Group a few big, bold peonies together, and youâ€™ve got a gorgeous tablescape. But thatâ€™s not all! Invite guests to take a vase home at the end of the evening, and youâ€™ve got your favors covered, too.
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.
To create these bold yellow-and-white centerpieces, New York City floral designer Naomi deManana combined jonquils, ranunculus, tulips, and sweetpeas, placing flowers in single-variety mini bunches before combining; this highlights the lush textures of each type. Opaque vases mean no stressing about the look of the stems. A band of thick yellow ribbon around each vase, plus lengths of it across each place setting, extend the crisp color scheme. Vase, CB2. 38-millimeter ribbon, Mokuba New York. "Edge" wine glasses, Crate & Barrel.
Game pieces, vintage keys, and animal figurines are all spray-painted to coordinate with the tableware, ensuring that what could've looked hodge-podgey becomes modern and Swedish-chic. If you're the hunter-gatherer type, you'll love these tablescapes that show off your favorite flea-market treasures. The key: giving them a sophisticated edge. The secret: spray painting them all cream for an upscale look.
Paper doilies can add high drama (without the schmaltz) and stylish elegance (without the stuffiness) to your reception tables.
Create this waterfall of ruffles out of doilies for a visual high. Make garlands as shown at right, and tie to a large and a small wreath form. Hang with ribbon, placing the smaller ring lower than the larger. (Use pushpins or adhesive hooks to secure to ceiling.) Twelve- and 24-inch doublerail wreath rings, Maine Wreath Co.
This fun, inventive spread, featuring embroidery hoops as muse, couldn't be a better example of refined whimsy. It's an effortlessly chic look that's easy to execute and difficult to resist.
For bohemian yet tailored table decor, look no further than these dangling embroidery hoops fitted with beautiful fabrics. The trick is to use translucent fabrics that are in the same palette, and hoops that vary in size and dangle at different heights (for an organic effect). Bamboo cylinders, Jamali Garden Supplies.
You'll be blazing a new design path with this clean and contemporary tablescape that takes its cues from the striking beauty of abstract art.
A big, vibrant pop of color in the form of bright candles you design yourself casts a warm glow over an otherwise clean, minimalist table. White pillar candles, Jamali Garden Supplies. Acrylic tray, Professional Plastics. Learn how to make the striped candles.
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 of 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. Complete the look with place cards made of metallic and translucent paper circles strung like beads on silver thread. Bottles and jars, Specialty Bottle. "Porcelaine 150" glass and ceramic paint, Pebeo, Blick Art Materials. Metal thread (TD100/8/GD S), Tinsel Trading Company.
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.
For a takeaway centerpiece that's anything but garden variety, 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.
Flowers fade, but beautiful china can be enjoyed long after the last dance. Collect cups and saucers 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.
Dress tables with sculptural shells and coral-like pieces. Large conch and murex shells with cattleya orchids nestled in their openings and smaller marlin spike shells surround a vase filled with tiny shells and a pillar candle. Painted manzanita branches stand in for real coral. Capiz shells (sold with predrilled holes) are tied to napkins with ribbon -- a small branch rests on top.
Have wine bottles do double-duty as table numbers. Cover-weight paper printed with large, graphic numerals can be adhered over existing labels with double-sided tape for a clean, contemporary look. It's a clever touch that will have guests drinking to your good fortune -- and your good taste.
For big-impact table decor on the cheap, consider carnations, which come in so many colors. Long used as inexpensive filler, the familiar flowers have a chic style all their own when clustered in modern, minimalist vases that offset their ruffled softness.
This crisp, springtime arrangement spilling from an urn combines lemons, black elderberries (inspiration for the paper on the box below), cattleya orchids, tuberous begonias, gloriosa lilies, and "Golden Celebration" roses, and is flanked by clutches of blooms in thematic colors: from left, white acidanthera, buttery cymbidium orchids, and black-centered ornithogalums. Macaroons in cellophane bags and black place cards with white type welcome guests to the table.
The centerpieces were designed by the bride from garden roses, including 'Golden Celebration,' 'Evelyn,' 'Pieter B,' 'Charles Austin,' and 'Mojave,' along with sea oats and blackberry brambles. Continuing the enchanted-forest theme, the flowers were arranged in vases wrapped in stained birch bark.
A rose is a rose is a rose? Not if it's bundled with others in every shade of red -- from deep crimson to bright fuchsia -- and displayed on an all-white tablescape: Then it's a statement. Keep the arrangements loose, as if plucked from the garden, and work in a few single-stem flowers in bud vases for variety. The details: Jonathan Adler "Lantern Collection" vases.
