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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Lawrence

Dos and Don’ts for Choosing Centerpieces

One of the most surprising wedding line items for a couple’s budget is the florals (seriously, I’ve seen socks knocked off on multiple occasions!), and the largest portion of a floral budget is likely to come from centerpieces.

Centerpieces can really change the look of a dining room, but when making decisions it’s really important to keep both form AND function in mind. We have put together some tips based on our experiences to help you narrow down your ideas and make choices that will enhance your guests’ dining experience at your wedding.

Do make sure your guests have a clear line of sight to one another either over or


No one will appreciate your gorgeous giant hydrangea and orchid centerpiece if they can’t have a conversation at their table. Plan to have large centerpieces elevated by an eiffel tower vase or another clear vase so guests can easily see around or through. Otherwise plan on lower arrangements guests can see over.

Do think about how you can be creative about tying your centerpiece into your overall design scheme.

You want your event to have a cohesive look and not seem disjointed. If you’re going for a natural feel consider wood slices and greenery, while romantic looks are better served with deep colors and candles. Consider pulling your colors through as well. A little pop of the color in the bridesmaid dresses showing up in the centerpieces will make everything seem more cohesive.

Do keep your venue in mind.

Take in the height of the ceilings, the limitations of the venue (flameless candles might be a necessity), and the overall look and feel of the space. You may prefer a rustic look but that would clash with a modern space.

Do avoid strong fragrances for your centerpieces.

It will mess with the way your guests taste the food and in some cases trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people. Ask your florist about which flowers are most fragrant and consider using them sparingly.

Don’t overwhelm your table with a too-large centerpiece

Not only will it make it difficult for guests to function (where should I put my wine glass?), it will just look silly. If you’re not sure, check with your Venue Coordinator to find out what size tables they have onsite or consider renting larger tables if you want to have larger centerpieces.

Don’t be afraid to skip florals, or alternate floral centerpieces with vases and candles

Alternate ideas include succulents, fruit, terrariums, feathers, loose greenery, candles etc. but bear in mind that depending on what you choose you may be responsible for sourcing, assembling, and delivering those to your venue and removing it as well. Be sure to keep your wedding planner in the loop on these alternative centerpieces as you will likely need their help executing the look on the day.

Don’t be fooled: not all green centerpieces are cost effective.

It still can be costly to bring in tropical leaves and the labor to put it all together in a beautiful way that will last through the night. Those long, lovely garlands you see running down tables on Style Me Pretty or The Knot do not come cheap!

Money Saving Tips:

  • Consider how to use your bridesmaid bouquets as centerpieces. Have your florist place vases with water on some of the tables. Your bridesmaids won’t use them after photos anyway!

  • Alternate high and low centerpieces to create an interesting visual when looking at the dining room as a whole.

  • As an alternative: candles. A combination of tapers, pillars, and floating will create depth and moodiness to any wedding or event. It can still add up but you can buy them long in advance and in bulk so it may be more budget friendly. Just double check the flame restrictions of your venue in advance just to make sure you can have live flames. Also, if you’re having an outdoor ceremony don't forget to use hurricane vases to block the wind and keep the flames going all night. Make sure if you’re using a lot of candles that your planner or venue is apprised of it in advance so they can account for the lighting time in the event timeline.

These days there are so many options for centerpieces that with a little effort and research you can find something that fits both your budget and personality. Have you been to a wedding lately where the centerpieces have knocked your socks off? Tell us about it!

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