Create a warm mood at your reception with this rustic candelabra. Made of mango wood, itâ€™s actually a reproduction of an antique sugar mold (back in the day, cane syrup was poured into the holes; once dry, it formed a cone shape and was sold that way). Postwedding, let it cast a romantic light on your own dinner table for years to come.
Sugar mold and candles, Mexican Imports.
The kindest cuts? Modern geometric patterns decorating these luminaria centerpieces, which bathe guests in the glow of candlelight. Place a sheet of Paper and More vellum onto a grid cutting mat. Using the squares as your guide, slice symmetrical Vs with a craft knife. Wrap each sheet around clear glass vessels, and secure with tape. Pop in a votive candle, and let there be light.
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. Plus they're readily available throughout the year. Arrange them by color (we like this spectrum of fiery orange to pale yellow) for an array that really makes the gradient.
White Ceramic Cubes, Jamali Garden.
It sounds like the word for a sphinx's riddle, but anaglypta is actually the name of an embossed wallpaper the Victorians used to mimic costlier pressed plaster or tin. These days, it makes an easy centerpiece when affixed to flower-filled cylinder vases in varying sizes. Cut the paper -- available in many motifs (ours are from FYHome) -- to cover the vase, overlapping slightly. Wrap the piece around the vase, securing both ends with strong double-sided tape.
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.
Warm up tables with wooden accents. All you need is wood veneer paper to turn plain glass vases into perfectly matched pieces that can hold flowers or candles.
Lay paper down the center of the table for a runner (allow a 2-foot overhang at each end). At each place, store-bought favor boxes (fill with any little treats) are embellished with ribbon and a place card. Buy a few extra boxes, and use the lids to hold table numbers: Turn lid upside down, cut slits in opposite sides, and slip in numbered card.
Wood paper and boxes from Lenderink.
Turn kids' metal beach buckets into custom centerpieces by painting them in the wedding colors.
First, sand and prime each bucket, then coat with water-based enamel; let dry overnight. For stripes, tape off a pattern, paint exposed areas in a contrasting color, and remove the tape while the paint is still wet. For a table number, tape on a stencil (available at art-supply stores), use a pencil to outline the number, then remove the stencil, and paint. Use pails as planters for small trees with hydrangea petals scattered over the soil, or as vases for flowers.
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.
Large, open peonies settle into nests of twisted fern vines. Inside each basket is a shallow plastic bowl of water (for extra stability, use a wire grid to hold stems in place). A smaller nest atop the napkin at each place holds a more closed flower; its stem sits in a water tube concealed within the nest.
Enamel pails overflowing with fresh green and white hydrangeas are charming for an informal reception table. The buckets do double-duty as table numbers with the addition of numeral stickers.
Self-adhesive vinyl numbers are available on the Internet in many sizes, colors, and typefaces. Tiny pails that echo the shape of the centerpiece are filled with pistachios and prop up the place card at each setting. The rim of each pail has been colored with black permanent marker to match the black numeral and the text on the place cards.
A little goes a long way with this table decoration. Fresh German chamomile is placed in a jar, then enclosed in a white paper bag for an exuberant centerpiece that is also economical. The top of the bag is trimmed with scalloping scissors, folded, punched with holes, and laced with yellow ribbon. Thread a tag with the table number onto ribbon before tying.
Here's a centerpiece idea that won't have you burning through your budget: In lieu of pricey floral arrangements, display sleek tapers in a variety of shapely glass candlesticks. Inexpensive ones are available at many home-decor stores in lots of styles (most of ours are from CB2 and Areo). Mix them in varying heights and designs to create a table that truly shines.
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.
This modern nod to luminarias -- paper bags with votives inside -- updates the look with chic stripes printed onto vellum and wrapped around straight-sided square glass vases. You'll need to use oversize vellum; cut it to 8 1/2 inches wide so it will fit your printer, and then trim again once it's printed so it will fit your vase with a slight overlap. Attach with adhesive dots or double-sided tape, and add a tea candle or two to the vase.
Reserve a place for glamour at the table with this glitzy spread. To create it, sprinkle colored paillettes (or oversize sequins) between two cylinders and nestle a votive candle inside.
CB2 "Tambien" double old-fashioned glass in a Save-on-Crafts.com 5 3/4-inch vase; M&J Trimming 20mm paillettes. CB2 11 3/4-inch vase in a Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies 14-inch cylinder; M&J Trimming 30mm paillettes.
A white-pumpkin shell becomes the vase for an arrangement of roses, daffodils, ranunculuses, calla lilies, tulips, and hypericum berries in fall colors -- yellows, peaches, and shades of orange. Smaller pumpkins and votive candles in orange-glass holders fill out the centerpiece.
Though they look like high-quality porcelain at first glance, these vases are actually a collection of inexpensive glass containers, spray-painted white. Treat your search for vessels like a treasure hunt: Start in your cupboard (a sugar jar!), hit up the town flea market (an old beaker!), and make a pit stop at Ikea (cheap vases galore!). Once you've amassed a collection, cover each one with two or more coats of matte white spray paint, and add flowers.
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.
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.