Etiquette

Has anyone gone "no centerpiece" for a formal wedding?

So, I'm in the first stage of wedding planning - the budget / guest list. I mentioned we need to make our decor budget, including bouquets, centerpieces, incidentals like guest book, placecards, etc. and my fiance tells me he HATES centerpieces and wants to budget $0 for them. He thinks big ones are annoying and small ones are pointless. He doesn't think they add to the experience at all, and, if anything, "takes away" from it. 

While I totally agree that decor is like, last on our list and I don't have dreams of giant floral centerpieces - we are having a big formal wedding and I assume we have to have something?. Saturday evening, premium open bar, 4 courses, butlered apps, the whole she-bang. Can we really have NO centerpiece without looking cheap af? Has anyone ever seen this at a wedding? Did it look weird?
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Re: Has anyone gone "no centerpiece" for a formal wedding?

  • We only had centerpieces because it was included in our venue in our formal-ish wedding. We DID splurge and get porcelain TARDIS and Death Star cookie jars because I was not into the whole flower thing and I wanted our personalities to come through (they went home with our wedding party...PLUS their actual gifts). 

    But really, I would have skipped them and crossed them off the budget if the flowers weren't included.
    charlotte989875
  • I agree with @MobKaz. A simple candle arrangement would be lovely and add some ambient lighting.
  • Would it ruin your wedding? No.

    But I don't think I've ever not seen a centerpiece of some sort. Even at a higher end restaurant, there is usually at least one candle or simple vase on the table.

    Our venue included centerpieces, as I also did not care to spend extra money on them. It was a square glass mirror with 3 tall cylindrical vases with floating candles and one vase had a submerged fake flower in our wedding colour.

    I agree that I'd at least put a few candles out, or get some vases from the dollar store and do something with those- a floating candle in a short wide vase, or a tall slender vase with a single flower.
    STARMOON44charlotte989875short+sassy
  • I’ve never seen it and don’t think it would look good. I always put something pretty on the table just for me eating dinner by myself in my own home!
  • I can see why a huge centerpiece would detract from the experience, as they can block your view of other people at the table and make conversation difficult. But I don't see how a small one would take away anything. While I have been to only a few weddings, there have always been centerpieces, including at a very informal wedding I attended last year. 

    Will not having centerpieces ruin your entire wedding? No, but I do think the tables will look quite bare without them, which may look very odd in light of the fact that you guys are going all out on everything else. If decor is not a big priority for you guys, I agree that you shouldn't splurge on elaborate floral arrangements for the tables, but you should have something. I like @MobKaz's candle idea, and your venue may also have something simple that can be used for little to no charge. 
    image
    short+sassy
  • edited December 2017
    I don't think I've ever heard of someone who feels so strongly about centerpieces lol! Either this is your FI's "thing" or you're in for a long haul planning this wedding. 

    This is probably something y'all will need to compromise on. It would be odd to go to a formal wedding and have the tables be plain. I would probably think there was a planning snafu or that y'all were cheap, honestly. @MobKaz's idea of asking if there are candle centerpieces included is a good idea. You could spend like $5/table dressing them up with your colors somehow and/or get colored linens or charger plates or printed menus to dress up the table.
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    ahoyweddingshort+sassy
  • Ha - yeah you guys are definitely confirming my instinct. I don't want to spend a lot on decor, but we need *something*. I like the candle idea a lot, and think that goes with the ambiance we're looking for.

    Our plan is to go for a unique venue that "speaks for itself" and doesn't need a lot of dressing up. My FI is funny like that, we're mostly on the same page for wedding planning / priorities but sometimes he'll take it next level. Like I'll say "we don't need the most expensive photographer in town" and he'll be like, "oh yeah everyone will just take pics with their phones". Or this centerpiece thing, haha. 
    MairePoppy
  • Yeah I mean you definitely don’t need them, but it’s totally normal to want them!
  • Does your venue have centerpieces you could use? I had a pretty similar wedding (evening, formal, passed apps, plated four courses, etc.) and couldn't care less about centerpieces. The venue had stock to choose from so I used their plain class vases with cream tealights and tapers. Easy, I didn't have do anything other than drop off the candles and they took care of the rest. I'd check with them first to see if they have any to choose from. 
    SP29
  • Does your venue have centerpieces you could use? I had a pretty similar wedding (evening, formal, passed apps, plated four courses, etc.) and couldn't care less about centerpieces. The venue had stock to choose from so I used their plain class vases with cream tealights and tapers. Easy, I didn't have do anything other than drop off the candles and they took care of the rest. I'd check with them first to see if they have any to choose from. 

