3 Centerpiece Ideas to Save the Environment and Your Budget

Environmental consciousness is a big trend in event planning, but these days, I wouldn't be surprised if meeting planners have been focusing a little more on saving green than going green. Luckily, you can do both!

One area of meeting spend that can definitely get out of hand quickly is that of decor. It's also one that can be very wasteful, especially when it comes to centerpieces. Unfortunately, all those pricey floral arrangements adorning each table are usually trashed following an event.

So how can you save on centerpieces and still be eco-friendly? Check out my three green centerpiece ideas:

Cupcake Stand - Target1. Food. To me, it doesn't get much better than a centerpiece you can eat. Fresh fruit and dessert (even vegetables!) are great options. My personal favorite would have to be cupcakes. You can buy inexpensive cupcake stands (like the one pictured here, available at Target for under $11) and place them on each table.

Aside from being a colorful, innovative centerpiece, cupcakes and other desserts eliminate the need for a pricier plated dessert. And you can reuse the stands, bowls, towers or other serving ware again at future events.

2. Wood. Flowers have long dominated the centerpiece scene, but there are plenty of other ways to bring the outdoors in without being wasteful. Twigs, branches, and more can all be converted into centerpieces.

I really read a great idea from Carter Oosterhouse, formerly of the TLC show Trading Spaces, in Rachael Ray magazine. Oosterhouse suggested gathering leftover firewood or branches and trimming them to similar sizes. You can tie a few in bundles and place them in glass vases. It's such a simple idea, but it actually looks very clean and unique—perfect for a corporate dinner or wedding reception held in the spring or fall.

3. Flowers. I know I've been saying to stay away from flowers so as to not be wasteful. But if you just can't part with the idea of pretty blooms at the center of each table, that's okay. Why not consider potted plants instead of cut flowers? They can be just as attractive. Plus, you can make sure they don't go to waste by offering them to guests as post-event takeaways.

Even cut-flower-fanatics are not at a loss. Thanks to the movement toward more sustainable events, more and more florists are offering organic options. Work with your florist to find local growers or those who have implemented sustainable and organic growing practices.

With a little research, you'll find it's easy to get the centerpiece you want on an earth-friendly conscious.

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