Outside the Vase

Nothing is more elegant than fresh flowers and there are many creative florists that can help you create a beautiful statement… at a price that is.  If you have ever purchased an arrangement from a florist, you know how expensive it is to put a substantial centerpiece on the table. As an event planner, I am constantly challenged with creating a beautiful design on a low budget—and you’d be amazed at some of the things we come up with.

We recently managed an event surrounding the Dale Chihuly sculpture exhibition at the Dallas Arboretum that called for a creative solution. How do you compliment a beautiful garden filled with stunning Chihuly glass sculptures on a tight budget? Small floral arrangements would have looked silly in such an impressive garden so we had to think outside the vase. Our solution was to fill the tables with brightly colored paper lantern “sculptures” highlighted by strategic LED lighting. They looked impressive, gave a nod to Chihuly and came in at under $20.00 per table for the materials. Add hip menus, a Spanish guitarist, colorful uplighting and a huge projection of a Dale Chihuly glass blowing DVD on the wall and this low budget event turned in to a real WOW.

Here are a few of my favorite low cost centerpiece ideas and how you can make them at home for a lot of bang and very little buck.

Branch Out

Branches are naturally decorative, fill a lot of space and act as the perfect platform for your creative genius.  You can purchase substantial branches at your local craft store or a local wholesaler such as Save on Crafts for as little as $5.00 each. Ghostwood, manzanita and grapewood are especially interesting and look beautiful in spring and summer while birch and pine (yes, needles on!) are gorgeous in the fall and winter.  Add a few candles, a colorful table runner and a few well placed flowers and you have a stylish tablescape to be proud of.

Branch Out

Photo credit: http://blog.koyalwholesale.com/tag/driftwood-centerpieces/

Farmstand Fresh

Fill’er up! Adding fruits, vegetables and other farm fresh items to your centerpieces is a great way to add color and seasonality to any event. These items add a lot of color and substance to a small floral or candle arrangement or can stand alone in a beautiful vase or bowl. Try citrus fruits, artichokes, apples, cabbage, pinecones and nuts for a reusable and seasonal twist. Filling up on these low-cost items means you spend less on flowers!

Farmstand Fresh

Photo Credit: http://www.bollea.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/bubble-bowl-c.jpg#

Break Bread

You were going to feed your guests anyway, right? Why not create a centerpiece that will double as the first course! Fill a vessel with breads mixed with stems of fresh herbs or create a beautiful cheese board with all the trimmings. Surround with small dishes of accompaniments: dipping oils, olives, nuts, honey, fig jam, pesto and white bean hummus all work well. Take care to use different heights, shapes and varieties to add visual interest and incorporate colorful containers or plants so there is still color on the table once the food is gone—potted herbs are perfect and can be used over and over. Not only do these centerpieces look beautiful, they are a surefire conversation starter.

Break Bread

Photo Credit: http://hellomoye.com/2009/03/12/edible-centerpieces/

Paper Flowers

Crepe paper is not just for leis anymore! This is one of my favorite centerpiece ideas. The styles, colors and designs are endless—think runners, branch toppers, hanging flowers, bouquets, etc. These take a bit more patience but it is a fun project and you will have the finished product for years. Check out Martha Stewart Crafts for tons of ideas and instructions on how to make your own beautiful bunch.

Paper Flowers

Photo Credit: http://www.eclecticmom.com/home/2012/4/3/paper-flowers.html

Sometimes being forced to dig deep can yield fabulous results! Check out our Pinterest board on Low Cost Centerpieces for additional ways you can use these ideas to create your own masterpiece.

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