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Tall Wedding Centerpieces: Topiary to Trumpet Vase, Find the Best Arrangement Style.

Updated on April 26, 2013
A tall arrangement of lilac blue and white flowers in a glass vase, accented with green beeds
A tall arrangement of lilac blue and white flowers in a glass vase, accented with green beeds | Source

There are several different ways to create a tall wedding centerpiece and an infinite number of variations on the design, but we can break them down as follows:

  • Arrangements which begin at table level and use tall flowers to obtain height.
  • Arrangements of normal height flowers in a tall vase
  • Multi-tier arrangements
  • Topiary style arrangements, including twigs, branches and trees

You'll find examples of each, along with a discussion of containers in this article, but there is one question you should consider before ordering, designing or making a tall wedding centerpiece; is it the right thing for you?

Tall centerpieces make a room look wonderful as you walk in, they're not just luxurious, they're opulent, but they need the right room, one with space and a decent ceiling height, and they need the right wedding. Are you planning these centerpieces for your guests at a sit-down dinner? If so, remember they will spend most of their time sitting down. Your tall arrangements will look fantastic as they walk in, but when they're sitting at the table, what will they see? The stem of a vase, no matter what it has been filled with, isn't as nice to look at as beautifully arranged flowers. In many cases tall bridal centerpieces have very little decoration at 'conversation' level.

Fortunately there are styles of tall wedding centerpiece which deal with this problem. Topiary arrangements usually contain flowers at two levels, and even the tallest of vases can have a table height arrangement around the base, but this does mean additional cost.

If you are looking for something tall (ish) with interest at top and bottom, and you have a strict budget, take a look at floating candle centerpieces. Though not, usually, incredibly tall, these can be easy on the eye and on the budget.

How Tall Should a Centerpiece Be

Most event planners and florists are agreed that a centerpiece should be no more than six inches tall, possibly less, hence anything larger might be described as 'tall'. If your florist suggests she'll use a 'tall' vase, check the specifics. A twelve inch vase could be described as 'tall' but will actually place the flowers at eye level, and, surprisingly, this is not good!

Flowers should never get in the way of conversation, there's nothing worse than trying to talk to someone around a floral display, your guests could end up sitting at very strange angles!

To be sure your arrangements won't get in the way, place them at least 20 inches above the table. One way to do so is to put your flowers in a tall wedding centerpiece vase.

Tower Vase, H-16" (48 pcs)
Tower Vase, H-16" (48 pcs)
This is a frequent choice, but sit at a table and measure the height. Will these vases allow your guests to chat with the person opposite?

Tall Wedding Centerpiece Vases

Most tall centerpieces are made from normal height flowers in a tall vase. This can be a feature vase, such as a very tall martini glass, or, most often a very thin type known as an eiffel tower vase. Tall cylinder vases are also useful, but as said before, think carefully about the height before making any commitment.

Before you decide on a vase type there are a few things to think about.

Budget - how much can you spend on tall vases? Are you planning to buy a lot of flowers or not? If you plan to use few flowers consider using cylinder vases and placing the flowers inside the vase, then top with a candle. Tall vases in the shape of a glass (a martini or wine glass) can also be configured to use only a small number of large flowers, such as hydrangea or sunflowers, as you'll see in one of the videos below.

Color. Do you want to add a filler appropriate to your color theme? Cylinder vases and eiffel tower vases made from clear glass can be filled with colored water or colored aqua gel, but many sold for weddings come in opaque white glass. If you choose the clear version you can also add battery operated lights to add color to your arrangements.

Top Tip: For the cheapest tall centerpiece of all, fill a tall clear glass or vase with water in an appropriate color and float a candle on top. If your budget allows, group several together and/or place them on a mirrored mat surrounded by more candles.

Content. What do you plan to arrange in the vase? Flowers or something such as feathers or silk flowers where no water is required. Eiffel tower vases hold little water and you will need some sort of insert, such as a bouquet holder, to arrange your flowers in.

