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Reception Ideas

Fish Bowl Centerpieces

Our reception is going to be held in the Cleveland Metroparks - an area consisting of beautiful trees and ponds - I am having a hard time coming up with good a good centerpiece idea - and yesterday my fiance's mom gave me an idea - to have a fish bowl with three or four navy and pink fish (our colors) as the centerpiece for each table - she also said that she would take all of the fish after the reception and keep them - does anyone like/dislike this idea? Please help!!
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Re: Fish Bowl Centerpieces

  • Oh, boy.....this could be fun!  The advice that you're going to get here, and I agree, is that this is a terrible idea.  Living creatures are NOT props for a wedding.

    There are stories galore here about people who did this and.....their drunken frat brothers thought it would be funny to pour scotch into the bowl and see what happened to the fish.....their other drunken frat buddy thought it would be hilarious to take the fish out of the bowl and watch it flop around......tipsy Uncle Fred was goaded into eating a fish...... some of the fish died and were floating belly up by the time the reception started.......the fish pooped and the guests watched a fish with a long trail of poop while they were eating dinner.......no one took them at the end of the reception and they were flushed away.

    It's just cruel.  The water for fish has to be the correct pH.  You can't just randomly put fish in a tank because the colors look pretty together.  Certain breed of fish will fight to the death in the same tank.  (We have fish tanks in our home).

    Please, please, please don't do this.  It's just an awful idea. 
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
  • Thanks for your input! My fiance's mom is extremely knowledgeable about fish - has a few tanks in her house and would never let the wrong fish be together in a bowl. Additionally, I wouldn't just throw fish in a bowl with the wrong water - we know whatwe are doing.

    Also - I do not know a single person who would harm an animal for fun - even if they were drunk.
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  • Animals aren't decorations. They're living creatures.

    I don't really want to watch a fish swimming around and pooping while I'm trying to eat. Especially if I'm eating a fish dinner. Gross. And what happens if one goes belly-up during dinner? Not a great thing to see, especially at a wedding.

    Your FMIL will likely have enough to do, and enough people to greet/chat with, at your wedding. Transporting several dozen fish around on top of all that seems like a logistical nightmare for her. She should be relaxing and enjoying your special day, not worrying about all these fish.

    What happens if someone knocks the bowl over and a fish is flopping around on the table and dying? Not a pleasant thought for your guests, and the poor fish!

    Having fish outside is a LOT different than having them at home in an aquarium/controlled environment. Temperatures, pprecipitation, bugs, maybe even predators (you don't want a bird or a squirrel or something hopping up onto the tables to try and get the fish) will all affect their well-being.  

    <strong><u>PLEASE</u></strong> do something else. Flowers, candles, fish bowls with floating flower heads or floating candles or full of cranberries (no fish), framed photos, bowls of fruit, silk flowers, etc. You will get a ton of great ideas on this board if you ask for non-floral centerpiece ideas.

    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_fish-bowl-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:62f42d66-83d2-40c4-9a99-39e965fd3a36Post:cb812830-efab-4b3b-9713-b5ffb98c6402">Re: Fish Bowl Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE]Also - I do not know a single person who would harm an animal for fun - even if they were drunk.
    Posted by SLWoody[/QUOTE]

    You might be surprised.
    image
  • Good point about them going "belly up" during dinner - how awful that would be! Guess I wont be using them - thank you for your input!
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  • I agree with PPs. I'd say stick to the fishbowl vase/bowl as the centerpiece but fill with something else like flowers etc.  We are using smaller fishbowls and clipping carnations short to put 4 in each bowl, it really fills the top. This way, if people want to take them home, they can empty the bowls of water and refill when they get home. Or if we have to empty/transport them, it will make things easier.  There are so many things you can do with the fishbowl while avoiding all the potential nightmares filling them with live fish can bring, get creative! (Pebbles, colored glass, etc, check out Michaels, plenty of ideas)
    Crosswalk
  • I once saw a fishbowl CP filled with cranberries and topped off with red and orange roses. GORGEOUS.
    image
  • I had a friend who used goldfish in her centerpieces. It turned out beautifully...but the work involved was outrageous. Aside from the risk of death or mistreatment to the fish (fortunately on this occasion there were neither)...it's just not very easy to accomplish. By the time we were finished setting up the reception...all of us were soaking wet (as was the floor) and we were all cursing the bride and hoping to never walk past an aquarium again.
  • duckie1905duckie1905 member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited February 2010
    DH and I am amateur aquarists too (and have multiple saltwater and freshwater tanks) and I find it appalling that your MIL would be in favor of this.  Fish are living creatures.  They aren't props for your wedding.

