Eco-Friendly Weddings

Flower-Free Reception Centerpieces

Anyone have an idea for a flower-free centerpiece that is eco-friendly as well as budget friendly...The wedding is in the summer, in the mountains, about 100 guests, long banquet style tables, indoors in a lodge, and about an 8 hour drive away, so we`ll have to tote it all, so hopefully something that can withstand the commute and can be set up easily the morning of or evening before. Also, nothing too fresh, the nearest decent-sized town is 3.5 hours away.

Re: Flower-Free Reception Centerpieces

  • Oh, and colors are sage-green and naturals (beige, browns, etc.) For menu card holders, I saw a great picture on the nest gallery of a small log notched to hold the menu card and the favors on the table being either pots of honey or spruce tree saplings wrapped in burlap, so something in keeping with the natural theme. The table cloth is the last picture, a green satin fabric.

  • Here`s the tablecloth:

  • Wow, I love your wedding!  I'm also trying to plan a kind of natural, rustic, better for the environment reception.  I love the notched tree branches for menu card holders or seat holders at the escort table.  For my wedding, I'm thinking of using a woodburning kit to put the dates or our initials on the bottom. 

    I'm told the Arbor Day Foundation will send you saplings wrapped in burlap for a donation.  I haven't done too much research on it yet, but I'm thinking of offering those as favors at my reception.  Supposedly, they come with printed cards on how/when/where to plant the tree. 

    For my centerpieces, I like the look of flowering branches in tall vases, but it would be possible to nix the flowers and just use branches.  I'm sure if you start now, you'll be able to gather enough of them in varying widths and heights to make an interesting piece.  I'm thinking of hanging glass tealight holders from them at my wedding and possibly including leaves from outside just kind of stuck in among the branches.  This way, it's all locally found and not shipped in from South America and what you collect will be pesticide/fungicide free.

    Hope this helps!  If i find any pictures of what I'm envisioning, I'll pass them along!

  • i am going flower-free as well and i will be collecting twigs in my yard this fall for the reception. i am doing flea market finds for table decor (old books, vases, figurines, etc - see my planning bio) and any vases i have i will use twigs. i know that doesn't really help you since i will be hauling a crap ton of stuff and i don't suggest that for your long trip, but i definitely agree with PP about the twigs. they are easy to transport and i really love they way they look in place of flowers. you can do mason jars from the second hand store, they are hardy containers and they can double as lanterns with candles.
    stacey you have some great ideas :) i thought about doing the saplings but everyone has to travel so i'm not sure the little guys would make it to even get planted :(
    Visit The Nest! Visit The Nest! Visit The Nest! Anniversary
  • I know some people have used items/toys/shoes/clothes from their childhood in cobination with nice rocks, twiggs etc... Depending on how big you want the centerpieces :)
    I love flowers, so I think I have to have some... But I'm consiedering potted plants in many colours... I still have some time to decide :)
  • I'm trying to stay away from cut-flowers as well.

    I've seen some beautiful photos of smooth river rocks mixed with candles in votives along the table.

    People have also taken branches or other natural elements and painted them in their colors. I also love drift wood which can be decorated with ribbon or candles.

    Lanterns and candles are always fabulous!

    Vases with fruits can be lovely too. Apples and pears would look steller. You can also incorporate your favors into table decorations.

    If you're a nature lover and have taken photos on trips that you love, you could easily have a bunch of 5x7 and 8x10 pics printed up and put them in those little photo stands that you see for people's desks and what not. It's cheap, easy to transport, shows off your (of family/friends/or fav photographer) photos, can be reused and are good conversation starters.

    Good luck!

  • we also went with a no cut flower wedding concept (except for the 5 sunflowers in my bouquet), and it turned out really well. 

    we went with a single potted plant  and we requested that one person (whose birthday was closest to our wedding date) per table take it home when they left.t  my father in law took 22 cuttings off his massive jade plant when he heard we were engaged, and grew them for the entire 18 months of our engagement.  as the wedding got closer he repotted them into pots that matched our decor (thank you  ikea!), and they looked outstanding on the tables.  we placed 5 votive candles around each pot, and it all looked beautiful.  
     guests loved them, and we avoided the cost (both environmental and financial) of having cut flowers.  good luck, you're on the right path! 
  • You might be interested in viewing my blog, Something Green ( We feature daily tips, resources, DIY projects and inspiration to help brides plan stylish and modern green weddings. We frequently feature flower-free centerpiece options and also have a range of ideas in our archives section. 
  • @vlevitt I love that idea! I've thought about potted plants but was wondering what to do with them after! 
  • For our centerpieces, we're using aluminum window boxes planted with grass and laying them down the length of the tables on top of a yellow table runer.
  • I picked green glass bottles from the recycle center, cleaned them and peeled them label. then picked some leaves from the neighborhood trees and let them dry between the yellow pages and glue them to the bottle, and will place a soy candle. Voila it was very nice and inexpensive and keep me busy for a couple of hours.
    Go green.
  • Here's a mock up of my centerpiece. It's dried grasses that I collected this spring. Free and eco-friendly! I will use lots of candles on each table and I'm probably going to use the same log with a slit in it idea you have pictured above to display the table names.
    Before I decided on the grasses I also thought about potted plants or succulents. AS suggested above you could let guests take them or you can plant them at your house, donate to a nursing home, etc....

    image 125 made the cut! RSVP date--August 22
    image 108 are ready for photobooth fun! image 19 are camera-shy!
    image 0 Can't find the post office!
  • I love branches, and on long tables, I REALLY love thick, driftwood-like branches laid horizontally.
  • If the leaves have changed, you could clip some branches with the colored leaves on them and put those in vases or repurposed wine bottles!
  • We are having a rustic early Sept wedding.  The ceremony is in a state park by the river and the reception is in the lodge.  Our centerpieces are going to be recycled harvest buckets with recycled burlap bags and filled with different types of apples.  So the guests can eat the centerpeices if they'd like and at the end of the night they can take them home. 
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