Nontraditional Wedding Reception Centerpieces: Great Non-Floral Centerpieces on a Budget

Long-stemmed Ecuadorian roses, enormous imported calla lilies: It’s no wonder that flowers amount for up to 15 percent of the average wedding. Instead of breaking the bank, try these unique, budget-friendly centerpieces.


A few carefully placed peacock feathers in a thin-necked vase are sure to look graceful, while candles in the middle of the table add an elegant light and set a romantic mood—try different-sized candles to add intrigue. A simple, economical trick is to take clear glass bowls—filled with water—and float lit votive candles on top. Add floating flowers as well to vary it up, and place a mirror at the bottom of the bowl to double the luminescence.

Lastly, for the couple that wants to share their life, look into tree-style photo displays. Feature the bride and groom together or photos of places that are special to them: childhood homes, pictures from where they got engaged, etc.


Place bottles of red and white wines on the table for an easy, simple and useful centerpiece: Make them do double-duty by affixing the table number onto the bottle. A miniature cake tower on each table is pretty while it lasts and saves the hassle of waiting for cake come dessert time. If guest favors include something tasty, like mints or the traditional almonds, put them in a decorative bowl in the middle of the table. Fruits are also a great way to add color and life to a table: try a basket of apples for a country wedding or a large glass vase full of lemons, limes or oranges for a bold statement at an elegant affair.

Flora and Fauna

Not ready to give up on flowers altogether? Potted plants are great centerpieces and can be bought cheaply ahead of time; the pots can be dressed up to match any wedding colors or themes. Try tall orchids for a clean, definitive look or a wedding with an Asian tone. An Irish couple may want to use pots of shamrocks—little white blossoms add color, and it’s a lucky souvenir for whoever gets to take it home.

For the fisherman, try bowls of goldfish at each table. Just make sure they go to a good home, or that they are able to be returned after the wedding. Another idea is to take curly willow (a florist should be able to order it), spray it white with sparkles—or leave as is for an au naturel look—and place in vases. The twisting shape of the branches adds a simple intrigue and hint of nature to each table.

Ice Breakers

Fun, nontraditional couples may want to let their centerpieces revert back to childhood. Board gamesMagic 8 balls and Ouija boards are sure to get tables talking. After all, breaks the ice like playing checkers, Chutes & Ladders or questioning the omnipotent magic 8 ball. Surround each with a couple votive candles to enhance the mood.

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