Affordable ways to "dress up" a bridal table?

I’m getting married in a couple of months :slight_smile: and my fiance has this crazy idea of spending $1400 on flowers for the bridal table.

It’s a long table, there’ll be 10 people on it.

Seems pretty ridiculous to me… it will already have a silk/satiny cloth on it… any ideas for cheaper alternatives to “pretty up” a long (straight) bridal table?


$1400 is crazy. . . and I’m saying that as a girl who LOVES fresh flowers.

I hosted a wedding shower in October and I think I did a decent job balancing cheap and cute. A great resource is the dollar store— namely because they sell all kinds of candle holders of every shape and size imaginable. For my party, I got these tall, skinny votive holders in tall, medium, and short sizes. Sort of like these, but clear. By playing with different sizes, I think it really made the whole thing look a lot fancier. And at under $10 a table (with candles), it really was a good deal. You could easily get 50 of these and still be saving a ton of money.

Another thing the dollar store has are. . . I guess, like, mini fishbowl looking things. For my party, I filled these with fake moss (in the fake flower section of the dollar store), then put fake, white flowers (also from the dollar). These came out GREAT looking and not cheap at all-- in fact, after the party? I put them on my mantel. Anyway, instead of moss, you could do colored stones or even water (which you could dye if you want!) with a candle floating in it.

A neat thing I saw on Pinterest involved the dollar store again. Grab plates, cups, goblets, wine glasses, cake stands, whatever-- and just spray paint them whatever color you guys want. You could also take a glass (say a martini glass) and glue a plate or bowl on top of it, then spray paint them to match the rest of your stuff, too.

A good idea would be to mix the above ideas with some real flowers, which will cut down on the total flower cost by using less. Lots of candles. Lots of different heights and shapes. Something maybe like this but in your colors. Or like this.

Looking around at ideas, these cherry blossoms are neat. You guys could just spray paint some twigs, then glue on some lil flowers. Lots of candles all around those would be gorg.

Another idea is to hang fun things from the ceiling, to play with height. Big balls of flowers, paper laterns, etc.

Here is a colorful example of the spray paint idea.

Here’s an example of lots of candles and playing with different heights. [And another.](And another.)

Here is a different use of wine glasses, which is beautiful. Or here, a lovely use of floating flowers.

Where are you having the wedding, how many people and how formal? You’ll need different plans for a fun, funky backyard wedding with 60 people, vs. The Four Seasons with 300.


If it’s being held in a banquet hall of some sort, might be worth asking the venue what they already have on hand. Turns out some folks spend all that money on dressing up tables and never come back to get their stuff after the event.

We chose basic colors and got lucky that there was plenty to choose from in the hall’s inventory closet of forgotten stuff. Didn’t cost us a dime!

And don’t forget that you can place your bouquet and the bridesmaids’ to add to the decorative effect without spending an extra penny.

I was around 15 for my mom’s second marriage. We held the reception on a shoestring. This is what we did for table decor:

  1. Silk flowers as a centerpiece (they looked nice, but they were much cheaper and easier to buy ahead of time than fresh ones)
  2. A group of balloons in coordinating colors.
  3. A disposable camera for guests to use, two per table. Hardly anybody took pictures of their genitals!
  4. Small bags of nuts and candy (we tied them up ourselves). This really counts more as a party favor than a table dressing, but it will still make it look nice. Buy a huge canister of almonds and a pile of coordinating M&Ms.
  5. Candles

I see it looks like you’re only talking about the head table. We didn’t make fancy decorations for the head table, really. It was the same as all the others, except there were no favors. Is there a need to set it apart visually like that? It sounds a bit pretentious. Everyone will be looking at you whether you have unique flowers up there or not. And you will more likely spend the whole night on the dance floor or walking between tables thanking people, anyway. The tables are just there to provide a surface for food and drinks.

Just a reminder that everything you buy, you will have to pick up (twice), clean, store and move with you. Go with **Queen Tonya’s **idea, share flowers with the wedding before of after you at that venue, or rent stuff like fancy candlesticks and centerpieces from a company that will deliever and pick them up for you as well.

When my dad got knighted a few years back all I did fro dinner was rent about six multi-pronged heavy silver candelsticks, and I rented 100 champagne glasses.

Go edible. Bouquets of cookie flowers, flower decorated cupcakes. Nothing left to abandon when you leave, other than a couple cupcake stands =)

Or even the edible fruit arrangements [I have gotten them for birthdays, they are great!]

