When my husband’s cousin got married, we were working with a very limited budget. But, with an evening ceremony, we knew that we wanted the reception to be a bit more elegant and reflect the ambiance of the evening. So, we created wonderful candle-lit centerpieces from recycled materials.
We started several months in advance, collecting a variety of glass jars. In the end, we had pickle jars, baby food jars (the large ones), spaghetti sauce jars, mayonnaise jars, even small shrimp cocktail jars! Any glass container that would easily hold a votive was a “keeper.”
Once we had all of our jars cleaned and de-labeled, we began the decorating part. Some of the jars (the larger ones especially) were embellished with things such as clear glass stones and beads. The stones that are flat on one side are best for gluing, and if they are colored, that’s okay, as long as light can pass through them. We also decorated quite a few jars with 3-D Foiling Glue and Craft Foil (available at craft stores – ask for it). We would simply create a design with the glue – swirls or curls, stars and patterns – then apply the foil once the glue had turned tacky. Smaller jars were embellished with coordinating colored ribbons and raffia (just remember to keep the raffia out of the flame area!). For the “head table”, we actually invested in a couple of hurricane lamp shades and embellished those to coordinate with the beading on her dress.
Once we arrived at the reception area to set up, we placed the jars on the tables, using doilies to tie together the centerpiece area. We had enough jars to place at least three on each table, and we made sure to put large and small ones on each table. Sand was poured into the base of each jar (and we used a white, sparkly sand to make it shimmer), then a votive was placed in the sand. Once the candles were all lit, we had a magical atmosphere full of whimsy, fun and elegance.