Little Branch Wedding – The Centerpieces

So the other weekend when I assisted Meg of The Little Branch with a very cool wedding, it was one of three in a row for her that weekend.  So while she delivered and set up this lovely Malibu beach wedding:

wedding beach succulents roses tulips privet berries dahlias hypericum berries pink peach white ivory pastel romantic vintage

I stayed behind and made 15 of these puppies from a prototype design that Meg created for me to replicate, for the next days Malibu Mountains ranch wedding:

wedding centerpiece low rich wine colors green burgundy bright wood box square modern rustic dahlia scabiosa billy ball craspedia carnations alstromeria eycalyptus

I took some process shots, and wanted to share them here, followed by the finished product at the wedding!

The wood boxes had been prepped in advance, lined with plastic and filled with soaked foam.  Since the succulents were the biggest things in the designs and also very focal, it’s a good idea to start out by placing them.   Meg’s advice was to avoid making them identical to each other or overly symmetrical (i.e. avoid always putting the biggest succulent smack in the middle, or the two succulents evenly spaced, both facing straight up)

A word about how we used the succulents – you see stems going straight into foam here, which was only possible some of the time.  Because these centerpieces are so low and some of the succulents had longer stems (some have NONE!), there were times when we could put them straight in without wiring, but in any higher design, bouquet, or with shorter stemmed succulents, they must be wired.  See a great tutorial here! (note: it is painstaking if you’re doing a bunch!)

wedding centerpiece low yarrow rich wine colors green burgundy bright wood box square modern rustic dahlia scabiosa succulent billy ball craspedia carnations alstromeria eycalyptus

The dahlias went in next because they also cover a lot of ground, and Meg used a lot of them in her design, so they really fleshed out the structure, and I could then go in and fill in the holes with accent flowers.   The stems usually went in at an angle because of the way the flowers face naturally – if I’d inserted them straight in, I would have gotten flowers facing some awfully wonky ways in these designs.  This is the beauty of floral foam – you can place a stem and face a flower anywhere you want it!

wedding centerpiece diy tutorial how to low box succulents dahlias rustic

Here I’ve started to fill in between dahlias and succulents with those lovely deep fuchsia carnations and the alstromeria.  It’s starting to take shape now:

dahlia succulent wedding centerpiece how to make your own tutorial diy

Starting to add the colorful accents – the three billy balls go in at an angle vs sticking straight up, and scattered randomly vs in a pattern.  We also used three each of the billy balls and scabiosa pods.  Because they’re so focal, it’s always better to have an odd number than an even – too much symmetry in any floral design starts looking robotic. With the dahlias or other flowers that recede more you’d never really notice if there were three vs four, but with these, the odd numbering was advisable for sure.

wedding centerpiece how to tutorial diy succulents dahlias purple green billy balls craspedia carnations


And same with the scabiosa pods:

And finally the seeded eucalyptus and the yarrow:

succulent diy wedding decor centerpiece billy balls rustic organic dahlias fall summer bright how to diy tutorial

As they were completed, the little guys started to multiply:

And multiply, until there were 16 of them!

diy wedding centerpieces low boxes wood succulents dahlias craspedia billy balls scabiosa pods rustic modern bright farm ranch

And here they are in their finished form, on the wedding tables, looking jaunty:

low wood box rustic ranch wedding centerpiece bright fall pinecone succulent dahlia scabiosa billy ball craspedia


wedding centerpiece succulents wood rustic dahlias bright

We also made some really cute similar but all slightly different accent table pieces for cocktail hour.  Here they are in the studio:

And here they are at the wedding:

dahlia fern alstromeria yarrow spray rose scabiosa pod accent piece cocktail wedding centerpiece

cute rustic wedding centerpiece wood carnation alstromeria scabiosa wax flower waxflower

geranium leaves dahlia wood rustic succulent yarrow scabiosa pod wedding centerpiece bright wine green waxflower

Whew, I’m exhausted just posting about it (it was a marathon 12+ hour day that gave me a real taste of what it’s like to be a working floral designer – and I loved it!) I was alone in a studio for hours on end making centerpieces, and it flew by.  I didn’t realize how tired I was and how long it had taken until it was over, which is a great sign  of being “in the zone” as they say.

I loved the colors and textures of this wedding and think Meg did a brilliant job bringing the brides vision to life.

I can’t wait to post the ceremony and personal flowers next week – the bride’s bouquet that Meg made was to die for!





September 9, 2011 - 2:40 pm

Kelly - Ooh… love those wooden centerpiece boxes. Thanks for sharing the process- it is so interesting and helpful! And NICE WORK!!! Looks like you had a lot of fun too 🙂

Did you ever figure out what that mystery foliage is? I noticed it snuck it’s way in there!

September 9, 2011 - 4:05 pm

Olga Miroshnichenko - Love this post, thank you so much! And you’re so right, those guys do look jaunty…and gorgeous!!!

September 9, 2011 - 4:26 pm

Kate - Thanks Olga!

September 9, 2011 - 4:33 pm

Kate - No we never did figure out for sure what the mystery foliage was – a variety of euphorbia or leucadendron seemed like the closest guesses – I asked another floral wholesaler and they didn’t know either! It was so cute in the bouts too, just tiny little pieces of it…someday we will solve this mystery definitively!

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