This past weekend I had the pleasure of designing and decorating the tables for our local CASA Gala. First, let me fill you in on CASA – it stands for court appointed special advocate and it’s an amazing organization that acts as the mediator between kids in foster care and the court system. They train volunteers to take on cases, which involves meeting with the kids, getting to know them and their story so they can step in and help the judge and court make the best decisions about the services they need and their permanent placement (here is more about it).
Unfortunately the foster system always has a plethora of cases and meeting the needs of children from birth to 18 years old is an overwhelming task. CASA helps these kids get seen in a deeper more personal way. I hate that we need CASA, but I love that we have it. The Gala is an annual event that helps out local organization earn the money they need to keep running. That being said, every dollar saved on decorations is a dollar in their pocket! Maybe these chic centerpieces will help you if you have an event approaching that needs a budget friendly option. Forgive the photos – I had to use my phone because I forgot my camera! I was to focused on the centerpieces! The tables also got set with dessert, which was a pretty pop of color!
The first way to save money is DIY. Sweat equity is the biggest cost saver. Yes – you will spend some time, but you will save cash. If you plan DIY centerpieces can be fun and not stressful. The committee picked these gorgeous silver and black linens so I wanted something chic to go with those. I decided on a gold, wood and greenery theme. For the wood element I went to our local hardware store and got raw cedar fence posts. Know where contractors shop – big box stores don’t always carry specialty items and they aren’t always cheapest! My husband helped me cut them down into a few different lengths for candlesticks. I love the raw, rustic feel they give. They are so warm and cozy! We used a paddle bit to drill out candlestick holes. I ordered the candles in bulk from Amazon.
For the gorgeous chic gold terrariums the CASA director found them on Craigslist for way less than retail. You never know when someone will be offloading wedding centerpieces, good deals to be had! (try eBay or Facebook Marketplace too) These were the most expensive element and a cheaper version could be DIYed by buying glass vases and color blocking them with gold spray paint (like below, I was short a few terrariums so I made these).
For the table greenery I ordered from a local landscape supplier. We used to own a landscape company so I knew where to go, but if you ask around you can find a great landscape supply nursery to order plants for you. I ordered a variety of ferns and succulents at a fraction of the cost of florist flowers and big box nursery prices. If you know what you want and order in advance they can track down what you need! The great thing about using plants is they last longer, stay fresh and you can reuse or resell them after your event!
I cut grapevine from our yard, soaked it in the pool (because I couldn’t think of a better large container!) and bent them into heart shapes to mimic the CASA logo. I used a heavy gauge wire to tie the bottoms together and bend the heart point down. I should have let them dry out a few days longer, but time got the best of me! They didn’t turn out as “heart shaped” as I would have liked, but they were cute! They got a shot of gold spray paint to tie it all together. The grapevine got stuck into the fern pots and added a nice height element to the tables.
I went to Walmart for cheap black shiny material to wrap the fern pots in. I paid less than $2/yard for the fabric and each table took about 1/4 yard. Again, shop around and plan ahead so you can order material if needed. I cut the material, no hems anywhere. Just tucked them into and around the posts, hiding any raw edges.
The arrangements got assembled on site. Each terrarium got a succulent in the center. After the ferns were wrapped and their little “skirt” was laid out the candle stick and terrarium were placed for a small grouping. Tall terrariums with short candlesticks and vice versa.
These centerpieces could be sold if you are doing a fundraising event, or given away as thank you to people who helped your event come together. I even had a few candlesticks left over so I used a paddle bit to drill out a large hole and filled it with leftover succulents. How cute is this for another centerpiece idea, or just to decorate your house with!
Remember these tips to get a chic centerpiece on a budget:
- DIY what you can – invest in sweat equity
- Shop for supplies in the places contractors shop.
- Shop online for bulk purchases.
- Stay tuned for online resale deals.
- Shop your yard for sticks, grapevine or other elements to add height to your tables.
- Think about using plants instead of flowers.
- Spray paint is your friend.
- Use a variety of height and texture for an interesting centerpiece.
I hope these tips help you look in a few different places for a budget friendly centerpiece that will still be gorgeous! Thanks for sharing friends.
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