I’ll never forget the first time I experienced wedding decor sticker shock. Wanting modern centerpieces, we had tasked ourselves with sourcing one hundred cylinder vases of varying heights so that we could arrange floating candles along the twenty-something picnic tables that inhabited our venue’s back deck. I was convinced that I’d be able to find a suitable option at the dollar store, or Ikea, or Target or somewhere (I had not been introduced to the concept of rentals yet). Except, no luck. The only thing I took from that search (other than, eventually, overpriced cylinders) was a baffling understanding of the fact that vases are expensive. Like, way more expensive than normal glass objects. And that’s before you even get to the stuff you’re putting inside the vases.
So for this tutorial, we asked Michelle Edgemont if she could take one of the most basic vase designs you can get at Walmart and turn it into something that looks hip and modern (and not like it cost less than a Big Mac). Combine that with super cheap flowers (aka carnations, aka the cockroach of flowers) and the result is one of my favorite centerpieces of all time. You could even do these with thrifted vases, should you be so inclined.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Black, ceramic vases
- Gold gilding paint
- Paint Brush
- Narrow painter’s tape
- Turpentine (for cleaning brush)
- Hot Pink Carnations (30 stems)
- Light Pink or Peach Carnations (30 stems)
- Pink Statice (20 stems)
Cost: Approximately $55 for three vases with the flowers shown here, or $550 for ten tables (if you buy your flowers from a flower mart or grocery store.) Carnations usually come in bunches of about ten, and will run you between $0.30 to $0.40 a stem at a flower market, around $0.75 a stem if you order wholesale online (for ease), or you can get them last minute from a grocery store or bodega. Pink statice comes in bunches of about ten as well, and each bunch costs around $10 (or $15 if you order wholesale online.) Keep in mind: if you’re ordering online, you’ll want to order more flowers than you’ll need in case some show up looking sad or broken. On the upside: depending on where you get them, if you order larger quantities of flowers online, the price per stem usually goes down.
1. Tape off the vase. To keep things visually interesting, we did three different designs: the top painted gold, the bottom painted gold, and the side painted gold.
2. Apply the gold paint to the vase. (Pro tip: This paint also comes in silver, bronze, and copper if gold isn’t your cup of tea.)
3. Remove the tape.
4. Fill each vase with water and one type of flower (Pro tip: Using a single flower type keeps this looking more modern and minimal. But you could combine some of the techniques from our floral urn tutorial for a wilder look.)
5. To avoid making a perfect round mass of flowers, make some stems longer and some shorter, placing them in the vase in a wild manner.
6. These can be filled with flowers up to two days before your wedding and kept in a cool, dark place.
Editor’s note: If you live in New York and aren’t a fan of DIY, you can always just hire Michelle to make your flowers for you. She’s pretty awesome to work with, if we do say so ourselves.