Elegant but Inexpensive Table Décor for your Wedding- Part 1

Elegant but Inexpensive Table Décor for your Wedding, AKA “Beautiful Centerpieces on the Cheap!” 😊 

Part 1 – Flowers/Plants

By Prudy Barrett Nelson


In Part 1 of this blog series, we are going to talk about flowers and greenery.  In Part 2, we will talk about where to find some great stuff.  Then, we will start pulling all of this together, get our creative juices flowing and see what we can come up with!

 Having run a wedding venue (Stonegate Manor) for awhile now, I’ve seen centerpieces and other decorations that have run the gamut from low cost to extravagant.  While those which cost hundreds of dollars are indeed beautiful, stunning centerpieces do not need to cost a lot of money. 

 The couples who get married here at Stonegate have an advantage.  We have tons of things available in our “Stonegate Boutique” for them to use free of charge.  These are things I’ve purchased or couples who have been married here donated to the cause.  Having recently staged the venue as a wedding reception, I bought lots more stuff that will be available our clients!

 I think we all have to keep in mind that if guests are having a good time at your wedding…which we all want them to be…they aren’t looking at your centerpieces.  They are chatting, laughing, dancing, eating and drinking.  My opinion…if what’s in the center of your table is getting a lot of attention, I want it to be because it’s unique, creative and beautiful…not because it’s a bunch of pretty flowers.  If, Heaven forbid, my table décor is the main focus of my guests’ attention, something is going wrong. ☹

 Flowers are probably the most expensive element of centerpieces.  The less you rely on them for your “look”, the better it is on your budget.  Big colorful bouquets on tables are gorgeous but I think strategic use of small numbers of flowers can be just as beautiful.  And, the less expensive varieties of flowers are as capable of adding color and pizzazz to your tables as the super pricey ones...think carnations, daisies, baby’s breath, mums, sunflowers, tulips, anything that is in season in your area.  For one beautiful event, I bought several $5 bouquets from a local farm stand.   Some bouquets I left intact and others I tore apart to use the individual flower(s) in different ways.

 Bulk flowers can be purchased at places like Sam’s Club and Costco at pretty good prices.  Locally, Black Dog Farms grow their own.  Loose flowers in season last a long time and are usually less costly than flowers imported and flown in from faraway places. 

 What about live plants?  African violets, ivy and even herbs are available all year long and aren’t expensive.  Who doesn’t love the dramatic look of Aldi’s beautiful orchids for less than $10!   Got some Irish in you?  Even if you don’t, shamrocks are beautiful plants.  They come both in green and red, they bloom beautifully and they last forever!  Succulents can add drama to a tablescape and also double as table favors. 

If you are getting married in the spring or summer, hit a local nursery.  Small starter annuals are usually less than $5 and can add huge amounts of color.  Hostas are great for adding a bit of green.  Wrap the pot in fabric with a beautiful bow.  If you are getting married in December, of course, poinsettias are easy to find, inexpensive to buy and beautiful. 

 Think outside the box a bit when it comes to “pots”.  Hit the resale shops.  You may find some pots/planters with beautiful designs.  Look for things you can repurpose!  Colorful teapots, pretty patterned glass bowls, antique china bowls…even painted clay pots.   All can look great! 

While you are in the resale store, check out the silk flowers and greenery.  People donate some really nice arrangements that you can pull apart and use in many different ways.  Remember, a few small vases with just a couple flowers in each can be as stunning as a huge expensive bouquet!

I was on a deadline to get this finished so I took pictures of things I already had lying around the house.  I’m sure you can think of lots better ideas but at least this is a start.


This is an idea I got from a bride last summer.  This fern is a bit bedraggled as it, too, is from last summer.  But, hit up your caterer for some big cans, spray paint them, add some little decorative stuff or just a bow.  I didn’t really have much in the house to decorate with.   She took a $10 big fern and cut it into 8 or 10 smaller plants.  Planted them in tin cans, let them recover for a few weeks and there you go!  A $2 centerpiece.


These succulents would be a great addition to any tablescape.  You can use them as table favors too.  Buy some old tea cups, creamers, sugars, whatever and plant one.  Arrange them around a small vase with flowers and have people take them home.


This is actually super cheap (< $1).  It’s just a big can wrapped in some leftover tulle I had. ( I think you can do a lot more with different fabrics but this is all I had on hand.)  The plant is just cuttings from a big plant that I put in water a couple months ago and keep forgetting to pot. 


My old $2 shamrock plant in a $1 teapot without a lid.


An African Violet in an old spittoon!


This probably would have looked better with moss instead of netting but it was all I had.  Inexpensive, but actually quite nice, bowl from a resale shop…maybe $5?


Beautiful, high-quality silk flowers purchased for next to nothing at a local resale shop.


Such a sweet little African Violet in a $2 milk glass goblet.


Those same clippings in two different $2 milk glass vases with a spring of 10 cent fake flowers.

Prudy Barrett Nelson_1.jpg

Prudy Barrett Nelson has been the “Wedding Fairy Godmother” to countless couples who have been married at Stonegate Manor, Southwest Michigan’s premier estate wedding venue. Located just outside St. Joseph, Michigan and less than 10 minutes from beautiful Lake Michigan beaches, Stonegate Manor combines classic elegance and country charm with the vintage touches that Prudy loves.