Here’s a voice for restrained elegance and a minimum of dollar store paraphernalia. I do not really understand why people who are otherwise not into stuff get all into doodads and decor items for weddings. I’ll also mention that while spray-painting and creative crafting and such will give you custom doodads on the cheap, you will have plenty to do without those tasks – unless you really really dig doing that sort of thing for stress-release. That said.

If you or anyone you know is a big candle user, then candles could be the way to go, as said above, because there will be leftovers. You might consider using something to hold these candles that will also not be trash. Maybe you registered for nice china, but you could get a dozen plain white Corelle bread plates to set pillar candles on, and those could be your everyday don’t-care-what-happens-to-'em dishes. Or several sets of coasters. Or if you live anywhere where the power goes out a lot, get a bunch of candle lanterns like this or this or this or this.

To pretty up your tablecloth, you could get some yards of pretty fabric or whatnot. Gorgeous shot dupioni silk goes for around $20/yd online. A silk sari could work, too, for even less (saris are about six yards long and lovely silk ones can be had for well under $100). If you know any sewers, they’d be thrilled to get the yardage afterwards, even if you do spill a bit of wedding dinner on it in a few places (you can wash silk if you’re careful). Or super-wide ribbon, like 6" wide, available from craft stores and of course online in many kinds of pretty.

I like DiosaBellissima’s idea of paper lanterns over the table; they usually have a variety of those at places like Cost Plus Imports, and they can be found very cheaply available online.

If your fiance feels strongly about having fresh flowers, try talking her(?) into one statement-y vase of elegantly spare big ones maybe with a handful of smaller ones to scatter about, in simple bud vases or float bowls or something, rather than piles and piles of them.

Which kind of flowers might make a price difference, too; tulips like those in my first linked photo should be a lot cheaper than roses or anything exotic or short-lived. Also whether they will be in season matters.

Finally, find out, if you can, whether this was an idea planted by a Wedding Professional, such as a Planner or Florist. It sounds like it could be. As you surely know by now, Wedding Professionals, like car salesmen and funeral directors, have a unique customer base: customers planning a big cash outlay for a rare occasion with status on display. They will come up with all sorts of things you didn’t know you needed, and the Wedding version of anything has a massive Wedding markup.

We had shallow glass bowls filled with water and glass pebbly things, with candles floating in them; pretty easy to put together, pretty cheap, looked good. We had some annoying stuff to get rid of afterwards, but oh well.

I would try to keep the height of the display pieces low - you won’t be able to see or be seen over anything large. Costco sells 100 white roses cheaply, a long low spray could be made of neutral white roses, and if the store has one of your wedding colours, so much the better.


Each of the bridesmaids has a bouquet of flowers, right? And they will not be holding onto them during the reception. Place these bouqets lined up along the front of the bridal table. Voila! Instant decoration.

My best friend did a variation on this. Since we had tied bouquets, she had a decorative vase in front of each of the bridesmaids’ spot at the table and one for the bride. We put out bouquets in them and voila! fresh flowers. And we got to keep the vase.

Also, at my wedding, the venue (for an additional 100 bucks or something) draped the front table in tulle and put white christmas lights under it and added some fanct candlabras to the front table. You should see if they offer such a service.

Think of the photographer too. A lot of mid height stuff at the table blocks people’s faces.

Here’s a less-involved variation of what I did - go to a hobby store, and buy a syrofoam ring ($1), a color of craft paint that matches your decor ($1) and a roll of tulle (white or off-white depending on your preference) ($1). Also buy a spray of silk flowers that matches your decor scheme ($3-9).

Paint the styrofoam ring, let dry, then wrap with tulle. Use straight pins to pin individual flowers on the ring in decorative way. Put on table with pillar or votive candler in middle. Looks great, classy, and is super cheap. It comes out to like $3 a table.

I used this for my wedding tables, but added all sorts of stuff to represent ancient gods of fertility and love.

This is what was recommended to us by the florist in 1972. Of course back then it was popular for the bridesmaids to carry flowers in a basket rather than a bouquet, so it was easy to put the basket on the table.

We got married in a Catholic Church, so of course we didn’t take the church flowers. I don’t know how other denominations feel about it.

Thanks everyone… some good ideas here!

Note that many venues have explicit rules against candles, so check with them before you go shopping!

We had a sweetheart table, and laid the bouquets down to make a low pile of flowers at the front. Very simple and pretty. We also considered using a different color or style of tablecloth but decided the extra cost wasn’t worth it, but your venue will likely do that for you if you ask. A table runner is also an option, and probably a little cheaper.

We also did the glass fishbowl with floating candles and flowers. Then we told people they could take them home with them afterwards. Got rid of about half that way, and the other half gave to another woman who was getting married shortly after.