Wedding Centerpieces For the Faint of Heart

Maybe you were born to plan your wedding. Maybe you’ve been sketching ideas for your perfect centerpiece since long before you met Mr. Right.

Then again, maybe you haven’t.

Wedding Centerpieces For the Faint of Heart

If you’re not a wedding diva, you’re not alone. Many women look at the wedding-planning landscape and see a wasteland of tulle and twinkle lights. Unless you have a limitless bank account and the ability to turn the details over to your florist, finding the right centerpiece can be one of the most hair-tearing aspects of your wedding. Thankfully, unearthing your perfect centerpiece doesn’t have to be a costly production.

The Best of the Best

The easiest way to get started with your centerpiece planning is to steal – um, that is, borrow – ideas you like from weddings across the country. Take notes at a friend’s wedding. Thumb through magazines to see what Trista and Ryan did. The more ideas, the better. Fortunately, the current trend is toward keeping things simple, which works in your favor if you’re on a budget.

Next, make a list of all the elements you see in those centerpieces. A few you might recognize are:

  • Plain, old-fashioned vases
  • Oversized martini or wine glasses
  • Glass bowls
  • Hat boxes
  • Fish bowls
  • Flowers (roses, lilies or carnations, nosegays or sprays, submerged or floating)
  • Gel beads
  • Vase gems (clear or colored)
  • Seashells
  • Cranberries
  • Vegetables or gourds
  • Citrus or tropical fruit
  • Colored water
  • Ivy (real or silk)
  • Berry sprays
  • Doilies
  • Floor tile
  • Mirror tile

The list is way longer, but this is a good start.

Make a Plan

Maybe you already have one, or maybe this is when you need to pull out your pen and paper and think about what you want in a centerpiece. Is your wedding seasonal? Does it have a theme? Do you want a modern look, or are you more traditional?

Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to start envisioning the elements you want. At the very least, you’ll know what not to do. For instance, an oversized martini glass will definitely give your tables that modern, cosmopolitan feel. If you want more of an English tea party feel, then fine china might be more your style.

Think Outside the Vase

A towering floral arrangement is beautiful, but it can cost a kidney. Good thing for you, there are ways to make a splash that don’t take nearly as much money…or suck your time into a vacuum of complicated preparations.

The best way to put together a stunning, and cheap, centerpiece is to think about unusual combinations that reflect your style. For instance, who says a fish has to be put in a fish bowl? A colorful beta fish or a couple of goldfish would look amazing in that oversized martini glass. (But, please, don’t flush them afterward; find them a good home!)

Instead of using expensive vase gems, try cranberries for a winter wedding. For a touch of whimsy, candy corn will do the trick for a fall event. Who says your centerpieces all have to be the same? Scour thrift stores for interesting vases or containers, and use a different one at each table. Or, for an earth-friendly centerpiece, try potted herbs or roses that can be planted afterward.

Keep it Cheap

The best part about the few ideas listed above is-you got it-they’re cheap. You can find many of the elements at a craft store for very little money, but you can also find several of them at your local supermarket or farmers market (or Wal-Mart, if you have one near you).

Still nervous? Okay, here are some more cheap ideas:

  • Branches, grass or pinecones, spray-painted silver and surrounded by twinkle lights or votives.
  • Mason jars wrapped in down-home material and filled with wildflowers (or flowers from your local market).
  • A large glass vase filled with beach sand, with a couple of interesting shells on top.
  • A wooden crate, festooned with cloth or greenery, to give a low centerpiece more height.

Just remember, though, the most important element is your personality. That’s the touch that will give your reception that certain sparkle…and will keep your guests talking for weeks!

Andrea’s writing background includes features, editorials, reviews, profiles, poetry and fiction. She was the winner of the MOTA short story contest in 2002 and received honorable mentions for fiction from Writer’s Journal magazine in 2002 and 2004. She is also the co-author of Creative Marriage Proposals: How to Pop the Question…with Panache!, available at Check out Andrea’s blog at or hire her for your writing needs at

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