2.18.2009

Reception Certerpieces

If you are like me, you were shocked to find out the cost of flowers, let alone, the cost per centerpiece for your reception. Something as simple as a small bouquet of flowers in a vase will cost at least $28 per piece. That's not cheap, especially when you have 20-30 tables. So here are a few ideas for centerpieces that wont blow your flower budget.

If you want flowers
Consider a single floating flower, like a gerbera daisy. For some additional color, consider adding some colored glass pebbles to the vase or tie a bow around the vase. If you want to set the mood, place 6-8 tea candles around the table, the light will reflect off the vase and glass pebbles. You can find cheap clear vases at your local craft store, watch the weekly coupons for the 40-50% off certain items. There are usually specials on vases and home decor, ribbon, fabric, and more. If you start shopping early you may be able to cash in on these specials. You can also rent vases, if you are using your florist for the centerpieces they may have vases for rent. You'll probably save more money if you do your own centerpieces, especially if you simplify them.

Another option is a potted plant. You can find aluminum buckets or terracotta pots at a reasonable price. Then pick out your potted plants and put your centerpieces together. Add a bows around the pots and even use the soil to plant the table numbers into. These also make great gifts for vendors, friends and family who helped out with the wedding.

If you like the statement of the vase, but don't want the expense of flowers
A vase with water can have many purposes. First, the floating candle. Not only can you create atmosphere with candles and light reflecting off the water, but you can choose your candles colors and add the details to match your wedding. Are you having a fall wedding? Include some fall leaves submerged in the water. You can also submerge rose petals, lemon or lime slices, rocks or sea glass to the water, spicing up the centerpiece and keeping with whatever theme you are going for.

If you want a living plant, but not flowers, try lucky bamboo. Add rocks or colored glass pebbles to the vase to help them stand. These also make great gifts, as they are a living plant with low maintenance needs.

A live animal?
Another option, which has been controversial in the past, is fish. Yes, I said fish. This is especially unique if you are having a beach theme wedding. Some people are against using a live animal for a centerpiece, but I think it's a rather cute idea. There are a few things to consider though. First, don't use goldfish unless you want to worry about floating fish on the day of your wedding. No-one want to eat while looking at a dead fish. Use Beta instead, just don't put them in the same bowl, or bags in transport, it wont be a pretty site. If you aren't familiar with Beta, they will eat each other.
Also, you have to find homes for all the fish, so try and think of this ahead of time rather than forcing guests to go home with a new pet. If you want to add a plant to your fish habitats, don't use any toxic flowers. The most common plants that are safe are the peace lily or a philodendron. I've seen a floating gerbera daisy and orchids used, but I am not sure if they are safe. It's best to look into this before torturing your live centerpieces.

Dry centerpieces
Maybe water isn't necessary, perhaps it just needs to be filled, with....something. The sky is the limit, it just depends on your theme and colors. Here's a list of vase fillers that will make for great centerpieces. Some even have a dual purpose.
  • For a winter wedding or an outdoor wedding, fill your vases with pine cones. Tie a bow around the vase to include your wedding colors. Other winter wedding ideas: apples or cranberries.
  • For a spring or summer wedding, use lemons or limes, these are nice and bright, and even have a great scent.
  • For a fall wedding, collect some fall leaves, mini pumpkins or oranges.
  • For a beach wedding, use sea shells, sea glass, sand with a candle, or a combination of the three.
  • Use candy! Not only can you find candy in almost any color, but it's edible! Fill a vase with lime green jelly beans (or pink or red, whatever your colors may be). You can also use the vase to plant your table number cards, and of course, add a ribbon for an addition touch. Candy ideas: Lemonheads, jelly beans, gumballs, candy canes, Hershey kisses...OK, really, I could go on forever. I would suggest keeping it on theme using color.
  • Other ideas: Rocks, coffee beans, sand (natural or colored)

None of these ideas are restricted to the season, it's all up to you and your colors or theme. These are just some suggestions.

I like the bouquet, but not the traditional flower bouquet

Consider a bouquet made from something other than flowers. Some of these ideas include flowers, but help to limit them. If you want to use some flowers, mix in pine cones, lemon halves, apples or berries. These all put out a great scent as well.

The nontraditional bouquet has grown in popularity. If you know how to do it, Origami can be a unique and beautiful option. Plus, you can send your guests home with them. These can be simple or wild in color, it's completely up to you!

If you want to stretch your wedding budget, consider a dual purpose centerpiece. What about combining your wedding favors into the centerpiece with a lollipop bouquet? Also, instead of a wedding cake, do individual cupcakes and display them on each table. You can create little tiers of cupcakes, or create a cupcake bouquet. Check out some examples here!

There you have it, some ideas for centerpieces. These are some alternatives to the traditional flower bouquets, and are hopefully cheaper as well. But it's up to you to be the bargain shopper. The more your use vendors, the more expensive it will be. So try creating your centerpieces yourself, keep an eye out for those craft store sales, and ask your friends to help. Check out flickr.com and search for wedding centerpieces. You'll find an array of visual ideas there too. Good luck, and have fun!

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