Keys to a great, modern centerpiece

I’m pretty mercurial when it comes to floral arrangement. Especially centerpieces. I can love something I see in a magazine one day, mark the page, go back to look at it so often that my fingerprints mar the gloss…and then days later just feel absolutely “meh” about it. But there is one thing I know: centerpieces are no more or less important than any other element of your wedding. They complement the mood you are going for, they give your guests something to look at while they avoid talking to each other, and they are sure to feature in your wedding pictures and garner the derision of your future children.

The key to a great centerpiece is understanding a few key principles of beauty. Principles that have held for hundreds of years, and will continue to do so for, conceivably, ever after.

Beauty is symmetry

Did you know that people are considered beautiful because both sides of their face are highly symmetrical? The same goes for beauty everywhere else. Even a Pollack painting,  with its seeming chaos, is symmetrical. In fact, Pollack is symmetrical in a downright mathematical way.

Whether you use large hurricanes with candles in them or classic flower centerpieces, remember that symmetry is key. If you have that down, you can use almost any combination of flower, candles, and table jewelry.

Less is more, if you do it right

You’ve heard it before a thousand times. It’s the key fashion philosophy of Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel. But it can be really easy to go for a less-is-more look and just end up with a really bare-looking table. So how do you work this classic, elegant philosophy? By keeping in mind proportion. Smaller tables can get away with smaller centerpieces. Round tables are especially good for this. Larger tables of any shape will need larger pieces. Think of urns, wide-and-shallow or tall-and-thin vases. Also, keep in mind that you want your guests to be able to see each other across the table.

Rectangular tables will need something that travels the width of the table. Consider a few (never less than three, no more than 5 per table) glass hurricanes with candles, or smaller vases filed with flowers.

Less flower varieties

Chances are, unless you are a florist and all your friends are too, no one is going to care that you have special Peruvian roses that were flown in especially for the occasion, mixed with Hydrangeas, orchids, and any of the other pricey varieties.
But, get a whole ton of the same kind of flower – even a cheaper kind like carnations – and you have some serious, elegant wow-factor. The simplicity and symmetry (see, there is is again) is very pleasing to the eye.

Stay tuned for more ideas on how to create a beautiful, non-generic table without breaking the budget.