Wedding Etiquette Forum

Guests Taking Centerpieces

I'm not sure if this has already been asked but I couldn't find it anywhere.

If I don't want guests to take centerpieces with them (this is done a lot in my area), what would be the best way to tell them?  Post a note somewhere they would hopefully notice, like by where the escort cards are, or by where the card box is?  Place a note under each centerpiece, hoping that they would notice the note if they picked it up?  Have the DJ announce that centerpieces are not to be taken?  What do you think?

The reason is this.  Part of my centerpiece is a mason jar.  I was going to just buy some, they're about $10 for a dozen.  However, my Gram has all these really old blue tinted ones that were my great great grandmothers, and blue is one of my wedding colors and she offered for me to use them.  They've been sitting in her cellar for about 40 years.  I don't mind if a couple get taken because there are over 50, but I would like to return the majority to my Gram.

If I wrote a note to guests, whether posting it by a table or under the centerpieces, I would probably put something like "We request that you please not take the blue mason jars.  They belonged to the bride's great great grandmother," so they know we have an actual reason.

Any suggestions are welcome, even new ideas I didn't mention!! Thanks!!
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Re: Guests Taking Centerpieces

  • Does your venue have a coordinator you can ask to monitor the centerpieces and politely stop any guest trying to take them?
  • No, we don't have a coordinator.  It is just at our church hall.
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  • I've never heard of people taking centerpieces before our DJ actually said it's a really great way to get people to dance by giving them away.  I don't want people to take ours, so I'll be waiting to hear what responses you get.


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  • I would have the DJ announce it.
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  • I was worried about it, too, because we had a family friend do all of our flowers (bouquets, centerpieces, etc.) and knew some of what was involved were his personal property or were rented. We didn't say anything about the centerpieces until the end of the night, when he said people could take them as long as they left the metal stands they were on.

    No one took them before we made an announcement saying that could, and even then, not many were taken.
  • Honestly?  If they're that sentimental I wouldn't use them at all.

    Sure, they would be a great touch but I don't think it's worth worrying over if someone takes them or not.  Buy the $10/dozen jars and spend the night worry-free.

    I've been to weddings where people have taken the centerpieces  and just shrugged it off, but if a DJ announced "Don't take the centerpieces" I would think the bride was neurotic.
  • I would have the DJ announce it and also have some of your close family members be on the look out as the night starts winding down. 

    Nobody was taking ours until we asked people to PLEASE TAKE THEM via the DJ because we had no interest in taking them home.  So I'm sure it'll work just fine in reverse. 

  • I think it's fine if you have the dj announce for people not to take them.  
  • You could tell people at the end that they are welcome to take the flowers, but to please leave the vases behind.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_guests-taking-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:5d256738-13e7-4f32-94ee-fbceea21bf81Post:c7491f4a-e4f8-4704-b874-e7228800990c">Re: Guests Taking Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE]You could tell people at the end that they are welcome to take the flowers, but to please leave the vases behind.
    Posted by pkontk[/QUOTE]

    I think that's the best way to do it.  If someone made an announcement not to take the centerpeices I would think "well, duh" but if they said "You're welcome to take the flowers but please leave the mason jars!"  I'd think "oh, nice!  Imma take home some flowers!"

  • I'd have your MC announce please not to take the centerpieces.

    This really doesn't happen in my area - but from time to time we go to a wedding where they announce not to take them.
  • Honestly, I wouldn't use anything for decor in a wedding if it would upset me to see it get broken or go missing.  
  • I'd say 50% of the weddings I've been to have had some kind of centerpiece giveaway game. If there was no game, I would never think to take them and to be honest most of the time I wouldn't want them anyway.

    I agree with PPs who have suggested having the DJ make an annoucement.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_guests-taking-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:5d256738-13e7-4f32-94ee-fbceea21bf81Post:1d0ff314-191f-435c-b0b4-a54f9526ce83">Re: Guests Taking Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE]Honestly, I wouldn't use anything for decor in a wedding if it would upset me to see it get broken or go missing.  
    Posted by NOLAbridealmost[/QUOTE]

    I agree with this. It would be a pain to have to watch everyone who's walking out the door to make sure they didn't take anything, and it might sound strange for the DJ to say anything about not taking the vases, although it would be better if, like PPs have suggested, having the DJ tell people that they can take the flowers if they want.

