How To: Non-Floral Centerpiece For Fall

With hot pink pumpkins!

Today, I’m super excited to introduce our new How-To Series of Non-Floral Wedding Centerpieces, with design by the ever-awesome Michelle Edgemont (who we flew out from Brooklyn just to play with us). We started this series because who among us hasn’t realized what floral centerpieces cost, and then manically rushed to Google non-floral centerpieces… only to be simultaneously underwhelmed and overwhelmed at once. There are the floating candles with a living fish options (if you do this PLEASE READ UP ON HOW TO KEEP THE FISH ALIVE—drinking over a dead fish is grossness I’d like to not repeat). And then there are the OMG-WHUT options? Like, yeah, sure, that’s non-floral. And it also appears to have been built by a team of carpenters and stylists, and are you unclear that I’m Googling this because I’m out of cash? Right. So, today, we’re bringing you an affordable (and damn chic) alternative for fall non-floral centerpieces. Also. You guys? If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, you’re welcome. You can show your mom how the new generation does it.


  • Mini-pumpkins. (ten-ish per long table)
  • Medium sized pumpkins—we used decorative craft store pumpkins, but if you don’t stumble on some, regular pumpkins will work just fine. (three-ish per long table)
  • Spray Paint—two to three colors, plus a metallic or two. Bronze looks really good here.
  • Optional: Leaves—fake or real, we used fake.

The beauty of this project is that it’s as simple as it is affordable. Collect your pumpkins. Figure out your color scheme (we went for rosy and metallic). Spray paint said pumpkins. For a little extra jazz, spray paint leaves (fake or real) in a pretty metallic as well. Arrange.

For bonus points, you can prep this project weeks in advance, because this stuff lasts. These pumpkins have been decorating the front of my house for about a month now. I keep checking to see if I need to throw them out, but not yet. I’m convinced, however, that the fact that these suckers look so good is the reason the house got burglarized. I put them out, and bam: ROBBED. Why? I’m pretty sure they make me look like I have my shit together way more than I do. I hope they do the same for you, without the robbery.

That is, for real, it. And it is mother effing magic.


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  • Kate

    Love this! Please, please, please do a post on book centerpieces.

    • Meg Keene

      Oh! We didn’t this time, but we can totally add that to the list for a future shoot.

      • Kayjayoh

        Yes! My fiance and I have been collecting sf/f paperbacks with fun covered, but aren’t super sure about how to display them on the tables. Stacks won’t quite cut it, since you would only see the top-most cover.

        • M.

          Take the covers off (sacrilege?) and frame? Name tables after books? Glue pages together and stand 3 up back to back to back (triangle)?

          • Kayjayoh

            Nyoh… We’d kind of like folks to be able to take books home with them at the end of the night, These are carefully collected books and a lot of them are ones we’ve actually read and love, and I think it would break out hearts to take them apart.

            Perhaps they could go at place settings, since the actual plates will be at the buffet.

          • M.

            Ah yeah, I wasn’t sure what the level of importance/attachment was. I, for one, would LOVE a sf/f paperbackat my seat, esp if I got to keep it. Oh man, my copy of Instrumentality of Mankind has a rad cover

          • Kayjayoh

            :) My fiance *loves* Cordwainer Smith.

            The challenge has been finding cool covers that are also neither too sexy nor too macabre, both of which can be a thing in sf/f covers.

          • Kiki

            I think your idea of place settings sounds great! You could also have them in a small basket or something at the centre of the table? Or place them standing around a square glass candle holder or vase? However you use them, I think it’s a really nice touch. Good luck!

          • Peekayla

            We’re going to find and print out copies of the covers of our favorite books and frame them. Then each table will be named after a book =)

        • Ann

          Are they mostly paperbacks? If not, you can open them up and stand them in circle, or randomly, on the tables and place tealights around them. If they’re mostly paperbacks maybe set them up as place cards by inserting bookmarks with each person’s name written at the top sticking out of the book. This does create a bit of a hang-up once people get to their table with a book…

          • Kayjayoh

            They are paperpacks, and we aren’t doing assigned seats.

            However, those are good ideas for other situations.

          • tina

            binderclip a few middle pages together, run string through the clip handles to make (non-destructive) book ornaments. Hang the book ornaments from a jewelry display stand – the clips and stand could be painted metallic like above.

            You’d have book trees!

    • MisterEHolmes

      Search “literary weddings” on Pinterest; several publishers have made whole boards of suggestions on ways to include books in your wedding!

    • Jenn

      We had book centerpieces! We got old hard cover books (helps that my mom works for a library that was sloughing some), painted the exposed edges of pages with white paint, and wrapped the books in blue wrapping paper. Our florist stacked the books on the table with some ribbon and a couple of white roses on top of each (our colors were blue and white). We also named tables after books (our list of tables was the Content of Tables :) ). We got lots of compliments, and it was all so cheap!

      • Shiri

        Us too, us too! And I have a wedding graduate post here with pics…

  • Gina

    Love! I think I just love fall tablescapes in general. Here are some amazing ones I came across on pinterest– I’m totally doing the autumn log with candles using an aspen trunk.

  • Dani

    OMG I am SO excited to see more non-floral stuff!

  • Lindsey d.

    Well, now I want to go spray paint things gold and make awesome centerpieces for our March 15 reception. I was thinking terrariums with rocks, soil and some kind of pretty monkey grass we could pick up at the home improvement store in the week before… But now I want to spray paint things. What would work for mid-March?

  • Lisa

    I LOVE THIS!! I’m having a fall wedding next year, and I have been trying to find easy centerpieces that I can prep well in advance that won’t cost an arm and a leg! I can’t wait to show this to my fiance.

