Flowers · Weddings


So here we are in 2017, and hopefully this year will be smooth sailing compared to the chaos of 2016. Although things have been quiet at Zenplicity for a while — not too many weddings this season. Last year we had a wedding on New Years Eve! Maybe the surreal weather we’ve had over the past several winters has made brides more cautious when setting the date.

I wanted to put together a post for the different types of centerpieces we’ve put together for our brides. Maybe moreso than anywhere else, centerpieces are an opportunity to get creative, because it’s not just about choosing the flowers. There are plenty of tried-and-true styles that will always be popular, but in the Age of Pinterest you never need to limit yourself.

Mason jars (or bell jars) are small and cute and practically limitless. Not only do you have the same freedom in choosing the flowers (they just need to be cut shorter), but they can be extremely cost-effective: in my experience, pint mason jars themselves can cost $1.00 each at craft stores and come in all kinds of colors, and it only takes a few stems to make them look full. One hydrangea covers the whole thing.

What is especially cool about mason jars is how easy it is to decorate them, and therefore how easy it is to make them look unique. Wrapping some ribbon and lace around them or simply hanging a customized tag is all it takes for them to immediately stand out among others. It’s also worth mentioning that the DIY aspect of this is yet another way to cut costs off the final budget. If a bride is feeling crafty, she can decorate the jars herself  (as simple or as complex as she wants) — or set someone else up with the task, of course.

Depending on the florist, they may not include this sort of decoration as part of the floral design process, and if they do, they will almost certainly charge a fee for the extra man hours. All of this together will probably still not be as expensive as an average centerpiece, but if the name of the game is saving some money, don’t forget to factor in details like this!

Speaking of simple, a centerpiece doesn’t always need to be a wild rainbow burst of flowers! Consider using a container like a small wooden box, or a tin pail, or maybe an empty bottle (upcycle that stuff!), and sticking just one kind of flower in it. In fact, choose your favorite filler flower and go with that — alstroemeria is a popular filler, and there are a ton of colors to choose from! It’s the same with several types of mums or daisies. And once again, one or two stems of hydrangea can often get the job done.

As you might have noticed, you can also use baby’s breath (true name gypsophilia) for this and get a poofy, cloudlike look. Some people adore baby’s breath enough to give it a spotlight like that (even to make entire bouquets out of it) and some people just can’t stand it. If you are leaning towards baby’s breath for a centerpiece — or really, for anything — be warned that it isn’t actually the simple filler flower most people think! Gypsophilia can be as expensive as any other focus flower. The next time you decide to grab a dozen roses from a supermarket, you might notice that there will only be one or two stems of gyp in it, and they will mostly likely be crushed or dead.

Baby’s breath is another flower that should stay in water as long as possible. Not because it’s super delicate, but because brown spots on a white flower are very noticeable!


Now let’s check out some of the big stuff. A centerpiece can sit in a bowl or a short dish, or it can reach for the sky. Imagine a three feet high vase sitting in the middle of a table, carrying a dish full of flowers on top! Vases like this can be made of clear glass, certainly, and have submerged flowers floating in the water; however, they can also be gold or silver, for example. And then extra details can be added, like draped pearls or feathers coming out the top, as you might recall from a previous wedding. If you want to practically double the height, just ask for some curly willow in there.

Of course, you may realize already that bigger vases can take a little room out of your budget. If you’re committed, here’s an answer: alternate. Try having tall pieces on half of your tables, or maybe just a few key places, like the ceremony, and supplement the rest of the space with short pieces, or even no flowers at all. This is where a clear picture of the look you’re going for becomes key, because tall pieces are ostentatious. A single rose in a bud vase probably isn’t gonna cut it alongside them — but it’s always your call in the end!

On a related note, you can also flank the tall pieces themselves with smaller objects, like lanterns or photographs, depending on where they’re set up. Just be mindful of how much space there is going to be to avoid overcrowding. If you’re wondering what to put on a dining table, keep in mind that your guests still need room to eat.

I’m going to round this post out by coming back to lanterns, which have made an appearance in many of our weddings. One bride even found antique lanterns and brought them in for us to decorate! Lanterns can rest on a dish surrounded by flowers or even have some spilling out of it (although that is ONLY if you’re using fake candles. Don’t risk it). Perhaps set the lantern (or any other centerpiece) on a mirror in the middle of the table. Remember that centerpieces can be part of a table ensemble if you have the space for it – your guests still need to eat!

Hopefully now you have a few extra ideas to round out your portfolio. Feeling a little more prepared? That’s great! Maybe a little overwhelmed? Don’t worry. Coming up next is a little checklist of helpful tips for your floral consultation.


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