This is Chapter 8 of an ongoing series following the journey of a couple throwing an intimate, DIY wedding in Washington, DC. Be sure to check out the earlier chapters from this series for some great DIY tips & inspiration!

That’s right.  You can make your own wedding centerpieces.  It all starts with your table linens and chairs.  Are you renting them?  What color, size and quantity of tables are you using?  What does the table layout look like?

There are many options for your tables, but in general there are 3 types…

1. Round: (usually of 8-12 people) this lends itself to an individual, varied-size, matching centerpiece on each table
2. Square: (usually 8) this lends itself to groupings of items that create a larger clustered centerpiece on each table
3. Long Banquet (multiple options) this lends itself to low and linear centerpieces, usually of multiple items spread out the length of the table

Something to consider about centerpieces…
*Don’t block a view across the table!!!*  You want people to talk to each other and be social, so either choose a centerpiece that is lower and fuller below eye level of guests or a taller and thinner centerpiece.

We knew we wanted to have 3 long tables of banquet-style seating so we made our own table runners in lieu of renting the generic ones.

To do this, I bought a surplus roll of inexpensive burlap from an online fabric store.  To make it nice and make sure it didn’t fray, I sewed wide satin ribbon ($1 per roll from Michaels) to the edges.  I bought 3 rolls of pink tulle from the dollar store to pile up on top of the burlap and give the runner extra depth.

The long banquet tables allow for centerpieces that include either randomly spaced items or orderly repeated items.  I decided to go with the random method due to the fact that our entire wedding has more of a casual feel to it.

*To see how Emma made her DIY centerpieces, read more!

When considering what to use… I knew I wanted items with differing heights on the runner.  I knew I wanted it to relate to our theme of cherry blossoms and I knew I wanted a natural feel.  I also knew that I did not want to use fresh flowers due to the cost, but I didn’t want to use silk flowers either because of the close proximity to guests.  Therefore, I decided to go with candles.

I am a lighting person, so lighting in general is SUPER important to me and I saw pictures of beautiful tables set with dozens of candles and it created a stunning picture of a glowing and softly lit room that was perfect for the feeling I was going for.

The research began and I soon figured out that due to budget constraints, I could only afford tea lights and/or votives with minimal candle holders.  Of course you can’t just plop a candle onto a tablecloth, so I needed something easily accessible and cheap.  Again we turned to our back yard and decided to use recently fallen tree branches and cut them into varying lengths.  Then used silicon glue (the only thing that would attach wood to glass) to fasten a votive holder to each branch.  To make sure that the branches did not tip over, we glued a plastic party plate to the bottom of each one.

To keep some variation, I also mixed in little glass candles (from Ikea and the Dollar Store) covered with moss and pink ribbon wrapped around.  I plan to ask my decorator to  place the taller ones towards the center and work the way to smaller on the edges of the tables.

I also made matching “Mr and Mrs.” placemats for the sweetheart table!!

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