dinosaur jar centerpiece DIY

My best friend is an offbeat bride and she's planning an awesome personality-filled offbeat wedding for October.

There's a problem though — centerpieces.

We're trying to find something that's DIY, doesn't cost much, and doesn't involve flowers. Yikes.

Any suggestions? —Miranda

Centerpieces are tough. They can end up being a TON of work or more involved and expensive than you expected. That said, cute and funky ideas to adorn your table centers are a click away, if you've got the patience to do exhaustive internet searching. Fortunately, we have gathered some downright fab ideas for you, so rest those little phalanges and browse away!

Any suggestions?! Even though we skipped centerpieces all-together at our wedding, I inhaled dozens of ideas online during the planning process. Here are a few of my favorites:

Stones and Rocks

Photo by Brian Tao

Oonagh and Dylan went centerpiece mad with different styles on different tables! This one is charmingly sweet and simple with their names hand-written on them.

When combined with other natural elements, as shown here at Kate and Eli's wedding, rocks can make for a nice organic feel to a table.

Sticks and Branches

Center pieces.
This particular skull-themed concept is brought to you by Tribe member Shellbelle.

Again: easy, natural, cheap. Bonus points if you make 2D bird-shapes out of felt or add little fake birds (woodland forest theme?)!

Critters abound in Kimi and Paul's table number centerpieces. These branch-like twiney-vineys definitely have an organic vibe with those faux flowers.


Dude, I'm totally sticking with my hippie theme here, aren't I? But check out this simple concept: vase, fall leaves, candles. Tada!

If you're looking for a bit more interest with the leaves, consider pulling them from local trees, framing them on some nice card stock and adhering a label naming what type of tree it dropped from. Guests could also take them home as a souvenir! Great for a fall wedding.

Photo by Brian Tao

Here's another centerpiece from Oonagh and Dylan. This time they combined sticks with paper flowers and cut-out leaves for some origami-esque chic.


Photo by Amber Zagorski

With a little creativity, latnerns could be applied to almost any theme. Check out these battery-powered options of the paper variety.

Another interesting option would be to do metal and glass lanterns, like the one above from Jen and Mike's Harry Potter-themed wedding. They would be stunning for a nighttime wedding where a little romance is involved. For a homespun country-style wedding vintage lanterns would really set the mood.

Photo by Tao Nguyen

I love this two-sided lantern idea from Gloria and Pete's wedding. It somehow looks totally zen with a little bit of nautical thrown in.


Photo by Jacob Bauch

Dude, I am in love with this concept from Michele and Matt's wedding. This idea is an obvious fit for academic/literary types, but could be extra funny with cheap romance novels and pulp fiction, which you can get for pennies at any second-hand store. Stack 'em and wrap 'em in ribbons — suddenly trashy fiction becomes an entertaining conversation piece. Stick a wedding-branded bookmark in 'em and they're kitchy favors! Like Muglies, only readable.

Photo by Type A Images

This is cheating since I'm pretty sure this is solely a cupcake stand. But does it have to be? I love the creative book stacking and wonky angles. This could become a pretty amazing centerpiece if you had the books for it.

Photo by Becca Scheiblauer

Ribbon-tied books, candies, and candles make for a sweet and stylish centerpiece. Makes me thirsty too. I wonder why.

Medical Glassware

I've never actually seen this done, but the idea of Erlenmeyer flasks or Volumetric flasks is SUPER way cool. Add some colored water and candles on a clean white table cloth and you've got a geeky, colorful, UNIQUE centerpiece!

Some other filling options could include M&Ms or other colored candy, semi-transparent beads, marbles, or dry ice!

James & Melissa's Pi Day wedding
Photo by Megan Finley

James and Melissa used glass beads in a medical beaker (with flowers, don't tell anyone) in their scientist-themed centerpiece. You can barely tell it's medical glassware until you look closely. Sneaky and cute!

Here are some other non-floral centerpiece inspiration posts and DIY tutorials to peruse:

Comments on Non-floral wedding centerpieces

  1. so totally not as impressive/original as these, but we have a million old mismatched vases (actually left over from a death in the family). so we’re sticking them on tables with short pillar candles in them and tying ribbon around the vases. bootleg, but we think successful.

