Non-floral centerpieces 2.0

A thousand years ago, okay more like three years ago, Ariel put out a post called "Non floral centerpieces." Well, in Offbeat Bride years, three years is a looooong time because we've been inundated with so many more amazing alternatives to floral centerpieces since then. So here is our non-floral centerpieces post version 2.0.

Fake coral

This is a shot from my beach wedding. We spray painted those suckers bright orange and placed just one piece of brightly colored fake coral on each table, they looked awesome.

Wine bottles

centrepiece Wine bottles, or bottles in general, with cool graphic table numbers like these from Nicole & Kyle's wedding can make quite an impact.

Jars full of fruit

centerpiece Yummy and functional. And so easy to shop for! Buy fruit in colors that match or in various fun colors and fill up cool glass jars. Voila, centerpiece done and you can eat it when it's over.

Planets

Saturn Perfect for geeks in love, or weddings in a planetarium or for astronomy themed weddings. These planet centerpieces from Deana and Glen's wedding are made from inflatable planets.

Feathers

centerpiece They pretty, they're fluffy, they're colorful, and you can play with them on your wedding night after everyone goes home. (wink wink.)

Books

Ariel mentioned books in her last post, but this stack is bigger and with more ribbon. A stack of books topped with flowers or photos of the couple, or topped with nothing at all, just a stack of the couple's favorite reads can be meaningful and lovely. Perfect for bookish brides.

Nerdy video game references!

195 Yes yes yes. Do this! This is from Stephanie and Chase's Nintendo-themed wedding of which we don't have a profile (boo).

Oil lamps

WeddingPics-378 A single oil lamp — how badass does this look!?

Trivia questions

The "Did you Know?" Centerpieces We featured this centerpiece before because we loved the fact that they used a log-slice, two candles and trivia about wedding traditions and made it look beautiful AND it was bound to get guests talking.

Games

centerpiece on table
Interactive board games and the like are often colorful and, not to mention, fun. They can also double as a way to get your table mates to interact with each other.

Felt or paper flowers

LongTable
There's nothing bad about this idea. Felt and paper flowers can be made in all colors in existence and they never die AND they can be as affordable or as expensive as you want them to be. Loooove this idea.

Mason jars

Mason Jars and Oil Mason jars are really popular centerpieces with OBBs. A single mason jar with pretty flowers, or colored mason jars with a candle inside. But I'm so into this idea from Cori and Evan's wedding where they placed pictures of themselves into Mason jars and then filled them with oil. WOWFACTORx10.

Have more non-floral centerpiece ideas? Leave 'em in the comments or submit yours to the OBB Flickr pool and perhaps they'll end up in our next round-up — version 2.1!

  1. I wanted to have non-floral centrepieces, but I got vetoed by not only MOB and GMOB, but by FH as well!!!! not fair. well. it's ok. I was thinking having mini-cakes for centrepieces, or gold fish or something cool.

    (My 2nd mother however is providing all our florist needs, and everything will be beautiful. I can't really complain)

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    • I keep hearing of brides getting vetoed. It makes me so sad! I think you should veto them back – but you definitely need people's support. Good luck.

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      • I don't know, I think grooms should be able to have a veto for anything they don't really like. I'm not okay with other people having veto power, but it's only fair for offbeat partners to be able to say no.

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        • I second Mary B. My husband vetoed my floral ban, and our flowers ended up being one of my favorite things about the day! I still generally prefer weddings without a ton of flowers (my own personal taste), but I am glad my husband vetoed me!

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    • Ooooo, maybe if you show them your cutie little goldfish (I LOOOVE FISH! – and would definitely do this idea if we weren't having a destination wedding ). Maybe have them in little bowls (or chic cylinders… or glass blocks!) and fill the bottom with colorful glass rocks. That's sure to look colorful and festive and I'm sure even Grandma would think it's a darling idea. ;)

      Or betas with frosted white rocks, or bright little tetras with no rocks at all, or…..

