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October 25, 2010

Cheap | Budget | Affordable | Inexpensive | – how to choose wedding centrepieces you can afford!

Happy Monday everyone!!

Regardless of what you’re calling them – cheap, budget, affordable, or inexpensive…. centrepieces that don’t cost an arm and a leg don’t have to look like they didn’t! And for the record, I HATE the word “cheap”. When I plan a wedding on a budget, the first thing I tell my clients is that I don’t want a dollar store event. Ofcourse, planning a wedding on a budget requires a tremendous amount of patience and creativity. Not all brides can walk into a decorator’s showroom, pick, choose, pay for what they love, and check it off their Planning To-Do List. When planning with limited financial resources, brides often find themselves doing more research on what to buy, where to buy it, and how to have it come together seamlessly to create luxe, on a budget! (this is where this website comes in!!)

In the past two years that WG has been planning weddings, I’ve come to realize that as far as decor is concerned, centrepieces tend to top the list of priorities brides have in planning. Once the venue is selected, the dress is chosen, and a colour / decor scheme is finalized, centrepieces tend to be the next most difficult element to tackle – largely because there are so many options! This blog is being written to help you narrow down what you like, what you don’t, and how to make it all affordable.

[Centrepiece | Wedding Decor |  Flowers]

I’ve heard it all. Every decor myth you can possible imagine – I’ve heard it.

Myth: Flowers are the most expensive centrepiece option

— While large, elaborate floral centrepieces can be pricey, it’s not always the flowers in the arrangement that dictate the price – it’s the amount of work that goes into putting each piece together! If you have your heart set on flowers, decide how important it is to you that the arrangements be large, striking, and over-the-top. If you’re looking for something like this, yes – your floral invoice will be hefty….

… but if you’re happy with elements of florals without an entire nursery dispersed among your reception hall, there are quaint, dainty, elegant options that are significantly more affordable! Because of how much less work is involved, loose floral centrepieces can be much more affordable floral alternatives:

This particular bride even incorporated the element of loose flowers into a guest favour, placing a cellophane baggie with tie on every place setting. The baggie was printed with the following:

[Centrepiece | Wedding Decor |  Vases]

Myth: The taller the centrepiece, the more expensive the vase

Granted, if there’s a lot of glass, and especially if the glass is curvy, vases can be pricey – but this is where creative shopping comes in!

1) Buy previously-loved

When a bride gets married and doesn’t give away her centrepieces, she’s left with dozens of vases she has nothing to do with. I created the WeddingGirl.ca Bridal Marketplace to give newlyweds the opportunity to sell the picture-perfect elements of their wedding they have no use for anymore, and for brides-to-be to benefit from the extra savings!

2) Buy wholesale

When planning on a budget, and when wanting to make inexpensive things look all-kinds-of-fabulous, I’m a big fan of wholesale. The Marketplace sells wholesale vases, candles, and other decor pieces. The more you buy, the less it costs, and the quality is significantly higher than dollar-store finds!

3) Less is more

You can either choose one, single, tall,  showpiece vase to be the focal point of your table design….

White Blue Wedding Centerpiece Design

… or you can create a stylishly low, mounding tablescape design using lots of smaller,  lower (read: affordable) glass pieces….

Make sure to embellish vases with ribbon to add a splash of coordinating colour! (but as was the case with this particular centrepiece, be VERY careful what you choose to fill the vase with! – who knew limes (even at wholesale) were so expensive!)

4) Mis-Match

Rather than buying 15-20+ of the same vase, frequent the Clearance section of your nearby Homesense or Winners and look for coordinating centrepiece vessels (i.e. all white ceramic, all vintage glass, etc) at discounted prices. So long as all the vases fit within your overall decor design, your guests will never know how much you saved! (if you have questions about design, be sure to ask us!)


[Centrepiece | Wedding Decor |  Vase Filler]

Myth: Vase fillers are always pricey

Depending on what you choose to fill vases with, your centrepiece budget can stay right on target, or go right through the roof! If you opt for options like acrylic gems, gel beads, pearls, or glass ornaments, make sure to buy them wholesale. Many of these are available in the Marketplace as well.

