The Floral Centerpiece
Sorry, orchid fans. It’s near impossible to create a lush, budget-friendly arrangement using such expensive petals. Instead, Gulbin's advice: "Look for something that has a big head on it." Think amaryllis, dahlias, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, and Japanese mums—these are large "face flowers" that take up more space. Just buy a few of these and flesh them out with plants, herbs, branches, or grasses. "The idea is to add some of this stuff as filler and to give texture," says Gulbin. "That way you're not spending your dollars on flowers."
Don't have time to get creative? Go for a succulent. "Any kind of succulent or air plant works any time of year," says Gulbin. Plus they last longer than blooms.
The Foraged Centerpiece
This may be difficult for city dwellers, but for everyone else it just takes an open mind and a trip out the front door. There's a Japanese maple tree at the end of the driveway? Great. Go pick up a handful of those beautiful red leaves and sprinkle them atop the tablecloth. If you don’t have a front yard, go to your local nursery—or even a well-stocked hardware store—and work with plants. "We cut from plants all the time," says Gulbin. "Begonia leaves, for example, really enrich an arrangement." The takeaway? You don't need a lot of flowers. In fact, you don't need any at all.
The Foodie Centerpiece
Yes, food. Pick up some extra lemons when you're at the grocery store, put them in a pretty bowl, and you're done. Bonus: you get to cut them up and use them when the party is over. Pomegranates, artichokes, pears, and figs also look great grouped in a bowl or on a silver tray.
Fresh herbs can work wonders, too. Gulbin loves lavender and mint because they add a lovely aromatic quality; rosemary, oregano, and sage are equally beautiful in arrangements. We’re also fans of tucking a sprig or two inside folded napkins on the table. Small tricks like this make all the difference, and make your guests feel like you did something special for them. Which you did! But you didn't break the bank for it.