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  2. We're doing lanterns on the tables! I'm so excited because each one is different and I get to keep them when we're done. What will I do with 15 lanterns? I'm not entirely sure, but I'll have easy last-minute gifts in the future!

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    • Do you have a garden/back yard? My mum loves hiding various lights around the garden (mix of solar powered electric ones and candle lanterns) and it looks really pretty at night.

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    • Tiffani, we used Moroccan lanterns placed on a mirrored tile. We also wondered what we would do with them all afterwards… our guests took a lot of them home (mostly the prettier ones too). Out of 20, we only ended up with about 5.

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    • My mom collects laterns and puts them all hanging on a large tree. It's beautiful

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  3. Please oh please tell me how to do the pictures in oil in colored Mason jars! They're awesome (and has anyone got a good place to find pink ones cheap? I'm coming up short.)

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    • I think the oil is what makes it look yellow. You could probably try using oil that's pink for a pink look – food coloring with a clear oil like lamp oil?

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      • I'm not sure where but I know you can buy coloured lamp oil. My mum likes doing those glass oil lamps with bits of plant and stuff floating in them and she uses coloured oils sometimes. But food colouring should work as well! (Just check the colours first, some of them are a little…flourescent, and it doesn't show as much in the bottle.)

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    • If you laminate the picture (Staples? Your office?), you should be able to submerge it with no problems!

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      • You can hide the tops with ribbon, felt, paper, anything like that. I really like the old beat up look I think that is great! I love the book idea, and the mason jar idea. I think I will do a combination of the two! Good luck!

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    • i think the oil is colored, but here's my two cents. if you can find self stick laminating plastic (the roll or pouches), or don't mind buying a laminating machine, make sure pics and such are sealed up WELL and then just color the water/oil. The other think i can think of is finding pink paint that dries clear and paining cheaper jars yourself.

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  4. I love the idea of 'did you know?' type things as center pieces!

    I get hooked on all those books (I currently have The Book of Useless Information in the bathroom). I'm not sure if I'd want to do general trivia, which I could go on forever with, something wedding related (ie. 'Bride' is an old word Teutonic word meaning 'cook') or stuff about us as I'm sure there's a lot our family and friends don't all know (eg. 'Did you know Tony and Katy first met in an argument online? 5 years later it has yet to be resolved')

    I'm not sure how it'd go over with everyone else, but maybe I could combine it with some other ideas. I especially like the felt flowers, and my sister makes felt. Maybe she'd be willing to make some I could turn into flowers. :D

    Thanks for all the brilliant ideas. I know planning center pieces months in advance is the classic 'over thinking the wedding' thing but this time I think it's a good thing. :D

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    • Be prepared for people to consume your centerpiece!! I used Rainier cherries in vases as my centerpiece and was totally suprised when I made my rounds to see a lot of centerpieces half full. Funny!

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      • We want people to consume the centerpiece! We're serving Chinese food with oolong and flowering jasmine teas to drink. When the tea is gone, our guests can toss in a new tea ball and some fresh water and watch it bloom again.

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    • That is a REALLY awesome idea. Make sure you take pics of that. I'm kind of obsessed with those flowering tea leaf things since I saw something about them in Sky Mall (no joke). I also included them in my yummy wedding favor post.

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    • That is so cool. I've never seen those tea ball things before but jasmine tea is great, might have to track some down. :D

      I also love the idea of useable/edible center pieces.

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    • that is soooo cute and awesome! & cool gift for your wedding party as a take home!

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      • I've seen several online, but we're buying ours from little shops in San Francisco, where they were substantially less expensive. Amazon had the warmers for about $6.00.

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  5. Im using Moroccan lanterns as centerpieces. I will have four lanterns per table with candles inside. We are so excited with this.

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  6. We're both musicians and got married last June. Along with daisies, we had flip-folder pages (used for marching band) tied with ribbon scattered on the tables. Each one had musician jokes, lyrics from songs, really bad puns,poems about love and/or music, etc. in them. (example Q:How many clarinetists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Just one, but he'll go through a whole box looking for the right one.) Very cheap to do, and fun to put together.

