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20 Ideas for Centerpieces


Centerpieces – even simple ones – are a great way to welcome guests, set the stage for a delicious meal, and set yourself apart as a detail-oriented hostess. Newlyweds enjoy entertaining guests, and they want to make a great impression, and the centerpiece can help them pull that off. You don’t have to be some floral artist or even Martha Stewart, nor do you have to be a Rockefeller. DIY centerpieces can be easy and affordable. Think beyond the elaborate floral arrangements you might have had at your wedding and get creative. Here are some suggestions for centerpieces that will get you started on designing your own beautiful showpieces for that first or fiftieth dinner party as husband or wife:

1. Bud Vases

Bouquet of flowers on wedding table
Trinette Reed/Blend Images/Getty Images
Put a single flower in all the bud vases you have and then group the vases together at the center of the table or place them in a row down the center of the table to make a runner of arrangements. Any flowers will do. Think daisies, wildflowers, peonies or even roses.

2. Votives

A long row of votives alone can set a lovely ambiance. But you can also pair them with the bud vases suggested above. Or you can use them to surround and show off a bigger centerpiece. This addition is great for a dinner party featuring all adult couples or just the two of you because it is romantic.

3. Feathers

Weddings have begun to feature the more affordable feather bouquets, instead of flowers, for a while now. Head to the nearest craft store and pick up a bag or two of feathers. For a dramatic look, pick long feathers in a bright color (or plain white) and simply arrange them in a tall vase at the center of your table. You could also opt for peacock feathers, which can be more sophisticated.

4. Herb Garden

Those herbs you’ve been growing in your kitchen window can be grouped in colorful planters at the center of your table. Or you can snip the herbs and place them amid a bouquet of flowers you pick up at your local supermarket. The nice thing about the herbs – especially if you use fragrant rosemary or basil – is that they add a lovely aroma and guests can use them on their food in lieu of salt, depending on what you’re serving.

5. Paper

Who doesn’t have paper lying around their house? There are so many ways to use it in your centerpieces. You can use decorative punches to create paper confetti for the table, you can cover the table in newspaper for dinner parties featuring messy lobster and crab, or you can print out table cards and place cards from your computer. For centerpieces, you can hang paper lanterns for a floating centerpiece above the table or place simple paper bags in a color of your choice over vases holding flowers and attach them with a pretty ribbon to give your vases a uniform look.

6. Fruits and Vegetables

You can get as elaborate or as simple as you’d like with fruits and vegetables for your centerpieces. You can simple run eye catching fruits and veggies – think artichokes, apples, oranges, lemons, or eggplants – down the center of the table to form a natural runner. Or you can place, say a bunch of lemons, in a clear ball. Wrap some of the fruit in ribbons as an unexpected detail or tuck the leaves of the fruit in between them for a pop of different color. Filling a cornucopia basket with these edible goodies is another way to go.

7. Tree Branches and Leaves

Picking tree branches and leaves from outside can be the least expensive centerpiece you’ll ever create. The branches of a Japanese maple in the fall or olive branches in the summer are beautiful and require little to no arranging in the vase of your choosing. You can get more elaborate by spray painting bare branches and gathering them together or adding paper flowers and bird ornaments to them. Leaving a leaf near the place card of each guest is the icing on the cake.

8. Grass

Wheat grass is always a lovely addition to the table, especially in the spring. You can spruce up the wheat grass by adding flowers, little figurines, or fabric butterflies attached by wire.

9. Bird Cages

A bird cage is a whimsical delight at the table’s center. You can leave it empty, put in a fabric bird, or a simple bouquet of flowers. People are always happy to see something inside that is unexpected and festive.

10. Terrariums

Easy-to-care for plants and flowers are usually housed in terrariums. These enclosed glass homes for plant life are another fun addition to the table. You might even have them in other parts of the home, and you can simply move them onto the table for the party or get together.
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