Non-floral wedding centerpieces

Updated Sep 26 2019

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

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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.

Centerpiece
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?)!

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

Leaves

leaves
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.

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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.

Lanterns

lanterns
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.

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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.

Books

centerpieces
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.

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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.

Table
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:

  1. We are using oranges in bowls, small pots of wheatgrass with pinwheels in them and pictures in 4×6 photo mats attached in a triangle with a candle in the middle to shine through. No flowers as our wedding will be outside in July in central CA (hot!).

  2. A friend of mine spray painted some fruit gold and draped it over white ceramic bowls, looked elegant and the white/gold oombo worked well.

    We went to a junk/antique shop and bought lots of old mismatched teacups and saucers and stacked them on the tables – in each cup was a candle. The effect was so pretty and everyone commented on it. We kept all the china, somehow all the mismatched cups look better than a set.

  3. I went to a great wedding where instead of table decorations, there were shees of origmai paper and instructions how to make cranes. They asked each guest to make them a crane and write a message for them.

    When all the wedding fuss was over they still had the cranes to look forward to, they spent an afternoon unfolding them and enjoying all the messages of love, much better than hearing congrats during the wedding when you're stressed and tired or having to greet a lot of guests.

  4. You all have such great ideas! Maybe you can help me out.
    My fiance and I are getting married end of March 2012. Our reception site is an old bathhouse that is now a museum of contemporary art. So 1920's meets Today. The only color I've decided is blue – but the actual shade is negotiable. Any ideas?! I like flowers but I totally want something different!

  5. I collect teapots, so I decided to stack some old books and place teapots on each stack in the middle of the tables. I love the lanterns though!

  6. I love all the ideas flowing for this! I'm also having a flowerless, but very colourful and thematic fun wedding. I'm not very into frills and minute details, but would like to have a fun centrepiece and am leaning towards books, cards, board games with some candles. Though maybe something a little more unified than the random chaos I'm planning so far 🙂

  7. Hi–I am getting married in September of 2012 and I plan on having photos of me and finace in different size frames, all with little quotes from romantic or quirky movies or books. You can buy white frames and decorate them however. Then on the table between the frames we are going to scatter brown and teal pebbles. Simple, but original.

  8. I'm a farm-girl and over the years my mom and I have been collecting flat rocks we see in the field when driving machinery. For the centerpieces at our wedding, my fincee and i are placing different sized pillar candles on the flat rocks. We are then either tying a ribbon around them or laying flowers at the bottom of the candles. This was super cheap cuz the rocks were free and we bought used pillar candles from another couple who used them at their wedding 🙂

  9. I collect upscale and vintage Barbie dolls. I am using a variety of wedding Barbies on stands for center pieces. The oldest is from 1985. Very cute.

  10. For our wedding we are combining our two loves hockey and sailing in a medium tall vase with water beads- hockey pucks in the water, and little sailboats floating on top. Neither one of us are big into flowers, and I dislike large arrangments that discourage conversation across tables. When you add little floating lights, you get a cool pattern on the table plus the candle effect. Plus this is competley DIY!!

  11. When Mari and I were considering a winter wedding, our idea was to use foot-high "Christmas trees" as center pieces, maybe draped in fake snow, with the origami cranes (Mari is half-Japanese) I've been folding situated around the trees.

    Now that we're doing a summer wedding, I'd like to find some sunflower-shaped (I'm part-Algerian, and sunflowers are the quintessential Algerian flower) tea lights that I can float in water in a square glass or plastic box-type thing. We'll probably string the cranes on a line like streamers XD

  12. I am getting married in August and my colours are grey and then pastel pink green and purple but stuck of a theme really I like rustic and fairytale but I'm having car table names

  13. For our tables i got some organza, petal scatters, heart chocolates and candles and just sorta threw it all onto the table – looked great and all i had to clean up was petals, organza (chocolates gone, surprise surprise!) and candles, to which are now in various places in the house anyhow – i <3 candles!
    When i get my photos i'll do a huge blog to show ^^

  14. gigantic glass jar of fresh lavender and sticks, FTW. Cheap as hell, only thing to buy are the vases which came from dollar store!

  15. My cousin used different sized and colored wine bottles with strings of lights inside to light them. To make them different heights, she used different thicknesses of wood slices. She then added wild flowers to make it woodsy! They were different at each table, and absolutely beautiful!

  16. I'm not sure how to embed photos, but I can link you to my wedding profile (http://offbeatbride.com/2014/06/oregon-masquerade-wedding)

    We had mini pumpkins with candles in them, candles in frosted votives, wine bottles with the bottoms cut off and candles inside, mirrors to set them on, and shiny-wrapped candies (which were intended for people to eat, but they only ate the candies out of the bowl we had!)

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