    • Meg Keene

      We’ve got more coming too. Though I’m super in love with this one, and it looks amazing in person, so, there is that.

      • Lisa

        I can’t wait to see them. This is such a fantastic idea!

      • Kayjayoh

        Very excited to hear about non-floral centerpieces. We decided that flowers had a tight turn-around *and* were a pain to transport. So, leaning towards things made out of paper.

        • littleredcat

          I used paper flowers I bought from Etsy. They were affordable, beautiful and are decorating my house 2.5 years later! sadly, the Etsy shop seems to not exist anymore, or else I’d link to it, but it’s an idea (not really non-floral though….)

      • Ann

        Does non-floral mean some of them might have just greens? Or are they completely plant-life free?

        • Meg Keene

          They’re REAL plant free. The idea was stuff you could prep way ahead of time :)

  • Does that star in the corner indicate that we’ve “exactly-ed” a whole post, because yes. Love it.

    • Meg Keene

      OH! I think it does. I’m just learning my way around Disqus.

      • anon

        What star in the corner? Can’t find it.

        • Meg Keene

          Top right of Disqus.

      • MirandaVanZ

        It also seems to mean that you are following the post, I just got an email with all of the comments in it.

  • Laura C

    Something tells me this series is going to make me regret telling my FMIL that we would do floral centerpieces.

    • Meg Keene

      Ha. There is something to be said for hiring the work out, though.

      • Laura C

        I don’t really care about flowers and I would have liked centerpieces to be included in the list of I Am Not Doing The Wedding Thing statements. But on the other hand, it’s not like I hate them and my FMIL does care, so it’s a good bit of the wedding to give her, plus she has professional relationships with florists who won’t screw us. Still, I’m going to be jealous/wistful when I read these posts!

  • Meg’smom

    Another option that’s semi-floral. It’s larger and less formal, but it might do well on, say, a buffet table for a less formal wedding. Pumpkins and flowers are from Trader Joe’s, the terra cotta planter pots can be used as luminaries (jack-o-lantern face) or turned around as shown. I got them at our local Kroger’s, but I’m sure something similar could be found at a nursery.

    • Meg’smom

      Oooppps. Sorry. The photo didn’t upload, and i can’t seems to make the upload work.

    • Meg’smom

      But it’s 2 small pumpkins, and a potted variegated mum.

  • Gahhhh I LOVE THIS! I love the shades of pink with the gold!!

  • Holy Awesomeness Batman! That looks fantastic! Festive + modern = amazing! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you have some more spring-appropriate centerpieces lined up (May bride here). Our venue provides small floral centerpieces, but I’m looking for ways to add a little more oomph without going overboard (either on budget or time).

  • The Family Jules

    This is so pretty! I now have a strong desire to spray paint pumpkins and decorate my room. Any chance you will do a winter themed one?

  • MirandaVanZ

    This is weirdly good timing, I was talking to my fiance on Wednesday suggesting we don’t do floral centerpieces. It didn’t seem feasible now that I’ve decided to make the cakes, I’m planning on doing the assembly at the venue and we can’t get in there until 10 am the day of.

  • Emily Shepard

    Non-pink DIY?

    I LOVE the DIY/T projects you guys put together, and I know they’re meant as inspiration/a jumping off point. But almost all (or maybe all?) the projects seem to involve either pink or purple. I love the femme-look myself, but I don’t want a femme wedding because I’m not marrying a femme person and I want our wedding to represent both of us, not just me and my taste.

    Any chance you guys could do a few projects with a more gender-neutral look?

    • Alyssa

      I think it would be totally easy to just choose different colors – navy and gold would be beautiful. The idea is a starting off point, but you can choose whatever spray paint you like!

  • Liz

    Super excited for this series! My fiance and I met in orchestra, and he used to work at a violin shop, so we currently have about 40 old/unplayable violins in a bunch of sizes to use for decor and possibly centerpieces. Not sure what to do with them but I need to start playing around!!

  • littleredcat

    This is incredible! I want to host a fall dinner party just to do this!

    • littleredcat

      Also, where can I get that gold silverware??

      • The gold flatware is from West Elm. I invested in four sets a few years and am determined to get my money’s worth by using them on EVERY SINGLE SHOOT I STYLE.

  • CK

    Any ideas for an April wedding centerpiece?? I LOVE the non floral ideas but I’m struggling. The book idea doesn’t really fit for us, and wine bottles with lights are cute, except the in-laws don’t drink and that feels a bit irreverent. I think I need to commit to a florist soon but I just want a better idea!!! This is so cute for fall and wish there was an equivalent for spring.

    • Itsonreserve

      What about fruit? There is a lemon leaf garland on Oh Happy Day that would be very chick down the middle of a table, or depending on whats in season near you in April, if there is anything that could be beautifully displayed in little bowls as well as double as a snack (might be too early for strawberries, but it depends on the location.)

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  • Laura

    “I hope they do the same for you, without the robbery.” Thank you, APW, for looking out for us. On another note, this is gorgeous and affordable. I’d love to add pinecones too.

  • Ashley F

    These are gorgeous! I love the simple beauty. I always find a way to overthink things so of course I have a question – you note that it’s as simple as spray painting pumpkins. I love that dark gold pumpkin (the small one sitting on top of the dark pink pumpkin in the second picture) – it looks speckled or distressed in some way. Could you please share how this effect was created?
    I am new to APW, and I’m so grateful I stumbled on this as I’m starting my wedding planning. Thank you!

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