Whether you’re hosting a glamorous party for 300 or an intimate micro-wedding for 30, there are tons of ways you can cut costs and still pack a punch when it comes to decor. From full-blown DIY centerpieces to smaller do-it-yourself projects, you can leave your mark in a way that’s personal and custom, according to floral designer Tara Guenther, of the Chicago-based design studio, Taxaflora.
Meet the Expert
When it comes to DIY centerpieces, there are a handful of things to seriously consider before jumping into creating the centerpieces of your dreams:
- Do your research: Handling any wedding décor yourself is a big endeavor, so approaching the task by being well-informed when it comes to design inspiration and necessary tools is the first step in the right direction. “Look through some blogs, Pinterest, look at what other people have done to see what you do and don't like,” recommends Geunther.
- Set a budget: “Calculate some rough figures on what all the items you want would cost and see how that fits into your budget,” says Guenther. When it comes to flowers, intricate, tightly packed arrangements will put a big hit on your budget, so opt for looser, more casual compositions to keep it cost-effective.
- Create a timeline: This is an essential step in setting realistic expectations when it comes to what’s possible for centerpiece design, whether it’s florals or something inventive. “Try to estimate a timeline of when you would need to get everything ordered, when you'll pick up, process flowers and make the arrangements (if necessary), and deliver everything to the venue,” says Guenther.
- Ask for help: This is Guenther’s biggest encouragement: “You can't do this alone. So much goes on the days leading up to the wedding, and you don't want to miss out on those once in a lifetime moments while you're worrying about centerpieces!”
Recruiting someone to help that loves flowers is incredibly beneficial; bonus points for someone with some type of art or design experience.
Now, discover 24 DIY wedding centerpieces you’re sure to love.
Line the Table
Capitalize on the simplicity a linen runner brings. Minimal but still elevating, you can even change up the fabric to more accurately reflect the style of the day, whether it be bold stripes for something modern, or a lighter color palette for a natural, outdoor wedding.
Embrace Taper Candles
We love the natural elegance a taper candle brings to any tablescape. Keep it sophisticated with candles all in the same shade, or mix it up with a handful of colors that coordinate with the overall wedding colors.
Find Your Favorite Flowers
In small vases, arrange a handful of your favorite blooms that are easily accessible, like we’re talking spray roses, hydrangeas, even baby’s breath. “Depending on where you live, you can usually source some pretty spectacular greenery from your own back yard or the side of the road too,” says Guenther. “Be sure to have some sharp floral sheers or gardening shears, your hands will thank you!”
“Use string or wire to tie a handful of flowers together and then cut it short to fit in a 5"x5" clear glass vase,” recommends Guenther.
Personalize the Details
A touch of personalization throughout your centerpieces is always a good idea! This couple created custom luggage tags for their guests, a DIY project they embarked on together.
Calligraph Palm Fronds
Adapt this tropics-inspired idea for your wedding day tablescape: palm leaves with hand-lettered messages to guests, or even as a menu could be just the excuse you needed to learn how to do calligraphy!
Let the Table Shine
No need to let a traditional centerpiece do all the heavy lifting. A unique table setup, like this low-to-the-ground lounge, can perfectly provide a cozy, inviting experience for guests.
Source Paper Flowers
Ok, so technically you wouldn’t be DIY-ing these blooms, but you can still arrange them yourself! Paper flowers have long been a seemingly impossible task to undertake when you have very little experience, so we’ll leave that to the professionals! The perfect happy medium consists of sourcing beautiful blooms and then artfully arrangement them on your own for a semi-DIY project. Bonus: they’re the perfect keepsake after the big day!
Planning a rustic fete? Wood blocks stained in the color of your choice is a relatively quick and easy project for anyone! Use as a way to identify table numbers for a centerpiece and they pull double duty.
Use Potted Plants
It’s no secret how much we love potted plants for anything when it comes to wedding decor. The perfect DIY project for a crowd, choose a vessel you’d look forward to reusing after the wedding, and plant flowers or herbs for an eco-friendly, cash-saving centerpiece.
