Glamour on a Dime: Centerpieces
Don't let the stunning details of your wedding break the bank. Get these elegant centerpieces without spending a fortune. (expert advice)
No doubt that in planning your wedding, you’ve spent a bundle on a sumptuous feast, a great band, and the honeymoon of your dreams. And though you want your wedding photos to look like those in magazines, you’re probably also looking for ways to save money without sacrificing good taste (and without anyone noticing). Is that even possible? Absolutely! Spend your money where it counts most (like on your gown!). The savings will come in handy when you put together your own simple yet elegant centerpieces.
The best centerpieces are those that draw the eye to the beauty of the entire table. When arranging your table displays, remember that size matters! Your centerpiece shouldn’t be too obvious or overpower the place settings. Think of it as putting together an outfit. For the best results, everything on your table should complement everything else. (Tip: Decorate using an odd number of items.)
Here are some great ideas for glamorous, low-cost table decorations. Before making your decision, consider the style of your reception, the time of day or night, the season, and the mood you wish to set.
If your wedding has a theme, it can be lots of fun to use items associated with it for your centerpiece. For example, if you are getting married at the beach, you can fill a big, round fishbowl halfway with sand and beautiful shells. If your reception is close to the winter holidays, you may like a big, white bowl filled with silver and/or gold ornaments. And if your wedding is on New Year’s Eve, a container of sparkly wands, pinwheels, noisemakers, and festive blowouts will allow your guests to ring in your new life and the New Year when the time is right!
For a personal touch (and to make your folks cry), think nostalgia! Choose two medium-sized silver or gold picture frames for each table. Put a picture of you when you were a child in one and a picture of your new husband as a child in the other. Next, set up the frames facing away from one another, and then behind the frames and around the bottom, place greens, sparkly garlands, loose ribbon, or a topiary to hide the backs of the frames and to complete this sweet ensemble. You may also arrange 3-5 frames in a cluster and then fill them with your favorite family photos. This will encourage your guests to mingle as they walk around to view all the pictures!
Here’s a choice that will also tease your guests and make them drool! Fill a clear decanter with assorted candies or chocolates wrapped in silver or gold (or your favorite colored) paper. As the night progresses, your guests will enjoy the design and can snack on this centerpiece as temptation becomes too much to bear!
Another new choice in centerpieces is cupcakes! Simply use a small cake tier, place it in the center of the table, and fill each level with cupcakes topped with your choice of white or colored frosting and sprinkled with sparkling sugar. Maybe the baker in your family will offer to make them as a wedding gift to you. This simple and delicious idea will be a big hit with your guests. I mean, who doesn’t like cupcakes?!
The Natural Look
In keeping with a more natural or “green” scheme, wildflowers are a great choice. Simply gather bunches of dried flowers and various stems and leaves, and then hang them over the edges of wide baskets or arrange them in odd-shaped jars, old water pitchers, or kettles. To add some shimmer, try spraying silver or gold spray paint on some of the branches or leaves (or pinecones, if in season).
Citrus is also a nice organic choice. Just fill a large, clear bowl with one type of fruit (usually lemons, limes, or oranges) and coordinate your place cards, china, or glassware in the same color as your fruit selection. To add a little more detail to this clever choice, wrap each lemon, lime, or orange with the same color ribbon, tying a small, tight bow on each.
You can also arrange a single fruit choice in tall, square, or cylindrical clear glass vases. For an extra boost, insert some long-stemmed greens or flowers in the center.
Another way of displaying your fruit choice is by slicing it up! Fill tall, clear vases with lots of quarter-inch slices of lemons or limes, add water, and you’re done! This look can be changed up by using shorter vases and topping off each with a fresh flower. This option not only looks sophisticated, but it gives off a great aroma!
Although a little more expensive, the simplest and most elegant décor usually involves fresh-cut flowers. The best thing about flowers is that there are so many types, sizes, and colors, and there are just as many ways to display your favorite ones. For example, you may choose yellow roses for your spring wedding, lilies for a black-and-white evening affair, or daisies for a relaxed afternoon soiree.
A single red rose standing alone in a tall, clear vase surrounded by a handful of rose petals around the base is the statement of the uncomplicated and sophisticated bride. Change the rose to a gardenia for a less formal look, or replace the vases with old, water-filled champagne bottles to add antique charm.
For a more creative and romantic look, circle 5-10 flowered teacups and saucers in the center of your table. Then fill each teacup with water and add your choice of flower to sit on top. In the center of the grouping, simply add a small vase full of the same flower, and fin! A great way to get your family more involved (if you dare) is to ask aunts, cousins, and grandparents to lend you their china teacups. The variety of patterns will provide much to talk about!