Ask Colin: Flowers & Décor

Cluster orchids, shells and votives around tall hurricanes for centerpieces that mix beach casual with sophisticated elegance.

Garrett Holden

We are a middle class working family planning a beach-themed wedding, and we need help with centerpieces. Should we use flowers or something with shells? The bride wants shells and candles. It is going to be a sunset wedding. We are on a budget but want it to be beautiful. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Instead of thinking of a single centerpiece look at it as a tablescape of elements. Begin with a combination of hurricane lanterns (to ensure wind does not blow out the candles) and metal lanterns, which you could find at Pier One.

Start with two or three of these in different sizes (lanterns or hurricanes) and fill in the spaces with seashells.

Tuck a few white Cymbidium orchids in the shells for a floral accent. They are hardy and will withstand the tropical heat. For added texture, use clusters of hurricanes on half the tables and lanterns on the others.