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How-To

The do-it-yourself centerpiece

  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.
  • Local florist Stephanie Coons showed us how to make a floral wedding centerpiece.

For most young couples who are planning their weddings, keeping the costs low is of the utmost importance. One way to save money is to do some of the work yourself. We enlisted Peterborough florist Stephanie Coons to give us a step-by-step breakdown of how to make your own wedding centerpiece.

“Everyone wants that champagne taste on a beer budget,” Coons said. “You can find a way within your budget to recreate a more expensive look.”

When selecting elements for your centerpiece, there are a few key things to keep in mind. This may seem obvious, but the centerpiece is going to go in the middle of a table full of people – and you want those people to be able to see each other! A floral arrangement that sits at eye-level is not conducive to a fun wedding conversation. Keep it low enough to see over, or get creative and use something tall and narrow so that the largest part of the bloom is higher than a seated guest’s face.

Most centerpieces are flower-based. But how do you choose the right flowers? Coons said she has a few criteria to consider when selecting flowers. “Do they match with the people, do they match with the colors, the location, et cetera? You want to cater to the couple.” Of course, if you’re doing it yourself, that should be pretty simple. You’ll also want to make sure you choose flowers that are hearty and long-lasting. You’re going to need to buy them and assemble them well before the wedding, so make sure they will last until the big day!

The flowers should last about a week without wilting if kept in a cool place with plenty of water. Give them a fresh, diagonal cut on the bottom of the stalk when you get them home, and get them right into water. You’ll want to assemble the centerpiece as close to the wedding day as you can, not more than two or three days before, and, again, keep them watered. A good way to save a few bucks on a centerpiece is to choose flowers that are full-bodied and take up more space than their wispier counterparts, while still retaining the level of beauty you’re looking for.

“Even when couples go the do-it-yourself route, a lot of people still have florists do the more technical stuff, like corsages and boutonnieres,” Coons said.

For this centerpiece, we used:

10 spray roses. These are smaller and cheaper than regular roses, but they come in a huge variety of colors and they smell great. You’ll get the look, feel and smell of a standard rose at a much cheaper price.

Four white spider mums. These look like beautiful, puffy snowballs — the prototypical beautiful space-filler.

Seven hypericum berry. These are great because they’re colorful and they provide a different texture than regular flowers.

Five alstroemeria.

A handful of silver dollar eucalyptus and seeded eucalyptus. Again, these bring a little more variety in texture to your centerpiece. A small, vintage pewter container from a thrift store. This is where you can get the most creative. Use a container that is unique and speaks to you or holds some special meaning to you and your spouse-to-be.

A block of oasis foam, available at florists and craft stores. This serves as a base to hold the flowers in place.

Directions:

First, cut the oasis foam into pieces sized to fit your container. You’ll need to soak the foam through to the center before placing it in the container. If you’re making a lot of centerpieces, soak them all in a five-gallon bucket of water. If they float, they aren’t soaked through yet; once they sink, they’re ready to go. It shouldn’t take much longer than five minutes.

Place the foam in your container.

Choose the flowers you’ll want to use first. Coons starts with the silver dollar eucalyptus to form a base layer before getting into the more colorful flowers. Cut them down to manageable sizes, making sure not to waste any sprigs or stalks that might come in handy. “You have to think, ‘How can I get the most out of every cut?’ Coons explained. A sharp, diagonal cut helps two-fold: It’s easier to stick into the foam base and better at sucking up water to stay fresh.

As you get into the more colorful, petaled flowers make sure you check the outer petal layer for wilting and remove any unsightly petals.

Place the fresh-cut stalks into the foam as you will. You can make a plan beforehand in your head, sketch one out or just start placing the flowers and see what happens. Some folks will want perfect symmetry in their design, others will go for a more radical look. This really comes down to the couples’ desires.

Keep filling in the holes in the design with more and more flowers until it looks perfect. Then repeat the process to make the rest of your centerpieces.

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