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10 Cheap DIY Wedding Reception Centerpiece Ideas on a Budget

By Casey Slide

wedding centerpiece tableAlthough not the most important element of wedding decorations, wedding reception table centerpieces can be a costly component of your big day. A centerpiece from your local florist could easily cost $200, and if you have 10 tables, that would be a total cost of $2,000!

Alternatively, if you take the other route by making your own, you may save yourself a lot of money, but you may also be spending more time than you’d like arranging flowers.

So is there a happy medium? Is it possible to spend less on centerpieces? Is it possible to make your own without sacrificing all of your time? The answer is yes. Here are 10 ideas on how to have beautiful, unique, and fun centerpieces without breaking the bank.

10 Ways to Save Money on Unique Wedding Centerpieces

1. Use the Venue’s Centerpieces
This is what I did at my wedding reception, and guess what? They were free (and not too bad-looking either)! And I didn’t have to make anything. Some wedding venues may charge for the use of their centerpieces or other decorations, but simply ask and see if they have any they can set out without cost to you.

2. Make Your Own
If you want flower centerpieces, you don’t have to pay the exorbitant cost charged by most florists. Order stems of flowers online, buy a few vases at Michael’s, and get your friends involved in an assembly line to create the perfect display for each table.

3. Use Photos
Pick up some cheap photo frames and find some of your favorite photos of you and your spouse-to-be. Put one (or a few) on each table. It’s as simple as that. You will then have framed photos to go in your home. And you can even get creative with your photos. When your guests enter the reception hall, have them figure out which table to sit at based on clues on the back of their place card.

4. Go Eclectic
Gather your favorite items from your home and from your friends and family. Perhaps your grandmother has an amazing crystal vase or your mom has a really cool garden statue. Ask if you can borrow your favorite items, and make those your centerpieces.

5. Follow a Theme
If you’re having a spring wedding, why not have a gardening theme? You could use small gardening tools in a pot as a centerpiece. If you’re having a November wedding, what about having a cornucopia with all kinds of fall vegetables coming out of it? My cousin’s wedding had an Alice in Wonderland theme, and she collected various cups and saucers for her centerpieces. Use your creativity and think of your interests for inspiration.

wedding centerpiece lanterns

6. Go Green
Use recyclable household items to make centerpieces. For example, get some old plastic soda bottles, cut off the top, fill them with pebbles, stick a few roses in, and place a ribbon around the outside. Or use mason canning jars and wild flowers. Or decorate tin cans with pretty wrapping paper for a cheap, but eye-catching vase. The possibilities are endless with this one.

7. Use Bowls of Fruit
Simply fill up bowls with your favorite fruits and place them in the center of your reception tables. During the months before your wedding, keep your eyes open for some interesting bowls that are on sale. You do not even need to have all the same bowls. Or, for a more elegant look, use large glass hurricanes, and fill them with the same color fruit (green apples are especially vibrant). Have fun with it, and make sure your guests know that they can take some fruit with them when they leave.

8. Substitute Potted Plants for Flowers
Potted plants make great centerpieces, and the price is a fraction of that of arranged flowers. You could even have potted vegetable plants that are easily transported to someone’s home vegetable garden. If you wanted to incorporate this idea into the wedding favor as well, you could have enough small potted plants for everyone at the table to take one home.

9. Light Candles
There are so many different things that you can do with candles for centerpieces, but one of my favorites is to get a glass bowl, fill it with water, and light some floating candles. It is simple, elegant, and romantic. Candles can really set the mood if you want a classy wedding reception.

10. Use Lanterns
I really like the idea of using lanterns as centerpieces. Along the same lines as candles, lanterns can really make an elegant statement. They also  may be safer than candles if children will be at the wedding. And they’re perfect for evening outdoor receptions.

Final Word

Just like with wedding food, wedding invitations, and wedding music, there really are no rules or one set way to do things. This is your wedding, and you can be creative as you like. Wedding reception centerpieces are an element that you can have a lot of fun with – without spending a fortune.

How have you saved money and time on wedding centerpieces? What unique items have you used as centerpieces? Please share in the comments below!

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Casey Slide
Casey Slide lives with her husband and baby in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and worked for a prominent hospital in Atlanta. With the birth of Casey’s son in February 2010, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Casey’s interests include reading, running, living green, and saving money.

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  • Urcanadianfriend

    Where can we find the centerpiece – candle holder under themes. It is what I am looking for.

    • Casey Slide

      That picture is actually a stock photo, and it has no information as to where it is from. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help.

  • http://www.yourchaircovers.com/ Victoria Mische

    These kind of post is always inspiring and I am so thankful I found this blog co’z I found so many great ideas on how to keep a wedding simple yet elegant! The ideas will indeed make a fabulous reception on every wedding! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Phoenix3393

    I’ve read and pinned all of your articles on saving money when planning weddings. Getting married in less than 4 months, and pretty much no experience with this, so thank you so much for all the tips you’ve collected and published!

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