    This is a good question! We're visiting our 3 venues we've narrowed down to on Friday, so will be asking all of them this question. I know one of them (my fav) provides votive candles
    charlotte989875
  • I don't think I've ever heard of someone who feels so strongly about centerpieces lol! Either this is your FI's "thing" or you're in for a long haul planning this wedding. 

    This is probably something y'all will need to compromise on. It would be odd to go to a formal wedding and have the tables be plain. I would probably think there was a planning snafu or that y'all were cheap, honestly. @MobKaz's idea of asking if there are candle centerpieces included is a good idea. You could spend like $5/table dressing them up with your colors somehow and/or get colored linens or charger plates or printed menus to dress up the table.

    Yep - I mean, this is my fear. Like I don't want to spend a ton of money and end up looking cheap just because I didn't finish the look, YK? 
    charlotte989875
  • Does your venue have centerpieces you could use? I had a pretty similar wedding (evening, formal, passed apps, plated four courses, etc.) and couldn't care less about centerpieces. The venue had stock to choose from so I used their plain class vases with cream tealights and tapers. Easy, I didn't have do anything other than drop off the candles and they took care of the rest. I'd check with them first to see if they have any to choose from. 

    This is a good question! We're visiting our 3 venues we've narrowed down to on Friday, so will be asking all of them this question. I know one of them (my fav) provides votive candles
    This was one of my venue questions too because I knew I didn't care about centerpieces but felt it would look weird without it. It was a big selling point in my book. 

    My venue had a huge store room where you could choose everything; table numbers, centerpieces, other decor if you wanted it. I pointed at what I liked and they took it from there. So much easier and I didn't have to pretend to care. 
    short+sassy
  • do you guys go out to eat at restaurants ever?  i'd start pointing out what is on the table each time to show him it doesn't have to be a full on palm tree or anything.  it can be subtle and beautiful, or quirky and fun, but do something! 
    short+sassySP29
  • Also, what type of venue?  We can brainstorm ideas to share with him.
  • edited December 2017
    kaos16 said:
    do you guys go out to eat at restaurants ever?  i'd start pointing out what is on the table each time to show him it doesn't have to be a full on palm tree or anything.  it can be subtle and beautiful, or quirky and fun, but do something! 

    Good point! We're not set on a venue yet, but looking at a zoo, museum, and hotel ballroom. The zoo is my favorite - they have a gorgeous ballroom right in the center. I would love to stay "on theme", but defintiely don't want to end up looking like a kid's bday party. 

    I love the idea of navy and champagne for my colors, and we don't love flowers in general
  • Can you also look at wedding photos of photographers you interview so you can see what the centerpieces looked like?  

    Ours were short arrangements specifically so you could see over them.   Our wedding wasn't formal but every table had flowers on it.   
  • kaos16kaos16
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
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    edited December 2017
    kaos16 said:
    do you guys go out to eat at restaurants ever?  i'd start pointing out what is on the table each time to show him it doesn't have to be a full on palm tree or anything.  it can be subtle and beautiful, or quirky and fun, but do something! 

    Good point! We're not set on a venue yet, but looking at a zoo, museum, and hotel ballroom. The zoo is my favorite - they have a gorgeous ballroom right in the center. I would love to stay "on theme", but defintiely don't want to end up looking like a kid's bday party. 

    I love the idea of navy and champagne for my colors, and we don't love flowers in general


    Oh, for a zoo you could do a few low votives and a classy animal print picture frame with the table number in it!

