The Do’s and Don’ts of Centerpieces
People often overlook the power of event decor—we don’t get it at all! Creating a drop-dead-gorgeous space with ambiance to spare can contribute to the overall feeling of joy and happiness at a reception. It’s definitely one of the things most people will remember when recalling a wedding!
Especially in the case of luxury event planning, you’ll want to spend time on decor. Don’t approach this task all willy-nilly, though. Every choice must make sense in the grand scheme of things. The individual dangling paper lanterns, tea lights, and bundles of baby’s breath decorating the venue’s perimeter are all fine and dandy. But when gathered in abundance with a pop-of-color from some romantic roses, the centerpiece gives purpose to the rest of the decor. Centerpieces can really pull it all together. So let’s make sure you design the best centerpieces ever!
Read on for our list of do’s and don’ts!
DO: Mix Tall and Low Centerpieces
There’s nothing worse than walking into a reception space that feels empty or under-decorated. Mixing short and tall centerpieces will help make a space feel vibrant and full.
For tall centerpieces, the added height helps to make the room more elegant and the ceiling appears higher. Just be careful to use them appropriately—you don’t want to block your guests’ line of sight! To combat this, put tall centerpieces on tables with less traffic such as a gift or buffet table. Conversely, short centerpieces are great for accommodating conversation among guests. As a general guideline, you’ll want to keep your tall pieces at 24” or higher and your short pieces at 12” or under.
Some clients are hesitant about using tall centerpieces. If your client decides to nix the talls, you’ll need to adjust your decor accordingly. You don’t want the space to feel lackluster! Instead, you could switch to hanging some of the decor. Think chandeliers, draped linens or maybe even twinkle lights!
DON’T: Forget About the Shape of the Table
Knowing that the shape of a table is everything is what separates you from the amateurs! You may have remembered learning all about the pros-and-cons of different table shapes in your event and wedding planning courses. If you don’t, well, you may want to pay extra close attention to what we’re about to say!
When designing centerpieces, consider the shape of the tables at the venue. The most common shapes you’ll come across are round, square and rectangular. Each shape will have its own considerations:
- Round: This table suits a single centerpiece. You can definitely use tall centerpieces since the circular shape makes it easier to look around to the other guests.
- Square: Square tables have more space in the center than other shapes. Design a more substantial arrangement to fill in this space and keep the center of the table from looking sparse.
- Rectangular: A single centerpiece on a rectangular table can look quite lonely. Aim for multiple centerpieces (ie. larger middle centerpiece with smaller arrangements on each end). Keep them narrow to avoid crowding the table. You need to leave space for place settings!
DO: Save Money by Using Seasonal Flowers
Using local, seasonal flowers in your centerpieces is easy on the budget. You won’t be subjected to tacked-on costs from shipping and duty fees. And your blooms will be much fresher, too! To keep your event decor looking fresh and fabulous, you’ll need to be familiar with the seasons:
- Spring: Use fragrant spring blooms like lilacs, hydrangeas, daffodils, tulips, sweet peas, wisteria, and magnolia. Depending on your location, you may also find peonies, lily of the valley and poppies in season.
- Summer: Since summer provides the best conditions for most flowers, you can expect to find seasonal flowers in abundance! You can choose from hydrangeas, irises, gerbera daisies, roses, lilies, freesia, asters, lavender, snapdragon, and many more!
- Fall: Popular fall flowers include asters, chrysanthemums, mums, sunflowers, dahlias, marigolds, and zinnias. Consider incorporating pumpkins, pinecones, acorns and even apples into the centerpieces to carry through the autumn theme!
- Winter: Obviously, winter is a more challenging season for flowers. You can choose winter staples like poinsettias and holly for Christmas events. And if your event is close to Valentine’s day, capitalize on the ramp-up of floral inventory at your local flower shop. Just remember that flowers like roses, cosmos, and amaryllis may be expensive around this time due to high demand.
An alternative to seasonal blooms would be to select flowers that are widely available year-round like carnations, baby’s breath, orchids or lilies. The prices don’t fluctuate seasonally so you won’t be saving money, but you’ll be able to find these flowers all year!
DON’T: Limit Your Creativity!
Use centerpieces to tap into your creativity as an event decorator. Ensure that you give the theme of the event ample consideration. If it’s a Halloween-themed wedding, Jack-o’-lanterns could help you kill two birds with one stone. Your clients may want to have their wedding party carve a pumpkin for each table ahead of time, giving everyone a chance to get involved. And when the reception runs into the night, tea lights inside the pumpkins give the space a warm, cozy glow!
There are endless possibilities for customization so don’t restrict yourself to standard fare! Choosing to use flowers is pretty standard practice. So how can you make the decor feel unique? Why not switch things up by using a creative vase? Your choice of flowers and table shapes will help determine the best vase style for your centerpiece. Styles include column, barrel, orb, stem, rectangular, bottle and more! The classic material for a vase is glass, but you could opt for ceramic, mosaic, metal, wood or stone. You could even use Mason jars or watering cans if you’re planning an event for the offbeat bride!
We just included an entire section dedicated to using flowers, but you don’t have to use them at all when designing centerpieces. Alternatives to flowers include candles, bird cages, lanterns or sand/seashells. Flex that creative muscle!
DO: Plan a Second Home for Your Centerpieces
After spending time and money on your centerpieces, you’ll want to ensure they get a second life after the event! One option would be to donate them to a hospital or nursing home. You can make an announcement at some point during the event or mention the specific nursing home in question on the program. If the home or hospital has a special connection to the couple or their families, it can be a very sweet moment for all attendees.
Another option would be to have the guests take home the centerpieces at the end of the night. You’ll definitely want to plan this out. There will not be enough centerpieces for each guest, couple or family.
These are just a few helpful do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when creating centerpieces for your next event. Designing centerpieces for any event takes careful planning and creative flair. But they are the star of the reception hall, so prioritize your efforts accordingly!