Did the perfect centerpiece leap to mind when you settled on a winter wedding, or did it give you a bit of trouble? Chances are, the centerpiece issue is a bit like, oh, the manual transmission on that $500 Ford you bought in high school. Sticky. Temperamental. Sometimes, maddening.
But let’s throw a disclaimer in here. Nobody can hit on the perfect centerpiece for your wedding, because yours is unique. After all, nobody has just a winter wedding. Catherine’s winter wedding reflects her personal love affair with Scandinavian palettes. Julie’s Christmas wedding spotlights a European St. Nick. Michaela’s Yuletide wedding involves an alarming number of candles and a suspiciously pagan feel. Yours involves … oh, you get the point.
And yet. It’s always helpful to see what other brides have done, right? Especially when what they’ve done is easy and cheap, right? Of course it is. That’s why we’ve tossed together some hip approaches to winter wedding centerpieces that are only slightly more work than remembering to open your garage door before you back out in the morning.
1) The (Artificial!) Tabletop Christmas Tree
Try these two to three-foot high trees in white, or even blue. Or why not pink, with drop-crystal chandelier ornaments and a dramatic feather topper? You probably won’t want to deal with extension cords gunking up your tables, so go for battery-operated string lights. And put them to twice the use: hang those Christmas ornaments you’ve bought as favors from the boughs.
Romantic alternative: buy the white metal ornament trees you find at craft stores. Optional: wrap the branches in marabou feather boas for a more luxurious look. Final touch: hang elegant silver photo frame ornaments containing pictures of your entire family (including the newest additions, of course!)
2) Gobs o’Gifts
For an uber-romantic and girly centerpiece, start with a white or clear footed platter (height = drama). On top of that, place a glossy gift box you’ve lined with plastic, filled with a block of “wet” floral foam cut to size, and made stunning with a topper of paveed roses. Glue luxurious organza ribbon to the box on four sides, gift-box style. Hang the box top casually over a corner so that most of the roses are visible. (Okay, cheat. Glue it there with a toothpick so your favorite nephew doesn’t blow it off in 15 seconds.)
Optional: Gift Tower. Pile several gift boxes together, from large to small. Glue a thick, absolutely-must-touch ribbon so that it seems to hold all three together. Fill just the top box with roses. Finishing touch: surround your rose “gift boxes” with real gifts: complementary gold ballotins or favor boxes holding rich, dark truffles.
3) The Cheater’s Way … Er, Sleigh
If you want to cheat your way to instant cuteness (and who wouldn’t?), start by contacting a floral shop or browsing ebay, and tracking down miniature sleigh planters or flower holders. If you’re willing to search, you can find these items for as cheap as $10 each. The world’s simplest floral arrangement (a smattering of white carnations, a handful of red roses and a smidge of pine, say) looks smashing when you lay it in a wooden sleigh.
4) Sleek and Chic
For a simple, chic and totally modern centerpiece, all you need is an oversized ornament stand (at least a foot high; bigger is better) and one very large and hopefully attractive ornament to hang from it. Amp it up: choose an ornament with lots of glitter and shine. Place a mirror tile under the ornament stand. And surround the whole thing with votives. You’ll definitely be digging all that light.
5) Let it Snow (Let it Snow and Etc.)
It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of florist’s foam. For starters: carnation “snowballs.” Get a sphere of florist foam (wet and pre-soaked if you’re using real flowers; regular if silk) and about 50 white carnations. Clip the carnations so the stems are only about an inch long, and working in a spiral pattern, cover the form.
Possibilities: make four or five snowballs for each table. Line them up along the runner and link them together with wide, satiny ribbons. Or: Place each one on top of a vase. Or: wire to a topiary stick like a lollipop. Or: hang your snowballs over the tables. Hint: if using real flowers, let the whole thing drip-dry for at least a few hours before going live.
Amp it up: give your snowballs a little bling by adding sparkly bouquet picks or pins. Amp it up more: create durable mini snowballs out of mini-spheres of floral foam and baby’s breath. Scatter liberally.
Snowballs remind you of getting pummeled by those two boys come room from the next block over in third grade? Use cone-shaped floral foam to create Christmas tabletop trees out of flowers, or cranberries, or … basically anything that comes on a stem or you can stick on a toothpick. Well, almost anything. Maybe not cheese.
6) The Ol’ Candle/Wreath Combo
Don’t yawn just yet. There’s a reason this keep showing up — it looks great. (Or maybe it’s that a team of bright aemobas could put these together?) At any rate, try these spins on the ol’ pillar candle. Just make sure to give your creation height. Get it off the table and you’re 80% there.
Red pillar / wreath of red roses on a footed stand. The super-strong colors add a ton of drama. White pillar / marabou feather wreath on a footed stand. Simple to do, lovely to look at. Option: surround with pale blue or silver glass ornaments.
Pillar / ornaments in a footed bowl. Toss in the pillar, and surround with glass ornaments. Try hard to stick with one color; it’ll really look much better. But if you mix up large and small ornaments with shiny and matte ones in that color, you’ve got a home run.
Can’t find footed platters or bowls? Make your own, super-cheap. Instructions: find a suitable glass or vase. Find a suitable plate or bowl. Turn the glass upside down and epoxy-glue it to the bottom of the plate or bowl. Bonus: glue marabou feather boas or silver glitter around the rim, or use gold-leaf paint pen to draw a border.
And A Few More Ideas for Seasonal Sizzle
You probably already know that cranberries make an eye-popping anchor for holiday floral arrangements (a posy of white roses in a container full of cranberries, for example — yum). But you don’t have to throw the cranberries into something traditional. Try them in oversized martini glasses, for example.
Want something a little warmer than glass bulbs to ring your arrangements? Try glazed fruit. Pick out some gorgeous pears, or apples. Spray paint the edges with gold — or water down ordinary white glue, mix with glitter, and brush onto your fruit.
Have the perfect centerpiece but need some rose petal alternatives to scatter around them? Try these on for size:
- miniature nutcrackers
- pinecones: paint them white, or brush with gold
- large, glittery snowflake confetti
But here’s our favorite idea for adding a little pop to those candles, trees or flowers: scavenge yourself a collection of pretty glasses. They don’t have to match: try faceted wine glasses from the thrift store, or sundae glasses, or silver mint julep cups. Glue white feather boa along the rim, or line of glitter, or just leave them plain. All done? Now drop in a single glass ornament so it’s perched on top like an egg … or pour in a bit of H2O and a white floating candle.
Share the Wealth
What winter centerpiece ideas have snagged your imagination? Let the world know …
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