It’s finally happening: you’re getting married, and are in the processing of planning the reception — woo hoo!
As far as wedding budget goes, the reception venue is going to be one of the largest expenses for you, so it’s best to try and save money where you can. Of course you want everything to be beautiful; that goes without saying. But wouldn’t it be even more impressive if you could find a way to say that all of those beautiful decorations hardly cost you anything at all?
Here is something that you have total control over, and in exercising some good decision making skills, you can save money on the party, and have more to spend on other things.
So, let’s talk about what to do, and what not to do, for reception centerpieces.
The Reception Centerpiece
Generally, the reception area will have tables that seat 8-10 people per table, and if you have 100 guests in attendance, that’s the equivalent of 10–13 tables. If you have a very large wedding of 200-300 guests, you could have possibly up to 40 tables.
Remember, you’ll also need centerpieces on the head table, which should be larger and more elaborate than the ones on other tables. If you plan to use a florist with a large traditional centerpiece in a glass vase, this could get very expensive.
Think Outside of the Box to Save Big
I would recommend that you think outside of the box and be as creative as you can. Here are some examples of things you can do to think creatively with designing your centerpiece:
1. Every table doesn’t necessarily have to match identically
First of all, for example, who says everything has to match from table to table? Perhaps you like the look of a bit of colors that don’t match identically, but coordinate as complementary colors.
2. Talk to your florist, share your budget, and be willing to compromise
Depending on your budget, you can work with the florist and they will be able to create simple designs with arrangements that are lower in height (less costly than tall containers). The centerpiece can also be comprised of less-expensive flowers, or feature only one or two, using a larger amount of greenery.
3. Look outside of what is traditionally thought of as a ‘centerpiece.’
Anything that you can think of may serve as a centerpiece, so perhaps you make a visit to the local craft store or to the local consignment shop to find suitable containers for the tables. Take these to the florist and ask that they use them or fill them yourself with fresh flowers (from the grocery store) or dried ones.
4. Consider the season you’re planning your wedding for, and look for seasonally-appropriate options.
Mums are plentiful, and would make great centerpieces, plus you can take them home and plant them all around your property after the event. You can do the same with Poinsettia plants at Christmas time — just add pretty ribbons or bows to all containers in your color scheme — and you’ve suddenly saved both money and time. If you’re leaving for your honeymoon immediately after the reception, taking home live plants with no one to water them could be tragic. For this reason, many couples gift the centerpieces to the guests after the event.
5. Consider whether you even need flowers at all.
Although flowers are the most popular for centerpieces, you can elect to create beautiful arrangements with other non-floral decorations. Fruit centerpieces are popular and can even serve as after dinner edible options, mirrors with candles, bowls of water with floating candles, or even picture frames with photos of you and your beloved are unique ideas.
Consider the flow of how you want your wedding day to go
Another thing to note about centerpieces is to consider how you envision the flow of the reception. When you envision your wedding day, do you see an intimate gathering of couples sitting around and whispering to one another in celebration of your marriage? Do you see Uncle Bob and Aunt Margaret tossing their shoes to the side and throwing their hands up on the dance floor?
Centerpieces can either encourage or discourage mingling and conversation. If you want everyone at the table to have an opportunity to talk, the centerpieces should be low enough for people to see over the tops or high enough to see under them. When people can see eye-to-eye it encourages conversation, laughter and the making of memories.
You don’t have to go broke to have a beautiful centerpiece
Although you want to no expense spared for your big day, try to remember that there there is life after the wedding. You might have saved for this event for years and you may receive financial gifts from family, but do you really want to spend it all? Doubtful.
Put another way, ask yourself honestly: which of your friends will be impressed to know that you went broke paying for the event?
Hey there, I’m Leslie, of Gold Grown Events. Over three decades I’ve cultivated a passion for planning elegant once-in-a-lifetime events, like weddings. I love Starbucks caramel macchiatos, anything artsy (especially crafting), the Harry Potter series, and traveling. I share my thoughts, helping brides to plan the day of their dreams in a stress-free way.
Interested in learning more? Reach out here.