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How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

How To Make a Lush Floral Centerpiece | A Practical Wedding

As I told you when I did my own wedding flowers, creating full floral centerpieces is a Project. It’s not that centerpieces are hard, it’s that there are many of them (unlike a bridal bouquet, where you have, at max, two). So if you’re undertaking this project: A) Get help (and realize you may need some quality control), B) Allot time for it, and C) Do your bouquets first, because chances are you care more about them.

If you remember a million years ago (ok, two months ago) when we did the wild floral bouquet, the key to making these arrangements is to have a whole bunch of different types of florals (think six to ten types). We bought the flowers from the San Francisco Flower Mart, so we could have access to as big a selection of flowers as possible. We selected flowers all in the same color story, with a wide variety of textures. But if you’re going to use a variety of colors, keep the textures similar. Remember to always select a few highlight flowers from across the color wheel to make your main colors stand out and not fade together.

First focus on the middle: create the height that you want, with a mix of florals. Don’t worry about making it perfect, or filling it in. Then, move to the edge. Create a line of flowers dripping over the edge (hint: select some drippy flowers at the flower market). Then start placing some filler among the brighter flowers. Once you’ve set up this structure fill in the flowers (and have fun… it’s flowers, not a midterm).

Walk around the arrangement and make sure it looks good from all sides. Then BAM, lady friend, you rocked it. Don’t let anyone convince you that this is way too hard for you. It’s not, but it may take a little bit of time (and possibly a tiny bit of practice). But man, the results are lovely.

Photos by Emily Takes Photos, Crafting by Elizabeth of Lowe House Events, Graphic Design by Michelle Edgemont (all APW advertisers). Chairs, linens, glassware, dishes, silverware, all provided by Encore Event Rentals in Petaluma, CA, who were awesome.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • http://sweetandwildchild.blogspot.com jackie

    ooh i love this. i was thinking about doing our centerpieces, but sometimes it’s just better to pay someone to ease my burden, ya know? but thanks for the tutorial for the future! :)

    • meg

      Indeed.

  • Hannah

    That is super, SUPER pretty!!! It makes me almost second guess the very simple centerpieces that we’re doing (mirror base, 3 sizes of cylinder vases (mostly from the dollar store, whoop!), with silk flowers floating inside, topped with floating candles) because that centerpiece is GORGEOUS.

    • meg

      But yours are easy and cheap. Stop second guessing!!

    • MDBethann

      I agree with Meg – stop second guessing yourself. If you come up with an idea you love, go with it. Early on I came up with the idea of combining my favors with my centerpieces – I used small, foil wrapped potted (a mix of various perennials and annuals in various colors) plants, one for each couple. I used florist tridents to hold the placecards containing the table assignments. Guess what? Everyone took their favor, they were comparatively green, and can all be used at home. It didn’t hurt that the restaurant had mirrors and candle goblets in the center of the table, but working with my local nursery allowed me to rather inexpensively bring the May garden into my reception without a lot of work.

      It was my first idea, I loved it and stuck with it. It’s your wedding – do what you like and what works for you!

  • http://englishyerrors.blogspot.com Madeline

    The older posts on Meg’s experience doing all her own flowers were part of my inspiration to do my own, and my evidence that it was not a stupid idea, no matter how much my grandmother (and sometimes my mother) doubted it would work. And it was totally worth it. So that’s why this part of this post is my favorite:

    “Don’t let anyone convince you that this is way too hard for you. It’s not, but it may take a little bit of time (and possibly a tiny bit of practice). But man, the results are lovely.”

  • http://www.lovelyatyourside.com LovelyOlivia

    We kept it real simple and did fake flowers with a mix of dried flowers (we used dried oregano stalks, which smelled delicious!)…my mom bought vases and bowls months in advance, and did the whole flower foam thing, made the arrangements, and stuck them in my bedroom with a plastic covering until we were ready! They looked gorgeous, and best part: they didn’t die, they were ready to go, and we gave each woman in the family a vase full of my wedding flowers to take home! No loss of money there.

    For my bouquet, and my sisters, we took hydrangeas from my aunt’s house, and the night before the wedding, bunched them up into a bouquet, fastened them with gardening tape, and ribbon, stuck them in the fridge overnight…and they were ready!

    But, also…I didn’t care as much about the flowers. I handed the job over to my mom, mostly. I just didn’t want to waste any money on flowers that would die!

    • rys

      Dried herbs — what a great idea!

  • http://notsolittlethings.blogspot.com Stephanie

    This is gorgeous.

