Wedding Wednesday: Reception Decor

As I approach the end of this series, I’m starting to get into the stuff I really enjoy: the decorating part!  I mean, I like planning and choosing and making lists as much as the next gal (actually, I probably like making lists more than most people I know), but the fun part comes in the personal details.

Last week, we discussed ceremony decor; this week, I want to address reception decor.  Regardless of your individual choices, most receptions have the same, general components, and usually the biggest money-sucker of all of these components is the dreaded centerpieces.

Even the penny pinching-est out there would say that $10-15 for a centerpiece and table cloth isn’t so bad.  But when you do the math, the dollar signs add up pretty quickly.

Ready?  Math time:

200 guests @ 8-10 people a table = 20-25 tables

20 tables @ $15 = $300

25 tables @ $15 = $375

And that’s just if you have 200 folks.  Woe to you if your wedding is bigger (ours was).

If you have ugly tables at your venue and must cover them, factoring the cost of buying or renting table cloths or runners is very important (in fact, this can be one of the biggest expenses for the tables).

Then if you want flowers in vases, tea lights in glass votives, and some other clever nonsense decorating your table, well… you can see how all this stuff adds up.

Fortunately for us, we were able to negotiate a great deal on these fancy schmancy table cloths, and because of their color and sheen, they dominated the table and our centerpieces were simple in comparison.

photo by jk Dallas Photography

For the centerpieces, we ordered orange roses and some cool berry thing I can’t remember the name of, then took green filler from my parents’ backyard.  Each arrangement was placed in a silver pitcher (my mother used her own then borrowed the rest from every aunt, neighbor, friend, and suburban lady we know).  The effect was elegant and simple, but not exactly the same at every single table (we like variety).

photo by jk Dallas Photography

So, here are some cost-effective options I have found on the interwebz.  And I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that a lot of these involve Upcycling.  (I mean, aren’t these the things we have come to expect by now?)

Daisies, mums, and zinnias in empty cans {Source: Rachael Ray via Something Green}

cheap and easy to make centerpieces

{Source: Interior Design}


{Source: Bronze Budget Bride}

Party Table Numbers for Wedding Party Centerpiece Handmade Chalkboard Message Charms  Custom Order by TreasureAgain

{Source: Treasure Again Etsy shop}

DIY Tin Can Vases centerpieces

tin can vases covered in scrapbook paper {Source: Ruffled}

Paint dyed mason jars {Source: Bride Finds}

{Source: Martha Stewart}

An ombre effect with carnations {Source: Martha Stewart}

Ultra modern branches with handmade paper flowers attached {Source: Martha Stewart}

Ribbons on the backs of chairs {Source: Wonderful Day Weddings}

Sharing time.  Tell me your ideas, whether realized or imagined, for some cost-effective reception decor!  Don’t be shy.


Check out the previous posts in this series…

Setting a Date

Finding a Venue

Picking a Caterer

Saving on Invitations and Save-the-Dates

Photography & Videography

Bridesmaids’ Dresses

Wedding Flowers

Ceremony Decor