A Beginner's Guide To A Captivating Table Centerpiece

A Beginner's Guide To A Captivating Table Centerpiece

Table centerpieces are an essential element of any beautifully decorated table. They add a touch of elegance, creativity, and personality to your space, becoming a focal point for your guests. Whether you are hosting a formal dinner party, a casual gathering, or simply want to spruce up your dining table, a well-designed centerpiece can transform your entire ambiance. In this article, we will explore tried and true techniques to create a striking table centerpiece and its surrounding tablescape which will capture attention and inspire conversation.

    Find Your Table Centerpiece Inspiration 

    First, you will want to decide what inspiration is guiding the color, formality, and overall vibe of your table and centerpiece. Is it a color scheme, a holiday, a designer, something in nature, or even decade inspired? 

    Your inspiration will be the backbone of your tablescape and centerpiece but don’t be afraid to incorporate multiple inspirations into one. For example, we generally create our centerpieces from a modern and nature-inspired point of view, but we always try to put a fresh spin on it, whether it be the season, holiday, or designer we are currently inspired by. 

    If You are Feeling Floral… but Minimal 

    Our personal go-to centerpiece, we are no strangers to a floral centerpiece. As a floral designer founded brand, we are constantly creating new centerpieces that are inspired by, and themselves inspire our brands’ items. Floral centerpieces can be daunting, but rest assured our all-encompassing how-to guide on floral arranging will eliminate any trepidation in tapping into your inner floral designer. 

    Some of our favorite simple, “low maintenance” centerpieces are a bud vase centerpiece and an ikebana centerpiece. Bud vases can be clustered with varying heights and dimensions while highlighting the beauty of a single flower or a small cluster of blooms. These small-scale vases, typically with narrow necks and minimalistic designs, create an intimate and delicate display. In an ikebana arrangement a few stems or other natural elements are chosen to capture a notion of harmony, tranquility, and a deep connection to the natural world. Both bud and ikebana arrangements are simple yet their simplicity allows the stems and blooms to speak for themselves, emanating beauty in all of their minimalism.   

    Lush Floral Table Centerpieces 

    We are constantly using and hearing the term “low lush” arrangements in the wedding centerpiece world. These arrangements are stocked full of greenery and blooms yet do not reach high heights so as to not hinder the view of any guests and allow for easy conversation. To accomplish these lush arrangements, we typically call in the use of a compote vase with floral netting, and if you’re looking for additional stem support for some of those heavier or more rowdy pieces, a floral pin frog. 

    To build a lush arrangement’s formal elegance, larger, fuller blooms such as peonies and ranunculus are complemented by cascading greenery, such as ivy or ferns, which adds depth and movement to the overall design. With its vibrant blooms and cascading foliage, a low lush arrangement becomes a focal point of any setting, whether it's a romantic wedding reception, an elegant dinner party, or any lavish event. It effortlessly captures attention and creates a luxurious ambiance, one that guests are sure not to soon forget.

    Classic Floral Centerpieces 

    Classic floral arrangements are grounded in symmetry and follow a more formulaic approach. Our approach to a classic arrangement begins with first picking your base flower - usually something large and fluffy like a hydrangea or peony. We then add in some greenery and smaller flowers and cut all stems to the same length for a more rounded look. Even though this arrangement is symmetrical, we still want to make sure there are moments of interest which are achieved by differing textures and perhaps some pops of color.  

    Once most of your arrangement is set, you can also decide if you would like any small gestural pieces (e.g. a stem or two of butterfly ranunculus). The trick is to make sure your gesture isn't so big or tall that it doesn't look out of place in your classic arrangement! 

    Sculptural Centerpieces 

    Gone are the days of traditional floral centerpieces as the sole option for creating a stunning focal point. Sculptural centerpieces can range from more traditional sculptures to geometric structures or even sculptural pieces found in nature. These more “modern” centerpieces have evolved from their floral-only past to reflect contemporary tastes and styles, showcasing innovative designs, unconventional materials, and a touch of artistic flair. 

    Our favorite sculptural centerpieces incorporate a touch of natural elements such as sculptural branches, driftwood, or stone, which create a harmonious connection between art and nature. Sculptural centerpieces can also include sculptural vases or bowls either filled with branches and stems or alone, which – along with all other types of sculptural centerpieces- have the power to command attention, spark conversation, and infuse any space with a unique and captivating artistic presence. 

    Candle Only Table Centerpieces 

    The Floral Society Candle Centerpiece

    Candles are an essential element to balancing any centerpiece. However, we also love the idea of making your candles the main centerpiece themselves! A candle centerpiece focuses on the beauty and simplicity of candlelight, creating a serene and intimate atmosphere. There are various ways to incorporate candles into centerpieces, whether it's using a single large pillar candle as a focal point, grouping candles of different heights and sizes for a dramatic effect, or placing votive or tealight candles in decorative holders. Combining a candle and flower centerpiece into one, our frog bowl and taper holder allows you to make your candles the main event but also balances them with stems or branches of your choosing. 