Provide a Fruit Bowl
“I've done a few weddings where they placed fruit on the tables or in baskets for the guests to enjoy with dinner,” shares Guenther. A quick trip to the local grocer or farmer’s market will have your guests thanking you for the fresh fruit treats, like these bowls of oranges, peaches, and apricots.
Stick to Single Stems
“Try to stick to one type of flower,” encourages Guenther. “Single flower arrangements are far easier to design and tend to look more elegant,” Guenther suggests opting for the easiest flowers to source year-round such as roses, hydrangeas, and tulips, although seasonal favorites like peonies and ranunculus will also be available from the local farmer’s market as well. One stem per vessel is a charming look for an eclectic tablescape.
Build a Terrarium
Rather not use flowers? Glass-enclosed arrangements such as terrariums bring a certain unique edge to your decor, whether they’re filled with air plants or a bit of live greenery. Search vintage or second-hand shops for a collection of glass vessels to fill yourself for an entirely custom look.
Widely available and boasting a variety of types, eucalyptus is the most reliable greenery when it comes to centerpiece decor. Depending on the type of tables you’ve selected for the reception, you can lay down loose strands, create a garland, or form the branches into a wreath around floating candles.
Bring the desert straight to the table with miniature cacti! Perfect for the laid-back couple, you can customize this trend by placing mini pots of any variety, from Prickly Pear to Peruvian Apple, amongst candles and metallic tableware for an ultra-modern design.
Opt for Geodes
Time to start practicing that handwriting! Geodes bring a certain modernity to wedding design; coupled with a handwritten menu or note from the couple, it’s the perfect touch of simple personalization for a bohemian affair. Make sure you recruit your friends with the best handwriting!
Start a New Collection
When it comes to color, more is more! Start collecting colored glass in all shapes and sizes—think thrift stores, antique shops, or garage sales—for a bright and festive tablescape. After everything’s official, you’ll have an insane collection of your own, from vases to drinkware!
Press Your Own Flowers
With a little bit of planning ahead, you can add a touch of whimsy to your garden wedding. Preserve leaves and blooms on your own or opt for pre-dried grasses, and display in picture frames as with hand-written table numbers or a menu for the entire table to enjoy.
Use Cut Fruit
Perfect for a summer wedding, incorporating cut fruit throughout the tablescape is a foolproof DIY no matter your budget! “I love adding fruit to tables as it's an inexpensive way to add dimension, texture, and color to the tables,” says Guenther, who believes that “it also visually helps connect the arrangement to the table.”
Inexpensive and teeming with personality, wildflowers add an organic, youthful radiance to the table design. Play into the naturally casual look they exude, and pair with simple glass bottles or vases as a DIY arrangement. “Pick one style of vase you feel comfortable designing in,” says Guenther. “You can get fancy and use chicken wire and such, but when doing this for a big event, time is of the essence!”
Prop Up the Pineapples
Hosting a summer wedding somewhere sunny? Lining the table with pineapples requires little to no preparation ahead of time, beyond purchasing, for a quick, kitschy set up the morning of the big day!
Opt for Succulents
For a climate not so fresh-flower-friendly, opt for something like will thrive come rain or shine. Take a quick trip to the garden store to scoop up a variety of shades and plant them together or separately—and just like that, you have a wedding centerpiece, and your own succulent garden to take home once the dancing’s over!
Fill the Vases
No matter how you slice it (pun intended), using citrus is a great way to brighten up the celebration. Line clear glass vases with thick or thin cut slices of lemons, limes, or even oranges, or keep them whole and fill them straight to the top.
No need to hit the grocery store: You can even use fake fruit for the same effect!
Build a Floral Cloche
Want a little DIY adventure? Create unique arrangements within large cloches for a woodland or garden-inspired fête. Take it a step further by utilizing smaller cloches and creating little vignettes throughout the tables for something unexpected.
Make a Garland of Greenery
Less expensive than a full floral garland, binding together greenery will create a lush, romantic table runner. Tie the branches and stems of greenery that’s in season—consider Italian ruscus, smilax, or even magnolia leaves—end to end, and create strands of varying lengths to use on each table. “If you're having a winter wedding, try unique types of evergreens,” share Guenther. “They smell great and can be super elegant!”