Tips for Creating Centerpieces: The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Decor
From your choice of lighting down to the color of the table linens, your wedding décor reflects the tone of your special day. Your wedding centerpieces are just as important as all of the other wedding details and provide the perfect opportunity to enhance your venue space while incorporating your theme and style.
Centerpieces add a great deal to the look and atmosphere of your wedding reception and are one of the first details your guests see when they enter your venue. Whether you choose traditional floral centerpieces, those containing decorative elements, or those featuring a mixture of both, your centerpieces should showcase you and your new spouses’ personalities while making an immediate statement about the wedding’s style and feel.
When choosing and creating your wedding centerpieces, there are many helpful tips to keep in mind. Factors to consider include your wedding theme, venue space, and regulations, table size and shape, and the decorative elements that will make your centerpieces stand out. When it comes to wedding centerpieces, there’s no limit to the possibilities. Here are some no-fail wedding table centerpiece design tips sure to convince your friends and family that you’re a Pinterest-perfect decorator:
Do Choose a Theme for Your Centerpieces
When planning a wedding, deciding on the theme is one of the first tasks most couples should accomplish. Your theme will dictate the rest of your wedding decisions. It’ll help you decide on elements such as the wedding attire, venue, season, time of day, and, of course, the centerpieces and other décor.
Wedding themes can be based upon many things such as colors and seasons, the wedding couple’s favorite things, or even popular decorating styles. Whether you’re going for a rustic feel, a vintage and romantic look, or a traditional and elegant tone, your centerpiece choices are a beautiful and effective way to illustrate the look and feel you wish to express.
In the past, traditional wedding centerpieces were comprised mostly of floral elements. However, these days you can see centerpieces with many different design accents such as candles, mirrors, seasonal décor, and various touches of greenery and florals. The traditional glass vase has been replaced by beautiful footed bowls, metallic urns, and vessels of all sizes, shapes, and finishes.
Along with the colors and style of your centerpieces, you also want to decide if you’d like them to be minimal or grand and whether or not you’d like to use flowers, nonfloral décor elements, or a mixture of both. All three styles are equally beautiful and provide the opportunity to display your wedding theme effectively.
Don’t Forget to Consider Your Venue
When guests aren’t dancing and mingling, chances are they’ll be sitting at their table enjoying food, drinks, and each other’s company. Your table centerpieces will be in full view for much of the event, making them not only a beautiful aesthetic element for guests to enjoy, but also an opportunity to add to the festive atmosphere of the wedding.
Before deciding on the centerpieces for your wedding tables, you’ll want to be sure that they’re appropriate for your venue. Many venues have regulations against open flames or breakable glass. Check with your point person to ensure there aren’t any roadblocks standing in the way of your vision.
Fortunately, there are many versatile options available if you find yourself constrained by your venue’s rules. If you have your heart set on an arrangement that includes candles, consider safer, battery-powered candles instead. Instead of glass vases or bowls, consider using those made of metal or stone. These safer and equally beautiful elements allow you to create the centerpieces you envision while staying within the guidelines of your venue.
Additionally, getting the rundown regarding who is on hand to help set up the displays and take them down after the big shindig ends is critical. It’s important to have a designated person who will be in charge of not only staging the centerpieces before the event but also packing up and, if desired, distributing them to the bridal party and guests afterward.
The venue’s architectural structure and atmosphere will also factor into your centerpiece choice. A venue with vaulted ceilings or beautiful exposed beams calls for larger, more dramatic centerpieces, to bring your eyes upward toward the natural beauty of the space. Smaller centerpieces don’t make as bold of a statement and may get lost in a venue with vast ceilings and ample space. Conversely, large centerpieces look overbearing in a small and intimate venue, such as a winery or tent.
Whatever the style of your venue, the most important thing to consider is the comfort of your guests. When choosing centerpieces for your tables, be sure they don’t obstruct their view of the venue or prevent them from conversing with one another.
Do Consider the Size and Shape of Your Tables
An important component of centerpiece design is the size and shape of your tables. Keeping these proportions in mind helps determine the scale and type of centerpiece décor that will work best with your tables. Think of the table as the frame for a work of art — the table should complement the art and make it pop.
Once your guest list is complete, determine the number of tables that are needed and how many guests can be seated comfortably at each. From there, you can determine the size, height, and quantity of your centerpieces.
