help! i need flower suggestions for diy centerpieces!


Imagine this: You’re planning a bridal shower brunch for 80 (yes, 80) guests. The invitations have been sent, the favors ordered, the menu set and venue booked. The only thing that remains in this large-scale production is deciding on and making the centerpieces for the tables. This is the dilemma facing a good friend right now, and so I’m looking to you, dear readers, for a solution. Flower arrangements can be expensive so we’re seplaceing for some creative ideas that we can execute ourselves on a manageable budget. We’ve been looking into big, scene-stealing flowers, like peonies and hydrangeas, which might be able to do the job of bigger bouquets with fewer stems. I’m also intrigued by the idea of Martha Stewart’s paper flower tutorial as a craftier option but please, weigh in! Have any flower suggestions to share? Know of a great, executable centerpiece strategy you could pass along? Sound off in comments! — Sarah C.

From our partners

When I got married back in 1995 I didn’t want to get a lot of cut flowers that would die so soon. I opted for potted miniature roses and painted the flower pots and put our names and wedding date on each. Then I gave them out to guests to take home. Many of the guests still have the roses growing in their yard. I got a bulk rate for them. Then I placed them on the tables and they looked great.


Hydrangeas in short cubes! Or any clear vase that you can scrounge up. I just did my wedding flowers myself and 3 hydrangeas fill up a vase easily. I did huge cubes – so I threw in some purple kale too. Yes, Kale! Tip – if the Hydrangeas get wilty, spritz them with water and wait a few hours. I drenched one head (apparently they drink through the flowers) and panicked until it popped back up!

Or tightly bunch one color of deep colored carnations together – check out if you have a local flower market that you can get them cheaper at. Here in LA we get a bunch of 25 stems for like $8 or so.

For candles, I used drinking glasses from IKEA ($1.49 a box for 6!!) covered in parchment paper with flameless candles.

Good luck! You can do the flowers 2 days in advance as long as you have a cool and dark place to store them.


I would do big bowls or taller clear vases with fruit (lemons, granny smith apples) and then short, small vases with flowers. Granny smith apples and pink or white peonies would be cute.

I love alstroemerias as filler flowers – in a short vase, a bunch of alstroemerias with a couple of big showy flowers (peonies or hydrangeas would look awesome) and you don’t really need much more than that.


I helped a friend make TONS of crepe paper flowers for her wedding a few years ago. She used templates from Martha Stewart and they turned out beautifully. They took some time but once we made a couple of them they were easy. I would test a couple with different papers, crepe and tissue. I think the crepe paper flowers “look” more realistic (able to shape the petals more) but it’s hard to find in sheets. Tissue paper may be better for larger flowers though… more weight to the paper than the crepe. Have fun whatever you do and share pictures!

I really enjoy this idea from Martha: I think it would be nice to even do pictures of friends and family instead of just the floral PDFs she provides, and it’s SUPER cheap.

And on a related note, I’m really torn on centerpieces in general. I have been to WAY too many weddings and other events where they were too large, so I couldn’t see across the table, or so tacky (think: lots and lots of mirrors) that they detracted from the overall atmosphere of the wedding. I would almost rather have nothing in the center of the table than have either of those scenarios happen!

[That being said, my current preferred centerpieces are square glass jars filled with seasonal fruit. Low cost, and everyone gets a healthy parting gift!]


think about balloons – they’re a statement, but they’re high above the table so people can talk through the ribbons very easily. tie them to some pretty knickknack from the dollar store, or (if you’re doing favors) arrange the favors around the weight that any party store will usually give you for free. three balloons per table, with silver strings = simple & different.

Sarah L.

Joan at For The Love of a House just posted a picture of a simple carnation arrangement. Inexpensive flowers but looks elegant!


The last wedding I went to had live orchids in tall inexpensive glass vases (they potted them in loose black cinders for the reception and added some willow branches). The one before that used lucky bamboo in china bowls that matched the wedding colors. I’ve got a horrible black thumb but both plants are still alive.

One of my favorites though was a tall glass vase filled with matte gold glass balls with a silver and gold glass bird on the very top. Simple but elegant. And the glass ornaments can get reused during the holidays.


My fave is submerged in water. Looks gorgeous, and is VERY simple!


For my wedding I bought roses from (although there are a lot of rose sellers online) and put them in low rose bowls. I hate weddings where the centerpieces are so huge you can’t talk or see across the table, so I made sure mine were low. If you stick to one color rose, a rounded mass of roses in a vase looks elegant and takes all of two minutes to arrange. Each table cost me less than $25, and that included 25 roses, their vase, and a scattering of frosted glass votive holders. Got a ridiculous deal on the votives on eBay, one of those “make an offer” auctions and I was shocked when they agreed.

You don’t have to use roses, other flowers also work well, but unless you’re good at arranging, my advice is to stick to one type and one color of flower. And no greens!

Jillian S.

I can’t wait to see which idea wins. ;)


Round or square mirror tile, fish bowl, color water to match theme, floating candles, petals placed around each. This is probably a little late, may come in useful for next time.