One thing is certain about centerpieces — when it comes to design, no single look can claim top-trend status. Instead, floral pros are getting wildly creative, incorporating cues from nature, historic eras, fashion — even hit TV shows — to create centerpieces that command attention.
BEHIND THE BLOOMS Las Vegas-based Enchanted Florist is a favorite of brides and bridal editors alike, along with a cadre of hip corporate clients. Owner Teresa Stewart Meli has won a bouquet of accolades for her bouquets, altars and canopies, and elegant-with-an-edge tabletop floral designs.
SMALL TOUCHES, BIG IMPACT “I see the use of small details as a way to create a finished look in these economically challenging times,” Meli says. “While twigs and trees have their place, small, delicate touches are what grab the eye of the guest.” She loves, for instance, the visual allure of a delicate fruit-and-wheat-grass orb, or the intrigue of pure white orchids suspended over coral pieces.
'60 SLICK “Retro and ‘Mad Men’ are definitely hot now,” Meli notes. She points to a “Martini Madness” (far left) centerpiece arrangement featuring a pimiento-stuffed olive crafted from Kermit mums accented with rhinestones. “Conventioneers cannot get enough of this style of arrangement,” she says.
STYLE ON A DIME While succulents and branches can offer a less expensive alternative to exotic blooms for a wedding, “A lush velvet-draped ballroom looks silly with ‘earthy’ accents,” Meli warns. Instead, try “simple hand-opened roses nestled in a dupioni-wrapped cube with some vintage crystal chandelier baubles,” she suggests, for glamour at a practical price — with a smaller carbon footprint to boot.
BEHIND THE BLOOMS Under the direction of lead florist Kimberly Schiller, Chicago's Topiarius Urban Garden and Floral Design reaches beyond flowers into the realms of outdoor landscape design, urban gardening and seasonal decorating, and claims corporate clients including Groupon, DePaul University and Steppenwolf Theatre. But the company is best known for its innovative, city-chic event floral, which has won the hearts of countless style-savvy Chicago brides.
NEO NEON This year brings a resurgence in brights, Schiller notes. “As in fashion, neon tones have returned,” she says, and “2012 is all about color, being bold with color.” Her favorite palettes combine intense neons with metallic neutrals in shades of white, black, gray and beige. To really amp up the centerpiece impact, “Make the vase a neon color as well, then play with the neutral in your linen and your accessories on the table,” she suggests, perhaps a mix of neon blue and neon green-yellow vases filled with bold red and white garden roses, hot pink stock, yellow and mango calla lilies and bright orange pincushion protea, set against a white tablecloth paired with bamboo flatware and wooden chairs for an “intensely pleasing” look, she says.
STYLE ON A DIME Schiller reminds the budget-watching bride that one of the season's hottest wedding trends also happens to be one of the most affordable centerpiece options: “Even though Kate and William were married last year, ‘princess’ and lace is very much on trend for 2012,” she says. “Incorporate lacy-looking flowers into your centerpiece. Don't be afraid of baby's breath, white hydrangea, and white or cream garden roses — you will feel like you just stepped out of the carriage!”
BEHIND THE BLOOMS Serving San Francisco Bay area weddings and special events, veteran floral designer Patricia Gibbons of Pat Gibbons Floral, El Cerrito, Calif., turns out picture-perfect traditional and vintage tabletop arrangements, but her signature style is contemporary.
HISTORY LOOKS For a summer wedding with a Victorian theme, Gibbons plans to incorporate items from the client's collection, such as antique prints, feathers and shells, “which I'll be using to create vignettes along with floral displays,” she notes. The centerpieces themselves will include succulents, garden roses and blackberry sprays, gathered in mercury glass — “very popular this year,” she says — in shades of purple and ivory. To keep the centerpieces of a piece with the overall wedding design, Gibbons also will line the ceremony aisle with hydrangeas that start in deep purple and fade to lavender, then ivory — an echo of the ombré wedding cake.
SQUARE DEAL “I'm known for modern designs that have an Asian influence, and I like to bring that aesthetic fusion to my work,” Gibbons explains. To decorate the long, rectangular banquet tables that have replaced standard rounds as a wedding staple, Gibbons likes to “echo the line by using rectangular containers going down the tables. Zinc containers with black river rocks create a bold statement.”
STYLE ON A DIME “Hydrangea is one of the best flowers to use to create a full, budget-friendly display,” Gibbons notes, “while curly willow branches or loops of bear grass can be brought in to add to add height and movement to the design.”
PAT GIBBONS FLORAL