    But if you're into DIY stuff, I found this:

    <a href="http://chickensintheroad.com/house/crafts/coloring-mason-jars/" rel="nofollow">http://chickensintheroad.com/house/crafts/coloring-mason-jars/</a>

    You could use some of your grandmothers (at your table and maybe the parent tables) but then use the ones you made at the other tables so it wouldn't matter so much if people took the entire centerpiece.
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  • I'm sure at some point you'll be giving a speech during the night. So you can always add, I'd like to thank my grandmother who loaned me the beautiful blue mason jars that are part of the centerpieces. They belonged to my great grandmother. If you like the flowers (or whatever you put in them) feel free to take those at the end of the night but please leave the jars so that we can continue to pass them down through our family.

  • Thank you so much for your responses!!!

    cppm1223-thanks so much for that link.  I never even thought to look for that.  And if I just buy mason jars and do it that way, I can actually make the blue a little darker than my Gram's mason jars to match my colors better!

    I am going to check with my Gram first to see if she minds me not using them.  I stopped at her house the other day and she was down in the basement counting and cleaning her jars for me!!! (I would have done that myself!!).  If she still wants me to use them, I will just have the DJ announce that people can feel free to take the small lace jars, candles, wreaths, etc. and leave the blue jars.  That makes a lot more sense.  There are plenty of parts to my centerpieces that I don't care about people taking.

    Thank you all for your VERY quick and helpful advice!
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  • I've been warned by the younger generation of my soontobe inlaws that taking the centerpieces is very common in Asian cultures. There's no way this can happen at out wedding since the majority of the centerpieces belong to the venue and the rest belong to family members. A few of the coordinators we spoke with brought it up as well. Our solution will be having the coordinator's staff and the required security guard stand by the door as people are leaving and only say something if someone tries to leave with one.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_guests-taking-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:5d256738-13e7-4f32-94ee-fbceea21bf81Post:fbd9b8d4-4e86-4afb-a874-9c87d563dc82">Re: Guests Taking Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE]I'm sure at some point you'll be giving a speech during the night. So you can always add, I'd like to thank my grandmother who loaned me the beautiful blue mason jars that are part of the centerpieces. They belonged to my great grandmother. If you like the flowers (or whatever you put in them) feel free to take those at the end of the night but please leave the jars so that we can continue to pass them down through our family.
    Posted by Erikan73[/QUOTE]

    <div>I like this idea best. If a few go broken, you said it was okay? Because it's always nice to have a personal touch in weddings, too. </div>
  • Ooh, I really like the speech idea too!!! I just saw that.  You must have posted almost the same time as me and I missed it before!  That is a really nice idea.
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  • Unfortunately, this is common in our area also. The truly good pieces that I could not bear to have taken went on our sweetheart table. For the rest of it, my DOC went through towards the end of the night & collected all of the center vases with flowers. She put them all on a long table by the exit. That way, if someone wanted one, they could take it from her on the way out. The center vases were from the $.99 store. The smaller vases were the expensive ones that I didn’t want taken. This way, people got something, but only what I wanted.

     

    Maybe you can ask if someone can collect all of the bouquets & place them somewhere that people can take if they want. That way they understand that the flowers are ok, but the jars aren’t. I didn’t want to do an announcement because I felt it was tacky. But if I didn’t have someone to do that job, then I may have done it. 
  • Seems like it would mean a lot to your Grandma to use the jars.  I like the idea of during a speech to thank your Grandmother for letting you BORROW the jars that were your great grandmothers.  Hopefully then people realize these aren't for taking. 
  • yoshijoyoshijo member
    100 Comments
    edited August 2012
    I agree not using anything that you don'twant  people to take. Where I am from it is very common for people to want the centerpieces and the dj usually announces who gets it (maybe the first one to rsvp at the table). Even if he does not announce it, it is assumed that people can take them. Again, this is just what is common in my area.
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  • I agree with others. If you would be devastated if they were taken or broken, it's best to not use them.

    If you really want to use them, perhaps write a cute note at each table stating that they are your something "borrowed" and write their antique history. IF they know they are you something borrowed, they probably will understand not to take them...though, never a guarantee
  • jasmynelewisjasmynelewis member
    10 Comments
    edited August 2012
    My BFF got married about a year ago and had a beautiful old Hollywwod type wedding and reception. The centerpieces were these really cool black and white feathers in a plug in light up vase. They stood about 2.5 or 3 ft tall. They were gorgeous. Apparently everyone else thought so too because all but two disappeared. We had no idea people did this and never knew to tell people not to take them. They were expensive and she had planned to resale them on recycle bride. She was really upset and there was nothing we could do at that point. I found it a really rude thing for guests to do.
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