Wedding Centerpieces: Tips To Keep Centerpieces Cheap

Your wedding reception can easily look like a million bucks even if you don't have that to spend! Read ahead for cheap centerpiece ideas.

If you're planning a wedding, then you already know that little expenses can add up quickly! Here are some easy solutions for great centerpieces that won't break your budget.

Things You Already Own

One way to save money on centerpieces is to simply use things that you already own. Do you garden? Use fresh cut flowers from your own garden or your own potted plants (decorate with lights and ribbons for an extra touch). Do you collect something, like snowglobes, picture frames, antique books, or vintage bowls? Show off your collection! Arrange several small items or one large item on each table. For a winter wedding, fill clear bowls with your family's own ornaments. Finally, don't be afraid to ask around---your aunt might let you borrow her set of wedding dolls, or your parents just might have enough picture frames to round out your collection.

Dollar Store

Take a look around your local "everything's a dollar" store---these stores stock surprisingly useful merchandise, and it all truly is one dollar (or less)! Here's a list of ideas for transforming some common dollar store items into elegant and beautiful centerpieces.

-For a classic look, simply arrange pillar candles of varying heights in the center of each table.

-Take glass bowls and fill each with water. Add a drop of food coloring to coordinate with your colors, and float several tea lights in each bowl.

-Purchase plain flower pots of varying sizes. You can then paint these or leave them plain. Fill with fake greenery and flowers, candy, or anything else. Miniature painted flower pots also make great favors.

-A pair of tall candles in holders looks striking, especially when garnished with greenery and fake flowers.

-If you are using cut flowers for the reception centerpiece, dollar store vases look just as pretty as more expensive ones, especially when tied with a coordinating ribbon.

-Arrange picture frames of varying sizes, with pictures of the couple, on each table.

-For each table, place a single pillar candle in the center of a small mirror and surround with fake flowers and greenery.

-Place a single large basket or several small baskets in the center of each table. Tie a ribbon or bow around each basket. Fill with candy (or the guests' favors).

-Purchase plain Christmas tree balls in your reception colors, then arrange in glass bowls on each table.

-You can also find "garnishing" items like glitter, tissue paper, colored foil papers, and tinsel. These are usually cheaper at the dollar store than at craft stores.

Thrift and Vintage Stores

Thrift stores, vintage shops, garage sales, and flea markets provide many opportunities for centerpiece creativity on a budget. Mismatched goblets are lovely paired on tables, filled with candy or flowers, decorated with ribbons, or used as votive candleholders. Vintage wedding items, like old bride and groom cake toppers or wedding bell decorations, bring a touch of old-fashioned romance to your celebration. In addition, thrift and vintage stores have no shortage of inexpensive picture frames. The tree-style picture and card holders are especially unique. To continue with the vintage look, track down the wedding photos of older members of your family and display these on each table.

Double Duty

You can cut down on the overall costs of the reception by having your centerpieces serve double duty---as favors, other decorations, or part of the meal.

-If you have enough bridesmaids' bouquets, place one on each table after the ceremony.

-If you plan on serving wine at the reception, arrange a bottle of wine for each table in a basket.

-Appetizer plates can be artfully arranged and displayed to double as centerpieces.

-If you plan on giving out favors to guests, arrange these in the center of the table in lieu of a centerpiece.

-Many couples pass out disposable cameras for the guests to take candid shots of the reception; then, the guests leave them for the couple to develop. If you want to do this---and it can help you save on photographer expenses---leave a bowl of disposable cameras at each table.

-Rather than one large wedding cake, have the baker make one small cake or a pyramid of cupcakes for each table.

-Have your centerpieces work as guest books by arranging a pretty blank book and pens at each table.

Mother Nature

Some of the best decorations can be obtained for free from the great outdoors! Natural elements work especially well for a reception themed around the season. In winter, collect tree branches and paint gold. Then embellish with greenery and ribbons. For the spring months, try placing bunches of wildflowers in vases on each table. Getting married during the summer? Comb local beaches for pretty seashells and display in bowls with colored sand. Finally, pine cones, gourds and pumpkins, and freshly gathered fall leaves are perfect for the autumn months.

Note: Make sure that you gather natural objects only where it is legal to do so! Most state parks prohibit picking flowers or taking anything from the park. When gathering on private property, obtain permission from the property owner. Please also take care to not disturb the surroundings!

Get Crafty

Finally, if you wield a hot glue gun like no one's business, then you can have some luck cutting centerpiece costs by getting crafty. Here are three centerpiece craft ideas that can be made quickly and easily:

-Paper Wedding Cakes. Use heavy card stock paper. For a three-tiered cake, cut three circles, ranging from large, medium, and small. Then cut strips of paper as high as you want each tier and long enough to wrap all around the circles. To attach the pieces, tape all edges from the inside with masking tape. Then add ribbons, trim, and flower rosettes for decoration.

-Tissue Paper Flowers. Purchase craft tissue paper in colors that coordinate with your reception. You will also need wire pipe cleaners. Begin with four sheets of tissue paper. Fold the sheets in half, and make angled cuts from the outside corners to the center. Then, "lettuce" the edges. Turn two of the pages so that they overlap, and twist the center to form a stem. Take a pipe cleaner and bend the top to make a loop. Secure the loop by twisting shut. Insert the stem into this loop, and secure with clear tape. Arrange these flowers in vases.

-Miniature Topiaries. Begin with a small ball of floral foam. Use hot glue to entirely cover the ball with moss, greenery, and fake flowers. Insert a painted dowel or a natural branch into the ball, and stick the entire topiary into a flower pot containing another piece of floral foam. Cover the base with florist's moss.

© High Speed Ventures 2011