Items to Include in Summer Centerpieces

Summer brings a wide and colorful selection of in-season flowers, plants, and fruits to brighten up any table. Whether you are hosting a formal dinner party or a casual backyard barbecue, you can brighten things up with centerpieces that are easy to make and inexpensive.

Here are some clever, simple, and inexpensive ideas for summer centerpieces for any occasion-from beach party to romantic dinner.

Edible Centerpieces

Martha Stewart’s website has a crudite centerpiece that looks like a miniature vegetable patch and doubles as an appetizer tray. Just arrange a selection of small raw vegetables (such as cherry tomatoes, carrots, radishes, asparagus, and cauliflower) in sections inside a deep galvanized-metal planter, alternating colors. She suggests lining the bottom with sprouts, moistened with some water. Have your favorite dip available alongside it. This is particularly good if you are going to seat your guests at one large table.

If you would prefer an edible centerpiece with fresh fruits, arrange a selection of tropical fruits such as melons, pineapples, and kiwis in a long tray. (Martha features a carved-out log.) Intersperse some orchids and citrus leaves among the fruit.

Fourth of July “Fireworks” Centerpieces

For a Fourth of July party, you can get some spider mums, tint them with red, white, and blue, and you will have your own mini fireworks design at each table. Other types of flowers, such as allium and globe thistle, have a natural “fireworks” look when arranged in a vase.

Garden-Inspired Centerpieces

Summer is the perfect time to combine fresh fruits and flowers for a colorful centerpiece. You don’t have to look any further than your garden for your inspiration, whether it is a selection of herbs for a deliciously-scented display, or a few flowers and vines.

Centerpieces without Flowers

Martha Stewart has a beautiful “Fire and Water” centerpiece that is made from nothing but one glass vase secured inside a larger glass vase with floral adhesive and water tinted with food coloring poured in between them. The candle goes in the smaller vase. You can get a selection of inexpensive glass vases at your local crafts store, and have different colors of water at each table if you choose, or match the color of your table settings.

Real Simple magazine has an idea for a meaningful centerpiece that every guest can help make. It is perfect for bridal and baby showers, as well as graduation, going-away, and retirement parties. All you need is some colorful paper and pens. Cut strips of paper about six inches long, and ask guests to write a message or a wish for the honoree. The guests then twist their papers around a pen to curl them, and put them into a large glass bowl. The honored guest can pick them out of the bowl and read them, perhaps over dessert, coffee, or drinks.

Beach Themes

If you are hosting a get-together at a beachfront location, you can spray paint a few branches, and arrange them amidst some stones, rocks, or shells. Small branches can even be painted to look like coral. For an evening event, add some candles for a simple but elegant centerpiece.

You don’t have to be at the beach to bring a little of the beach to you. Secure several tapers with candle adhesive to the bottom of a large, wide vase, and add some sand and a few shells to create an elegant centerpiece.

If you are working with caterers to plan your soiree, they may have ideas for unique centerpieces as well-both edible and non-edible. If you are planning a summer party or wedding, caterers can help you select centerpieces that will not wilt or spoil in the hot sun. However, whether you hire a catering company or not, with a little imagination, you can make simple, yet beautiful centerpieces that will add style to any summer event.

Robyn Spizman is Vice President of Communications and Business Development at A Legendary Event. Formed in 1997, A Legendary Event has grown into a multi-million dollar full-service event enterprise, including Atlanta catering, event design, floral, and event venues. CEO and Founder Tony Conway is admired by top CEOs, celebrities, politicians and world-class galas for his attention to detail and penchant for providing fresh, trend-setting and uniquely presented fare, always with the client in mind. Learn more at

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