1) Choose smaller vases

The smaller the vase, the less filler you need to buy. You can also create a tablescape effect by only filling one of the vases with a coordinating filler, and choosing less expensive options for the rest.

2) Fill with bigger objects

Save by filling vases with large floral blooms rather than tiny ones, for example peonies instead of orchids, or even large rose petals instead of stephanotis.

— the Add-A-Ribbon trick works here too!

3) Go Organic

Anything you buy in bulk from a grocery store will likely be much less expensive than buying synthetic wedding decor. Think coffee, beans, and fruit – but do your research! like I said, I had no idea how expensive limes were when we planned the lime/purple/damask centrepiece pictured above!

(A special thanks to TheKnot.com for all this inspiration!)

4) Go H20

Water is about as free as they come – and if you tint it, you can create some amazingly fresh and creative centrepiece designs!

5) Skip the Filler

I once showcased bride-to-be, Gillian, on the blog – and her fantastic idea to cover apple juice tins to use as centrepiece vases rather than purchasing glass. Want to save money? Use paper, ribbon, even birch wood… and cover just about anything to create a stunning decor showpiece on your reception tables!

[Centrepiece | Wedding Decor |  Candles]

Myth: All candles are created equal.

As I learned at the wedding where the Dollar Store candles nearly lit our venue on fire, not all candles are created equal!!  While candles will ALWAYS create an elegant glow around any centrepiece, be sure to know the following when making your candle purchase:

1) Know the rules

Most venues will not allow candles that aren’t enclosed in glass. Usually, an inch of glass above the wick is fine, but some halls have special rules (i.e. 4.5″ of glass above the candle!) – be sure to know these before you buy candles

2) Know the burn time

Unless you plan on asking someone to replace your candles mid-way through dinner, avoid tealights. The typical tealight candle only burns for 2-3 hours. When buying votives for your wedding, make sure they are 10-15 hour burning candles.

3) Know the quality

The cheaper the candle, the cheaper the quality. Sure, you can buy super inexpensive candles just about anywhere, but make sure to burn them on a trial run prior to your reception. If the candle gives off black smoke, this means its made with poor quality wax, filled with lots of by-products. This black smoke not only irritates your guests, but increases the likelihood of setting off smoke alarms. Definitely not something you want to do on your wedding night (we learned this from experience!)

4) Know the limits

As much as I ADORE candlight, there is such thing as too much. Too many candles require lots of set-up / time to light them / cleanup at the end of the night, and can actually increase the temperature of your wedding venue. I’ve found that 5 is a good average number of candles, and 8-10 creates a very candlelit feel… but any more is definitely excessive and not necessary.

[Centrepiece | Wedding Decor |  Non-Floral]

A few months ago, OnlineWeddingGirl MillyHa wrote an awesome blog post on non-floral centrepiece options. Make sure to keep this in mind when getting creative while trying to save!

Whatever you choose to use for your centrepieces, there are areas to splurge, places to save, and details to skip all together. Regardless of where your priorities lie, I have no doubt your guests will love anything you put together!

Happy Planning!


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2 Comments »

  1. This is a great article… especially the part about the candles.

    I help run a wedding event facility in Birmingham, Al and our greatest worry is a fire! Guests are NOT careful with candles. They play with them and spill the wax on the linens and generally make a mess. But they do add a really special feel to a wedding. So… yes, purchase good candles, use glass hurricanes, or water floating candles (makes us feel safer!) and a few with a mirror look great… the last thing you want is to make it look like some sort of scary movie with hundreds of them.

    Tom

    Comment by TomWednesday, October 27th, 2010 09:53 pm @ 9:53 pm

  2. I’m here to search about candles arrangement.I’m so amazed when I’ve found your blog.WOW!awesome,i love it.I wanna walk the aisle with all this things.WOW I bow to you.

    Soy Candles Australia

    Comment by arayana suarez — Monday, November 28th, 2011 03:04 am @ 3:04 am

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