For this two-in-one centerpiece, simply group a few big, bold peonies together for gorgeous tablescape. Invite guests to take a vase home at the end of the evening, and you've got your favors covered, too. Just cut flower stems to varying lengths and place each in a Planter Resource vase (800-763-2880) filled with water. Arrange them on tables (make sure there are enough to go around) and add our custom clip-art sign.
Millinery birds, linen blossoms, and printed fabrics make these pillows cheerful, lighthearted, and perfect for spring. You may also find great motifs in handkerchiefs, table linens, or even pillowcases. Ask a friend who sews to stitch the simple pillow; the care that goes into creating it is what makes it a keepsake.
Slender tulips tell guests exactly where to plant themselves. To create them, fold your origami paper in quarters, trimming the two outer edges in a petal shape. Unfold and press opposite folds together, securing along the crease with double-sided tape. Slip in a covered floral-stem wire, and add a leaf-shaped name tag.
Edible pansies give shortbread cookies texture and color as only nature can. They look catered, but these sweet treats can be turned out by anyone capable of turning on an oven: Bake sugar cookies, decorate with royal icing, and top each with a fresh pansy (or two).
Mixed pansies, Jansal Valley, sidwainer.com.
Yes, the life span of cherry blossoms is short, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider them for your wedding motif. To make our escort card holder any time of year, insert a few leafy branches (we used quince) into a vase and, using map pins, attach blossom-shaped confetti, each bearing a name and table number.
Confetti, Artistry in Motion.
With a puff-pastry blossom resting atop a flaky crust, a miniature potpie makes a delightful, delicious first course at a wedding. This favorite home-style dish is filled with a medley of vegetables, including asparagus, carrots, and pearl onions, and baked in a ramekin. Wonderful for a country-themed reception, it would be appropriate to serve at a shower too.
A fresh lawn of wheatgrass makes a glorious field for butterflies to flutter about. Banners bearing guests' calligraphed names seem to billow in a gentle breeze. The butterfly wires are attached to skewers covered with floral tape.
Feather butterflies from BJ's Craft Supplies. Calligraphy, Deborah Delaney, 212-877-8773.
The traditional princess cake, an old Swedish wedding standby, is normally covered in green marzipan. In our decidedly floral interpretation of the confection, we cloaked the dome-shaped cake in pink fondant and topped it with a smattering of real cherry blossoms, some of which have been coated with sugar. If you're having a sizable wedding, consider serving a trio of cakes on stands of varying heights for an especially striking display.
Nothing cheapens fancy passed hors d'oeuvres more than a pile of discarded toothpicks sitting dangerously close to the artful niblets. Instead of a toothpick graveyard, why not create a blooming bouquet? Glue paper flowers ($15 for 48, Tinsel Trading, 212-730-1030) to the top of each toothpick, then add a mini bucket ($17 for 12, jamaligarden.com) or a small cup for used skewers.
If the look of these moss-covered "rocks" (they're actually made of foam) doesn’t put you in a state of Zen, the ease of turning them into place card holders will: Take Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies flocked cobbles and use a craft knife to slice a 1/2-inch-deep slit across the top of each one, then insert a seating card -- and that's it!
This delectable display starts with votive candleholders filled with chocolate pudding and topped with crushed-cookie "dirt." Lemon verbena, lavender, and basil flowers sprout from each pot. Serve your treats with wooden ice-cream spoons stamped with your and his initials to resemble plant tags.
Invigorate table arrangements with a flavor infusion. Farmers'-market greenery, like oregano, basil, and tarragon, gives this modern setting an organic feel; planted in sleek pots. The smaller pots of herbs double as inventive displays for a wraparound menu of foods that put the plants' virtues to good use and wedding favors.
Stainless cubes, Jamali Garden Supplies.
Like window boxes on a spring day, this tablescape provides a bright burst of color. To create it, spray-paint low wooden boxes white (we used The Container Store's bamboo drawer organizers), and line them with floral foam. Cover the foam with sheets of wheatgrass (sold in flats), then use a knife to poke a dozen holes through both layers. Place a poppy or tulip stem with a water tube in each opening.
Decorate reception tables with an array of plants that guests can gaze at while they dine, then take home with them at evening's end. The vessels holding these miniature orchids are wrapped in fabric for more exotic appeal.
Mini phalaenopsis, McLellan Botanicals, orchidexperts.com. Calligraphy, Primele.
Perch a dainty paper bird on the rim of each glass so guests can identify their seats. The pretty die-cut cards (available from Tiffy New York) come in pastel colors that are just right for spring. With a utility knife, make a slim, 1/4-inch-long notch at the bottom of each card. For the eyes, use a 1/16-inch hole punch. Print or calligraph guests' names on cards.
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.
Let guests' well-wishes take flight on paper doves. These birds are traditional symbols of love, happiness, and harmony. Anchor bare branches (these are manzanita) in a large, sturdy vessel filled with stones or gravel. Use wire to secure nests, available from craft stores, to branches. Set dove cards -- available precut -- in a dish. Place pencils alongside your tree with a sign asking guests to inscribe a card and to place it in a nest.
