Centerpieces Fresh flowers are natural table decorations for any wedding reception. Think of your favorites first. Then consider how the flowers can enhance the mood of the party. Arrangements of elegant roses or painterly calla lilies in silver vessels may dress the tables at a formal wedding, while a cluster of potted zinnias add cheer to a country settings. The centerpieces can be a mix of several types of blooms, or can consist of a single variety. You might decide to incorporate other materials besides fresh flowers, such as herbs, sugared fruits, smooth pebbles, or votive candles. The containers they are displayed in are also enormously varied-you can use anything from footed compotes to tall bud cases to shallow silver trays to rustic woven baskets. The guidelines for centerpieces are based on common sense. Keep them short enough so guests can look at one another and talk over the top; or with a tall arrangements, make sure the part at eye level is no wider than the stem of a flower, candle stick or bud vase.
Altars, Aisles and PewsAt the ceremony, floral decorations help define the important areas and personalize the space. A scattering of petals can run the length of the aisle, or garlands of fresh blooms might line each side of it. A dramatic arrangement of flowers on a small table is a beautiful way to mark the altar for an at-home or outdoor wedding. Or have your florist create an arbor of flowers under which you will take your vows. On pews or chairs, hang fresh blossoms or greenery in baskets or buckets; or decorate with wreaths or garlands. When the ceremony ends, put the flowers to work at the reception. Place large arrangements at an entrance or use them to decorate tables. Pew decorations can be used to decorate the chars at the wedding-party table. Flower GirlsA basket of flower petals is a traditional accessory for flower girls, but it's not the only option. If scattering petals in the path of the bride makes your flower girl nervous, let her hold something instead, such as a pomander on a sturdy ribbon or a wreath of tiny blooms. A circle of fresh flowers also make a cute and classic hair accessory. Other DecorationsFor festooning the getaway car, silk flowers rather than fresh are a better choice because they can endure the heat of the engine and force of the wind. Use ribbon or twine to tie garlands to the size of the car, or use flowers to decorate a sign or wreath and secure it to the bumper. Flowers can be used in countless other ways, too: A large wreath of flowers creates an inviting welcome at the entrance to the ceremony or reception; flower heads in shallow bowls won't tip, so they're great for trimming tables that display the guest book, favors, or seating cards. CandlelightThe warm glow of candlelight creates an intimate atmosphere for a party of two or two hundred. Talk to your florist about incorporating candles in to your centerpieces or other decorations; he or she will often provide them if you desire. Candles and flowers enhance each other to create intimacy: Pillar candles can surround a floral centerpiece; a glass compote might display floating candles and a few rose petals; use small vases of flowers to circle the base of a candelabra. Candles can also stand on their own in pretty containers or in glass hurricane lanterns or votive holders to shield them from the wind. Or use them in luminaries arranged in a row along a path of staircase, or grouped together to create a romantic centerpiece.