    (sorry the picture went to the wrong place)

    SP29
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
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    Ha - yeah you guys are definitely confirming my instinct. I don't want to spend a lot on decor, but we need *something*. I like the candle idea a lot, and think that goes with the ambiance we're looking for.

    Our plan is to go for a unique venue that "speaks for itself" and doesn't need a lot of dressing up. My FI is funny like that, we're mostly on the same page for wedding planning / priorities but sometimes he'll take it next level. Like I'll say "we don't need the most expensive photographer in town" and he'll be like, "oh yeah everyone will just take pics with their phones". Or this centerpiece thing, haha. 
    We did a venue that spoke for itself (Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock- views of the city). There was no point doing centerpieces as I expected people to be looking out the windows. The venue provided bud vases and candles, along with the frames for table numbers. See attached picture---

    With a formal wedding you're going to have a lot of stuff on the table anyway with the various glasses and silverwear. Would he be on board for this set-up?

    ________________________________


    charlotte989875short+sassySP29
  • Ha - yeah you guys are definitely confirming my instinct. I don't want to spend a lot on decor, but we need *something*. I like the candle idea a lot, and think that goes with the ambiance we're looking for.

    Our plan is to go for a unique venue that "speaks for itself" and doesn't need a lot of dressing up. My FI is funny like that, we're mostly on the same page for wedding planning / priorities but sometimes he'll take it next level. Like I'll say "we don't need the most expensive photographer in town" and he'll be like, "oh yeah everyone will just take pics with their phones". Or this centerpiece thing, haha. 
    We did a venue that spoke for itself (Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock- views of the city). There was no point doing centerpieces as I expected people to be looking out the windows. The venue provided bud vases and candles, along with the frames for table numbers. See attached picture---

    With a formal wedding you're going to have a lot of stuff on the table anyway with the various glasses and silverwear. Would he be on board for this set-up?


    I love this! I think this is perfect. We obvioulsy need some kind of table numbers, and there's a bunch of stuff dressing up the table besides a big floral centerpiece
    thisismynickname2
  • Ha - yeah you guys are definitely confirming my instinct. I don't want to spend a lot on decor, but we need *something*. I like the candle idea a lot, and think that goes with the ambiance we're looking for.

    Our plan is to go for a unique venue that "speaks for itself" and doesn't need a lot of dressing up. My FI is funny like that, we're mostly on the same page for wedding planning / priorities but sometimes he'll take it next level. Like I'll say "we don't need the most expensive photographer in town" and he'll be like, "oh yeah everyone will just take pics with their phones". Or this centerpiece thing, haha. 
    This was our venue (science museum!). We didn't want our decor to take away from the awesomeness of the venue, so we had very small centerpieces. I made table numbers, and then we had fake votive candles in a variety of holders (most of them were upcycled or thrifted) since our venue didn't allow real flames. 

    For a more formal wedding, it might look odd to have nothing on the table. If you don't want to spend a ton, start looking on Craiglist or neighborhood sale sites now! People often will sell their entire bundle of decorations, or large numbers of things like candles, mirrored glass squares, jars, etc etc etc. Also check with your venues, as they will sometimes have a stock room of decorations you can choose from if you're not picky. Our rehearsal dinner venue did that for us, and it was so nice to not even have to think about it.
    charlotte989875
  • Ha - yeah you guys are definitely confirming my instinct. I don't want to spend a lot on decor, but we need *something*. I like the candle idea a lot, and think that goes with the ambiance we're looking for.

    Our plan is to go for a unique venue that "speaks for itself" and doesn't need a lot of dressing up. My FI is funny like that, we're mostly on the same page for wedding planning / priorities but sometimes he'll take it next level. Like I'll say "we don't need the most expensive photographer in town" and he'll be like, "oh yeah everyone will just take pics with their phones". Or this centerpiece thing, haha. 
    We did a venue that spoke for itself (Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock- views of the city). There was no point doing centerpieces as I expected people to be looking out the windows. The venue provided bud vases and candles, along with the frames for table numbers. See attached picture---

    With a formal wedding you're going to have a lot of stuff on the table anyway with the various glasses and silverwear. Would he be on board for this set-up?


