Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reaching Centerpiece Peace

As I'm guessing any reading this are avid wedding blog readers, you know that centerpieces can often break the bank. When Rebecca and I were planning our wedding we'd spend time figuring out our budget and things we wanted to spend money on, then go bang our heads into the wall when we realized that we forgot to budget for centerpieces. If there's one business I'd now like to get into, it's the centerpiece business. Centerpiece business owners should probably just go ahead and read a different post because this isn't going to pretty.

So, let's think of a business model. What's something that people don't really care about all that much, but feel obligated to spend tons of money on? What's something that people don't REALLY know the cost of so we can just say it's SUPER expensive? What's something we can get for cheap, but can mark up 1000%? What's something that people could most likely do themselves, but once they really think about doing it themselves they'll say "meh, let's just pay someone else to worry about this!"? CENTERPIECES! Let's do this! We'll make a killing!

I reached inner centerpiece peace during a conversation with Rebecca. A moment of clarity during our planning. If you're looking to save a buck you only have to spend enough to make your centerpieces forgettable. We'll never be able to afford enough to make guests go home and say "damn those were beautiful elegant centerpieces" - so we just wanted to spend enough to make guests go home without saying "damn those were the stupidest/ugliest centerpieces". Just make them forgettable! That being said, I think we came up with great centerpieces, that would be classy, nice, and perhaps just 1 notch up from unforgettable.

We quickly decided not to have flowers arrangements. It was just not in our budget. We could go to the flower market and get wholesale flowers, but we questioned if they'd survive a 4 hour drive the day before the wedding and if they'd really look fresh. Plus we questioned if we'd want to actually arrange the flowers. We were lucky enough to be married in a garden, and then have our dinner/reception in an outdoor area surrounded by flowers and fresh herbs. We didn't need to spend the money on the flowers. We decided that we wanted to decorate with light. I just think there's something nice about a candle, especially at an outdoor wedding.

We went out and we found affordable glass vases and candles. Rebecca found awesome ceramic birds at a great price, and spray painted them to give them the vintage feel. Then we hit ebay and found vintage photo frames that Rebecca spruced up with high gloss yellow spray paint. Did I forget to tell you guys that I'm married to Banksy? So much spray painting before the wedding!

Our final centerpiece arrangement I think was a masterpiece. I think it was exactly what we wanted. Something pretty, casually chic, with a pop of diy. The vases were ultimately a bit beautifully forgettable, but we made our centerpieces memorable by our guests by injecting some of ourselves into the table. The birds and the picture frames that had our table numbers, which were funny pictures of our puppy. He couldn't be at our wedding, so we wanted him there somehow. Here are some pictures of our tables:

Lastly, I just want to mention that our centerpieces are now for sale! We've sold the birds, but everything else is still available. We have 12 large vases (I think they are like 20" tall), 33 smaller bubble looking vases, and 8 picture frames. Email me if you want prices! Let us help you reach CenterPEACE-of-Mind!


  1. Now that I have flushed out all my thoughts with Becca on Twitter, I can post a comment here for you:) I really like what you and Rebecca did on your wedding seating tables! I think it is really cute and totally wedding-appropriate. And I applaud reasonable DIY projects. Too many DIY projects just aren't doable for normal people with normal lives, jobs, smallish cars, and 800 square foot apartments. As well I don't have any issue with any size wedding budget. I've worked with $15K - $130K. My own was much closer to the former. I encourage every couple to own their budget and not be ashamed.

    My issue with your post is the second paragraph. While I do believe (as I said on Twitter) that you were writing in jest, to make your audience smile or laugh, unfortunately for some people it will reinforce what they already might believe - that wedding vendors are millionaires out to take all of your money, your soul and your first born. I don't know any wedding vendors who are millionaires, and I certainly am not. I am just a small business owner with marketing and operational costs, I continue my education, I am licensed and insured, with 8 years of experience who is trying to keep a roof over her 3 dogs' heads. I spend hours educating consumers on all that I do, to explain how I can spend anywhere from 40 - 300 hours working on your wedding and therefore why I charge what I charge. And that is why I take umbrage with your second paragraph.

    I hope you can see where I am coming from, as I totally see where you are coming from. And I thank you for opening a dialogue on this important issue - not feeling pressure to spend money on things (anything!) that you don't place a high value on. If you don't care about dancing at your wedding, you don't hire a $5K band. If you don't care about the bar - serve beer and wine, or serve none at all. Everyone should have their own priorities and that is OK! We should embrace our differences, not shame people for them.

    Thanks for reading, Janice (Bellwether Events)

  2. Janice, I think you're talking about a styling service, which is a priority for some people and not others, as it should be; and deserves to be paid a fair rate.

    But for those of us who prefer to style their own weddings we still need Things. I've been quoted the same amount to hire a wishing well this week as it'd cost me to buy. And twice as much to hire table runners than to buy. That's why I was nodding through the original post! It just seems very strange!

  3. Englyn,
    I think I can explain why renting a wishing well costs as much as to buy one. The company renting you the wishing well has to pay and give benefits to the person answering your call/email, processing your order and payment, packing and shipping your wishing well, checking up to see that your wishing well arrives, checking to see that it is being returned to you, receiving it back to the warehouse (did I mention rent for the warehouse and office?), making sure it's in good working order for the next rental (and if not, that wishing well has to be replaced) and then restocking it in the warehouse. All of the above applies to the table runner, in addition the table runner has to be cleaned and pressed when you return it. I have had repeat clients use their own linens the first time around, and then later rent linens from me because it costs more to dry clean the linens after the party than it does to rent from the caterer. I stand by my original premise: most of us in this industry are not millionaires, and there are costs associated with doing business.

  4. I really like the splash of color from the photo frame. It's a surprisingly great shade, like mustard.

  5. Loving the yellow contrast and the glass (sometimes when you use glass, you increase the depth, etc, I've been told) and trinkets like the bird made it quite lovely!