    My sister and her best friend did our centerpieces. She was in London for gradschool until 3 weeks before the wedding so her one responsibility, besides getting a dress, was to pick up antique metal pitchers and other containers to use as centerpieces. They were smallish so we used two or three with some candles to fill the center of the table, but their small size made them much less intimidating to complete and their different shapes and sizes lent to different heights easily. Our florist picked up the flowers for us in bulk since there was no mart near us and she helped us figure out that you always need more than you think. It took them about two hours to put them all together and they looked freaking amazing.

    • http://englishyerrors.blogspot.com Madeline

      “You always need more than you think” – yes! I ended up feeling like I wanted more actual arrangements as well as more flowers in each one. No big deal, since they were still lovely and worked really well with the simple, classic look I was going for, but I would have more if I could do it over.

    • Jen

      good advice. will try to remember this when panic mode and/or wedding zen has set in the day before the wedding!! :)

  • carrie

    LOVE. That is all.

  • Leslie

    Stunning! Love the basket as the container. Really wishing we had a flower market on the scale of San Francisco here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

  • Sharon L

    My husband and I helped our friends with their flowers (7 bouquets and 20 centerpieces). They bought daisies and other variety bouquets at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and Thursday before the wedding 5 of us rocked out the flowers. The centerpieces were just mason jars, stones from Home Depot, and random flowers. The bouquets were also simple but lovely. I definitely used the APW Trader Joe’s bouquet tutorial as a reference! I don’t think it would have been possible without all the manpower, but DIY flowers turn out wonderfully if you have the time and labor available.

    • meg

      God, depending on the season, LOVE ME some Trader Joes flowers. So affordable and often a killer selection.

  • Jade

    These are beautiful! We are planning on using classic board games and card games as centerpieces for the tables, but I may have to make a few of these for the side tables…

  • http://www.choosetheodd.blogspot.com Alyssa

    “It’s flowers, not a midterm.”

    YES.

  • Rachel

    Thanks for telling us that doing your own flowers is possible. Your experience gave me the courage to do mine (despite my mum’s horror) and they turned out awesome. It was the thing I chose to do just for me in the wedding, and it helped me get through the not-so-fun parts!

  • http://knitsmcgee.blogspot.com Shayna

    I did my own flowers (times ~15 tables- who remembers?!, 1 bridal bouquet, 1 wrist corsage, 2 BM bouquets, 1 FG bouquet and maybe 7 bouts). I had awesome helpers in my mom and a family friend who arranges flowers (for competitions! for fun!) and wins gardening awards. It wasn’t hard, it was just time consuming. I seriously was the first one ready to go to the wedding, sitting there in full hair and makeup, wrapping stems.

    The $0.02 I’d add to the about tutorial is that you want to soak the floral foam for at least a day, two is better. It will make your arrangements last longer and avoid any sloshy water.

  • julia murphy

    This arrangement is just beautiful…I love the casual style. What are the names of the different flowers that you used. I love the weepy ones as well as the filler flowers..but I would have to order the flowers through a wholesale market. Thanks!!!! I’m going to try to make one!!

  • jessica

    These look absolutely amazing–how far before the wedding can you put these together?

  • http://lesbegin.blogspot.com Dea

    So here’s a question. If you don’t live by the San Francisco Flower Mart (and I wish I did), where do you get your flowers? I’m in Atlanta, and I’ve looked at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, two grocery stores, and the Dekalb Farmer’s Market, and NONE of them have the cool, different, (and trendy) flowers I love looking at. Mostly it’s roses, carnations, those little lily looking things, baby’s breath, gerbera daisies….sometimes tulips… kinda standard stuff. Is that just how it is? Or is there some other option I’m missing?

    Oh, I should mention, I am having a tiny wedding and only need enough for me and my partner’s bouquets, not a whole shebang, so ordering from a flower wholesaler online doesn’t really make sense.

    • Suzy

      You might have luck at an independent flower farm, depending on the time of year. Here are some in Georgia:
      http://ascfg.org/2011/buyers_guide/find.php?company=&state=GA

      They will often let you come and pick your own or they’ll get some buckets ready for you. I wanted to do this but we ended up using a florist for everything due to parent anxiety.

  • http://candelabracenterpieces.info/ ZeenahZahn of Candelabra Centerpieces

    What a beautiful floral centerpiece – and in purple – my favorite color!

    I also have a great DIY centerpiece project I would love to share.

    It shows you step by step How to Arrange Flowers on a Candelabra (you know those candle holders that hold lots of candles)

    I would love to give ‘A Practical Wedding’ fans a FREE copy of this DIY e-book

    Can you tell me where I can submit the link so they can download it?

  • http://www.wedding-event-centerpieces.com Fahmin Shajal

    I love thiscenterpieces ideas.this centerpieces definitely play an important role at every occasion such as weddings. It’s the best way to send your heartfelt gratitude to your guests for being a part of your special day. Giving them something that can remind them of you and your partner will surely make them happy.
    By the by, thank you for this nice post.