When it comes to wedding centerpieces, no matter the season, shade, or style, sometimes you have to do less to get more bang for your buck. In a time where scaling back is the new going big, we’re all about those simple centerpieces that ooze sophistication, without being sparse. Since the table is undoubtedly where your guests spend the majority of their time during the wedding festivities, time and attention have to be given to what you most desire the table to express, and every table should tell a story.
“Centerpieces need to match the feeling you want the space to say,” says wedding planner Lacy Geary. “When designing a table, I look at it as a gathering space as opposed to just a place where people sit. The mood it evokes and the experience it is providing needs to be very thoughtful, whether that be simple and modest or simple and luxurious.”
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Whether you’ve opted for a grand wedding with a large guest list or an intimate elopement with just the two of you, a simple centerpiece can find its place in any style, from romantic to rustic. “The centerpieces need to match and compliment the overall tabletop design and not take away from the other elements,” says Geary. “Bringing what is near your venue to your tabletop gives the design a very cohesive feel, which is something I always like to have incorporated.”
Read on for 20 sophisticated ways to wow with a simple centerpiece!
Simple but impactful, add some height to your centerpiece design with tall vases full of greenery. Mix it up and combine varieties—we love seeded eucalyptus with its silver dollar counterpart—or stick to one kind on its own for a design that’s perfect for a classic, traditional affair.
Texture plays a significant role when determining the complexity of a design. The smooth, predictable texture of cement or stone vases breeds an air of simplicity when it comes to overall design; combined with simple florals such as garden roses or hydrangea will showcase an unlikely pairing in the two styles (one modern, the other traditional) for a fresh take on a practical centerpiece.
Add Taper Candles
Romantic and at times whimsical, taper candles undoubtedly cast an otherworldly glow (literally) on any additional design elements in the vicinity. For an extra punch, opt for taper candles only, housed in simple brass or gold candlesticks, for a luminous design.
Use Greenery Garland
A fresh flower garland can range from lush and overgrown to small and sparse. We love the beauty of a simple floral runner, composed of Italian Ruscus, eucalyptus, magnolia leaves, or viney smilax.
Opt for a Runner
The ultimate exercise in simplicity, table runners don’t have to work very hard to elevate a tablescape design. Whether complemented with the addition of candles or minimalistic floral arrangements, silk runners, like the ones used at these Amangiri nuptials, can transform a table and still embody a simple design style!
Light It Up
A tribute to weddings in the style of a bygone era (we’re looking at you, Old Hollywood fetes), we love the idea of table lamps having their moment. Inspired by their favorite New York bar, this couple hired artist Julie King to hand-paint 12 lampshades for lamps that ran the length of their head table.
Choose Big Blooms
Perfect for a tropical or desert wedding, sugarbushes are equal parts striking and simple. Also known as protea, sugarbushes need little else to complement them in order to make an impact; when fully bloomed, they’re sure to leave a lasting impression.
A subtle and sensible way to embrace simplicity when it comes to centerpieces can absolutely come to fruition with a variety of vessels and vases for floral arrangements. “A gorgeous table is not complete and the story hasn't come to life until the flowers are put on the table and the candles are set,” says Geary. “They play a huge role in completing the vision, but can't take away and overpower the overall vision either.”
Use Florals Sparingly
Start with the overall design! When opting for a simply-designed centerpiece, consider a tablescape with very little floral impact, but still elegant. If you’ve opted for long, farmhouse-style tables, consider adorning every other table with flower arrangements and filling the rest with candles; add a silk runner to tie the design together for the final touch of simplicity.
Keep It Petite
You know how we feel about petite bouquets, so why not consider a petite arrangement to go along with it? Charming and appropriate for almost any wedding style, a small, simple vase containing an equally simple, but nevertheless vibrant, arrangement of blooms will more than pull its weight on a bistro table come cocktail hour.
No matter what flowers are used, ikebana-inspired arrangements are simplistic by nature. Embrace a centerpiece uniquely wild in its design by pairing with an even simpler vessel for that minimalist finishing touch.
Cactus wedding decor isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. “I think a successful centerpiece ties into the landscape and the surrounding area of your venue—you should maximize that the best you can,” encourages Geary. Bring the desert to the table with a simple arrangement of various vases containing small cacti or succulents for an ode to modern-day design.
Utilize Bud Vases
Keep it polished with bud vases carrying simple groupings of stems matching those in the bridal or bridesmaids bouquets. Opt for all-white blooms or even a white and green combination with the inclusion of grasses for an elegant centerpiece setup.
Opt for Oversized
Simple doesn’t have to mean small. Go big with an oversized floral arrangement with candlesticks and votive woven throughout the tablescape. While far from basic, the singular centerpiece will pull focus right where you want it to be within the overall design of the reception space, creating an elegant, luxurious feel, without being busy.
Stick to a Single Stem
Scale way back for a modern, minimalist take on the traditional, full arrangement with single stem vases. Channel a tropical vibe with individual palm leaves of all shapes and sizes for centerpieces for the head table and guests’ tables.
Add Fresh Fruit
From a romantic, garden wedding to a rustic, mountaintop fete, we love including fruit as part of the centerpiece design. Whether you’ve selected larger fruits like pineapple and pomegranates or perfect the smaller profile of peaches and strawberries, -there’s a unique simplicity that the inclusion of fresh fruit brings to a design. “I love to incorporate berries and edible items to really give depth, texture, and color to your centerpiece,” suggests Geary.
Select Calla Lilies
A simple arrangement of calla lilies—a show-stopping bloom to be sure—is the perfect touch for a modern, sophisticated wedding design. Choose an equally simple vase, or opt for multiple petite arrangements using miniature calla lilies for a fresh take on a mono-floral centerpiece.
Combine Table Numbers
Combine your table numbers with simple, tasteful floral arrangements for a centerpiece that pulls double duty! For this summer wedding on Shelter Island, guests easily found their seats thanks to cut-paper table numbers tucked amongst minimal arrangements in varying shades of pink.
Lanterns are the perfect option when it comes to soft lighting. Consider them for an outdoor reception, where they are sure to create a cozy ambiance for a gorgeous wedding day.