Dear Preston: Are Tall Centerpieces A Problem For Guests?

Dear Preston

Dear Preston:

I am getting married in May and would like to have tall, beautiful floral designs (similar to ones I have seen you do) on my reception tables.   My mother has done the weddings of two of my sisters and she is insisting that all of my centerpieces be low. Her rationale is that tall ones impede guests by making it difficult to speak to one another and they also tend to be too “showy”.

What do you suggest I do to change her mind?

Standing Tall


Dear Standing:

First of all, congratulations on your upcoming wedding.   I wish you a beautiful day with your new partner and family.  Now, about the centerpieces; your mother is partially right.   In fact, when I first started out in the business, I had some guests remove my tall centerpieces because they were too bulky.   When not handled carefully, tall centerpieces can and will impact the ability of guests to speak to and see one another. She is also right in that they tend to be a bit showy. That said, there are two sides to every story, and as a designer, it is my job to always help and solve these problems for my clients.


Here is what I have learned:

There are ways to create the containers of tall centerpieces so that they will not completely block the guests from seeing across the table (see above for an example).

Keep in mind that these pieces can also act as overall room decor.   A room with tall centerpieces can look very dramatic once the guests are seated.

In most weddings that I have done, guests hardly ever talk to one another across the table, regardless of the height of the centerpieces. With the music playing and speeches being given, it’s often easier for folks to speak to those guests seated on the left and right instead of the ones across.

Perhaps you can come to a compromise by adding some tall and some low.   I know you you love your mother and I am sure she loves you enough to understand that this is your wedding and not hers.



Dear Readers: Do you think this bride should deny her desires and give in to her mother’s wishes in order to keep the peace? What would be your position?


Photo: John Labbe

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