Super Simple Centrepiece

Super simple centrepieces because 1. Alliteration is one of life's purest pleasures and 2. Centrepieces seem to really confuse people more than other applications of fresh flowers.



Most brides have their bouquet pretty much figured out first. Of course they do, it's an accessory to the most important part of the day.... THE DRESS! Personally I knew what my bouquet was going to look like about 5 years before I even met my husband and then I changed my mind about 3 times once I had chosen the dress and even now I wish I had have had more than just one bouquet. Some girls want 3 wedding dresses, I wanted 3 bouquets. 

But centrepieces are different, they sort of feel dictated by other factors like the venue, the style of the rest of the decor and of course the budget most importantly. 

I do believe that if there is a place to skimp on the flower budget its in the centrepieces because their affective drama is achieved not in their solitary magnificence but in their numbers.

For our wedding we filled tall gold vases with large antiqued peegee hydrangeas and called it a day. No matter what your budget is I truly think that hydrangeas are the best impact for the value. They also make a good starter for a more glamorous and texturized arrangement. 

If you're thinking that you would like your guests to take home centrepieces at the end of the night it's nice to add some spray roses, lisianthus or dahlias to hydrangeas to "pump up the volume" and to give them something really lovely for their own dining room at home. 

If you're wanting to DIY or just see what goes into a super simple hydrangea centrepiece scroll down. I grabbed a few hydrangeas from an order last week and took some photos at each stage of the arrangement building. An average 10 person round table suits at the very least a nice 10" diameter centrepiece in a low glass vase. The square vase I'm using here is about $4 from my supplier. Generally about 3 hydrangeas and some greens will fill the vase and give you all you need for a budget friendly option. 

Here is a basic glass cube vase, usually about $4-$5 per vase. I like to use thin floral sticky tape to create a grid on the mouth of the vase. This gives the stems something to grab hold of and also makes keeping arrangements symmetrical a bit easier. 

Here is a basic glass cube vase, usually about $4-$5 per vase. I like to use thin floral sticky tape to create a grid on the mouth of the vase. This gives the stems something to grab hold of and also makes keeping arrangements symmetrical a bit easier. 

I make my grid as big as the largest stem I'll be working with. In this case my hydrangeas stems were about 2.5 cm max so the slots for them to fit into were about that size too. It's not a science, you may have to re- do your grid a couple times to get it right. Make sure that your vase has water in it first though as well as floral food and a drop of bleach (this goes for all fresh cuts always, unless you want to be changing the water every day) 

Once you have your grid start adding some greens around the perimeter of the vase. I think of it like laying down a bit of a nest for my blooms so they are resting on something alive and green instead of glass or tape. 

At this point, with a few more greens you have a super simple centrepiece that would cost about $25each including the vase. If you want to see what it looks like with some more blooms and greens and about about 25 minutes more time devoted to each one scroll down.

A larger arrangement with more bloom varieties, lots of texture and all at the pique of freshness will run you from $40-$65 each but what an impact they make! This arrangement to be precise would be $45 including the vase and stretches about 15-18" across and about 10" high so your guests can still make eyes at each other from across the table. 

Costs will be higher when you want flowers that aren't in season for your wedding date so if you're like me you might consider choosing your date around your favourite flower's season. Or you might be looking at a steeper price if you want particularly ornate vases, or rare orchids dripping down the length of the vase or a woven garland tiny labour intensive blooms. But for the classic, white, clean and elegant centrepiece hydrangeas are the way to go.

Drop us a line if you would like a quote for your wedding flowers.

Bye for now!


When to DIY and when to call a professional!

To Do It Yourself or To Hire Help?

This is a question most couples ask themselves pretty much RIGHT after they get engaged. Honestly the answer to this question may change frequently during your planning! Most of us have pretty grand fantasies about the most important day of our lives but sometimes we need to be reminded that taking on full responsibility for executing our fantasy can turn the whole day into a nightmare!

This is not to say that you shouldn't DIY if you really want to. I'm just saying that there are some misconceptions about DIY that might make your decision a bit easier if you're aware of what you're truly getting into.


Doing it yourself is cheaper...Not necessarily, when it comes to flowers. Florists buy wholesale and they buy from extremely reputable and trustworthy suppliers. When you hire a florist you are purchasing the peace of mind that your flowers will be of the highest quality no matter what. When I buy flowers for a wedding, I order and have them in my possession usually 24 to 48 hours ahead of time. I treat them with special solution to increase each stem's ability to absorb water. Different flower varieties require different treatment, some like cold, some like warm, some can handle being out of water longer than others and some flowers bruise and wilt if you look at them the wrong way. Florist have (or should have) extensive knowledge about flower varieties, what seasons they are available and heartiest, what varieties will lend themselves to applications like boutonnières and bouquets and which ones do better in centrepieces where they are never out of water. If you are planning on making your own flowers, read about the varieties you love and buy more flowers than you need. When a florist does a wedding, sometimes flowers don't survive the process. The heads pop off, they bruise or have air bubbles from travelling and cannot be brought back to peak freshness, or sometimes the colour is just a little off. When you hire a florist you never know about these hiccups, you just see the end result. No stress... No mess.


Florists markup their product more for weddings so you may as well DIY. This is sort of true. I have worked for lots of flower shops who use older blooms for weddings and funerals. Why? Because generally they are only expected to survive the day so this is an opportunity for flower shops with too much inventory to get rid of older stock. Buying flowers retail and doing it yourself will be cheaper but as I mentioned already, unless you have a lot of flower knowledge you will not be able to guarantee the freshness of flowers bought at the grocery store or Costco etc. One way to make sure that you're getting really fresh product from a professional florist is to choose a florist who works from a studio or freelance. These florists aren't open to the public and so they don't have inventory getting old in a fridge. Florist who work exclusively on special event floral design purchase your flowers specifically for your wedding and they are extremely fresh. House of Penney works exclusively with special events and you can expect your fresh flowers to last at least 3 days after your event, longer in the case of centrepieces and other florals that are kept in water. 

DIY gives you control over the design and is the only way to go for those of us who are a little OCD. If you do your own flowers you will obviously have the most control but sometimes you need to let go a little bit and just enjoy. Wedding flowers are time consuming and if you've ever participated in a floral design workshop you'll know what I mean. Fresh flowers have to be made as close to the date as possible. At House of Penney we are often up all night the night before an event arranging flowers in a room that is almost as cold as a refrigerator to make sure everything stays super fresh, super bright and super healthy. You don't want to spend the night before your wedding doing this... you want to be drinking champagne or tea and getting excited with your bridal party. On the day... florists are up at the crack of dawn loading your arrangements into the truck, driving them to where the bride gets ready, where the groom gets ready, the ceremony and the reception to set everything up perfectly. You don't want that kind of responsibility on the morning of your wedding. 

If you want to have a say in what your florals look like, your florist should fill you in on the process, ask you lots of questions to get the sense of your style and offer you a sample of whatever you want to see ahead of time at a discounted rate. At  House of Penney we love talking to our couples over email, skype, facebook, and in person. It's important to us that we are executing your vision! If you don't know what you wan't yet or don't feel like a creative type, thats fine too. Part of booking your event with us is planning with us one on one. We aren't a flower shop, we don't have a big fridge with flowers waiting to be bought. Everything is custom and it's important that we form a trusting relationship with our clients. Its the personal touch that you get with small business like House of Penney that can put you at ease while you plan your wedding. 

****** we are working on offering floral design workshops to help you DIYers learn the basics. Once you attend one workshop with us you will be able to buy bulk flowers from us at near wholesale prices. Please comment with your email address and wedding date if this offer interests you!