Candles. Do you want to add candles to your centerpiece? If so the easiest way to do it is to float them on top. Eiffel tower vases are too narrow.

Tall Flower Arrangements in Five Minutes

How to Make Tall Wedding Centerpieces

The basics of flower arranging are the same whether you are working on flowers for your home or centerpieces for a wedding. You need some flowers, a container, and some way of keeping the flowers in place. We've covered the containers, so let's take a look at flowers.

'Flowers' includes foliage, focal flowers and filler flowers. Too many fillers and your arrangement looks cheap, but all flowers look better with the addition of foliage, after all, that's how they were designed to be seen! Build your outline from foliage and then fill in with flowers.

Examples of focal flowers:- roses, calla lilies, orchids, lilies. Generally if you can name it, it is probably a focal flower.

Examples of foliage:- seeded eucalytpus (great texture and scent), fir and pine branches (ideal in winter), curly willow twigs (perfect for fall), tall, bare branches (useful anytime) ivy (ideal for trailing from your arrangement).

Examples of filler flowers :- wax flowers, baby's breath, statice, berries, rose hips, ranunculus, pinks, spray roses.

Top Tip: Spray roses are an exception: if you can't afford a lot of roses, spray roses look just as good and won't make your flowers look cheap.

Color. The mix of colors is vital to the look of your arrangement, look through pictures on the web to get inspiration. Sticking to just one color is safe, but boring. The arrangement at the top of this page is a fantastic example of color mixing which is extremely effective. If you'e chosen a color which is difficult to find in flower form (blues and aquas are always a problem) don't forget you can add ribbon, wire or other accents to get the combination of colors you need.

Tall Wedding Centerpieces with Crystals

One of the simplest and most effective of tall wedding centerpieces is one made from manzanita branches. Almost any branch would do, so these are ideal for the DIY bride, the plus point of manzanita is that it divides into many sub-branches and hence has a good tree like appearance.

These branches are usually decorated with crystals or with preserved flowers. Some people simply provide cards and ribbons and ask guests to add a wish for the happy couple which is then hung on the tree.

Top Tip: Manzanita branches are naturally a sort of deep red color, but they are easy to spray, so you can use white, silver or gold on yours. For a winter wedding, paint the branches roughly in white and then spray with clear crystal glitter.

Price varies with size. Manzanita branches come in a very wide range of sizes, from 12 to 18 inches all the way up to 5, 6 and 7 feet. You can use these as table centerpieces and create even more to place around the room as decoration.

Decoration. You can use strings of crystal or crystal drops, both easily found at amazon, as well as crystal garlands which are available in many different colors. You can also use silk or preserved flowerheads, just glue them to the branches.


Simple Do it Yourself Topiary Centerpieces for Tables

Topiary is the art of cutting trees and bushes into decorative form. These arrangements are not, therefore, topiary, but are often known by that name because of their resemblance to decorative trees. There are several types of floral topiary, some rely on florists foam (as above) but some are created by gathering a bunch of flowers just below their heads.

To do this choose a flower with a large or prominent head, the larger the head, the larger your topiary will be. Hydrangea and sunflowers work well and you don't need many flowers, but you can also use white or stargazer lilies.

Top tip: For a cheaper topiary effect that's just as eyecatching, use gerbera daisies. These brightly colored flowers are cheerful and very modern, they are also cheaper than hydrangeas or lilies.

Gather the stems together just below the heads and bind them together with florists tape. Fill a plastic plant pot with stones (for weight) and add florists foam, well soaked, then push the stems of the topiary into the foam. You can then arrange more flowers and foliage in the foam, or simply cover with moss, or add a little more color by covering the pot and the foam with a wrap of sheer fabric and ribbon.