    Even if YOU think they are being treated properly, they don't like living in bowls, even for a little while.  They will be stressed and without filtration, waste will build up quickly in the bowls (which will undoubtedly be less than a gallon in size), which is completely awful.  How would you like it to be scared and basically stored in a bowl of your own (and another fish's) waste so you can be someone's else's wedding prop?

    Not to mention that you'll probably need marine fish for the colors you are describing.  They require special care above your average goldfish (which still shouldn't be used strictly for your amusement) and would likely die before dinner was through.
  • I would use the fish bowls and fill with pebbles, water, and floating or submerged flowers. I agree that living creatures should not be used for your amusement or as wedding props.
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  • I find it offensive honestly. 
  • Living creatures are not decorations. Every time I have seen fish used as centerpieces (and they always serve fish as the main meal to go along with it...?), the fish are dead before dinner even starts which does kill people's appetites. I have yet to meet anyone who has tried to swallow them (even in the supposed age range where this is done) because they're dead before that point. I've also seen some people force guests to take home dead fish as souveniers, claiming they're just sleeping.

    Really, it's no different from using a kitten or a puppy for a centerpiece. Even folks who can't stand PETA will agree with that.


  • I love fish.  We had a summer wedding and we used Betta fish as centerpieces.  We incorporated that into our wedding.  They are very durable fish.  Our guests loved the fishes. 




  • I think its a cool idea, very unique.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_fish-bowl-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:62f42d66-83d2-40c4-9a99-39e965fd3a36Post:d9c1cd19-14e0-43d0-933a-8427204346c6">Re: Fish Bowl Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think its a cool idea, very unique.
    Posted by zookeeper1983[/QUOTE]
    It's not unique obviously and definitely not "cool". Given your screenname, one would assume you would prefer to be much more humane toward living creatures.
  • What I find appalling is not so much the fact SLWoody would consider using fish as a centerpiece....but the fact that several other knotties can't seem to express their own thoughts and opinions in a tactful way. Attacking another knottie because of her screenname or making assumptions about the morals of someone's mother-in-law in lieu of the fact that she owns fish herself, or even just posting content that can be hurtful rather than constructive is completely inappropriate. Please, state your opinion and supporting reasons, but the aggressive/negative comments are offensive and unnecessary.
  • I think it could work out quite well.  (To everyone who has said that it would be very inhumane: Aren't flowers living creatures as well?  What happens to them when we cut them off of their stems and put them in bunches for our own enjoyment? <they DIE!!)

    I would be very careful with how I set them up and how the fish are handled - a dead fish would not be a pretty sight.  II have seen fish centerpieces before and they are very beautiful - and I was not in the least grossed out by looking at them.  However, when it comes down to it, Its your wedding - do what makes YOU happy.  Don't worry about what others are thinking.
  • So essentially to the people who disagree with the idea: you disapprove of owning a pet, or an aquarium?

    I'm confused. Let's just assume there is no torture or mistreatment of the fish for a second here. It's wrong to have a fish in a fishbowl? Is that the concern?

    I just don't see that if you are owning the fish as pets and use them as centerpieces, that you're using them as "props". It seems more of just sharing the company of your pets. Again, maybe you all think it's wrong to own pets? Or is it wrong because of the fishbowl instead of the fishtank? I mean, I want to use my kitten as a ring-bearer (my fiance said no way of course), but I wouldn't consider that exploitation....I just love my cat

    To the original poster: I would suggest against it because, aside from possible torture/mistreatment and 'moral' considerations,  too many things could go wrong. It could get knocked over, drinks could be spilled, a fish might die. Any number of things could happen. How about a ceramic fish, or postcards. If you want to honor the nature aspect, you could even donate to the nature reserve and do that as favors instead.
    BFP #1: 11.21.12; (EDD 7.30.13); missed M/C 12.21.12 @ 8w4d
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_fish-bowl-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:62f42d66-83d2-40c4-9a99-39e965fd3a36Post:2111057d-0bd8-4f5d-87ed-da31b38794b9">Re: Fish Bowl Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE]So essentially to the people who disagree with the idea: you disapprove of owning a pet, or an aquarium? I'm confused.
    Posted by meladoriestar[/QUOTE]
    There is no relation between the two at all and you are putting words in other people's mouths. Being a responsible pet owner is worlds away from treating animals as disposable decorations. Most pets don't appreciate being subjected to strange loud environment, such as a wedding or other public event, where they don't have any refuge if they get traumatized.
  • >>There is no relation between the two at all and you are putting words in other people's mouths. Being a responsible pet owner is worlds away from treating animals as disposable decorations. Most pets don't appreciate being subjected to strange loud environment, such as a wedding or other public event, where they don't have any refuge if they get traumatized<<

    I actually believed I asked a question. The part about me being confused seems to indicate NOT jumping to conclusions...I'm not making a counter-point to yours, I'm just trying to figure out what yours is.

