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Centerpieces for Weddings and Events

Updated on May 19, 2013

How to Choose a Centerpiece for Your Wedding or Event

Centerpieces for weddings or events can be anything - Lighted Centerpieces, Tall Centerpieces, Themed Centerpieces, Candle, Floral & DIY Centerpieces and the list goes on and on. It can be mind boggling.

When I used to meet with my brides to discuss their wedding ideas and food, the conversation always seemed to start at centerpieces. This is an area where brides are very picky and lots of times have set ideas. After finding out more about their vision, I, delicately, had to point out the flaws or problems in their plan.

We all get excited about certain ideas for our receptions but in order for things to look and feel right, there are a lot of different elements that need to be considered prior to making a final decision. That's what this article will help you do -- make an informed decision about your table décor. So,

How do you know what to choose or what type of centerpiece is best for your wedding or event?

Glad you asked! Read on to find out...


Centerpieces for Weddings

Centerpieces are to tables what jewelry is to a person: they accentuate the theme/décor around them. They can add too an event or take away from the overall effect if overdone or underdone.

It's easy to go to a florist and give him/her your color scheme and budget. The result will be a nice arrangement but it could be so much more. Let's take a look at this from a few different angles so that you will be better prepared to make a decision about centerpieces for your wedding or event.

Tower Vases - Centerpieces for Weddings

LACrafts 12 Piece Glass Eiffel Tower Vases, White
LACrafts 12 Piece Glass Eiffel Tower Vases, White

If you have your heart set on at least a few tall centerpieces, then tower vases are a great choice. The height is pleasing to the eye and doesn't interfere with conversations since the vase width is so small at eye level. I have used these in both clear and black.

These vases will hold florals, feathers, greenery and more!


Is it the right size for your tables? Can people interact at the table around the centerpiece? Does it reflect your taste? Is it an extension of the overall theme you are trying to convey?

If you simply ordered something within your budget and in your colors without any thought to the scene, ambience or atmosphere you are trying to create, it can be forgettable.

Concerns when Selecting Centerpieces

Before selecting a centerpiece, there are a number of considerations aside from how it will look on its' own. The list below will help you consider all aspects of the tablescape prior to jumping in head first!

1. Shape of Guest Tables

Centerpieces designed for long banquet tables may not look right on round or square tables. The size of the round table (60" or 72") allow for different size centerpieces.

2. Type of Food Service (buffet, plated, wait staff passed cocktail style, etc...) - This determines what items are necessary to each place setting. If this is a 3 to 6 course meal being plate served, there will probably be lots of flatware, glasses, chargers, plates, etc... needed at each place setting, possibly limiting centerpiece space.

3. Number of Guests per Table - Again, this helps determine space available for centerpieces.

4. What other items are displayed at Tables (table numbers/names, gifts, menus, place cards, etc...) - Space is valuable real estate at a guest table. You need to consider all that will be occupying that space when selecting a centerpiece.

5. Do the guests need an unobstructed view of something (Dais, stage, platform, dance floor, etc...) - If there is to be a speaker, for instance, all guests would like to be able to see over, under or around a centerpiece.

6. Does the centerpiece allow for table guests to see and talk with each other? - Few things are more irritating than not being able to see your table mate when talking during a meal.

The Knot Ultimate Wedding LookBook

The Knot Ultimate Wedding Lookbook: More Than 1,000 Cakes, Centerpieces, Bouquets, Dresses, Decorations, and Ideas for the Perfect Day
The Knot Ultimate Wedding Lookbook: More Than 1,000 Cakes, Centerpieces, Bouquets, Dresses, Decorations, and Ideas for the Perfect Day

This book has tons of ideas for centerpieces, decorations, bouquets and more. Over 1,000 photos from real weddings around the world can be perused and used as inspiration for your own wedding.

I love the website too!


Edible Centerpieces - They are Growing in Popularity!

Incredible Edible Centerpieces: For all Occasions (Volume 1)
Incredible Edible Centerpieces: For all Occasions (Volume 1)

Published in May of 2012, this book has step by step instructions for creating beautiful, edible centerpieces. A fun look at creating a unique centerpiece for your wedding.


Over the years, I have listened to many guests complain that the centerpiece was in their line of vision for tablemates and/or the stage/dais area. While a centerpiece might look spectacular on a table empty of guests, it won't be empty for long. Your centerpiece should work with the other items sharing table space and not cause conversing guests problems.

Remember, most events require guests to be seated a good portion of the night. Make sure your guests are comfortable and they will be appreciative (especially at a fundraiser).

After you know the table size, shape, number of guests, viewing needs and allow for the comfort of your guests, you are now ready to select a centerpiece!

Tall Centerpiece Tip:

Tall centerpieces should be narrow and unobtrusive until they reach between 18” & 22”. This way the bulk of the centerpiece will be higher than eye level and not interfere with conversation or a line of sight.

Themed Centerpieces

Themes can make it easier to come up with centerpiece ideas. Thinking "outside the box" can lead to very original or unique centerpieces for your wedding or event.

