10 Nonfloral Centerpiece Ideas

Flowers and weddings go hand in hand, but they're not the only choice when it comes to wedding décor. Use one of these alternatives for your centerpieces and you won't miss the blooms one bit.
by Simone Hill
DIY vintage book table number centerpiece
photo by Philip Ficks
  1. Literary Centerpieces

    DIY stack of vintage books table number and centerpiece
    photo by Philip Ficks

    Stacks of vintage books make for great centerpieces (with or without flowers), especially if you're going for an antique or eclectic feel for your wedding. They're an easy way to add height to candles, and stacks of classics can effortlessly fill up the center of a table. Stencil an old book with a bold numeral, for a centerpiece that doubles as a table number.

  2. Cake Centerpieces

    Wedding cake table number
    photo by Sweet Monday Photography

    Instead of one large cake and cake table, spread out decorated one-tier cakes in a variety of flavors on each table in place of a floral centerpiece. When it's time for dessert, guests can cut their own cake. Encourage your family and friends to table-hop and try other flavors.

  3. Fruit and Veggie Centerpieces

    Artichoke vegetable wedding reception centerpiece
    photo by Annie McElwain

    Hit up your local farmers market for fresh produce to add color and texture to your reception tables. To really make the farm-fresh theme cohesive, use fruits and veggies you'll also include in your menu. For a bright and modern look, fill glassware with citrus fruits, like lemons, limes or oranges. Use eggplants, peppers and tomatoes for a jewel-tone palette. And for your greenery, try fresh and fragrant potted herbs.

  4. Animal Topiary Centerpieces

    Moss horse topiary nonfloral wedding centerpiece
    photo by Jess + Nate Studios

    Add a playful touch of humor and whimsy to your wedding day with an animal figurine accompanying your escort cards or as a centerpiece alternative. Choose animals that represent your zodiac signs, your locale (like a horse farm), or even your interests. This conversation piece will be an instant icebreaker for guests.

  5. Lamp Centerpieces

    Lamp nonfloral wedding reception centerpiece
    photo by Ira Lippke Studios

    Lamps create instant ambience on your reception tables. And oversize lamps with drum shades are excellent space fillers (where you might have otherwise used flowers). Suspend them from the ceiling for a floating effect. Or you can use real lamps (just make sure you have access to outlets) or LED lights to illuminate a shade.

  6. Coral and Seashell Centerpieces

    Coral and seashell beach-inspired wedding reception centerpiece
    photo by Jodi Miller Photography

    Using décor sourced from the sea is a no-brainer for a beach wedding. Don't think you're limited by color if you go this route. Paint coral and seashells in bold colors or even metallics to match your palette. To keep the idea from becoming too kitschy, alternate shell décor with rustic hurricane lanterns and driftwood.

  7. Ice Sculpture Centerpieces

    Frozen calla lily wedding reception centerpiece
    photo by Dave Robbins

    One of the hottest creative trends in centerpieces right now is actually cold -- ice cold. Your guests definitely won't expect to find each table adorned with blocks of ice. And you can freeze flower petals or fruit inside for a hint of color. Then use plenty of candles or pinspot lighting to highlight these unexpected pieces and give the illusion of illumination from within. Hide the tray that catches the water melting from the ice (you don't want to soak guests) by surrounding the rim with greenery.

  8. Candle Centerpieces

    Candle and garland nonfloral wedding reception centerpiece
    photo by Woodland Fields Photography

    There's nothing quite like candles to create an intimate and warm glow, and put you and your guests (and your reception space too) in a flattering light. Mix mercury glass votives and silver or gold candelabras to create an elegant and glamorous look. Or use earthy pillar candles in different heights and colors for a more rustic affair. Pro tip: Choose unscented candles, so the fragrance doesn't overwhelm the delicious aroma of your reception dinner.

  9. Paper Flower Centerpieces

    Tall pink paper flower wedding reception centerpiece
    photo by John Labbe

    It's not cheating if you use playful paper flowers instead of fresh ones. Oversize crepe or tissue paper blooms add a touch of whimsy when paired with colorful glass bottles (get creative with your hues!). Paper wedding flowers also make for a fun DIY project if you're a crafty couple -- just give yourselves plenty of time to experiment (and make backups if necessary).

  10. Hobby Centerpieces

    Stenciled burlap wine bag table number
    photo by The Observatory

    Play up your hobbies or shared interests. If you're both travelers, cluster vintage globes in the center of your table. Oenophiles? Group bottles of wine on each table and engage your guests in a wine tasting before the first course is served.

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