    Edible Centerpieces 

    Why not combine aesthetics with gastronomy? Edible centerpieces are not only a visual treat but can be a literal one too! Fill a decorative bowl or basket with fresh fruits like lemons, grapes, strawberries, or cherries for a simple, but colorful focal point. For a more sophisticated touch, you can even create a tiered fruit display using a cake stand. Fruit and vegetable centerpieces are also now having a moment and can evoke a rustic and vibrant touch for weddings! Alternatively, consider arranging a selection of artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and crackers on a wooden or marble platter for an easy, and definitely a popular, charcuterie centerpiece.

    The Floral Society Apple Centerpiece

    One look that has recently regained popularity is the fruit garland which we have seen on many outdoor tables. Although not a typical centerpiece as it spans most of your table, a garland highlighted with fruits (most commonly lemons or mandarins) has the ability to root your table in nature with some greenery while adding a pop of color and a Mediterranean breeziness that will be sure to execute the perfect summer tablescape.  

    Set your Flatware to Begin Your Tablescape 

    Once your inspiration and centerpiece is decided, we will need to “map” out your table. First, you will want to choose your table setting. The layout and utensils of your setting will depend on the formality of the occasion. A more formal event will obviously call for a more formal setting, but we quite enjoy a less formal setting which leaves guests further at ease and we think, results in better, more engaging conversation and eliminates any uncertainty on which of the three forks one needs for salad! 

    We have been seeing many tablescapes incorporate gold flatware instead of silver which is a fun way to add a pop of shine and elegance to any setting. Although, we also love the idea of incorporating antique silver flatware which brings a personal touch to the setting. Acclaimed event designer, Keith Robinson, used his antique China to create a nature-surrounded tablescape in his lush Georgia garden, elevating a simple brunch to a “magical” experience. 

    Build your Dishware 

    The Floral Society Table Setting

    You can never go wrong with simple dishware, allowing the other elements of your tablescape to shine. Our go-to dishware are neutral-toned ceramic pieces that create a base for our tablescapes, allowing us to be more bold with the linens or napkins if we are in a more colorful mood or if our centerpiece is especially bold already. Jenni Kayne’s home brand is built off the natural aesthetic, so if you wanted to go one step further from the natural-toned ceramic dishware to create an entirely neutral-toned tablescape, you can certainly gain some inspiration from her line. 

    The Right Linens for Your Centerpiece 

    Choosing the right linens can be quite a conundrum. With runners, napkins, tablecloths, and placemats to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which to use and what works with your design inspiration. Our go-to tablecloths are usually neutral or soft-hued which give us the ability to be a bit more bold with our napkin choice (if we desire). We recently partnered with Soil to Studio, who’s block-printed designs made in India add a bit more color and dimension to any tablescape. 

    Table runners can be used alone or on a tablecloth but the runner should always contrast either the table or the tablecloth it is on. A table runner alone is a bit more casual and is a great idea for an outdoor setting while a table runner on a tablecloth adds another element of elegance and depth. Placemats, like the runner, can add that additional element to a table with or without a tablecloth. For example, a casual outdoor tablescape with a runner and placemat can bring the tablescape aesthetic together while also protecting the table you are using, especially if you are going with the edible centerpiece route! 

    Add Décor and Height to Balance Your Centerpiece 

    The Floral Society Fall Centerpiece

    After your table has been set with flatware, dishware, linens, and its centerpiece, it is time for our favorite part: décor.  A tablescape is not complete in our opinion without a candle or better yet, multiple candles (as previously referenced in our candle only centerpiece!). Taper candles  and pillar candles give your tablescape depth and height and once burning, result in an unparalleled ambiance. We usually like to play off the colors in our centerpiece to choose the color of the candles we will use. 

    Taper candles are also not complete without their holder. When choosing a holder for your tapers, it is important to keep in mind how much room you will have for your tapers on your table and how they will play with the centerpiece. Our petite taper holder is perfect for tighter spaces while also adding an elevated design element to your tablescape and allows your centerpiece to shine. 

    Finishing Touches to Complete Your Table 

    A centerpiece and its tablescape is not complete without the family and friends that surround it. About 5-10 minutes before your guests arrive, we recommend lighting your candles to set the ambiance and highlight your centerpiece. For a final touch, including a personal addition to your table like a handwritten place card is always a welcome addition.  

    A centerpiece is a chance for anyone from a novice in all thing’s décor to a professional floral designer to show off their personal flair and we can’t wait to see what you create! For additional inspiration, recommendations, and guides on all things home and floral please utilize these links below. 

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