For a Hollywood themed fundraising gala I chaired, that's exactly what we did - unique centerpieces. The event theme was titled "Red Carpet Affair". I decided to name the tables (as opposed to numbering) after past winners of the "Best Picture" category of the Oscars.

In doing this, I thought it was logical to also have the centerpiece reflect each "Best Picture" winner. First, I made a list of the past winning movies and then started writing items that represented that movie to me (free association). Below is a sample of the list.

1931/32 - Grand Hotel

Lobby furniture, tea cup, wallet, playing cards, ballerina

1935 - Mutiny on the Bounty

Sailing Ship, coconuts, ocean, raft, palm trees, island

1936 - The Great Ziegfeld

Lavish Costumes, Musical Revues, Show Girls,

1939 - Gone with the Wind

Civil War, Tara, Scarlett, Rhett, the South, plantations

1943 - Casablanca

WWII, Nazi, Rick's Café, Piano, Resistance, Play it Again

1948 - Hamlet

Denmark, royalty, ghosts, madness, murder, castle, dagger

1951 - An American in Paris

Eiffel Tower, Café, black & white ball, painter/artist

1952 - The Greatest Show on Earth

Circus, Trapeze artist, clown, train, elephants, big top

1956 - Around the World in 80 Days

Hot air balloon, globe, train, boat, tickets, police

1962 - Lawrence of Arabia

WW I, desert, trains, camels, motorcycle, horses, battle

1964 - My Fair Lady

flower girl, fancy hats and clothes, music, high society

1970 - Patton

WWII, battles, stars & stripes, helmet, medals, general

1976 - Rocky

boxing, training, Philadelphia, loan shark, dog, trainer

1984 - Amadeus

Powdered wigs, composing, Opera, 18th century Austria

1987 - The Last Emperor

China, Forbidden City, Buddhist, Asian culture

1989 - Driving Miss Daisy

proper Southern lady, white gloves, chauffer, friends

1990 - Dances with Wolves

Indians, civil war, union army, fort, campsite, buffalo

1994 - Forrest Gump

box of chocolates, bench, smiley face, ping pong paddle

1997 - Titanic

Ship, iceberg, heart of the ocean, clock hall, staircase

The list took a bit of research of film synopsizes since I wasn't around for all of them! Research is key to the themed event and is as easy as booting up your computer. You can do it early in the morning, late at night, in your pajamas and from the comfort of your home. No restrictions except to get it done!

Beach Themed Centerpiece Ideas


This hurricane shade covers a silver base with a seashell theme. It would work well for your beach theme wedding, rehearsal dinner or party!


Lots of people are under the illusion that centerpieces have to be the same at every table.

Not so.

Lots of people are under the illusion that centerpieces have to be the same at every table.

My opinion? (Thanks for asking!) It is more visually appealing to look across a room and have the eye drawn up, down, left, and right than it is to look at a sea of sameness; the eye will find nowhere

to rest. It adds interest and flare to an event that can actually be too symmetrical at times.

However, there should be an underlying base, foundation or core consistency that ties them all together for continuity.

In the case of this Hollywood event, I chose to use a Wooden Directors Clapboard to announce the name of the tables so guests could find there seats. I also used Acrylic Vertical L-Shaped Frames, 4" x 6". In them, I put a copy of the original movie poster (I found on the internet) appropriate for that table.

More Tips for Designing your Centerpiece

Tips to keep in mind when designing a centerpiece -

1. If you use multiple items for a centerpiece, keep it an odd number (3,5,7). It has been proven that odd numbers of items is more appealing to the eye.

2. To create interest, use different height centerpieces. Half the tables could have a centerpiece under 12" and the other half 22" or taller.

3. Use different textures to create a centerpiece that is also interesting to the eye. Take a lesson from florists. They mix the type of flowers and greenery used in their arrangements to make them interesting. An arrangement might have a spikey type flower but a smooth blade grass to mix it up.

4. Layering items also is pleasing to the eye. Consider leaning an item slightly in front of another item.

Did this article help you in selecting your centerpieces? - Anyone is welcome to comment or ask a question.

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    • papertreeuk profile image


      4 years ago from England, UK

      Great ideas, thank you.

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 

      5 years ago

      Definitely. You featured a great collection of wedding centerpieces! You've done a great job putting all these together. Blessings!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great lens and great décor ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    • JillY88 profile image


      6 years ago

      Some very useful tips here. Nice lens and it has given me a few ideas, thanks.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Great lens, love the centre pieces tips and ideas for weddings. Thanks for sharing.


    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      an informative and well presented lens. thanks for the useful tips.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      an informative and well presented lens. thanks for the useful tips.

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @SciTechEditorDave: Thanks Dave! I will LR back!

    • ItsAngel LM profile image

      ItsAngel LM 

      7 years ago

      My daughter is getting married in October and Ia m always looking for bridal lens. this is a great lens.

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 

      7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Nice lens! I've liked, favorited, thumbs-upped, and lensrolled your masterpiece to my lenses on Flower Arranging! Congrats on a great job!


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