    However, I don't think she was considering fish as disposable. Also, do we know that the wedding is going to be a big loud event or a small more intimate one?

    How do you feel about fishtanks in schools or daycares, or in homes with young children?
    BFP #1: 11.21.12; (EDD 7.30.13); missed M/C 12.21.12 @ 8w4d
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_fish-bowl-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:62f42d66-83d2-40c4-9a99-39e965fd3a36Post:2111057d-0bd8-4f5d-87ed-da31b38794b9">Re: Fish Bowl Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE] I just don't see that if you are owning the fish as pets and use them as centerpieces, that you're using them as "props". It seems more of just sharing the company of your pets. Again, maybe you all think it's wrong to own pets? Or is it wrong because of the fishbowl instead of the fishtank?<div>
    </div><div>To the original poster:<strong> I would suggest against it because, aside from possible torture/mistreatment and 'moral' considerations,  too many things could go wrong. It could get knocked over, drinks could be spilled, a fish might die. Any number of things could happen.</strong> 
    Posted by meladoriestar[/QUOTE]

    </div><div>Didn't you just answer your own question?</div>
  • My fiance and i just got engaged and I've been trying to come up with a centerpiece myself! I actually had the same idea as your fiance's mom, but i was thinking just a tad differently.... A fish bowl with one Betta fish with a floating candle. I personally think it would be fun! :) So don't be afraid to do something out of the norm!

  • >>Didn't you just answer your own question?<<

    I can understand why it is a bad idea, but not necessarily why it's so outrageously offensive to people. It's the same way I feel about having outdoor cats: I can understand the concern people have and the dangers that exist, and I would base it on location and whatnot, but I don't find it inherently wrong, offensive, or immoral. All lives encounter risk of "things going wrong"
    BFP #1: 11.21.12; (EDD 7.30.13); missed M/C 12.21.12 @ 8w4d
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_fish-bowl-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:62f42d66-83d2-40c4-9a99-39e965fd3a36Post:225be3fe-8281-4a9e-af54-5dc305e7d908">Re: Fish Bowl Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE]Also, do we know that the wedding is going to be a big loud event or a small more intimate one? How do you feel about fishtanks in schools or daycares, or in homes with young children?
    Posted by meladoriestar[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Regardless of the noise level of the wedding, the fish would be moved and put in small bowls.  Their water would probably be changed.  The temperature of the water will most certainly change.  And then they'd be moved again.  And most people let guests take them home, so who knows what kind of care they'll receive then...</div><div>
    </div><div>A fish tank in a daycare, elementary school, hospital, etc. is the fish's HOME.  Being moved there is traumatic, but the fish will stay there and get acclimated.  Living in a tank at a daycare is not the same as being hauled/sloshed around twice in one day to go to a wedding...

    </div>
  • Honestly in my opinion, using fish as a centerpiece can be beautiful and I don't think it's cruel at all.

    If you wanted to distract people's attention away from the fish, but still use them you could use a vase and fill it with flowers. I've googled some pictures and some of the ideas are gorgeous.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_fish-bowl-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:62f42d66-83d2-40c4-9a99-39e965fd3a36Post:0018c4ce-95ff-4527-a056-d2073d1403f0">Re: Fish Bowl Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE]My fiance and i just got engaged and I've been trying to come up with a centerpiece myself! I actually had the same idea as your fiance's mom, but i was thinking just a tad differently.... <strong>A fish bowl with one Betta fish with a floating candle. I personally think it would be fun! :)</strong> So don't be afraid to do something out of the norm!
    Posted by britt_keith[/QUOTE]

    <div>Yeah, it'll be SO FUN when your guests are eating dinner and looking at dead fish!!!  FUN, FUN, FUN!!!  The candles will release toxins that will kill the fish.  Grow up.</div>
  • >>Regardless of the noise level of the wedding, the fish would be moved and put in small bowls.  Their water would probably be changed.  The temperature of the water will most certainly change.  And then they'd be moved again.  And most people let guests take them home, so who knows what kind of care they'll receive then...

