Wedding Etiquette Forum

WR: Guests taking centerpieces. WWYD? A little long.

Hi all~ last night my fiance brought up something that had not even crossed my mind.
I was showing him the concept that I had about how I would like for my centerpieces to be.

They will be two different centerpieces (one is a lamp and the other is a giant vase with a pomander on top) and both rather large as well as some damask votives and holders I plan to DIY.
He stated that he thought that they would be too difficult for guests to take home and I should consider downsizing them as well as just having one centerpiece instead of two.

I disagreed and said that I have no plans in giving the centerpieces as gifts. I have never heard of guests taking centerpieces. I thought that was what the favors (our candy bar, btw) were for? My parents and I have and are buying most of my materials with the mindset that I can reuse them in the future.

My question is how do I appropriately make it known that the centerpieces are not to be taken? I feel weird putting it on paper or even announcing it. I don't think that putting a label on the bottom will deter anyone either. Any help is appreciated.
Thanks in advance!

Re: WR: Guests taking centerpieces. WWYD? A little long.

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    I had never heard of guests taking centerpieces before The Knot. I would never assume I could just take one. I don't think you need to say anything.
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    I kind of had the same issue, I had never heard of that before and then someone told me it would happen no matter what I did. My centerpieces ended up being a bunch of different bud vases and candle holders, and I figured if some of them were taken I wouldn't care, but from what I can tell not a single one of them was taken, so I guess it didnt' matter.

    However, BIL got married on Halloween this year, and at the very end of the reception they specifically told everyone to take the centerpieces, so I got to take one of those home :)  So I know it does happen, but I've never seen someone just take one without asking at least, but again apparently sometimes they do.
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    I only think of people taking centerpieces home when they are low level flower arrangements - and generally it is family members. Do you think your guests would try taking them home without asking? If someone did, the centerpieces sound large enough that your family would be able to stop them before they walked out the door. I do not think an announcement or note is appropriate.
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    I think all you can do is to not broadcast that the centerpieces are up for grabs.

    Ideally you'll be greeting guests (or your parents will be greeting guests) as they leave so if you see them leaving with one, just say, "Oh those aren't for the guests to take home."

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    Thats a tough call....most of the weddings I've been to around here people do take the centerpieces; but the centerpieces have always been flowers which may be why.  Also the DJ usuallly gets involved and points out who gets them at each table, which may be why people assume its okay to do.  I can't imagine thinking its ok to be taking vases or votives though.

    That said, I can't imagine people just assuming they can go taking them yours like that, although I know that issue has come up on here before.  I don't know that you need to mention it though.  Maybe just let it go for now and if it is an issue at the end and someone actively tries to walk out with one someone can mention it then.
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    It's a regional thing - it's very common in my area, but most people do floral centerpieces.  But the DJ usually makes it known.

    I agree with having one of the venue staff keep an eye out for it and letting people know.
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    Honestly, I never even thought of it. My vases were rented from the florist, so it's a good thing no one took them. I would never think I could just take something unless I was told I could do so.
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    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I'm just going to let someone at the venue keep an eye out and maybe spread it by word of mouth.
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    I agree as this being a regional thing. It is very common in my area - however guests usually don't go around taking them off tables unless the DJ announces it or a member of the family (usually Bride's Mom/Grandma) informs guests by word of mouth.

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    I don't know if its a regional thing here, but I know my younger cousins on my mom's side do it.  I've been at weddings with them before, and when they get ready to leave they run around grabbing all the centerpieces they can hold on to.  I can definitely see them doing it at my wedding, but our centerpieces will be heavy, so I'm hoping that will discourage them.  We will also be having security since we're serving booze, so I'll just have them stop anyone who tries.
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    agree with some of the PPs that it must be regional. Every single wedding I've been to included guests bringing home centerpieces. However, the norm in my area are the very high elaborate floral centerpieces so it would be a waste for them to be thrown out esp. bc they often cost 150-250 per centerpiece. I would never think to take one unless it was announced that I could even though it is the norm around here. Also, if it was not floral I would never think it would be ok to take it. You should be fine.
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    I guess this is a norm that varies, because I have never heard of anyone taking centerpieces, and certainly no one took any of ours. I know it's been discussed here a few times before, but personally I would think that if you have favours, it would be fairly obvious that it was not a free-for-all on the centerpieces. 
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    It's a pretty common thing here too, but usually the DJ gets involved.  If not, I have seen people just taking them anyway, usually the older crowd; they're used to the idea.

    I know that people on the Jersey board have said their guests have walked away with their rented centerpieces and they've had to foot the bill.
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    I have heard of it, and occasionally seen it at  more casual events where the flowers will just be thrown away. 

    But the hosts usually offer them to guess or make an announcement, and they are usually smaller flower arrangements in inexpensive containers. 

    But weddings are often more upscale now, with more elaborate centerpieces or rented vases, etc...  so less likely to happen at a nicer venue. 

    One wedding I went to last year, someone was mistakenly giving away the small glass containers with floating candles, but it turned out the bride wanted to keep them.  Out of seventy five candles, there were about 20 left. 

    You might spread the word among the venue staff that the centerpieces are spoken for, and you are not giving them away. 
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