As you may have noticed, we did a lot of the reception decor ourselves, partly because we were on a budget, and partly because we wanted to reduce the impact of our wedding on the environment. Sure – it would have been much easier to have our florist do a centerpiece for each table, or just go on a fun Etsy shopping spree to decorate our tables, but that would have been costly and potentially wasteful.
Also, since our venue used long rectangular tables instead of round, we felt that a few small pieces placed along the center would look nicer than one big item in the middle. So, in addition to our wine bottle table numbers and table trivia, we outfitted each table with a few votive candles in recycled jars and succulents planted in antique tea cups. Here’s how we did it:
Recycled Jar Votive Candle Holders
Recycled jars of various sizes and shapes
Frosted glass spray paint
First, collect and clean your jars. If you’re having trouble removing the labels, try Ryan’s method from the Wine Bottle Table Numbers. We collected ours over most of a year saving mason jars from pasta sauce and smaller jars from jam, mustard, pickles, etc.
Once all the jars were clean, I divided them in half. The jars with prettier designs (some of the jam jars and mason jars) became the “as is” half – I just dropped in a votive and that was that!
The rest I gave a “frosted” look using spray paint. First, I removed my engagement ring and put it in a safe place. (Can you imagine getting frosted spray paint on a diamond? I shudder to think…) Then, I laid newspaper out on the floor of my garage with the door open. Try to look for a well ventilated area where your jars will also be somewhat protected from dust, wind, leaves, etc. Then I held each jar with two fingers in the opening and carefully sprayed the entire exterior while slowly turning. Immediately after the first coat they will not look frosted at all – just wet, but have patience. I let them dry for about 20 minutes and then repeated the process for two more coats.
I purchased votives (rather than tea lights – they would never have lasted all evening) on sale from my local craft store when they were 50% off and dropped one in each jar.
The final result was a really nice array of votive holders in different shapes, sizes and opacity. The clear jars highlighted the sparkle of the flame while the frosted jars gave off a softer glow.
Tea Cup Succulents
Succulents planted in 2″ plastic pots
Potting soil (specifically for dry-climate plants & cacti)
I started with a trip to our local Goodwill, where I found a trove of mismatched tea cups for 99¢ each. Most of them were plain white, but I even found some with little yellow flowers and greenery to match our color scheme! I bought enough to have 2 at each table, plus a few extras just in case.
Then I went looking for succulents. I found a seller on Amazon selling 20 succulents for about $25 with free shipping. I was a little worried about buying plants from Amazon, but the reviews were good and since it was fall the only place I could find them in town was Home Depot where they were $2 a piece. Thankfully, they arrived in great condition and only 1 of the 20 seemed to be a little disheveled. I did go ahead and purchase a few from Home Depot to make up the difference along with some potting soil.
I finished this project just a few days before the wedding because even though they are hearty, I didn’t want to give the succulents a chance to die. The good news is, my Mom was here to help! We carefully removed each succulent from its plastic pot, placed it in a tea cup, and filled in the excess space with potting soil. Then we gave each one a tiny bit of water – probably only a tablespoon or so. We kept them in a shallow box indoors near a window until the big day.
I really like how they turned out and how easy and inexpensive they were to put together.