A different ranch animal presides over each table, set with mismatched plates and napkins for a rustic, intimate, family-dinner vibe. Satoko bought them, along with the votive holders and centerpiece vessels, at tag sales, antiques stores, Goodwill, and the Alameda Flea Market.
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.
The techniques that illuminated your bouquet and guest book display can be carried over to your tables. Contain the glimmering arrangements in golden vessels bearing silver number stickers, and surround them with smaller gold-leaf votives.
The details: Jamali Garden Supplies 6-inch brass cylinders were affixed with Chartpak 3-inch vinyl numbers, duall.com. Martha Stewart Collection with Wedgwood "Ribbon Stripe" dinner plates and "Bracelet" glasses, both macys.com, were set with Wallace "Euro Beads" gold flatware, horchow.com. MS Designs gold-plated bracelets were used as napkin rings, wholesalebangles.com, to hold Deborah Rhodes "All Over Metallic" napkins, email to order.
Rather than mix these ranunculus, anemones, and snowberries in one solitary arrangement, Lewis Miller, owner of Lewis Miller Design in New York City, kept them separate, making three different arrays and positioning them together for impact. "There's power in numbers," he explains. "To create cohesion among them, I used the same elements -- lichen-covered branches and off-white ceramic vases -- throughout."
When delicate pinks blend with fiery shades of copper, your decor takes on luxurious depth. To create tables that seem plucked from a romantic painting, we supplemented the copper and rose tones with a lush centerpiece of roses, dahlias, mums, scabiosa, bittersweet, pieris seed heads, beech foliage, and gilded leaves. "Golden Garden" buffet plate, and dinner plate, both Villeroy & Boch. "Badminton" wallpaper, de Gournay.
Strings of gauzy tulle pom-poms float above a whitewashed landscape, creating a dreamy, light-as-air effect. To ground the scene and add interest to a pure white palette, incorporate plenty of texture. Here, we chose a raw linen tablecloth, net fabric runner, lace-pattern porcelain vase, and a mix of sleek and gardeny blooms, including eucharis lilies and dinner-plate dahlias. "Opalescent" wine glass; highball glass; and "Lace" votive/bud vase, ABC Carpet & Home. "Chandra" vase, White Forest Pottery. Flowers, Saipua.
A table arrangement of grains celebrates the bounty of fall. In addition to wheat, which symbolizes a fruitful life, this textured display includes other dried grasses (available at crafts stores), so it can be made weeks ahead. The final flourish? A luxurious satin bow.
Lush centerpieces by Sharla Flock Designs set peonies, garden roses, jasmine vine, lilacs, dusty miller foliage, anemones, foxglove, and metallic leaves in trophies and vintage vessels. Purple and fuchsia "crackers" serve as place cards; guests pull the ends to release treats. Calligrapher Michele Papineau, papineaucalligraphy.com hand lettered all of the cracker bands with guests' names.
In a table setting that evokes an English garden, roses and flowering oregano in mauve tones contrast with succulents (brown-tinged echeverias and trailing crassula) and curly fiddleheads. Single echeverias in wooden bowls echo the larger arrangement. Nuts in paper boxes and leaf place cards round it out.
A constellation of 3-D stars becomes a floating centerpiece with the help of fishing wire and a lot of glitter. Rice-paper star lanterns, Asian Ideas, asianideas.com. Candleholders in matching shades and varying heights set the stage for a sparkling night. Cylinders and votives, Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies, jamaligarden.com. "Victoria Ghost" chair, by Philippe Starck, from Taylor Creative, taylorcreativeinc.com.
Set atop an alabaster compote and surrounded by antique-inspired bone china and linens, this companion centerpiece holds its own. It incorporates the same buds as the bouquet with two striking extras: pomegranates and foxtail grass flowers so unusual they look plucked from a Victorian botanical print.
The moodiest hue has taken a joyful turn. This sprawling tableau of antique Venetian glass with single-flower arrangements of cornflowers, muscari, nigella, delphiniums, and anemones brings the color center stage. Blue marbleized paper place cards add rich texture (our clip art is online). Antique Venetian glass vases, Gardner & Barr, gardnerandbarr.com.
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.
This sunny bunch of large and small blooms boasts creamy white, muted yellow, pale orange, and mossy green ranunculus; the texture comes from a mix of budded and open blossoms. White garden roses and yellow begonias add volume, while weigela leaves complement the color scheme.
Limbs from a Japanese maple tree inserted into a tall vase are almost as good as the real thing. Keep branches tall and stems visible, and place a leaf beside each name card for pure visual poetry. (Crab-apple branches are another option for fall; use quince and birch in winter and olive branches in summer.)
Fawn over the flowers these real brides chose for their bundles.See the Blooms