How To: Garland Centerpiece

Our non-floral centerpiece series continues!

Garland Centerpiece Tutorial | A Practical Wedding

Now that it’s January, I’m thrilled to get to continue our non-floral centerpieces series. As part of this series, I wanted to create something with silk flowers or greenery, so I dragged APW’s own always-game stylist and wedding designer Michelle Edgemont to the silk section of our local Michaels crafts store. We pondered our options for a long time, because finding fake flowers that are going to look awesome is tricky business. I desperately wanted to buy garlands covered in glitter and fake snow (Camp! Plus glitter!) but Michelle tactfully steered me toward a more low-key option. (Not that glitter isn’t awesome, obviously. But she thought lots of you were going to want to use affordable fake greens to create something that didn’t look like an elf exploded.)

We ended up buying a very plain greenery garland (because yes, there are tutorials all over the internet about how to hand craft your own garlands, but I’m just assuming you have a job and will be otherwise employed in the week leading up to your wedding). And instead of letting the manufacturer fancy it up with ALL THE GLITTERZ, we took the dressing up into our own hands. We bought some additional fern greenery, which we spray painted bronze, and wired it into the garland. The result was a perfect mix of low key, shimmery, and quirky. We added some Ikea taper candles and silver ball candle holders. The result was just perfect for any winter wedding, or intimate dinner party reception, since it created the feeling of warmth and coziness.

But above all, when I sat down at that table, my reaction was, “This is so lovely and clever.” Not, “Fake flowers, huh?” And while you might not be insecure enough to wonder how your guests are going to take fake flowers, I for sure am. So for the others on team anxious? This centerpiece is classy (easy, affordable) perfection. I’ll let the braver among you (like Maddie) rock the neon blue velvet with glitter leopard print poinsettias. Because we got her one as a gift, of course.

OH. AND PS. I’m convinced that metallic greenery is the future (of wedding arrangements, not like, robot greenery farms). Check out Michelle’s (fresh flower) wedding bouquet with spray panted gold greens, and tell me you don’t agree.

Garland Centerpiece Tutorial | A Practical Wedding


  • A fake greenery garland. Interestingly, you can get these to fit a ton of seasons and locations. We went with a more winter style garland, but there are lavender garlands, grape leaf garlands, Christmas garlands, the works. The trick is to get something that’s relatively simple, but still full on its own. (This is a great time to buy in person, or use that Amazon Prime membership, order a bunch, and return what you don’t like.) Longer garlands can be cut down to fit multiple tables.
  • Additional complementary fake greenery, to spray paint.
  • Metallic spray paint (though you could totally play with a bold pop of color, in which case send pictures)
  • Floral wire
  • Scissors
  • Candles (we used cheap Ikea tapers)
  • Candle holders (we used .99 Ikea versions)
  • Ribbon, if you want to tie together bits of left over greens for place settings

Garland Centerpiece Tutorial | A Practical WeddingGarland Centerpiece Tutorial | A Practical WeddingGarland Centerpiece Tutorial | A Practical WeddingGarland Centerpiece Tutorial | A Practical WeddingGarland Centerpiece Tutorial | A Practical Wedding


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  • Candace Butler

    Love. Love. Love. I actually bought glittered garland that looks like gold exploded all over it. I love it. But this is making me consider mixing it w/ regularly greenery too.

    • Meg Keene

      I like those too. SHHHH, don’t tell Michelle ;)

    • I’m all about the glitter. Yes, mix in the realistic greenery, it’ll break up the glitter-splosion.

  • Lindsey d.

    Oooh, the garland is lovely, but Michelle’s (fresh flower) wedding bouquet with spray panted gold greens is officially my bouquet inspiration. In fact, now I’m thinking about just doing gold ferns and things for my two flower girls…

    • Meg Keene

      I know right? IT’S MAGIC.

    • You are too sweet. I LOVE the idea of all gold ferns for the flower girls. How whimsical and unique!

      • Lindsey d.

        Your bouquet is awesome sauce. My bestie says the flower girls MUST carry flowers, but I love the gold ferns idea. Maybe I’ll throw in just a few pink roses to cover all bases. I also love that it would be two fewer bouquets to make the day before. Practical!

        • Meg Keene

          Spoken as a past Serious Flower Girl, I would have been devastated if just given some “stupid gold ferns.” I did not care about trends, I wanted PINK FLOWERS. In fact, when I was a flower girl I had a basket that the florist had wired flowers into, and I was Not Amused. Where was my goddamn bouquet? WHERE WAS MY PINK DRESS?

          But you know. Your flowers girls may be far more forward thinking and trend aware ;)

          • Lindsey d.

