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3 DIY Centerpieces for Frugal Weddings & Special Events

When you’ve budgeted for a big event like a wedding, you typically think of the major expenses: venue, catering, etc. But once it’s time to nail down your décor, it’s common to get a bit of sticker shock. You might find yourself questioning why it costs hundreds or even thousands to add a simple bouquet of flowers in a vase to each table.

Centerpieces can be a costly addition to your expense sheet, especially if it’s a bigger event. So how can you add a little bit of decoration to each table without going over budget? Try any of these DIY centerpiece ideas that cost a fraction of what the pros would charge but look just as lovely.


1. Antique Book Centerpiece

This centerpiece consists of a small stack of older books in the center of the table. It adds color, height, texture and beauty in one simple and affordable package. Plus it’s ideal for creating a whimsical vintage vibe with little effort.

If you’re a bibliophile, this is the perfect centerpiece idea for you. You may even have extra books laying around that you can incorporate into your centerpieces. But if not, there are plenty of places where you can stock up on older books at bargain prices. Check out local used books stores or thrift shops. In many cases, a used book from these stores will only cost you $0.25 or $0.50 apiece. The same goes for garage sales and estate sales. These are great places to stock up on old books; some of these sales even have large quantities of books you can purchase by the box for greater savings.

Most people add a little something extra along with their book centerpiece, though it’s not necessary. Some frugal ideas include incorporating natural elements you find outside, like pinecones, acorns or wildflowers. You could also add a few small candles or a dish of candies to add another fun element to your DIY book centerpiece.

2. Fruit Centerpiece

What has lots of color and fun shapes but doesn’t cost a lot? Fruit! Instead of expensive flowers, consider using fruits as your centerpieces. Some of the least expensive fruits, like limes, lemons and oranges, provide bold pops of color at a low price. Arrange them in the center of the table and your guests will be delighted by the cool and unique centerpiece you’ve chosen.

You might think that your fruits must be display in an elegant glass vase. While that’s certainly one option, it’s not always the most affordable way to go. Fortunately, there are other ways you can make your DIY fruit centerpieces shine. Instead of large glass bowls, you can use a collection of regular smaller bowls or baskets from home or from a thrift store. The same goes for plates since you can stack the fruit on top and just use your dinner plates from home or cheap thrifted ones.

One frugal hack when using a bowl or basket is to stuff the bottom with filling (tissue paper, packing peanuts, etc.). It helps to lift your stack of fruits above the rim for guests to see without having to buy enough to fill up the entire bowl. You can easily buy half as much fruit using this method. And don’t forget that you can use up a bunch of your fruit after the event is over. Make some delicious lemonade, limeade or orange juice with all those spare fruits!

3. Dessert Centerpiece

Keeping with the food theme, you can also have your dessert do double-duty as a centerpiece for a big event. Whether you’re serving cake, donuts, pies, cupcakes or another delicious treat, you can save money by using the food you plan to serve anyway as an attractive centerpiece for your tables.

To do this, you’ll need some pretty plates, platters or cake stands. These are typically available for cheap prices at garage sales, thrift stores and other resale shops. If you want cake stands but are finding that they’re too expensive, consider making your own by attaching a fancy candle holder to a plate.

Once you’ve got one dish for each table, all you need to do is arrange your desserts in an attractive way. Donuts can easily be stacked to create an impressive tower. Small cakes for each table or pies look so pretty in the center of a table, as do cupcakes with colorful frosting. Be sure to include the necessary serving utensils and dessert plates on the tables, or pass these out after the main course so that guests can help themselves. If you were already planning to serving a dessert, this is a great way to spend little or no extra money on table décor.

Don’t let a decoration budget stand in your way of enjoying a fun and frugal wedding or special event. Use these ideas for unique and affordable DIY centerpieces to create the memorable moments you’ve been dreaming of.


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