Terrariums are a unique alternative to the classic wedding flower arrangement and a design choice that is packed with personality. As glass-enclosed arrangements, terrariums are a great way to put nature’s beauty on display. Whether you decide to create them yourself or work directly with a florist, there are a few things you need to know. “Terrariums are a contained ecosystem of plant life, a micro garden,” says florist Jenn Sanchez.
Meet the Expert
Jenn Sanchez is a floral designer based in Southern California, and the owner and creative director of the eponymous floral studio Jenn Sanchez Design.
“Usually created in a glass container with moss and whichever plants you choose, they are a great option for an interesting alternative (or addition!) to house plants,” explains Sanchez. Consider ferns or succulents when deciding what plants or flowers are going to make the cut. Between these two alone, there are thousands of plants to choose from. Sanchez suggests opting for a more natural look: “I prefer the botanical look with cuttings from greenhouse-grown indoor plants such as begonias, alocasias, etc. with moss.”
Read on for 19 inspiring terrarium centerpieces of every shape and size.
Stick to the Theme
This safari-themed wedding stayed true to theme with petite terrariums straight out of...the safari. “A glass-domed cloche with ferns and huechera and alliums will give a botanical feel while a shallow brass bowl with oncidium orchids and pods can contribute to a more tropical vibe,” says Sanchez.
Use Unique Flowers
Use inventive flower combinations to create a one-of-a-kind floral environment. Show off both an interior vessel, like a small brass vase or delicate ceramic cachepot, along with a cloche-type enclosure for a design layered with a unique perspective.
Choose Air Plants
Air plants are perfect for a wedding day terrarium. Their ability to still thrive with not needing soil, and very little air and sunlight, means they can last long into the night of the reception while you and your guests dance the night away.
Pick a Single Stem
Want to use a smaller terrarium and still pack a punch? Select blooms that can stand alone as a single stem, like a large dahlia or garden rose. More than likely, due to size and shape, it will take up the majority of the space inside the terrarium container, but not feel too crowded. The addition of micro-florals like waxflower will only serve to accentuate the design.
Group Them Together
Create a beautiful centerpiece with a grouping of two to three terrariums in a variety of shapes. Use the same flower combinations throughout each vessel to bring some continuity.
A wild and organic centerpiece is just the ticket for an outdoor garden wedding, or natural, rustic affair. Choose flowers with a natural playfulness and wildness about them (we love poppies, tulips, and cosmos, just to name a few) and layer amongst a layer of moss for an earthy yet elegant design.
The shape of the terrarium may be what sets your table design apart from the rest. We love the idea of a severely structured vessel filled with fluffy, loose florals. The juxtaposition will create a beautiful contrast, and is a perfect design element to consider for a modern affair.
Make It Moody
Moody florals are long-loved for the emotion they evoke with just one glance their way. Choose a color palette of warm tones like mauve and dark purple, and throw in some blush to create a contrast.
Strike a Balance
Perhaps you’re looking for a balance between modernity and tradition. Consider accentuating a small terrarium with one or two petite floral arrangements as a complementary combination that’s equal parts edgy and classic.
Make sure to use the same blooms in both vessels to tie everything together.
Use a Unique Vessel
The beauty of a terrarium is split between the plants that it's composed of, and the vessel that houses it. Get creative with the types of open-air containers and vases to keep things interesting.
Create the Right Environment
Terrariums essentially provide the opportunity to create environments for plants that are pleasing to look at—and will last longer than just the wedding day. Get creative with the inclusions in the overall design in order to craft somewhat of a ‘scene’ in which plants, like succulents, cacti, or even air plants, can have their moment in the spotlight.
Forgo the Glass
Unique in its own right, a terrarium as a wedding centerpiece is all about the vase. Mix it up by using a vessel with no glass; composed of just the traditional terrarium frame, the flowers and or plants you decide to use will create a spilled-out-effect that will give your entire table design the look of luxury.
Opt for Something Out of the Box
With the right elements, you can transform the typical design components and add a touch of whimsy to the overall design. We love the idea of simple cloches turning into terrariums; add a strand of battery-powered lights for some elevated illumination!
Tropical wedding flowers are all about lush greenery and a mixture of textures. For a terrarium centerpiece inspired by the tropics, incorporate both succulents and a variety of palm leaves for a seriously stunning centerpiece.
Give Moss Its Moment
A terrarium filled with moss is simple but still stunning, with the variegated shades of green adding dimension and texture.
Choose a Fun Container
”I think terrariums can suit a variety of wedding decor looks as the container you put them in, as with all flowers, is a huge factor in design approach,” says Sanchez. For an outdoor reception with a bohemian vibe, a pyramid terrarium centerpiece might be just the decor element to elevate the entire design.
Make It Floral Heavy
Opt for a more flower-heavy design by using heavy florals like large-faced garden roses or spray roses with greenery. “Their flexibility of use is what makes terrariums so intriguing,” says Sanchez. Embrace the high-low quality of a lush arrangement in a minimalist vessel for a unique combination.
Use Flower Foam
With temporary decorative terrariums, you can use a small piece of flower foam as a water source for ferns and flowers and then cover with moss,” says Sanchez. “This way you can add elements such as sweet peas or ranunculus, flowers that would otherwise not work in a traditional terrarium.” Play into the shape of the vessel you’ve selected to create an elongated design that draws your eye to all the right places.
Use Black Accents
We love the idea of sharp black accents as a part of wedding decor. Combined with deep green tones and accented by metallic gold candles, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t want to choose this arrangement for your modern affair.