Great table centerpieces that you can afford

Affordable Wedding Dinner Centerpieces

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Wedding Dinner Centerpieces

I'm getting married in December! We don't have a lot of money to spend on the wedding, but we want it to be nice. Can anyone suggest inexpensive table decorations for the reception? We don't want to go with a Christmas theme. Do you have any other good ideas that won't cost too much?

Mini Wedding Cakes

Give each table its own "mini wedding cake" that the guests can cut and eat whenever they want to cut it. That way, you don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for an elaborate wedding cake. Instead, you can just have a smaller one for taking pictures with.

Double Duty Wedding Dinner Centerpieces

My son just got married in April, and I did the centerpieces. We got small, square gift boxes at the local dollar store and spray painted them to match the wedding colors. Depending on the wedding colors, you may not have to spray paint them, but if you do, prime them with cheap primer before you spray them.

We put pretty matching ribbons on top of the lids (they came with really small ribbons). Then we bought small houseplants of different kinds, wrapped them in coordinating tissue, and then put them inside the boxes. We placed these on top of coordinating 12 x 12 paper with the lid to the box propped up on the side and then sprinkled Hershey's kisses all around the boxes.

At the end of the night, we used these as small gifts for the "behind-the-scenes" friends and relatives that helped make it a wonderful evening. They looked beautiful! We spent between $75-$100 for about 15 centerpieces.
Amy in California

Floating Candles and Flower Petals

We used some clear bowls and floating candles with flower petals. It looked lovely, and I think it cost about $50 total.

Go with an Elegant Winter Theme

For a December wedding's centerpieces that aren't overly Christmasy, try an elegant winter theme using plain white tablecloths and greenery (possibly free trimmings from tree lots), or large clear glass bowls or vases filled with colored ball ornaments.

Yes, they're Christmas ornaments, but they come in many colors, including brights, metallics and pastels, that don't scream "holiday," and you may find some in your wedding colors. If not, go chic and monochromatic with silver. Check stores as soon as they put out their Christmas stock. As a bonus, use a marker to write your names and wedding date on the ornaments, and let guests take one home as a favor.

If you don't mind just a little holiday spirit in your wedding, do what a good friend of mine did for her December wedding. She used two Christmas trees as decorations in the front of the church, but instead of the traditional decorations, she covered them with pink satin bows (pink was her wedding color). They were striking, filled lots of space, and were far less expensive than floral arrangements large enough to make a similar impact. You can also put one in your new home for your first Christmas as husband and wife.

Glamorous, Recyclable Wedding Dinner Centerpieces

Yes, use old mason jars, which cost only a few dollars each. Use a quart size one for each table to hold the floral arrangement, and three small ones surrounding it, each with a votive candle in the bottom for romantic light. Splurge and buy the old blue ones if you can. They look magical. If you're on a strict budge, get the clear glass (uncolored). Use white flowers with greenery, and you'll have a glamorous, recyclable table arrangement, which everyone will enjoy.

Think Winter Wonderland

The nice thing about the holiday season is that there are also a lot of gold/gilt decorations available, as well as winter themed. The new battery LED light strings either in a container or woven with golden "greenery" make a lovely decorative centerpiece that can be disassembled and reused. Instead of Christmas, think "Winter Wonderland."

Make It Personal

Instead of doing the traditional flowers for our wedding dinner centerpieces, we did each table in a different theme that had some importance in our lives (either as individuals or as a couple). It didn't cost much at all since we used items that we already had. So, we used pieces that Hubby already had for the sports table, musical instruments and records for the music table, our favorite DVDs for the movie table, etc. We did augment the items with specialized confetti (Mom found it for about $2 a package) and candles in simple holders that we had or borrowed from other family. Everyone loved the idea, and it was so simple. It was also the only thing in the whole wedding that Hubby was interested in planning.

Create Picture Trees

For my daughter's wedding reception, I took a small tree branch without leaves, painted it white, and hung pictures of the bride and groom at various times in their lives from baby on up to them dating, etc. I scanned pictures from the groom's family and our own family, sized them down if needed, duplicated so each picture was on both sides, used gold thread to run through the thin poster board I used to glue the pictures onto, and hung them from the branches.

Everybody was so engrossed in looking at the pictures. I think a smaller version of this could be done, and you could collect the small branches during the fall before the wedding.

They really looked lovely, and everybody loved it. I think I received compliments from just about everybody. It was very interesting, and the guests were highly entertained.

You might put them in small terra cotta pots covered with pretty paper and styrofoam inside to hold the branch stick.

4 Ideas to Consider

  1. Fill a nice, simple vase (from a dollar store) with a couple of real flowers and some greenery. Tie a ribbon around the vase in the wedding colors.
  2. Plant miniature evergreen trees in terra cotta pots that are painted to match wedding colors. Tie a ribbon around the pot or paint bride and groom's names on them with the date they are getting married.
  3. This would probably be more for a spring or summer outdoor wedding, but you could plant herbs in a terra cotta pot. Either paint the pot or leave it like it is. Flowers, butterflies, or bride and groom's names can be painted on the pots.
  4. Take a branch, paint it silver, and cement it into a decorative pot. Decorate the branches with pictures of the bride and groom. Pictures from their childhood, when they first met, favorite activities/hobbies, etc.

Sue D.

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