It's rare that guests will sit down during a wedding reception and think, "Wow, these flowers are the perfect size for the table!" But the opposite is certainly true, as anyone who's ever sat down to a meal and couldn't see the person sitting across from them (because flowers were in the way) can verify. Whether you're making your own centerpieces or simply looking for more information to give your wedding florist about sizing, here are some tips from floral designer Sullivan Owen that'll help you get your big-day centerpieces just right.
Pay attention to height.
Owen says height is an important factor to consider. She says her golden rule is, "Nothing taller than my chin resting on my hand for a low floral design, because I like to think that everyone at the wedding wants to actually see each other." For taller arrangements, which are sometimes necessary for a space that needs more height and drama, she says, "I try to have the visual bulk of the design about 33-36 inches from the tabletop."
Be selective with your vessel choice.
Since it's important for guests to be able to converse with those across from them at the table, Owen says that she carefully considers the vessel when she's designing a tall arrangement. "We try not to use visually heavy vases that create an obstacle. So, we'll use clear glass, delicate silver pedestals, or mercury glass in fluted shapes," the pro explains. When she's designing an arrangement that's lower to the table, there's more flexibility with vessels.
Let your wedding style determine the size of your centerpieces.
The overall design concept is key to determining centerpiece sizing. Owen says, "I find that clients with a more laid-back or organic aesthetic prefer lower-scale designs, floral runners, and things that meander down the table." As for clients with a more formal style, she says, "They tend to prefer height on at least some of the tables, and we try to bring in height with not just floral but candles and accessories as well."
Ask about mock-ups and design meetings.
The best way to get a sense of what everything will look like on the table is to attend a design meeting with a florist or to do a mock-up of the table if you're handling your own flowers. Once flowers, candles, chargers, glassware, and flatware are all on the table, it's much easier to see if you should go larger or smaller with your centerpieces.
Owen says, "I meet with clients in my studio showroom, where I have all sorts of vessels, and we do a lot of brainstorming through sketches. Through technology, there are many ways to render the design styles into a space to help the client decide which design options speak to them and also which designs have the most impact on the environment." The key to all of this is to come up with a design that simultaneously looks amazing and gorgeous, and also feels comfortable for your guests.