How To DIY a Modern Calla Lily Table Centerpiece


For minimalists who also like flowers

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

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When I was in high school, my absolute favorite flower was the calla lily. I thought they were the very embodiment of of regality and refinement. Like, if Julia Roberts had a favorite flower, it would definitely be the calla lily. Which makes sense, because if you do any kind of Google search for calla lily centerpieces, the results look like they’d fade right into the background of My Best Friend’s Wedding (which is to say, very, very ’90s).

If you’re planning a wedding right now, you know the current trend in wedding flowers is big, wild arrangements filled with every sort of flower. But the thing about wedding trends is… they’re not everybody’s cup of tea. So today, we asked Michelle Edgemont in Brooklyn if she could make us a minimal table centerpiece that still feels modern, and resurrect the calla lily into something cool again (and bless Michelle, she always says yes to our requests). Keep in mind, even with this kind of minimal aesthetic calla lilies aren’t free. So you will need to have some kind of flower budget, but we tried to keep the rest of our material prices reasonable for that very reason.

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Always remember that when creating your own centerpieces, you’re going to need a little help! Make sure to allot time for making multiples, and do your bouquets before your centerpieces. (As a general rule, people tend to care more about the bouquet than centerpieces, and you want to play it safe knowing you have enough flowers for the thing you’re planning on holding in your hands.) Calla lilies are still popular enough that you can easily (and much more cheaply) buy them in bulk at places like Sam’s or Costco or your local flower market. (The cost is almost double if you buy online in this case. Costco was the lowest price I could find at just over one dollar per stem.) But if you plan to buy your flowers online, allocate for about thirty percent more flowers than you need, as some will inevitably arrive with broken stems or sad looking blooms. (The prices quoted below are using Costco prices.)

Here’s what you’ll need:

Cost per centerpiece: $45 (includes all flowers, vase and floral foam)

Steps:

1. Prep the foam by filling a bucket with water and letting the foam sink to the bottom.

2. Place foam into wooden box vase. Cut sections of foam and fill in gaps if necessary. Secure with a piece of waterproof floral tape.

3. Start with the eucalyptus. Stick pieces all the way around the vase. Put some lower, some in the middle, and some higher. You are going to be creating the basic shape of the arrangement with the greenery. You’ll need about one bunch of eucalyptus per centerpiece.

4. Add the calla lilies. Cut the stems at an angle and place them all the way around the centerpieces. Be sure to spin the centerpiece as you work to be sure that each side looks even.

5. This can be made up to two days before your wedding and stored in a cool, dark place (but avoid the refrigerator as non-floral fridges aren’t properly calibrated for storing flowers).

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The Info:

Styling: Michelle Edgemont | Photography: City Love Photography

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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  • emmers

    These are lovely! We had seeded eucalyptus in our wedding from fifty flowers, and it was a great filler. We also used calla lilies, but ordered them from Costco, a bit cheaper than fifty flowers for those. Another option!

    • emmers

      Ha! Just noticed that you were already pointing folks to Costco, but just linked to fifty flowers. You go, Maddie!

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Oh, how was the quality from Costco? I haven’t personally ordered flowers there myself but have heard good things.

      • emmers

        I loved it! We got mini multicolored calla lilies, sunflowers, and multicolored carnations. We made bouquets & centerpieces (the APW jar tutorial) with those + some seeded eucalyptus & hypericum berries from fiftyflowers.

        Everything needed a little hydration, which we expected, so we hydrated them with water & flower food in 5 gallon home depot buckets. There may have been a couple flowers damaged in shipping, but not enough to notice. Great quality– we had them arrive Thursday for our Saturday wedding, and probably could have had them arrive a day earlier.

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  • V

    I’m curious – is there a rule of thumb for whether Costco or wholesale online is cheaper?

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      I think Costco is going to be cheaper in most instances where you’re working with more popular flowers. Wholesale is going to be your best best if you’re working with flowers that you can’t get locally.

    • Lauren from NH

      Yes I need more details. Did you guys buy these in person or online?

      Also if anyone can help, I am considering as my one big project creating an installation piece like this (as usual, have no idea if Disqus is cooperating but here is the link http://greenweddingshoes.com/romantic-los-angeles-warehouse-wedding-lauren-joe/ ). IF I do this, where would be the cheapest place to source that much greenery? If I could just cut it off a bush that would make things SO much easier, but where would I find a bush someone would not mind me hacking to bits (also I would feel a little bad about being a bush murderer). I thought about silk flowers, I need to explore this option more in person rather than online because I have having a hard time judging cost to volume. Buying it real seems tricky because it so far seems that most stems come at bouquet length 1.5 ft or so, and I think I would need more length to work with. Ideas, oh Wedding Fairies?

      • Meg Keene

        You need to go to a flower market. Nothing else is going to be dependable enough for that much greenery (of a particular type). AKA, not just anything is going to work for something like that. And silks will be WAY too expensive.

        Also, side note: this may not be cheap, particularly on this scale. Greenery isn’t actually used because it’s cheap, but because it pads out the florals, and creates blank space.

        (A florist or stylist might have more tips, but those are mine just from having now done a lot of floral DIY projects, for work and for friends.)

