Whenever I meet with my brides I hear about their worries related to guests being able to see each other over the table and how this will affect their flower and vase choices. I find myself narrating my own experience at a Fund Raising reception a couple of years ago at Waldorf Astoria in NYC.
My husband and I sat at one of the 45 tables and started talking which was easy enough, as we were sitting next to each other. Things got a little bit complicated once everyone sat down, as this huge white centerpieces, sort of strange Christmas tree made entirely of paper and glitter, was taking almost 45% of out vision field. Unfortunately, that exact 45% of our vision field was my husband’s boss and his wife. After a couple of uncomfortable minutes, everyone at the table decided that this was going too far, removed the centerpiece off the table and placed on the floor. Seeing how easy the communication problem was solved, the table next to us did the same, and the next and the next. What a sad fate for such laborious design.
Now back to my real drama with the height of centerpieces, I always explain to my brides my basic theory:
A. For a beautiful flow of conversation where one guest can communicate with another guest over the table, short centerpieces should be as high or just a little higher than your tallest glass on the table.
Careful, since your guests will be staring at these arrangements for hours, make sure your express your concern regarding the freshness of your flowers.
Ah, and then everyone’s favorite: taking those arrangements home:). No matter what your budget is, there will be ladies who will want to take a small token home with them and short centerpieces are always a delight. If you want to be even more generous with your ladies, instead of one arrangement on the table, you could opt for 3 or 4 smaller arrangements that multiple guest can take home.
B. Tall centerpieces will not be an inconvenience on the table as long as the you opt for clean, pure design that starts on top of your tall glass vase. Pure sparking water will make the vase almost invisible and facilitate airiness and freedom at the eye level.
Remember: Your guests will be staring at their table for almost 4 hours, so make sure you express your concern to your florist when it comes to the cleanliness of the water and vases.
Also, in the whole process of constructing these centerpieces, your florist should also keep in mind that people will have 4 hours to stare up at the arrangement and see the not so pretty “undergarments” of your centerpieces. A good florist will know how to avoid that and your guests will not end up talking about plastic trays, floral foam and green water.
And only because you spent all that money on tall centerpieces, does not mean that that particular table enjoys the beautiful flowers above their heads. While tall centerpieces are delightful in forming that “big picture” of the room, your guests will end up staring for 4 hours at a glass vase filled with water. So make sure to bring something delectable at the level of the eye as well in the form of small low arrangements or at least some pillar candles.
The disappointing thing about tall arrangements is that the vase ends up being rented almost always, so the solution for your guests to take flowers home with them is pretty complicated and unpleasant.
And ladies, do not feel that THE ROOM NEEDS tall or short arrangements. The room really needs to be defined by you, your taste, likes and dislikes and budget.