            Hmm… one would love gold. The other would probably pitch a fit… Putting my thinking cap back on. Maybe I’ll keep the gold ferns just for me :)

  • MisterEHolmes

    What would you do differently for a summer wedding? Could this still work?

    • BreckW

      I totally think this could still work for summer! I would switch out the tapers and do short votives and maybe do yellow gold instead of bronze? Yellow gold always seems more “warm, summer night” to me.

      • MisterEHolmes

        The best kind of headbutt is a helpful headbutt!

    • Meg Keene

      I think you’d mostly want a garland that was more seasonal for summer (and, the ones they sell in stores vary by season! So ta-dah!)

    • KC

      Speaking as someone who used to volunteer to pull out English Ivy (invasive species) from areas of parks where it was crowding out the native plants, I’d totally use that stuff in the summer. It’s pretty, durable, free… and helping the environment, too! (Note: do not use poison ivy. Entirely different plant.)

      You can also spray-paint ivy leaves (seriously. you can do this to holly, too.). I’d probably twine three “runners” of ivy together to make one reasonably-lush garland and spray-paint one “runner” out of the three. (although depending on light conditions, etc., some runners have more leaves or fewer, so just add them together until you have “enough” leaves)

      Grape vines, either real or fake, would be pretty, too. (and hilarious, in my opinion, if you included small bunches of real grapes at intervals…) Either real or fake ferns/mosses would be lovely pretty much any time of the year, I think.

      If you have access to a garden, you could also plant “trailing” plants early in the year (either flowers of the wandering variety or things like trailing squash) and then harvest the stems for ready-made table-center-garlands. Hop vines could also be really pretty. Wisteria is very generous with its vines as well.

      • MisterEHolmes

        Wow, thanks! My dad has ivy in the yard; maybe we can steal some. ;)

        • KC

          I bet you can, esp. with advance notice (aka “don’t cut back the ivy this year, I want to swipe some for the wedding”). :-) Take a look at it to confirm that it has long strands and “sits” well, though – it may behave differently in different climates or under different gardening conditions? (hauling a piece of newspaper out to the yard, lifting some ivy onto it, and pretending the newspaper is a table might work for visualization and an approximate strand count?)(remembering, if ants shake loose from it, that you can hose down the ivy and dry it hanging over a clothesline days before the wedding and it’ll still be just fine. Durable stuff. *Obnoxiously* durable stuff if it’s holding on somewhere you don’t want it…)

  • BreckW

    Ooooooooooh, love! And I’ve been really into bronze lately, so this is right up my alley!

  • Chris

    You know, it would be cool if you guys could put your actual cost, or estimated cost for so many guests or tables on these kinds of posts. Its good to know it was cheap, but lots of people have different definitions of cheap.

    • Meg Keene

      I get that, but that is why we link to specific items we used, so you can calculate what the costs would be for you. You’re not going to use our exact garland, so I linked to a bunch of possible options, for example. And I have no idea how many tables you’ll have, or how long they’ll be, etc. So I tried to give you enough info to do a rough calculation of your own costs.

      Plus, if you calculate buying everything (scissors, floral wire) for one project, it’s different than if you already own things, or are going to have them on hand for other wedding projects. This is ALWAYS the hidden cost of DIY, by the way. When you hire a pro, all the floral wire and crap comes included.

  • Meg, do you have any pictures from the top just looking down on the table? I’m loving the idea (and metallic greenery, yes!) but I want to see the entire look on the table. Any help?

    • Kayjayoh

      I agree. It is kind of hard to see the full effect in these photos.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Here’s one of Michelle setting up! It’s not the finished table (I think the plates are missing their ribbon), but it gives you a better idea of what it looks like head on. Does that help?

      • Meg Keene


      • Maddie Eisenhart

        Annnnnd while we’re at it. :)

        ETA Sorry for uploading two. I don’t know how to internet today.

      • That is perfect! Thanks Maddie, that really helps me “see” it.

  • EF

    Dig this. I’d be tempted to use real greenery, which is pretty easy to find just post-christmas, because then the pine smells nice too. But then again, maybe that seems too holiday-esque.

  • Cassie

    Oh my goodness, mosses and ferns are my thing… and these fern-y garlands look like giant mosses growing along the table… this HAS to be how I do my centerpieces!

  • Hannah B

    Would this still work on a round table? Or would a line down the middle look like I was showing off my geometry skills?

    • It would look awesome on a round table. Just cluster the candles in the middle, then place the garland around and in between the candles. It will create the same look in a round instead of long layout.

  • JSwen

    Will you do hopps next? Pleeeeease?

  • Meghan

    I’m making these for my late summer wedding, and here’s another helpful tip I discovered: thrift shops are full of cheap fake greenery! I picked up a ton to spray/fill out my garland for under $7!

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