  2. I’ve been to a wedding with peaches in vases in the middle of tables, and I’m thinking about doing the same with apples for mine.

    • Apples sound fun! I want to do vases with lemons & limes…I that it can add some funky fresh scent too =)

  3. Nice, Rachel! Yeah, it seems like all manners of fruit can make great centerpieces — bowls of cherries can be really striking.

  4. Great ideas! I made decoupage wine bottles for centerpieces for my wedding– just put them on some pretty fabric with candles. I spray-painted the wine bottles and gued on romantic pictures and sometimes quotes. I also used them as favors for important people in the wedding party. They looked really nice.

    • Can you post a picture of this? I am trying to convince my fiance to do this and I think he is having a hard time picturing it. What kind of candles did you use? (Tea lights, votives, etc.)

    • Priscilla, I love this idea. I’ve been wanting to do something fun and creative. Our wedding is in Costa Rica, so I think it would be a great way to incorporate phrases that Costa Ricans say on the wine bottle. Do you have pics you can post?

    • what a fantastic idea! i would love to do something like that for my wedding as well!

  5. I agree! Fruit and veggies. Very stiking if each table is a single variety with contrasting votive candles tucked in amongst the produce.

  6. This would require a lot of photo frames, but I love the idea of a large candle as the centrepiece with 3 or 4 photo frames with different photos of the couple grouped around the candle so that no matter where you’re sitting at the table you can see at least one or two pictures. Bonus – this will get your guests to mingle a bit as they check out the different photos at different tables!

      • We did this for a fundraiser a few years ago: make a triangle out of three wooden picture frames. You can tape or use hinges. Print pictures on vellum, and put a candle in the middle of the triangle. The light shines through the vellum, illuminating the pictures. Beautiful! You can get even cheaper and use cardboard picture mats in place of the frames.

    • I’m planning to do something like this…but using wedding photos of all my guests. Making the prints in sepia tone unifies the look and then placing them in various frames found at yard sales and thrift shops.

  7. Ahh the non-floral centerpiece: How do I love thee? Here are a few:
    -Simple wood/terra cotta containers (can be stained or painted to match palette) filled with wheatgrass or baby tears moss – you can ‘nest’ candles here or any number of fun creative things.
    -Edibles: Coffee beans, and in fact dried beans (lentils are a lovely bright green, for example) of any sort look fab in a clear vase with a candle in the middle and are v. cheap.

    You can also go sweet like some of my couples have and do candy (I don’t suggest chocolate, it melts and looks a mess in the least bit of heat) such as jelly beans (all kinds of colors) sour balls, peppermints (wintery) or any of the millions of other sorts. You can do lollies/suckers sticking out as non-floral ‘flowers” or get really creative with it.

    -Interesting found china, wood or silver (eBay, thrift stores, borrow for deals) such as footed bowls look great with floating candles in them. Make sure they are waterproof first!

    On the book bit: Bookends or architechtural finials are often really neat and interesting to look at – they can be painted, textured, etc and put flat-side down with candles, maybe some moss and make a great talking peice.

    Cheers! Maya

  8. My idea for my own wedding, since Henry and I met on flickr, was to print out tiny versions of pictures we took early in our courtship, then pick up a bunch of those photo holders that have clips attached to tall, skinny springs and put those around the room (we’re not having a formal sit-down dinner thing).

  9. i am currently conducting a scientific experiment with old jars, potting soil, and seeds. the idea is to figure out what does well and how long it takes and do it for our center pcs. but there is a lot of room for catastrophe, so it might not be worth it if you have a weak heart, or don’t have a back up plan for the jars…

  10. We created very simple and inexpensive centerpieces for a budget wedding. Granny Smith apples in a low bowl, a few cybidium orchids on top, and some glycerized birch leaves. The apples were the small, bagged apples you get at the supermarket for $3.99. The most expensive item was the bowl. They looked great and were relatively inexpensive. They could be made by almost anyone with a little time.

Read more comments

Comments are closed.