Choosing Wedding Centerpieces

Centerpieces can cause much more stress than they’re worth, generally because few couples are certified decorators. While we all know they’re considered “necessary,” that doesn’t mean we have any idea what the heck they should look like. Here’s a few simple Decidebride tips to help you get started on your centerpieces. Be sure to see our other posts on flowers for more helpful information.


Know the size of the table before you start planning your centerpiece. A giant basket of roses will overwhelm a 2 person cocktail table, but look perfect on a banquet table for 10. Likewise, extremely tall and wide centerpieces can block sightlines if they aren’t balanced with the size of the table. Your centerpiece is supposed to create a visual accent for the table, but shouldn’t inhibit the space needed for eating.


Floral centerpieces are extremely popular, and can be provided by the florist or made at home. If you are using fresh flowers, they may also be somewhat expensive. If you want floral centerpieces on a smaller budget, look for large blooms, such as chrysanthemums or gerbera daisies, that look good in small bunches, or inexpensive filler flowers, such as baby’s breath, that are very cheap in quantity.


Candle centerpieces help create a flickering, romantic light at each table. One thing to think about is how long the candles will be in use- if it will be several hours, they may need to be replaced. A great way to get around this issue is to use battery-operated LED candles, which flicker like real ones and won’t melt down. If you are using candles in a container, such as a hurricane glass, consider filling the container with other materials, such as smooth river rocks, to make the centerpiece a little more noticeable.


Centerpiece holders can range from large glass vases to ceramic plant pots. While florist-made centerpieces will provide their own containers, for DIY centerpieces, finding good containers in bulk can take some work. If possible, buy containers from a wholesaler in bulk, which can significantly reduce the price.

Wedding centerpieces can be personalized to match the style, tone, and most importantly, budget of the wedding. Think about simple, elegant or fun containers that match the season, such as cornucopias for fall, or metal sand pails for a beach-themed wedding. Instead of spending a ton of money on large floral bouquets, float rose petals or loose orchids in water-filled vases.

Choosing Wedding Reception Flowers

Flowers at the reception can include anything from fresh cake toppers to garlands on the banisters. These flowers can be important, because they really help cement the look for the event. Since they can also be expensive, taking a few price-cutting shortcuts can be a good way to reduce a fat flower budget.

Cake Flowers:

These can be a great way to dress up a simple cake. Most florists will provide loose blossoms that can be draped on the cake, or small arrangements to serve as a cake topper. If you are concerned about putting real flowers on the edible cake, consider decorating the surrounding table with a few loose blooms. Easy and inexpensive!

Flowers as Décor:

Hanging flowers or draping garlands on surfaces like balustrades will add a beautiful, natural touch to any event. If your florist has worked at the venue before, he/she will likely know what spaces can be dressed up with flowers. You can also create dimension and depth to a space by hanging pomanders, which are round globes of sturdy blooms that can hang from the ceiling on ribbons.

Go Green:

Rather than spending oodles of cash on pricey florals, consider using relatively simple, and often seriously inexpensive greenery to decorate a reception space. Ivy, ferns, pine garlands, and autumn leaves can all be fantastic options that will cost a fraction of flowers. If you are doing your own decorating, consider using silk garlands for an even less-expensive option.


Though flowers aren’t the only option for table centerpieces, they are one of the most popular. This is a great place to show off your color palette while providing visual focal points for the reception space. See our article on wedding centerpieces for more detailed information.

Where to Buy Reception flowers:

If you are doing your own flowers, contact a wholesaler to see if they offer public access (many are designed primarily for professional florists). If this isn’t an option, search locally for a flower market that you can visit early on the day of the wedding or the day prior. While using a flower market leaves some things to chance, if you get there early and are aware of what types of flowers are in season, you can get incredible deals.

If you have a florist for your bouquets, ask them if you would be able to purchase floral materials from them- they may be able to offer them to you at cost, as long as you are doing all the preparation and arranging yourself. For those who want a foolproof option, consider buying highly realistic silk flowers or preserved flowers online, ordering them in plenty of time to make sure they will work.

Choosing Wedding Ceremony Flowers

Choosing Wedding Bouquets

Choosing the wedding bouquet can be difficult if you aren’t familiar with floral design. Nevertheless, this is one decision that can be made stress-free by answering a few very simple questions.


Many brides like to highlight their chosen color palette by incorporating their wedding colors in the bouquets. If you already know which colors you plan to use on the wedding, that can make the colors of the bouquet stress-free. For those who don’t know their colors or want to do something a little different, consider these three options.

  • Tone on Tone- this type of bouquet takes a single color, such as purple, and uses a variety of flowers with different shades of the color. A tone on tone bouquet can be subtle and sophisticated, without going overboard on variety
  • Complimentary Colors- Consider building the palette of the bouquet as you would choose shades of colors for painting a room or assembling an outfit. Choose between 2-4 colors that look good with one another, such as white, peach, pale yellow, and pale green.
  • Clear Contrast: A bold choice, clear contrast bouquets typically use several colors that stand out next to each other, such as white, blue and dark green, bright pink and dark red, or dark yellow, spring green, and white.

 Shape: Bouquets come in several different shapes that can also contribute to the formality and style of the wedding. The most common shapes include:

 Hand Tied: Hand tied bouquets usually are shaped into rounds, or allowed to be organic and free form. They are often tied midway down the stem with ribbon or lace, creating a natural, casual look.

Cascade: Cascade bouquets form an upside-down teardrop shape, which may be tight or loose near the bottom. Generally considered more formal, these bouquets can be a great way to showcase large flowers or those that grow in long cascades of blossoms.

Round: While round bouquets look similar to hand tied, the stems are bound into a bouquet holder, making a uniform, controlled round shape.

Pomander: Unique and whimsical, a pomander is carried like a purse, and is usually comprised of flowers with strong stems, that will not easily come dislodged from the bouquet. Roses are especially popular for pomanders.

It is absolutely possible to make your own bouquets, often at a significantly reduced price. Contact a wholesale flower store in your area, and ask about “public hours” where anyone can come to the store. At the store, they may be able to advise you about what flowers can be ordered or are usually in stock, making it simple to create an order for pick-up 24-48 hours before the wedding. Hand-tied bouquets are often the least expensive and easiest to make, since they only require the flowers, floral wire, and ribbon.