A cluster of towers made from stacked patterned ceramics forms a graphic, sculptural centerpiece that will look fresh all evening long -- no green thumb needed. If you don't have a few extra sets of dishes lying around, you can buy great inexpensive rice bowls at an Asian outlet or pick up mixed sets at flea markets.
Paper doilies can add high drama (without the schmaltz) and stylish elegance (without the stuffiness) to your reception tables.
Create this chandelier with a waterfall of ruffles out of doilies for a visual high. Make garlands, 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.) 24- and 12-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.
You wouldn't want to gild the lily, of course, but a leafy branch? An altogether different matter. "Gold can add glamour, but it's easy to go over the top with it," says designer Matthew Robbins, who created the arrangements here. Juxtapose opulent gold branches (in the form of faux bay-laurel twigs) with the humble grace of wood (apply gold Rub 'n Buff and drill holes) for a decadent yet simple centerpiece.
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.)
A pared-down centerpiece, like this whitewashed papier-mache fruit piled on a cake stand and trimmed with silver millinery leaves, is as chic as it is unexpected. Bonus: These faux wonders -- a great substitute for fresh blooms -- won't wilt, so you can display them at home for years to come, either as shown or in a footed glass urn.
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.
Dress tables with sculptural shells and corallike 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.
Toast to your new beginnings with this Champagne-themed centerpiece from Martha Stewart Living. Ball-shaped ornaments displayed in glass flutes mimic the rising bubbles. (We mixed vintage balls with clear ones.) Gather flutes in varying styles, and cluster them on a cake stand to craft a truly effervescent centerpiece.
These informal, inexpensive lanterns are ideal for a garden wedding, as the jars protect the flame from breezes. Wrap a piece of flexible greenery around the jar just below the lip, and twist a piece of floral wire around the ends to secure. The jars here are decorated with ivy, willow, and myrtle.
The how-to for this centerpiece couldn't be easier -- just layer pieces of punched vellum around glass votives. It works with both round and square containers, and the candles can be arranged on tables of all shapes. When lit, the punched areas filter light beautifully and add an aura of romance.
Light up your reception with this sand-and-shell centerpiece from Martha Stewart Living. Use candle adhesive to secure slender tapers to the bottom of a clear glass vase. Carefully pour in a few inches of sand, and then arrange shells on top. Besides refracting the candlelight for added ambience, the vase will protect the flames from breezes.
Millinery birds perch on branches blooming with handmade paper blossoms. Blue vases (positioned between seats so conversation can flow) match the color of the plates, which also have a blossom motif. You can get branches from a florist or your backyard. Gravel inside the vases keeps them steady.
Fawn over the flowers these real brides chose for their bundles.See the Blooms