Some common tips for some of the more common table shapes:
- Centerpieces for Round Tables: Round tables are ideal for conversation and offer guests the best arrangement for socializing. For this type of table, you’ll want to go with a single centerpiece. Slender and tall centerpieces work best with round tables, as long as their height doesn’t obstruct the guests’ views. Think of tall clear vases with dramatic branch sprigs that can reflect the style of the season.
- Centerpieces for Square Tables: Square tables give you the most spatial bang for your buck since they contain the most middle space of any table shape. With this setup, you’ll have some extra room to experiment with the design elements of your centerpieces and more freedom to spread things out and add multiple focal points.
- Centerpieces for Rectangular Tables: One item placed in the center of a rectangular table is bound to look a bit sad. Instead, amp up the centerpiece game by using multiple centerpieces or a garland that runs the entire length of the table. Choosing centerpieces that are longer and narrower will ensure that guests have enough table space without feeling crowded.
You may also want to consider the rule of threes when decorating a round or square table. While one big arrangement may seem like the obvious choice, a cluster of three smaller pieces can provide for more significant visual impact in a smaller space.
In addition to the table shape, you’ll want to consider the size of your tables before choosing your centerpieces. If you have small tables, a large centerpiece is going to overwhelm the space and may even ruin your guests’ experience. As important as it is for guests not to have to peek over, under, or around your centerpieces, it’s equally important that they don’t crowd your guests’ tablespace. Appropriately sized centerpieces allow plenty of room for glasses, plates, napkins, and silverware.
Large tables or communal benches, on the other hand, benefit from a statement piece or a few smaller centerpieces strategically arranged down the table. A different idea, appropriate for all table shapes and sizes, is to skip the table-bound centerpiece altogether and go with a silk flower or greenery garland attached to the ceiling that hangs down near the center of the table. This will save you some space, allowing for food, drink, and conversation to flow more smoothly.
Do Add a Touch of the Unexpected
Rethink the old formal standbys when it comes to making your arrangements. Old-school centerpieces often contain several smaller flowers in a dense arrangement, while modern centerpieces also incorporate branches, seashells, feathers, stones, and even food. Try adding greenery to create modern lines and more free-form and looser floral arrangements. The finished piece will appear more modern and sophisticated.
Your centerpieces don’t have to match. In fact, centerpieces that incorporate similar colors, styles, and elements without matching exactly make a beautiful and powerful statement. Incorporating a combination of both tall and low centerpieces is another way to create visual interest. They will draw your guests’ eyes around the entire venue where they can appreciate all your wedding décor.
Combine unusual textures and shapes, and don’t shy away from unexpected elements in your centerpieces, like seasonal fruits and vegetables such as pomegranates and figs or pumpkins and gourds. In the fall, consider filling footed metallic urns with persimmons and pomegranates, or mini pumpkins for a unique centerpiece. If planning a winter-themed or holiday wedding, consider adding sprigs of holly or crystal elements to your centerpieces. Clear glass bowls full of seasonal fruits and flowers are a beautiful and nontraditional centerpiece idea that can be modified to reflect the time of year.
Do Decide Between Fresh and Silk Floral Elements
If you’ve decided to incorporate floral elements into your centerpieces, there are a few decisions you have to make. First and foremost, you should pick flowers that you love or that have special meaning. You may decide to use a particular type of flower or a mix of greenery and blooms. The types of flowers that you choose can further display your theme, such as roses for a vintage theme, sunflowers for a rustic theme, or bold and tropical blooms for a summer theme.
When choosing the types of flowers that you’ll use, keep in mind the colors and shapes of the blooms, their hardiness, and their seasonal availability and cost. If saving money is a priority, pick flowers that are in season. Choose one or two favorite flowers that work with your wedding colors and embellish them with seasonal or themed components such as oak or maple leaves, large glittery branches, or sprigs of seasonal berries. Using flowers that are in season helps keep your flower budget down while creating a seasonally appropriate look.
Better yet, use high-quality silk flowers that are guaranteed to last all night — and beyond! Some of them are so realistic, guests will have a hard time telling they’re not fresh flowers! Plus, they can be given as favors or repurposed for other occasions for years to come. Another advantage to using silk flowers is that you can make your centerpieces well ahead of time without worrying about refrigerated storage or having them die before or during the wedding.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Florals Only
Flowers aren’t for everyone. They can be expensive and difficult to deal with, due to factors like storage, shelf life, and transportation. Instead, why not move away from the basic bouquets and toward something that lets your creative spirit shine through? To help you out, we’ve put together some ideas that’ll help you think outside the flower shop for your wedding centerpieces:
Candle & Lantern Arrangements
Nothing says romance like dining by candlelight. The warm flickering light creates the kind of romantic drama that emphasizes the occasion – a celebration of love. Candlelight looks good on everyone, and it also helps create a beautiful and romantic atmosphere as the sun goes down. Candles are also affordable and can instantly add additional lighting to your tables and venue space.