    A fish tank in a daycare, elementary school, hospital, etc. is the fish's HOME.  Being moved there is traumatic, but the fish will stay there and get acclimated.  Living in a tank at a daycare is not the same as being hauled/sloshed around twice in one day to go to a wedding...<<

    Ok, so this is the first actual explanation I've seen thus far of why it might be unethical to do this. Thank you. I may have been playing Devil's Advocate a bit because I honestly didn't see anyone explain why they were so offended. There was just a lot of nonsense before.

    What you say does make a lot of sense, and in that sense I can definitely say I agree it is a bad idea. Though I might not go so far as to call it necessarily unethical...I'm undecided on that...animals are resilient and I'm not sure the stress would traumatize it for life. However, it might, and unnecessary stress in the animal's life is NOT the way to share the joy of a pet etc, as I had suggested in my first point.

    BUT:
    />>Yeah, it'll be SO FUN when your guests are eating dinner and looking at dead fish!!!  FUN, FUN, FUN!!!  The candles will release toxins that will kill the fish.  Grow up.<<

    You could probably stand to grow up a bit too. Stick with the comments that actually explain your reasoning, instead of attacking people who might not have thought of the point, or who might actually just disagree about it...
    BFP #1: 11.21.12; (EDD 7.30.13); missed M/C 12.21.12 @ 8w4d
  • In addition, when fish are moved a lot or are under extreme stress, they produce more waste than the normally would.  In a small bowl, with no water movement, filtration, or water changes, the fish is basically swimming in a bowl of its own excrement.  This increasing its chances of dying by raising the amount of toxins in the water.  I'm also guessing that there aren't many humans that would appreciate swimming in a bowl of their own waste.

    As someone else said, there is also no temperature regulation as well as the chance for things to be spilled into, or water knocked out of the bowl, which can prove to be deadly.

    As for the candle idea: that is one fast way to kill a fish.  So, you'd like floating candle and dead betta centerpieces?

    DH and I own 4 tanks (2 salt, 2 fresh).  The difference between our tanks and a wedding centerpiece is huge.  We care for our fish by feeding them, not exposing them to stress (especially the constant movement probably required to make them a centerpiece), keeping them in a proper size environment, doing regular water changes, caring for them when they are sick, etc.  We are sad when a fish dies and invest our time and money into making our tanks a nice place for our fish.  I'd doubt any bride that used fish for her centerpieces would care so much beyond being disgusted at the sight of a belly up fish.  To us they are a source of amusement and fun, but we also have the responsibility to take care of them.

    And no, we aren't crazy fish people but we aren't allowed to own any other pets in our condo.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_fish-bowl-centerpieces?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:62f42d66-83d2-40c4-9a99-39e965fd3a36Post:0018c4ce-95ff-4527-a056-d2073d1403f0">Re: Fish Bowl Centerpieces</a>:
    [QUOTE]My fiance and i just got engaged and I've been trying to come up with a centerpiece myself! I actually had the same idea as your fiance's mom, but i was thinking just a tad differently.... A fish bowl with one Betta fish with a floating candle. I personally think it would be fun! :) So don't be afraid to do something out of the norm!
    Posted by britt_keith[/QUOTE]
    Never put a fish in the same bowl as a floating candle since the candle will deplete the oxygen from the water, killing the fish.
  • I love this idea and Betas work great (one per bowl)...My husband is a marine biologist and he also thinks it's a cool idea.  Beta's and golfish live in fishbowls.  I see no harm in the bowl being on your dinner table...the same fishbowl and the same fish would end up on someones kitchen counter anyway!

     
  • OMG! You people should be ashamed of yourselves. All this woman did was ask for your opinions, not for you to critisize her and yell at her and tell her that her mil is a horrible person. That is just not right. All she was looking for was a little constructive advice. And then on top of that you people are yelling at other people at this thread you said it's a good idea. You all need to keep your nasty, negative opinions to yourself.

    To the girl that started this thread, I personally don't think fish would be a good idea but it's your wedding and if you want to do it don't let anyone tell you different. If you would like to do something simple yet elegant an idea would be something maybe like mini fish bowls filled with water and floating candles that match your wedding colors. I'm doing that along with some fake flowers that match my wedding flower which will be spread on the table with some iridescent confetti to pick up the other surrounding colors. Just an idea. You can google tons of other ideas.
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