As an alternative, use the same method, but use a ball of florists foam, well soaked and placed on a dowel rod. Push the dowel into the pot and into another brick of well soaked foam. Then simply fill the ball and the foam with flowers, as in this example. Cover the rod with stems, glued on, or with fabric or simply twine it with ivy and other foliage. (You don't have to buy a whole lot of ivy, just a potted plant or two) For a final 21st century look, add brightly colored wire accents.

To enjoy a 'green' wedding, why not use real topiary? Some event suppliers, garden centers or florists will hire real decorative trees for use in your hall or even as centerpieces. They can be decorated with battery operated string lights, crystals, ribbons or even flowers, pushed into the branches.

Simpler than it looks. This topiary is made by placing flowers flush into foam, the foam is already mounted on a stick to make creation of this sort of floral topiary quick and easy.
Simpler than it looks. This topiary is made by placing flowers flush into foam, the foam is already mounted on a stick to make creation of this sort of floral topiary quick and easy. | Source

DIY Tall Wedding Centerpieces

Wedding centerpieces can be created from almost anything, but the most important thing is to make sure you have the time to create them. Don't take on too much and end up in a panic. Be sure to design all the flowers so you can give them a good soak before arranging them, arrange them the day before the wedding and make sure you delegate the job of transporting them to someone else. You will be far too busy!

Practice your designs before hand, you don't need to order special flowers, just pick up something cheap from your local supermarket and have a go. Any design which uses stems is more complex than one that doesn't, so look for a design like the one on the right, that will allow you to cut them stems short and place them all the way into florists foam. In this case the foam on a stick comes ready made from Smithers Oasis, you can buy it from one of the floral supply companies mentioned in the links section.

One advantage of this sort of arrangement is that there are flowers at two different levels. Flowers high up look impressive when people enter and move around your entrance hall, but they're not really visible while your guests sit and eat. Combining flowers above and below, as in this design, and most topiary styles, is the best of both worlds.

Ideal Flowers and foliage for Tall Wedding Centerpieces

How to Use It
Blue, white or lilac
Spray any color
oncidium orchids
Sprays in graceful arches
Manzanita branches
Make great 'trees'
Use to cover a foam ball and place on top of a vase filled with colored water or gel
Use in tall trumpet vase or martini glass
Preserved Roses
Glue to Manzanita branches
Dendrobium orchids
Cut stems to length and place inside cylinder or trumpet vases and float a candle on top
Calla lilies
Dehydrate a little, then bend around the outside of the vase and secure with glue dots
ideal to twine around the vase or the stem of a giant glass, linking top to bottom.
Submerge in Cylinders, top with candles
Gerbera Daisies
Look great in tall candlestick arrangements
This arrangement has been constructed in a simple saucer held up by one of the smithers oasis risers.  This is the 'lomey' system, you can find it at the floral suppliers in the 'links' section.
This arrangement has been constructed in a simple saucer held up by one of the smithers oasis risers. This is the 'lomey' system, you can find it at the floral suppliers in the 'links' section. | Source

Tall Centerpieces: What do you think? Are they just for weddings? Would you make one at home?

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    Post Comment
    • Amaryllis profile imageAUTHOR

      Lesley Charalambides 

      8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thanks, I haven't used a table before, but since you found it useful I'll use it in future hubs. Thanks for commenting.

    • CZCZCZ profile image


      8 years ago from Oregon

      There sure are a lot of choices for center pieces. I liked the table that you included with specific flower types and how to use them. Voting this hub up.

    • Amaryllis profile imageAUTHOR

      Lesley Charalambides 

      8 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thanks for voting up and commenting. Agreed, if flowers were cheaper, it would be easier to experiment with this sort of thing, but Christmas is coming. How about a tall centrepiece to celebrate?

    • Marketing Merit profile image

      C L Grant 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Beautiful hub Amaryllis!

      If I had the talent, I would definitely make a tall centrepiece for my home, but only for a special occasion.

      Sadly, flowers are so expensive to buy these days.

      Voted up!


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