If you’re giving away your centerpieces, how are you doing it?

Posted by
Glitter Skull in Wheatgrass
I've heard lots of different fun ways of giving away centerpieces at your wedding reception, and I'm just curious what other Offbeat Brides have come up with.

I think we want to keep it super simple… I don't want to make people do a quiz, or a dance contest, or whatever. I think we might just have our MC announce at the end of the dinner, that whoever's birthday is next at the table gets to take the centerpiece home.

I'm curious what everyone else is doing! -Andrea

Ah, the sticky question of who gets centerpieces, and how do they get them! We know that some couples don't want guests taking centerpieces (one reader had arranged to donate all her centerpieces to a local hospice), which can be challenging because in some regions guests assume that centerpieces are for the taking. Other folks totally organize games or contests for guests to play to decide who gets to take centerpieces, making them function almost as large favors.

For those of you who DO want guests to take centerpieces home, how are you doing it? Or are you just letting folks snag 'em?

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Comments on If you’re giving away your centerpieces, how are you doing it?

  1. the current plan for ours is for my fiance to make them (he’s a blacksmith) as candelabra-type things. we’re not doing favors, instead everyone gets a raffle ticket, then we’ll raffle the centerpieces off somehow (haven’t decided exactly what format that’ll take yet) at the end of the night. the ones on the family tables (his side, my mom’s side, my dad’s side) will go to that parent as their gift.

    • I love that your blacksmith FH is making your centerpieces, and how do I get mine to hop on that wagon? Would love to see the pics…

    • We did something similar for the parents, I made the glass vases that were used as center pieces and we gave the sets of parents one each and the others went to people that had been particularly helpful at our wedding. We thought it was a nice way to say thank you to the people that put in extra time and effort to make our day special.

  2. Our laidback spring wedding had an afternoon cookies-and-punch reception with potted gerbera daisies wrapped in craft paper on the tables, on top of a colored fabric square. We had some friends/family who were on the set up, clean up, or general helping crew, and my mom distributed them to those people after the day as a thank you. The colored fabric squares got turned into cloth napkins, that I use when company comes over. Not exactly giving them away, but a good way to reuse them.

  3. My dad made candle holders out of white birch from a local standing dead tree for my wedding. He even carved “D+B” in a heart into some of them. They were by far my favorite decoration. During the reception, he got up and gave a speech and ended it, “And take those damn things home. I’m not taking them back over the mountain!” I barely got one myself, they were so popular.

  4. I’ve been to ones where it was “whoever has the closest birthday at the table” and then that turned into “whoever wants one” because not that many people wanted them due to travel

    • Yes. I don’t like centerpiece giveaway games of any sort (even the birthday thing) because of exactly that. It might not even be travel–maybe they just don’t want it! At the end of the night as we were cleaning up (with the help of friends and family who stuck around), we just shouted out that people should absolutely take anything they wanted from the centerpieces. If you aren’t doing your own clean up, having the DJ do it would work just as well, I would imagine.

  5. I forgot to do this at my wedding and the next morning I ended up shoving them at the folks who had stayed overnight at my venue (a B&B). It’s been sort of fun to go to their homes since and see them.

    Floral centerpieces are a little bit trickier since they are more difficult to transport for those coming from out of town. You can often arrange to donate these to hospitals. If you forget, it’s ok! I work at a wedding venue and often enjoy having floral centerpieces in my office the week after a wedding!

    Sticker under the chair is a good way to assign them to people. If the winner doesn’t want it, they can always offer it up to the other guests at their table.

  6. There are people who ASSUME centerpieces are for the taking?!?!?!?!
    There goes my plan of saving money by using some of my favorite candle holders from home!

    • It starts in high school…at least in my old school system, kids can take home the centerpieces from their prom. Lots of events let anyone take the centerpieces home–at my chorus’ pops concert/fundraiser I took home the vase of azaleas from our table upon seeing that other people were taking them without incident. Better to play it safe and put in the program “please do not take the centerpieces home; they are the personal belongings of the bridal couple”.

      • Thanks for the suggestion! I think we’ll be doing that for the candleholders!
        I’m glad that I saw this because I never in 1,000,000 years would have anticipated that problem on my own, and this is my second marriage! LOL

    • Oh yeah. At least my relatives do–maybe it’s an old school Italian thing. Originally we saved over $100 on centerpieces b/c we rented the containers from the florist. The combination of having to schlep the containers back and the nagging feeling that people would walk off with them led us to just buy the vases.
      It was nice to gift the centerpieces to people who helped out, but hadn’t been acknowledged in a more formal way.
      Maybe people only make that assumption with flowers and not candle holders though.

    • It’s true- I was gobsmacked when I started hearing that people will sometimes just take them, no matter what they are, even if it’s not clearly noted that they are for the taking. Imagine if you rented some expensive vases for flowers and people just took them… I’ve heard that sometimes people have added a quick announcement during the reception just to tell people not to take the centerpieces.

    • At my own wedding I had no incidents of people taking vases home. I had 24 vases at my reception, and went home with 23 only because one of the vases broke while cleaning up. Afterwards I passed on my wedding decorations to my cousin for his wedding.

  7. I didn’t address the floral centerpieces at my wedding, and perhaps I should have. I think at least half were taken home, including the glass vases! I was thinking that since I had bought 25 vases I would be able to sell them to another bride… but I ended up with about 10.

    • It’s surprising right! And it’s not just centerpieces that people might assume are up for grabs! At my sister’s wedding my mom worked really hard on a little display to honor our deceased grandparents which included a vintage Hamm’s glass since my grandpa owned a bar back in the day. Not even halfway through the reception someone had pocketed it.

  8. I would love to hear some ideas too. I’m having a short reception, but I spent a pretty penny on flowers. I don’t want to see them go in the trash. Also, the vases have to go back to the florist. Any ideas?

  9. I would LOVE people to take home the flowers at the end of the night… but NOT the vintage ball jars from my personal collection that will serve as the vessels. I’m not sure how to facilitate that and I’m worried I may have a ton of flowers to deal with as a result.
    Is there a polite way to say take the flowers, leave the vases?

    • My clients often use my vases for their events, and one way to have guests take flowers but leave vases is to have a roll of twine and some scissors on hand for your DOC or whoever is running the show to pull flowers out of the vases and tie them up. Sometimes I go to the venue at the end of the night and do the twine-tying myself (if I need the vases again asap). If you don’t want people taking your jars, have it announced (or announce it yourself) before people start leaving.

    • Why about plastic bottles or vases on a table with a sign that says “use me to take home some flowers!”?

  10. Don’t know if we’ll do this, but I just had a thought! We have a friend who announces bingo at a couple local bars. If we were to do a contest, we’d be sure to get her involved!

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