Say it without flowers!

A beautiful reception doesn’t have to rely on posies to be stunningly beautiful
Apr. 22, 2011 | By: Danielle Diab

Okay ladies, we all love flowers, and it seems like we rely on them to put together our dream wedding. But instead of flowers, how about trying something more unique for a change? There are so many beautiful ways to design your wedding, so don’t overlook all the options.

Dripping in diamonds

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend! Create a sparkling theme for your wedding by renting beautiful crystal trees, crystal chandeliers and tall, sparkling ball centerpieces with tea lights inside for extra glow. Add finishing touches like diamond bands wrapped around your three-tiered cake and your wedding will scream “Cinderella!” Place crystal trees on either side of your head table, or on either side of the entranceway to your reception area, for a glamorous welcome to your guests.

The best thing about a theme like this is that it can work in any season: a summer wedding of diamonds, or a winter wonderland with sparkle and snowflakes.

Wendy Lee, owner and lead wedding designer of Weddings by Wendy, says brides can match their bouquet to their theme as well.

“A bride may choose to have crystals in her bouquet instead of flowers,” says Lee. “The crystals can be clear, of have colour depending on the colour scheme of your wedding.”

According to Lee, clear crystals will be more eye-catching as the light reflects off the bouquet. For a more substantial impact, make the bouquet out of a collection of broaches or even vintage buttons. Either choice will nicely compliment a sparkling theme. Check your local bookstore for some great how-to wedding design tips.

Let nature take its course

Dreaming of a little (or big) outdoor wedding? A beautiful summer day will set the scene wonderfully and all you have to do is build off it. Whether on a beach or in your parents’ backyard, subtle pieces will make your wedding come alive.

“Mother Nature does do the best décor,” says Lee. Rent a rustic looking gazebo for your ceremony and drape it in silk for a romantic feel. A breeze through the silk will create an unforgettable scene as you say, “I do”.

For your reception, fill burgundy/pinot noir wine glasses with sand and seashells surrounding a candle, or create beautiful bouquets of fruit resting in ceramic pots. Lee suggests that paper pom-poms can look really stylish at a vintage or informal outdoor setting.

If you have a pond or creek in the reception and/or ceremony area, rent (or DIY) a rustic bridge to match your gazebo and place it over or next to the water. Planting tools, lily pads, interesting rocks and plants, and other finishing touches will create beautiful scenery for photographs and for guests’ viewing pleasure.

The traditional banquet hall

First things first: find your dream hall, make sure it allows you to bring in your own rentals, scope out the space and let your imagination run free.

“Most venues do allow you to bring in your own décor,” says Lee, “but it’s always best to verify things with them first as some things need approval and logistical planning ahead of time.”

Let’s face it, everyone decorates a banquet hall with flowers, but do you have to be like everyone else?

Drape the ceiling in fabric that meets in the middle of the dance floor and have a beautiful chandelier hang in the centre.

“Make other focal points that are lower than the ceiling,” says Lee. “Your guests will be captivated.”

Hang light balls in corners at different lengths to catch your guests’ eye. Light balls can come in many different colours to accommodate your theme or in plain white and cream for a traditional feel.

Feathers are a fabulous look for centerpieces in a banquet hall. Fill tall, skinny vases with water and jewels and arrange feathers into a lovely array. You can even add finishing touches, like masquerade masks on sticks that can be placed into the vase and blend in with the feathers.

“There are many options that do not necessarily have to include fresh flowers, it just depends how far you are willing to think outside the box,” says Lee.

According to Lee, lampshade centerpieces, massive groupings of candles and even mini cakes make for stylish and unique centerpieces that everyone will want to take home. 

Wendy Lee is the owner of Weddings By Wendy, which provides professional event planning services for any type and size of wedding in Toronto, Ont. To learn more, e-mail

Want beautiful flowers for your wedding reception? Find florists on, Canada’s Local Marriage Services Directory.