        • Lauren from NH

          I would scale it to 2/3rds or 1/2 the size for my anticipated need, but I am gaining perspective that this would be a bigger project than I originally thought. Though I am now seeing garlands for sale online, perhaps I could loosen one of those up to provide some of the volume and then I could supplement. Need to do more homework. Thanks.

      • emmers

        Lauren, I think I remember that you’re in the DC area. I’ve never been, but I had a friend order from Potomac Floral Wholesale with success, but you can apparently also go there in person. From their online reviews, it looks like it may be a little overwhelming, but it may be a place to at least wander around.

        • Lauren from NH

          Yeah I just searched them on Yelp. I will need to make a trip there and evaluate if this is a remotely reasonable undertaking. Back where I grew up finding a wild bush and chopping it to pieces would not be hard at all, here someone owns them all! Who knew!

      • Sarah

        We’re doing a similar thing and we reserved/bought like 9 buckets of flowers (with 90 stems each, 1/3rd focal flowers, 1/3rd accent, and 1/3rd greenery) from a flower farm in PA. Not sure where you are located, but maybe there is somewhere like this near you? It was only a fraction of the cost of a wholesaler. Each bucket is I think $90 from this place.

      • Hi Lauren! I bought everything from the flower market here in NYC. That greenery backdrop is beautiful! It also looks very HEAVY. Unless you have experience hanging heavy installations, I recommend buying some pre-made garland and creating some pretty swags instead. The backdrop looks like it’s mostly italian ruscus. Ruscus comes in a little longer pieces. (Florist secret: some of the long pieces are wired. Which is when the florist painstakingly tapes a wire to EVERY stem of EVERY piece of greenery and flower to make them longer.) You can buy pre-made garlands of ruscus from fiftyflowers.com. Also, that installation was definitely made on-site and probably took a few hours. Silk flowers are going to be too expensive.

        • Lauren from NH

          Hi Michelle! Thanks for your professional input. I am going to do some more homework on it and talk to my wedding elves (my mom worked as a florist when she was young) and see what we think. If it is looking too hard, I did get inspired to a possible short cut last night. You know how pineapples are slowly becoming a wedding trend? We could make one of those colonial wreath ( http://images.meredith.com/content/dam/bhg/Images/09/FNC400619.jpg.rendition.largest.jpg ) fruit displays and swag it with some greenery pretty cheap and easy, tuck some bring flowers in it and presto! (It might even be better than my original idea…)

    • Meg Keene

      ALSO. Important note (I’ve DIYed way too many wedding flowers). The issue with buying from a place like Costco or Trader Joes (the best source in peony season) is you just don’t know what they will or won’t have the weekend of the wedding, and you don’t have time to go to a zillion stores hoping they’ll have the right thing. Flower Marts are better, if you’re in an urban area, because they’ll have everything in season (though they won’t always be the cheapest).

      Anyway, places like Costco and Trader Joes are great, but only if you’re fine going with whatever they’ve got, and being SUPER laid back about it.

      I have used Trader Joe’s as backup on wholesale flowers though. Once our wholesale delivery just wasn’t enough, so I popped out to the store to get extras. That was less stressful than getting everything, but we really just had to pick the best of what was there.

      • ML

        It’s worth trying to catch the florist at Costco and having a chat with them. (Maybe you can call and find out the hours they work?) Mine told me that they can preorder for you. She gave me a card with the number to call and such. I don’t know how I would have found that out without talking to her because it’s not online.

      • CoastalCreature

        I use Trader Joe’s for work centerpieces and (at least the one in my area) is happy to pre-order a bunch of one type of flower for you so long as you go in a week or more in advance. Their people are always great and I’ve used them three years running and no mix-ups yet!

        You’ll need to pick them up yourself but other than that easy peasy!

    • emmers

      I found Costco (ordering online, not buying in store) to be cheapest when I priced out per flower for places like fifty flowers & blooms by the box. But, they don’t have as much selection as some of the other online places. I’m not sure how their in-store prices compare.

  • Jess

    Ok, this is my kind of flower arrangement. Mostly flat geometric greenery with basic, simple flowers. Now I wish I had done this for Easter. Adding to the list of things to make for a dinner party…

  • AP

    We don’t have a Costco, but out of curiosity I just searched Sam’s Club and they do bulk flowers too. And now I think I’ve officially caught the flower bug. We’re planning a backyard housewarming/reception for this fall, and our yard needs some love big time. So I’ve been focusing on landscaping ideas between now and then, which is overwhelming to say the least. But now I’m realizing I can also do some floral centerpieces to spruce the place up…

  • laurasmash

    Whoops, no one told me calla lilies aren’t cool. We used black/burgundy calla lilies in my bouquet and all the boutonnieres for our wedding in Feburary, and I loved them.

    • Shannon

      Haha I also wasn’t aware! I used them too, and loved them so much.

  • chloe

    http://www.gifsforum.com/images_new/gif/other/grand/yay-54b57c25e5079.gif

    looks lovely…could use some more red I thinks

  • This is so chic and elegant!! I love how the eucalyptus accent the callas. Beautiful tutorial :)