Some quick notes about candles:
- When in Doubt, Group Together: If you’re going minimal on the flair, group unadorned candles together for greater impact. Create clusters of candles of the same color with varying heights and widths to add dimension.
- Add a Little Something to the Base: Plain candles can be gorgeous just the way they are, but sometimes can use a little something extra to take them to the next level. Try arranging candles on a tray and using stones or colored sands to build up the texture, then top it off with something that ties into your wedding. Think shells and driftwood for a beach-themed wedding, or dried herb sprigs for an earthy, rustic vibe.
- Floating Candles: Another creative centerpiece idea is to utilize floating candles — sometimes called hurricanes. The process is very simple: All you’ll need are some hurricane lamps or clear vases, rose petals, water, and floating candles. Just fill the vases with water and float the candles and rose petals on the surface for a lovely, glowing centerpiece!
- Lanterns: Lanterns can provide mood lighting to your tables and also serve as the centerpiece themselves. Available in a variety of sizes, finishes, and styles, such as rustic, modern, and antique, lanterns look beautiful when placed on mirrors or adorned with glass and metallic candleholders and candles.
Birdcages, Glass Elements, and Natural Decor
Your centerpiece décor can consist of beautiful objects such as clear glass apothecary jars filled with colored stones or sand or glass cloches filled with colorful fruit. You can also take a cue from the aviary and use birdcages as a base for your centerpieces! The structure is already in place – just add a few faux birds or butterflies, some photos, or a potted plant and you’re ready to go. Natural décor such as coral, teak burls, and large seashells also make a dramatic statement when used as centerpieces.
Potted plants or succulent arrangements bring the outside in, while also offering a more practical alternative to cut floral arrangements. Potted plants bring a certain eco-friendly feel to the table and give guests something to take home after the fun ends.
Stay simple with miniature potted orchids or a single cactus in a terra cotta pot, or go all out with large succulent arrangements accompanied by moss and white rocks. Don’t over-think it. Sometimes, the simplicity of a potted plant in just the right container speaks volumes more than a robust bouquet of many blossoms.
Do Be Sure to Have the Right Tools When Doing It Yourself
Many engaged couples decide to take on some of the wedding décor, including their table centerpieces, themselves. Before starting the centerpiece-creation process, be sure you have all the appropriate tools on hand. If you’re working with fresh flowers, you’ll need pruning shears, ribbon, floral tape, and thorn strippers. Both fresh and silk flower centerpieces will need a vase, urn or another decorative vessel, along with greenery or other complimentary foliage or décor elements for filler.
While fresh flower centerpieces must be created shortly before the wedding, nonfloral centerpieces or those with silk flowers can be put together anytime, making them a convenient option that works with your busy schedule. Put in a couple of hours here and there, and work at it little by little. Or make a night of it! Invite some friends over for wine and crafting and knock out some centerpieces.
Make sure you build in ample time for this DIY undertaking. Consider the time it will take to source and gather all the required materials. Realize how many pieces you have to build and how long that will take. Putting together your centerpieces should be fun, and the best way to ensure that is to build in enough time so you don’t feel stressed. Additionally, it’s wise to make arrangements for getting the final product off to the venue in time for the big day and having them returned to you afterward if you wish.
Some helpful DIY tips for centerpieces:
- Use opaque vases to hide floral stems and create a neat appearance
- Cut flowers in varying heights to hold flowers in place and create depth and visual interest
- Use smaller-mouthed vases to keep flowers in an organized formation
- Experiment with both thicker blooms and thin, wispy florals
- Odd numbers and asymmetry in centerpieces mimic nature and create a more appealing look
Jamali Garden Is Your One-Stop Wedding Shop
Now that you’ve gotten some helpful wedding table centerpiece design tips, it’s time to start shopping!
Jamali Garden is the place to stock up on everything you need to make your wedding an extraordinary occasion. Whether you’ve decided to go vintage with your theme or more modern and whimsical, we’ve got just the thing for you.
Need branches and silk flowers? We’ve got it covered. Vases, moss, and more? No problem. Whether you’re putting together a breezy, beach-themed wedding or looking to the past with some vintage-inspired décor, you can find everything you need to make sure your centerpieces tie your wedding theme together. Shop today!
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