    I love this! I think this is perfect. We obvioulsy need some kind of table numbers, and there's a bunch of stuff dressing up the table besides a big floral centerpiece
    I love that pic too. Pulling it off totally depends on having a fully set table (seated, plated dinner) with either chargers or upcharged plates and printed menus. You can get cheap chargers online, craigslist, or even the dollar store I've heard as some.
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    charlotte989875KahluaKoalathisismynickname2
  • Ha - yeah you guys are definitely confirming my instinct. I don't want to spend a lot on decor, but we need *something*. I like the candle idea a lot, and think that goes with the ambiance we're looking for.

    Our plan is to go for a unique venue that "speaks for itself" and doesn't need a lot of dressing up. My FI is funny like that, we're mostly on the same page for wedding planning / priorities but sometimes he'll take it next level. Like I'll say "we don't need the most expensive photographer in town" and he'll be like, "oh yeah everyone will just take pics with their phones". Or this centerpiece thing, haha. 
    We did a venue that spoke for itself (Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock- views of the city). There was no point doing centerpieces as I expected people to be looking out the windows. The venue provided bud vases and candles, along with the frames for table numbers. See attached picture---

    With a formal wedding you're going to have a lot of stuff on the table anyway with the various glasses and silverwear. Would he be on board for this set-up?


    I love this! I think this is perfect. We obvioulsy need some kind of table numbers, and there's a bunch of stuff dressing up the table besides a big floral centerpiece
    I love that pic too. Pulling it off totally depends on having a fully set table (seated, plated dinner) with either chargers or upcharged plates and printed menus. You can get cheap chargers online, craigslist, or even the dollar store I've heard as some.

    Good tip, thanks
  • If you're doing round tables, there's going to be a big empty spot in the middle of all the place settings that will look weird with nothing there. That doesn't mean you need a traditional floral centerpiece, or even a candle if you're not into candles. Wine bottles and a table number work fine, for example. Maybe you just have one or a couple menus for the table, and that can be stood up in the middle with the table number. You could do a brightly colored fabric (like a runner, or a circle just for the middle, underneath it to close in the space more if you want.

    If you opt for rectangular tables, or long tables (rectangular tables end to end) you don't have as much of an "empty space" you need to fill, so that's something to consider. A colored table runner would brighten up the tables and be fine with no centerpieces, if anything. 
    short+sassySTARMOON44
  • Would it ruin it? No. But if you're looking at budget friendly things, here's a couple suggestions:

    1 - for our wedding, we got candles from ikea {they were less than $10 each} and dollar store frames. The intention was for someone at the table to "win" it but we dropped the ball. We gave away a bunch of the candles, but the frames we ended up keeping for Christmas. Printed a bunch of wedding photos, and gave them with gifts to family


    2 - wedding we were at in September had a stand with a number in the center with photo of bride & groom at a certain age at each table. Very simple but really cute.
    <a href="https://babysizer.com/geeky"><img src="https://babysizer.com/geeky-2018-06-08.jpg" alt="Babysizer Geeky Pregnancy Tracker"></a>
    short+sassy
  • Would it ruin it? No. But if you're looking at budget friendly things, here's a couple suggestions:

    1 - for our wedding, we got candles from ikea {they were less than $10 each} and dollar store frames. The intention was for someone at the table to "win" it but we dropped the ball. We gave away a bunch of the candles, but the frames we ended up keeping for Christmas. Printed a bunch of wedding photos, and gave them with gifts to family


    2 - wedding we were at in September had a stand with a number in the center with photo of bride & groom at a certain age at each table. Very simple but really cute.
    This is SO cute!
  • The tables are pretty barren without a centerpiece. Your wedding will look more like a convention or meeting, but if you are ok with that, you don’t NEED centerpeieces. Maybe you can doing teacups and old books at the thrift store for maybe $3/centrepiece. Easy! 
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