Light and airy, doilies and silk ribbons combine to make graceful garlands to be draped over pews at a spring wedding ceremony or festooned along reception tables.
From top: Lacy circles are laid flat and threaded directly onto ribbon, then slid close to overlap. Accordion folds add a cheerful cadence to paper trim. Folded pairs of heart-shaped doilies create a three-dimensional effect. Round doilies are gathered into frilly puffs, then wired to a ribbon. A scalloped edge comes from folding circular doilies in half, then pressing them close as they're strung together.
Welcome guests to your reception with refreshing drinks that are tagged with their table numbers. The chilled mint lemonade shown here is delicious for spring and summer occasions. In the cooler months, serve apple cider or hot cocoa in mugs.
This trio of shortbread cookies, meringue kisses, and lemon marshmallows is a riff on the tangy pie that's meant to be eaten in one tasty bite. To make them, bake shortbread onto sticks, and add the meringue and marshmallows once they've cooled. For a heavenly presentation, line a serving tray with a sheet of Styrofoam, poke the finished skewers through so they stand upright, and cover with a layer of candy. Try Economy Candy's white stars.
A scattering of single-flower arrangements (we used sweet peas, poppies, and anemones) in colorful bottles makes for an informal yet impactful tablescape. Give glass containers a lit-from-within look with our simple technique: Pour 1/4 inch glass paint into a bottle or jar, and rotate it slowly, moving the paint around until the whole interior is coated. Set the bottle upside-down to allow excess paint to drain out. Turn right-side up, and let dry overnight.
These charming spring sweeteners from Gourmet Sugar Company are a fresh alternative to plain old coffeehouse cubes. They're available in more than 50 styles, including leaves, shells, and hearts, as well as custom shapes, and can be served on individual saucer rims or arranged on a platter with dessert tongs.
Flowers fade, but beautiful china can be enjoyed long after the last dance. Collect cups and saucers in spring pastels from flea markets, rent them from party rental companies, or, for a sweet touch, borrow them from family members. Stack them high, secure with Museum Wax, set votive candles in the cups, grace every saucer with a single rose or more, and you've got yourself a super-inexpensive centerpiece that's graceful and unique.
Here's an easy centerpiece idea that stacks up well against pricier options: clusters of flower-filled cafe au lait bowls. You can find inexpensive ones at home- and kitchen-supply stores (ours are from Anthropologie and Sur La Table), or collect mismatched vintage styles from flea markets. Place floral foam in the bowls to anchor the blooms, then group them on reception tables, stacking some atop inverted ones for visual interest.
Flower girls look enchanting with butterflies fluttering on their dresses. The appliques are easy to attach with a needle and thread. Ribbons streaming from their bouquets are decorated with the same butterflies, which appear to fly through the air when the girls walk.
A wedding is such a sweet occasion, it wouldn't seem right if the coffee were bitter. You can sweeten your guests' after-dinner cappuccinos by having a flower drizzle-drawn atop the steamed milk of each cup using warm chocolate syrup. Serve crisp ginger biscuits alongside.
According to tradition, you'll have to wait 15 years to give glass to your spouse as an anniversary gift, but a glass is a perfect present for bridesmaids even before the wedding. Etch a set of tumblers with the bridesmaids' names and a decorative motif, such as a ring of leaves.
Fabric flowers make a pretty, wilt-proof way for guests to find their seats and then sport as corsages or boutonnieres. Fabric flowers make a pretty, wilt-proof way for guests to find their seats and then sport as corsages or boutonnieres. Simply use floral tape to attach a brooch pin to the stem of a fabric flower (these are from Dulken & Derrick). Have a calligrapher pen names onto strips of card stock, then punch small holes on one end, and slip pins through.
Shiny pails of flowers, as sweet and dainty as flower girls' bouquets, are all the decoration church pews need. The galvanized buckets, which can be found at hardware stores, are filled with moistened floral foam, which keeps the hydrangeas fresh. Loop a thin but sturdy ribbon, such as grosgrain or seam binding, around the top of the pew, then string it through the bucket handles, and tie. Cut ribbon ends diagonally.
A runner made with crepe paper is a terrific low-cost decoration for square or rectangular tables; all it takes are two pieces in coordinating hues and a pinch of effort. You'll need crepe paper on rolls, since they don't have fold lines; we used rolls 20 inches wide.
At a bridesmaid luncheon or rehearsal dinner, set one of these bundled herb place cards on each plate. Gather handfuls of herbs such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, and chives into small bouquets, and tie them together with twine. The place cards are made from card stock folded in half; punch a hole in each card, and attach to a bouquet with twine. Inside the card, provide a recipe that includes the herbs.
Tossed aloft by your guests, perfumed confetti will leave a delicate floral scent in your wake. Punch craft or construction paper using a decorative hole punch. Spread the confetti pieces out on waxed paper. Mist very lightly with a favorite scent. Collect into small glassine bags. Seal the bags, while attaching a label, by sewing the top edge.