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.
Dane O'Leary is a full-time freelance writer and design blogger for Modernize.com. He has degrees in psychology and anthropology with additional study in journalism, graphic design, and public relations. Dane is currently working on his debut novel.