When we first jumped into planning our wedding, I quickly learned that weddings are inherently expensive. From catering, to venues, entertainment and alcohol, things just add up. And every amazing detail you want to create only serves to add to your bottom line. To save on some costs, as well as add personal touches to our own wedding, a lot of our decor was thrifted and DIY’ed. I started planning early (12+ months) and spent A LOT of time creating one-of-a-kind pieces for our vintage & woodland themed event. Just one of the many DIY’ed pieces were our succulent centerpieces. These cute little plants were used on our reception tables to create the vintage and natural atmosphere we were after. The centerpieces were a mixture of items found at thrift stores and estate sales, plus a little hands-on DIY effort. Today I’m sharing all the details that went into planning my DIY succulent centerpieces, the materials I used and how I created these cuties for cheap.
Choosing and growing my own plants
To begin with, I knew I wanted some type of succulents to appear in my wedding. I am in love with the color and style of these plants. I have, however, created my share of terrariums and have learned that some of the plants can be finicky, as in, easily breakable and easy to kill. No matter how low maintenance people say these plants are, I ALWAYs manage to kill them. As I’ve probably said before, I do not have a green thumb. I like to think about any plants in my house as temporary decor. I’ve also learned that though succulents may have a low price tag when purchased in small amounts, to buy enough to cover all of my 20+ tables at the wedding would add up quick.
Even with the downside to succulents, I was determined to incorporate them into the wedding. To reduce my costs, I decided I could grow and use Hen and Chicks in place of a more exotic looking succulent. Hen and Chicks are a sturdier type of succulent plant that is commonly found outdoors here in Portland. It’s also one type of succulent I haven’t managed to kill, at least not with some good effort. I did have a few of these plants growing in my yard, but not enough usable ones to cover all my tables.
As luck would have it, I came across a huge planter of Hen and Chicks at an estate sale last spring for $5. Okay, so not everyone is going to luck out to find a planter full of these babies. But, these are commonly found in many gardens in the area. My now mother-in-law was at the ready to provide me with some of these from her own yard. If you don’t luck out with finding a planter full, I’d try asking your family, friends or neighbors to see if you can “borrow” some plantings. You could always return them after your event. Or if you start early enough, you may be able to find some small plantings inexpensively at your local nursery.
The planter I found was PACKED full, but the plants weren’t large enough to have much visual impact. To remedy this, I divided and separated the plants into multiple planters to give them room to grow before the big day (Our wedding was in the fall). With the VERY hot summer that we had last year, I was surprised I didn’t manage to kill the buggers, though I came close. But unlike other succulents I’ve killed, these guys are resilient! I got into a routine with watering and eventually they did grow and looked awesome by the time the wedding rolled around.
Buying thrifted vintage glassware
To mix in my love for vintage, I decided that I wanted to use a mixture of clear and milk glass sherbet cups to hold the succulents. Sherbet cups are sweet little dishes with stemmed bottoms. For the glassware I limited myself to only few styles and tried to keep the heights of them relatively similar. Below are the first four pieces of milk glass I found at a local antique store. These little dishes served to inspire the whole idea. I started collecting these dishes early. I’d check thrift stores, estate sales and even eBay, budgeting only .25-$2 per dish. For my best estate sale tips, check out my post here.
Prior to the big day, in addition the the dishware and succulents, I also made sure to purchase a bag of soil and some moss that would be used to fill in around each succulent. I purchased a large box of brown/green moss ($2) that I found at an estate sale as well as 2 bags of bright green reindeer moss purchased from Michaels (about $7 each).
Just a few days prior to the wedding my mom and I set some time aside to plant and assemble all of the succulent center pieces. I wanted to wait until closer to our date, so the plants would look as fresh as possible. This also reduced any issues with the dishes getting dirty or accidentally getting broken.
- 20+ Thrifted Sherbet Cups (approx $30)
- 20+ Medium-sized Thrifted Hen & Chicks ($5)
- 3 Bags Moss ($17.00)
- 1 Bag Succulent Soil ($4.78)
- Damp Cloth or Paper Towel
- Hand Trowel
Total Investment: Approx $56.80 to cover 20 tables ($2.84 per centerpiece)
That’s less than one succulent plant purchased at the store!
To start, we laid out all of the dishes on our outdoor table and started filling them with soil. I used a soil that is specifically formulated for succulents that I purchased at Home Depot. Once the dishes were filled with soil, we dug out one of the Hen and Chicks from the planter with a hand trowel and replanted it into the dish. Pretty basic. In addition to the Hen and Chicks, I did end up purchasing a small assortment of other succulents. I wanted to add a little more visual variety to my decor. I also had a few larger statement planters that these were used in, in addition to the 20 sherbet dishes. Once planted, we wiped the containers with a damp paper towel to clean off any of the excess dirt. Then we filled in around the plant with moss so that all of the surface dirt was covered.
Once they were assembled they looked awesome! We packed them in a flat box and created little dividers (think low profile wine box) to keep them separated and safe for traveling. I also kept them hydrated by giving them a few squirts with a water-filled spray bottle. Below is a picture of some of them in the box before we created the separators. Aren’t they cute?
The big day and how they looked
Luckily we were able to set up everything for our wedding at the venue the day before our actual wedding day. This let me be a part of and see all of the details come together. It was actually is one of my favorite things about the wedding (Aside from that super sweet guy I married). The DIY succulent centerpieces all made it to the site safe and sound and they looked amazing! Check out the pictures below to see how it all turned out.
Wedding photos by Hazelwood Wedding Photography
All and all I was able to save some money and create a hand-made and vintage-inspired look for my tablescapes. All it took was a little pre-planning, some consistent watering and a bit of a treasure hunt (but who doesn’t love a treasure hunt?). Plus, after the event was done, I had handful of complete sets of glassware I could reuse or sell and I was able to replant all of my Hen & Chicks back into my yard. How’s that for recycling?
Did you like this DIY?
What DIY or thrifted projects did you take on at your own wedding or event?