for a DIY project to add color and sophistication to your wedding decorations? How about flavor infused oil or vinegar decanters that can act as centerpieces? This project is very simple, but can add beauty and grace to any table-scape. Here is all you need for a fantastic centerpiece that is not only beautiful but also useful.
DIY Wedding Centerpieces
1. Sealable bottles or decanters
These can be of any design but you must be able to seal them, either with a cork, screw top, or any other type of cap that fits securely. Decanters can be of any size or shape you choose.
2. Oil or vinegar
You can choose from many types of oils including vegetable, canola, or olive but keep in mind the color of the oil. The darker color of the oil – the less you will be able to see through it. You also have many options for vinegars. We recommend buying these products in bulk at your local warehouse food store. However, you can also support your local olive oil business if one exists.
Flavors can include many things such as herbs, garlic, peppers, etc. Fresh ingredients are always best.
4. Optional decorations
These can include wax for the top of the bottle, ribbons to decorate the outside, custom labels to place on the outside of the decanter with your wedding date and information on it, etc.
The first thing you need to do is choose which flavor you would like to infuse with which product. For instance, extra virgin olive oil with garlic. Next choose which bottle you want to use. Take your flavor and place it in the bottle. Keep in mind that the more flavor you put in the bottle the more intense your flavor will be in the product (oil or vinegar). If using garlic, be sure you peal the garlic first. You do not have to crush or slice the garlic cloves before putting them into the bottle. Presentation is actually better if you leave the garlic whole.
Next you need to fill the bottle with the oil. Use a funnel to help with this step so you do not have oil all over the counter or table. Fill the bottle as close to the top as possible without overfilling the bottle.
Anything after this point is purely decorative. You can melt wax (found at your local craft store) and dip the top of the bottle into the melted wax. Be very careful not to burn yourself. Only dip about the first 1 -2 inches of the bottle. Let the wax dry. You can also decorate the outside of the bottle if you choose. Just remember to keep most of the bottle clear so you can see the contents.
You can choose to put in more than one flavor if you would like. For instance olive oil, garlic and rosemary make a great combination. You can also try combining the oil and the vinegar. They have a different density so they will normally separate in the bottle. How about ¾ bottle with thyme flavored extra virgin olive oil topped with balsamic vinegar?
Let your imagination take over. Think about combinations you use in the kitchen and let that be your guide. The combinations are endless.
What kind of centerpiece do you want for your reception? Tall? Formal? Flowers? Pictures? There are so many choices out there, you are sure to find the right idea for you. Here are some ideas to get you started. Are you more of a formal bride? Like flowers? Well, flowers make a beautiful more formal centerpiece. You can choose real flowers, artificial flowers, or a combination of both. The key thing to think about is height. Your guests will want to socialize and that is hard to do if the centerpiece is within their line of sight. Think about making the centerpieces either tall enough to see under or short enough to see over. If you are using square or rectangle tables you may went to consider flower sprays low on the table. If your reception is going to have round tables then you may want to consider individual vases of flowers.
Wedding Centerpiece Ideas
Another idea for centerpieces is candles. There are many ways to use candles as a centerpiece. You can use pillar candles, smaller votive candles, or candle sticks. Candles can be used individually or grouped together. Don’t be afraid to be creative. You do not have to stick with one type of candle, try putting multiple types, shapes, sizes and even colors together on one table. You can place candles on mirrors to make beautiful reflections. One thing to be mindful of is the flame. Try and either place your candle in a container whose sides are higher than the candle or make sure your candles are placed where the flames are safely away from anything flammable. Another idea would be electric, flameless candles inside opaque holders so that your guests will only notice the romantic glow of the candle not the flame.
Are you a little less formal? How about picture frames as centerpieces? Pictures on the table are becoming a new trend with brides and grooms. These frames can be photos of the bride and groom together (remember all those great photos you took during the courting process). Do you two have something you really enjoy doing together like maybe camping, hiking, skiing or such, then how about pictures that reflect the fun time you had doing those. Another idea is old wedding photos of other family members (parents, grandparents, etc). Pictures do not have to be only of people, maybe you have pets that are very special to you and you want to include in your special day. Do you travel a lot? How about pictures you have taken on your travels? Let you imagination be the guide. One thing not to overlook is the frames. There are thousands of choices out there, be creative.
If you are the type of person who is maybe a little more eclectic, how about something less traditional like a sculpture, Mason jars filled with interesting items like buttons or ingredients for homemade cookies. Vintage glassware also makes interesting centerpieces. Are you into the green movement, then how about small containers of farmers market greenery like basil, oregano, or rosemary? Love the beach? How about sculptural seashells, coral like pieces or maybe a large conch shell? Better yet, all of them together. Keep in mind that if you are going the less traditional way, with smaller items like above, encourage your guests to take the centerpieces home with them.
Your wedding should reflect who the two of you are. Use your imagination and have fun.
I get asked this question a lot…”What should I use as table centerpieces for my wedding?” There is no single answer to this question, only a couple of things you need to consider before choosing your wedding centerpieces.
1. What type of feeling or mood are you going for? Do you want something glitzy or home-spun? Modern or vintage? Formal or casual? Take cues from your wedding attire and invitations to lead you to your centerpiece style.
2. What height of centerpiece will work best? What is the height of the reception room? A room with very high ceilings will need a tall centerpiece to fill in the space. A room with low ceilings would need a low centerpiece. One of Niki’s Tips is to never make a centerpiece that is 12-18″ high (unless you are using the skinny Eiffel tower vases), as this level will be right in the line of sight of your guests. There is nothing more aggravating at a dinner party than not being able to see or speak to the person across the table form you no matter how pretty the bouquet is.
3. What types of flowers or fill do you plan on using? The height of the vase is also determined by the length of the stem you will be putting into it. A short-stemmed flower, such as a hydrangea, would need a small or medium sized vase, where long-stemmed calla lilies would need a medium to tall vase.
4. Add some variety. Using twenty of the exact same centerpiece can be boring to the eye. Try to choose two to three different styles of centerpiece and alternate throughout the room. One may have tall flowers, the next only candles, the last a combination of floating flowers and candles for example.
5. Put it all together. Choose a vase style or two that you like. Next, add a mirror as a base to reflect the light and beauty. If your vases are rounded, choose a round shaped mirror. If your vases are square, choose a square mirror. The beveled edge will add elegance, while the non-beveled edge is more casual. Next add candles and candle holders. Again, choose a shape that echoes your vase and mirror shape. Generally scented candles are not recommended as they will often not mix well with the scent of the food being served and many people have severe sensitivities to these types of odors. Usually four votives around your centerpiece works well. Lastly, the filler – use the fill (rocks, pebbles, sand, sea glass, acrylic gems or diamonds, rose petals, etc) inside and around your vase if you’d like. The fill that you choose is based on your answer to question #1 about mood and style.
There is no right or wrong way to design your centerpiece. Don’t try to make anything too extravagant or you will probably just cause yourself a lot of stress. Remember that simple can be very stunning. If you choose items that you love and want to re-use to decorate around your home after the wedding day, then you will create beautiful centerpieces and memories.
About The Author:
Nicole “Niki” Synadinos has over 5 years of professional experience in the wedding and event industry. She currently works as an event coordinator for Exquisite Events in St. Petersburg, Florida, and she owns and operates Center-Pieces.com, an ecommerce site dedicated to wedding centerpieces and décor for the DIY bride.