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    • That sounds so fun. As a former marching band geek, I love it. :)

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      • Awesome! :-D What is it about marching band and bad puns?

        Also: Q: How many trumpet players does it take to change a light bulb? A: 9 – one to change the light bulb, and eight to stand around saying "I could do that."

        It's the only one I can always remember, ha ha.

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  7. We're using glass vases filled with origami cranes. Thought it would make an interesting replacement for flowers.

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    • Oh, lovely idea! I've got a few hundred origami cranes that my students made me (I teach English in Japan), but I haven't sorted out what to do with them yet. I was thinking of just scattering them around the table, but vases would be interesting. I might scatter some too, as my students wrote messages on the wings and it would be nice to show them off.

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  8. We had lanterns, and cards with the table numbers on one side, and on the other side, I split up the text from the story "I Like You" by Sandol Stoddard over the ten tables, and on each of those cards it started with continued from table #, and continued on table #, ending with the bridal table, so people had a reason to get up and walk around the other tables reading the story.

    http://ginevra.vox.com/library/post/i-like-you.html

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    • Love that idea! We're doing a brunch with no dancing, and I really want a way to get people moving from table to table. Maybe even a trivia question with "go to table 6 for the answer"

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    • I love Heather's and Laura's ideas. They're awesome. I might have to steal them.

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  9. I love the fruit idea! It's such an easy way to get color and nature into the center pieces. I also like lanterns …. have you seen anything done with them that looks interesting and unique? And games on tables? So cool. Thanks!

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  10. We used baskets of cookies for our centerpieces. They performed triple duty:

    1.) The cookies were desserts!
    2.) The cookies were favors, for those who wanted to take some away!
    3.) They were centerpieces!

    They were also a way to get my mom and "aunt" involved, because they made the baskets, and to get a friend involved, because she made half the cookies. (I made the other half.) It was my friend's idea, when at one point I lamented, "I don't know where *I* am in this wedding." She answered, "well, you always bring those ginger cookies for everyone." And she was right!

    Photos in action:

    One

    Two

    (Gues img src doesn't work in comments. Oops!

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  11. Where have people found those log slices? I've looked, but not even sure what to search for.

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    • My husband grabbed a couple of log slices from a "cut your own tree" Christmas tree lot. They were just lying around perfectly sliced like the photo above.

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  12. Apples in a vase: so simple, yet looks awesome, AND is full of tasty apples!

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  13. We did vases with colored glass pebbles with branches from some dead trees we cut down in our yard and teasel that we had spray painted in our wedding colors.

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  14. Jars of candy would be cute too esp. M&Ms or jellybeans or other colorful tiny candies. Or Reese's pieces for a fall wedding maybe? Okay, I'm drooling now.

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    • My FH and I are doing candy as our centerpiece. It's a Halloween themed wedding so it fits right in. I think we're going with jelly beans or maybe those little candy pumpkins since we don't want anything chocolate melting.

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  15. Maybe someone could help me with mine. I do want a sort of music theme wedding and know instead of numbers, I'd like to name tables after some of our favorite singers/frontmen (ex: Cornell, Weiland, Cobain, Reznor, etc), favors will be CDs of our favorite songs and the tables will have trivia about the bands etc. So, what should the centerpiece be? I'm stuck there.

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  16. We are recycling our favorite paperbacks from two genres– trashy romance novels from me and sci-fi from him. These are also going to double as favors with bookmarks in them. Oh, and did I mention that I am a librarian so books are kind of a big deal at our house? I like that we aren't buying anything new, that we are supporting reading, and that it is a way to weed our own collections without having to throw them out/donate them to people who might throw them out.

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  17. Every centerpiece at our reception was different. We couldn't decide on a theme, so we gave each table its own theme – something that we both like. For example, we had a Halloween table, a Board Game table, a table about our dog, a table for the place we work (where we met). Each table had little trivia cards on it. They weren't exactly pretty, but they workd for us.

