How To: A Modern DIY Hydrangea Centerpiece That Anyone Can Make


Because hydrangeas are cheap, yo

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

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Going to weddings in New England growing up, I saw so many hydrangea centerpieces and bouquets that I always assumed they were prolific in our area. Turns out? Hydrangeas are just one of the most affordable wedding flowers you can work with. They’re cheap and fluffy and easy to come by year round. The problem is, if you look around online or even on Pinterest, there’s not a whole lot of Hydrangea inspiration that looks like it belongs in 2015. So today we teamed up with Kaci Muller of Damsel Floral in Grand Rapids, Michigan to help us with a series of modern hydrangea centerpiece tutorials that anyone can do.

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The best part of these tutorials is that you don’t have to have any kind of artistic eye to set them up. Which means you can teach it in about five seconds flat to whoever is helping you set up for the wedding, and they can wrangle up whoever else is around, and your decorations will probably get done in time for everyone to have a pre-ceremony cocktail. Here’s what you’ll need:

Materials:

  • Wooden vase (this one comes with a plastic liner, which you’ll need)
  • Scissors

Flowers Used:

Cost Per Centerpiece: $17–$25 depending on where you get your flowers. The flowers used for this tutorial are often readily available in bulk, so check out places like Costco or Sam’s Club for volume pricing. Prices will be higher if you order smaller quantities online.

Hydrangea Centerpiece

Directions: NATURAL WOOD VESSEL ASSEMBLY

1. Prep your flowers first, by removing any thorns and any sad looking petals or foliage.

2. Fill the box insert about half way with water. Filling up only halfway will make it easier to transport or move around.

3. Start to build the centerpiece by layering three to five pieces of Silver Dollar Eucalyptus around the edges, slightly bending the pieces for a dripping effect. Criss-cross the stems as you add them, and try to touch the back of the vase with the bottom of the stem if you can—the grid will help hold other stems in place.

4. Trim two Hydrangea stems where the bottom of the stem will sit in the water (the blossoms of the flowers will just lay at the lip of the vase). Add another Hydrangea stem on the opposite side and adjust eucalyptus leaves so that they are intermixed with the flowers.

5. Trim three Alstroemeria stems so that they are just slightly taller than the Hydrangea and add into the centerpiece, filling in gaps between the Hydrangeas or poking out of the Hydrangea blossoms.

6. Trim two spray rose stems so that they are slightly taller than the Hydrangea and fill in any remaining gaps with each stem. Rearrange or add additional Eucalyptus leaves.

7. Add more water to make sure all stems can remain hydrated. Enjoy!

Note: Hydrangeas are notoriously thirsty flowers, so you want to give them as much water as possible to prevent wilting. If you’re getting married outside in the summer heat, they might not last long. We recommend doing a test run in a similar climate to see how they fare. (In other climates, hydrangeas can last for days. Your mileage may vary.)

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Modification: Round Plastic Vase

If you want an even more affordable centerpiece, you can skip the wooden box and use an inexpensive plastic vase (like this one) and paint it a cool color. Kaci used copper spray paint here. (Pro tip: I always find that stores like JoAnn Fabric and Michael’s have better spray paint colors than Home Depot or Lowe’s.) The process to build your centerpiece is exactly the same as above, though Kaci added an extra Alstroemeria to the side of the arrangement for a bit of asymmetry.

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Modification/Extras: Bud Vases

If you have larger tables that you’re decorating, or want to do smaller containers using the same flowers, you can follow a similar pattern using bud vases. Start each vase with a stem of eucalyptus leaves, slightly bending the stem to lay over the edge. Add stems of hydrangeas to one vase and Alstroemeria and spray roses to two vases each. Try creating different heights of vases and stems for added variation. Kaci used recycled amber glass here, but you could easily do this with affordable bud vases like these or these.


The Info:

Photos by Katie Grace Photography | Styling by Damsel Flower Co. | Venue: The Cheney Place

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Jess

    I just pinned something using wooden crate boxes and was thinking “Oh, these will be so terribly expensive, but they look lovely and not-super-rustic.” So, thank you for solving that problem with a link!

    Also, my local store always has sets of flowers with hydrangeas and I’ve always wondered what I would do with them. Now I know.

  • Bsquillo

    I love hydrangeas! We almost did the super-simple-drop-a-hydrangea-in-a-vase thing for our wedding, until a local flower farm told us that they could get us peonies for cheaper (I know…what? But apparently they grow a ton of them here). I’m not a huge flower person, but I guess I like the big fluffy kinds.

  • Jenny

    Love hydrangeas! We did just a simple hydrangea and mason jar for our wedding (DIY’d all the flowers) and it turned out great. And by “we” I mean my mom and her friends. One other helpful tip- if you find on the day of that your hydrangeas are looking a little wilted (cause they are very thirsty), try topping them off with a little hot water. Not sure how it affects the other flowers, but for hydrangeas it will give them a little boost for a few hours

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  • Mrrpaderp

    I absolutely love these arrangements. I wanted to +1 the cautionary note about hydrangeas on hot days. I bought some lovely hydrangeas for a point to point (held in the spring). It was pretty hot in the direct mid-day sun, and my hydrangeas went from perky and fluffy to TOTALLY DEAD in about 2 hours. So these would be great for inside or under a cool tent, but not so great for your beach ceremony.

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  • Riot

    This is my kind of arrangement. And from experience? You want alstroemeria. It lasts FOREVER.

  • verywellthengirls

    I used hydrangeas from my mom’s backyard for all of my wedding flowers – bouquets, centerpieces, etc. It was so easy and beautiful and basically free so all in all, I’m a big fan!

  • Sosuli

    Love these! My FMIL keeps asking me about flowers, and up until now my only thoughts have been “pretty and cheap” and this fits the bill. Awesome.

  • Noodles

    Maddie, this post could not have come at a more perfect time. I’ve been trying to convince my mother that we can do our own flowers, envisioning this exact combination. How many days do you think the arrangements would last? I am hoping to have flowers delivered on Thursday (clean and prep the stems, put them in buckets of water upon arrival and keep in cool, dark place), then assemble centerpieces and deliver to the venue the Friday morning. I plan to ask a friend or the event coordinator to check whether water is needed on Saturday morning. The reception is a Saturday lunch. I’d love feedback from the APW team.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      That is a good question! I think it really depends on where you’re ordering them from. I’d hop on the phone with the supplier’s customer service and ask them for the best course of action. They should be able to tell you exactly what to do!

    • Jennifer Lazo

      For my sister’s wedding we bought the flowers (including hydrangeas) on Thursday morning at the flower market, prepped them immediately upon getting home, arranged them Saturday, and had the wedding Sunday. They did fine! The real key is prepping the flowers (which is skipped over a bit in this description). You need to cut the stems and immediately submerge them. Hydrangeas need a ton of water- for prepping, we took off the leaves, cut the stem, put them in water up to the flowers, then covered the buds in damp paper towels which we continued spritzing with water until they were arranged. Some flowers like flower food while others don’t, so make sure to look that up (hydrangeas like flower food).

  • Beautiful arrangement!

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