I now like to think of myself as the centerpiece queen & I have the best tips for diying your own! But especially if you want very eclectic centerpieces, then this is for you friends. I’ve put together centerpieces for a few other friend/family weddings in the past & gleaned my own methods & ideas from those experiences to use for our wedding. So I feel like I have a lot to offer you here! Let’s get into it.
1- PICK YOUR STYLE
First you’ll need to decide what you want your centerpieces to look like. I wanted each of mine to be different & somewhat eclectic. Overall, I wanted them to be vintage, rustic & classy all at the same time. I wanted gold, mason jars, candles & heaps of flowers. If you want them all to look the same then your job will be much easier! You can make one centerpiece then replicate it however many times are necessary. Use Pinterest & browse wedding magazines for inspiration.
2- COLLECT ITEMS
As you can see below, I’ve been gathering up centerpiece junk for a loooong time. Like, way before I ever had an engagement ring. If you want to use all mason jars then buy all the sizes you’ll need. If you want one large vase surrounded by tea lights then buy that. Plain vases & candle holders are very inexpensive. If you want a more mixed up look like I did, it won’t be quite as simple.
I scoured garage sales, thrift stores, antique stores, craft stores & even the dollar store in order to get this mother load together. Plus I bought boxes of mason jars from Walmart & Target. Keep your eyes open for sales! If you’re in need of wedding decor hit up your favorite stores the day or so after a holiday. You can find loads of wedding decor the day after Christmas that isn’t necessarily Christmasy at all. Post-holiday sales are the absolute best time to buy candles. Surprisingly, I even found quite a few unused candles at thrift stores. I had lots of vases already from bouquets my husband had bought me in the past. Any others I bought for about 75 cents a piece at the thrift store. I saved a variety of glass jars as well & spruced them up with a coat of gold spray paint. Borrow items from friends/ family members as well! Put a round colored sticker (think blank garage sale price stickers) on the bottom of anything you borrow & add the owner’s initials to it in sharpie. This will ensure it will go home with the right person post-wedding. Make a color coded chart that matches the stickers of who you borrowed what from so everyone’s items are returned peacefully.
Consider using some kind of a base as well. I used huge log slices that my husband, father, & papa so willingly cut for me. Since I decided on mismatched centerpieces, I used the log slices to bring it all together. You can use log slices, mirrors, trays, platters, doilies, etc.
3- PREP CENTERPIECES
This is what was going on in the first photo below. A couple of months before the wedding I felt I had collected enough & decided it was time to prep my centerpieces. I unpacked everything I could possibly use on the dining room table. I had several items that required cleaning up so I took care of that first. If anything has permanent marker on it use alcohol on a cotton ball to remove. Then I attacked things that I thought were too plain with burlap, ribbons, lace, pearls & hot glue.
I set up a smaller table for testing & bought a bouquet of flowers similar to those I wanted to use. Each log slice got a number put on the bottom, 1-15, for 15 centerpieces. I set each log on my small table one at a time & styled it with my centerpiece junk, flowers, & candles until I was pleased with the outcome. I snapped a few photos of the ideal set up with flowers in each vase & candles in each candleholder. I also numbered 15 brown paper grocery bags 1-15. As I took apart a centerpiece I wrapped each item sufficiently & placed it in the appropriate numbered bag. I numbered large plastic baggies as well & used those to place each centerpiece’s candles in. I didn’t want to include them in the same bags as the actual centerpieces in case they’d be in the heat. In the end, I had a stack of numbered log slices, 15 brown bags stuffed full of centerpieces, 15 plastic baggies full of candles & reference pictures of each centerpiece. As I went through I was missing appropriate candles here & there so I wrote one long list of how many I needed of each size. I also stapled a post it note to any bag that was missing items of what exactly it was missing. That way, I could easily add the items to the appropriate bags once they were purchased. I’m hoping this all makes sense to you people!
This pre-wedding prep will save you so so so much precious time during setup. It will save you from a heap of question answering too. This is something that can be done as early as possible & set aside until wedding time.
STEP 4- ORDER FLOWERS/FILLERS
The next step will be ordering flowers, if you’re even using flowers, a few weeks before the wedding. I ordered all of mine from Sam’s & had them delivered to the venue 2 days before the wedding. Sam’s had the cheapest flowers out of everyone & actually had a very nice selection. I over ordered because I wanted flowers seeping out of every possible corner & that’s precisely what I got. If you’re using something else like marbles, fake flowers, rocks, paper flowers, etc. Now is the time to make or purchase those items. Grab any candles you or other extras you were missing as well.
STEP 5- SETUP
Here comes the fun part! You’re on site, you’ve got a team of bridesmaids, moms, aunts, grandmothers, cousins & friends, the time has come. Put your little army of women to work! Everyone gets a brown bag & finds the log to match, then the candle bag that matches & sets to work unpacking. Another huge reason I chose to use log slices was hot glue. Hot glue guns were passed all around as we glued each item into place on the log slice, including candlesticks onto candleholders. This ensured nothing would blow over & break from the wind. Also, each centerpiece could easily be carried from place to place without anything shifting around of falling off. Otherwise, we may have had to wait till the morning to set up the centerpieces. This way we got to do it 2 days before the wedding. Afterwards, every piece was popped off & wrapped back up into boxes. There’s a great photo below of all the centerpieces waiting to be filled with fresh flowers, over half of which are not even pictured.
STEP 6- FILL UP
Time to fill each vase with a lovely bouquet & water of course! Grab a pitcher & have someone going around to fill each vase with enough water to cover the stems, but not so much that it will slosh around when being transported from one spot to the next.
Now, make sure sharp scissors or shears are abundant & let everyone pick a centerpiece to work on. This worked best for us as everyone went around grabbing which flowers they wanted to use & took ownership in there pieces. I okayed each centerpiece once it was filled with flowers & then they went inside to soak up the cold ac. Doing these 2 days ahead of time not only saved us a ton of work later, but also gave the flowers time to open up a bit. By the day of the wedding they’d all bloomed beautifully. We did have to refresh some hydrangeas will boiling water the morning of, but they opened up even better afterwards.
STEP 7- SET OUT
This last step means we finally get to put these beauties out on center stage at each table! We waited till about an hour & a half before the wedding to do this. Borrow 2 minutes from as many people as you have centerpieces. Then have everyone carry one centerpiece to one table & it is all done! Yay!
**PS- Be sure to have extra vase, candle holders, & candles just in case any break in transportation or during the process. Expect to need them!
Here’s how some of ours turned out, I couldn’t be happier!
I hope you lovelies got some good tips up there! Do you have any great centerpiece tips to share?
Wedding Photos by the Fabulous Katie Hill Photography!