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  18. We are making Tissue paper topiary's. Using all kinds of shades of purple and silver tissue paper, tulle and organza and whatever we think will look good. Did a teat run and looks great!

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  19. We're probably going pretty simple. We have rectangular banquet tables, so there's not too much room for most centerpieces anyway. But we're doing taper candles and rose petals. Keeping it simple, affordable, with the focus on good conversation. Haven't figured out how we're doing table numbers yet, and I might have to steal some of the ideas in this thread.

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  20. I love the mason jar picture centerpieces! How presh are they?! I also really dig the trivia idea. Having little facts about the history of weddings or cute facts about the couple is adorable! I'm so glad I haven't decided on centerpieces yet! ;]

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  21. My idea (for a small wedding) is to use the black and white wedding or individual photos of my no longer alive grandparents from both sides, and my partners (he gets six – step parents!) as centerpieces. They would also form the "table name" and maybe include a little bio about their lives, and how we love them and want to include them in our wedding.

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  22. we are going to be taking the book idea and stacking them on each table then adding different sized seashells aroound the books. we have tons of both already so we dont have to spend a thing!

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  23. I'm surprised branches weren't on this list. We're using manzanita branches placed in 6x6x6 black wooden boxes.

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  24. Yup, we had stacks of videos tied up with ribbon, because we met in a video shop. They doubled up as favours.

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  25. I love the mason jars with pictures in them. What kind of oil would you put in them?

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    • We're just using water for our wedding. We tested it out and it works quite nicely!

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      • Thanks Ava….actually that's a cool idea because you can tint the water with food coloring just a bit if you want to add some color!

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  26. we bought little birdcages from michaels, and surrounded the base of them with moss, and had little ceramic birds nesting in it… it was sooo precious and we had so many wonderful compliments!

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  27. I love the idea of game centre pieces , it sounds like a great way of getting guests to get to know each other, as long as the games aren't too competitive. The image of a bunch of my call of duty loving friends battling it out around a game of Risk is a touch worrying.

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  28. I want to use blown glass pieces in my centerpieces, with minimal greenery or something (I want to mimic Dale Chihuly's pieces in the NY Botanical Gardens), but I can't find anything like that at all. Help!!! :)

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  29. I'm doing floating candles in wine glasses. There are a few fake rosebuds at the bottom, but the centerpiece could stand on its own without the flowers.

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  30. Just an FYI about the paper/felt flowers- I'm the photographer for the featured pic, and these are actually different layers of fabric with a button in the middle. A small distinction, I know, but my friend made these and I just wanted to clarify for her craftsmanship. Thanks.

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  31. LOVE LOVE LOVE the log slice idea! My fiance does logging on his days off from the fire department, and that is a great way to incorporate who he is into the reception without making it too gaudy. I've been struggling with that concept. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  32. I saw all the ideas for the centerpieces. They looked really cool. However, I appeal to the magnanimous offbeat brides out there for some help with my plight. I am having issues with my DIY goth-geek themed wedding. We are trying to do the supernatural meets superhero thing and I want the centerpieces to represent the theme. My fiance even admits that our guests will be walking into a freak show, but I want it to be hella fun. Btw, our colors are black (main color), purple and pink. Help!!

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  33. I think wine bottles are a great idea. I am going to go with that. I think it would also be nice to have fruit center pieces as well.

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  34. What's great about non floral is the greater amount of ideas available that fit the party theme. The peacock feather centerpiece really sends an air of sophistication, as well as a touch of mystery that would be prove difficult to produce with a blooming floral arrangement. Great pics!

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  35. We are doing a twist on the more traditional wedding centrepieces of silver tree branches with crystal strings (one of the few traditional things I love). We are having the bases as TARDISes and will also be hanging a few other things on the trees (steampunk gears, marbles). Also next to each will be a Final Fantasy plushie. :)

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  36. We're going to have large lanterns in the center of the tables surrounded by fall leaves and the different tables will have either apples, mini pumpkins, or popcorn. We're also having a long head table that will have smaller lanterns along the table with vases with our bouquets from the ceremony in them.

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