Instead of abandoning your centerpieces to an uncertain post-party fate, encourage guests to tote them home -- they wanted to anyway -- by setting out centerpieces that double as favors. We used vases, but any small vessel will do; fill with blooms and place the mini-arrangements on cake stands.
Wedding favors allow guests to take a little piece of the celebration home. Though often presented at place settings or displayed on a table by the door, favors can be offered in another way that is both impressive and economical: grouped together as centerpieces.
A cluster of potted zinnias adds charm to the table at a country or casual wedding. A sign next to the display asks guests to "Please pick one." The pots are painted with acrylic paint to match the flowers. The theme that inspires the favor continues at each place setting: Seeds packaged in glassine bags are attached to each of the tented place cards with yellow twine that is inserted through two small punched holes, then tied in a bow. Directions for planting are printed inside the cards.
This display is a centerpiece, a stack of party favors, and a table-number indicator all in one. Fill small cardboard boxes with cookies or candies, wrap them with bands of paper and slender ribbon, and stack them on a silver compote in the shape of a pyramid. Attach a table number to the topmost box.
For the reception, re-create the beauty of etching with ease. All you need is a rubber stamp, white ink, and glass candleholders -- frosted glass holds ink best. One stamp can form a single motif or an allover pattern. (For a custom design, such as your monogram, have a stamp made at an office-supply store.) To use a large stamp on a cylindrical container, carefully roll it from side to side. Allow a day or two for ink to fully dry.
Baskets brimming with fruit imbue a reception with rustic charm. We filled Nantucket baskets in various sizes with warm-toned fruits: pears, apricots, and two kinds of apples. Small baskets laden with blond cherries are arranged at place settings for guests to take home; tiny bows are a graceful touch.
With their beautiful ornamentation and lettering, biscuit and tea tins bring old-fashioned charm to a reception table. New or vintage, the containers are inexpensive and easy to find at specialty-food stores, tag sales, and online auctions. Test tins to make sure they're watertight before filling with single-flower arrangements. If any do leak, use plastic bags as liners.
Fawn over the flowers these real brides chose for their bundles.See the Blooms