Centerpieces & Decorations

This is my favorite post to write about for my wedding. I loved my dress and the invitations I designed, but I am really proud of my decorations. One of my friends recently got engaged and asked me what I thought was most important to me for my wedding. Before I got married, I thought it would be everything, but afterwards, I realized that I really cared about the decorations and the photos. Unfortunately, I forgot to tell my photographer that my decorations were important and I wanted a lot of pictures of them. I received a few, but thankfully my mother also took some that I am able to share.

At the bottom of this post, I will have a list of all the decorations I created.

Welcome Sign & Arch

At the top of the post is a picture of the Welcome Sign I created for our wedding. We had it at the ceremony and reception. My fiance built the wood sign. I sanded and stained it with a dark walnut color. I used my Silhouette Cameo 3 to cut white vinyl to make the letters. I thought about painting the letters on, but vinyl would have a crisp, cleaner look. Also, you can make mistakes without ruining the sign.

My fiance also made our arch for the ceremony. I had ideas from Pinterest, but he determined what it actually would look like. He made it easy to take apart, so we could fit it in a garage and a truck. He was going to stain it the same color as the sign, but wanted a different type of stain, so he picked a red/brown color.

Our florist designed flowers for the sign and the arch. I was going to have fabric draping over the arch, but I got lazy and decided that flowers would look fine. I really liked how both turned out. The only other decorations we had at the ceremony was the guestbook with a little vase of flowers. My cousin was the pastor of the church, so that is why we picked it. I did not decorate the pews because the carpet was orange and we were only going to be there for about an hour or so. I had my bridesmaids take the guestbook and welcome sign to the reception place.

Reception Entrance

For our guestbook, we printed a photo book with empty white pages for guests to sign their names and leave a message if they want. I could have had more photos in the book because I over estimated how much room people needed. We used pictures from our engagement photo-shoot and from whatever other photos we had taken over the years. We did not have a guestbook attendant, so I created a sign to draw people’s eyes. I stained the sign and used vinyl to make the letters and arrows. We also had extra table runners, so we used that to decorate the guestbook table. I made sure we had a lot of extra vases and candles, so we could decorate the entrance tables. I also had an idea of how many I needed for the entrance.

We had a suggestion/adventure jar. People could give advice, somewhere to go, or something to do. We got a lot of interesting ideas and advice. Some of my younger cousins wrote things and my favorite was this: pick a chore you like because you are going to have to do it the rest of your life. We also had some pictures on the table.

Finding a card box was actually pretty difficult. I was not sure what exactly I wanted and I did not want to spend a lot of money. I decided that we did not have to have a box where people could take things out of. We were in Iowa, so party crashers are very uncommon. Also, I believe one of the workers at the reception was close by at the beginning to put the gifts in a locked closet. I used a similar design from the Guestbook sign for the words on the card box.

I decided to create a reception schedule, so people had an idea of what was going to happen. We did not stick to it because we decided to leave earlier than what we originally put. On the front table we just had photos and various vases and candles placed. We had eucalyptus leaves scattered around. I liked the stacked boxes because it gave the the decorations some height and variety. A lot of the frames are from IKEA, but the bigger ones are from various thrift stores. I spray painted them all black, so they had a unified look. I also wanted different textures on the frames, so they were not all the same.

We had a seating chart, so people knew were they were going to sit. We had a few people who would not know anyone and we wanted people to sit by people they may get along with. I thought of making a large poster, but I did not want something that I could not easily make adjustments to. I really liked how this turned out and it was a lot easier to make than I thought. We found a bunch of the same frames at a thrift store that were large enough to hold our table cards. My mom put hinges on them, so it could stand up. I could print the different tables and reprint them if anything changed. For all the various signs I used the same floral design from the invitations (and program). On my Pinterest page, there are more ideas for a seating chart that are similar to this one.


I wanted a simple, clean look for the centerpieces. I did not want them to be too tall, so people could actually see over them. Unfortunately, our table runners were shorter than what I thought they were going to be, so they did not hang over the edge. However, I actually liked how we put them on the table. We bunched them up a little bit, so it fit in the middle of the table. I used cheesecloth and dyed it a dusty blue. Cheesecloth and the dye were very cheap instead of renting or buying a different type of fabric. I even had a lot of cheesecloth left over that I could dye and use for something else. They are slightly different shades because we cut them and then dyed them. If I were to do it again, I would have dyed all the cheesecloth first and then cut it.

In the middle, we had a stained, wood square to lift the table number and have more of center for the table. My fiance’s parents stained the wood squares, but I created the table numbers. Like a lot of the other decorations, I stained and cut the vinyl words. I love fresh flowers, so we had three vases with mini white carnations, seeded eucalyptus, and israeli ruscus. I wanted a simple design, so we did not stuff the vases. We had two to three candle holders because it is something easy to do and still made it look nice. We did a few practice rounds with other flowers to see what type and how many flowers should go in the vases. My mom created all the vases for the wedding, but I looked over them to see if they had enough or too much in them. There were a lot of extra eucalyptus leaves, so we sprinkled them over the tables and other decorations. We also stuffed some of the other vases that were by the snacks and in the front of the reception hall.

We started collecting vases and candle holders after we got engaged. I would go to thrift stores every now and then and get vases and candle holders for $0.25 to $1. I also went to a bridal show were people were selling their old decorations. I did not care that all the vases and candles holders were not the same, so it was pretty easy to collect them. I believed we even used glass cups as vases.

Honestly, I could try to open a wedding/party rental services with all the vases and candle holders I have (and with my husband woodworking skills and my Silhouette Cameo).

Head Table

We had 10 people sitting at the head table in a line. It had a similar design as the rest of the centerpieces. We had wooden squares and many different vases and candle holders. I had my flowers as a decoration and the bridesmaids just laid their bouquets evenly across the table. I made S & A letters using cardboard and lots of glitter spray paint. In the future, if I am making letters, I am just going to buy them from the store and not go through the trouble of making them. Also, I would probably glue glitter to the letters instead of using spray paint.

Decoration List

  • Welcome Sign & Arch
  • Guestbook and Card Sign
  • Suggestion Jar
  • Table of Decorations: pictures & boxes
  • Seating Chart Display
  • Centerpieces
    • Vases
    • Candles
    • Table Runner
    • Wood Square
    • Table Number
    • Leaves
  • Head Table
    • Vases
    • Candles
    • Table Runner
    • Wood Square
    • S & A
    • Bouquet

These were all the decorations at my wedding ceremony and reception. I was lucky that the reception hall was a very beautiful place before any decorations! I really enjoyed designing my decorations and I might possibly want to do that in the future as well. – Sarah