You may have read this blog title and thought to yourself, ‘What is Chinoiserie?’ If you went to Google, you’d find that Chinoiserie is the imitation or evocation of Chinese motifs and techniques in Western art, furniture, and architecture.
However, when it comes to weddings, Chinoiserie can be found in beautiful blue and white vases mixed with blue and/or white florals and other decor touches in this same palette.
When your DIY table centerpiece is not done right, it can end up looking sparse and like it was thrown together last minute. Having a strong DIY tablescape plan and knowing the tips and tricks from this post will help you to create a look that will leave your guests oohing and ahhing over your tables for years to come. They won’t believe it when you tell them you did it yourself!
Follow along for a comprehensive to do list on how to Get the Look: A Chinoiserie Tablescape.
First Step: Creating a Plan
There’s no need to jump in and buy vases left and right. First, you’ll want to start with a solid plan. What’s your final look for each table? Knowing this will help determine the quantity of vases you’ll need and how to achieve the look no matter table size.
Where to Start – Know Your Table Counts and Sizes
How many tables do you have? This will dictate how many vases you should purchase.
Since this is probably something new to you, you’ll want to do a mock-up well ahead of your wedding to make sure the quantities below give the look you are trying to achieve. It’s better to know well ahead of time if you need to add or subtract.
When putting together your mock-up table, you will want to set the table with your desired linen, charger, flatware and glassware to ensure there is enough space on the table for your beauty and function.
Rectangular Tables Expect 6-8 Vases
The wider the table, the better. A standard rectangular table is 30” wide, but preference is always 40” or 48”. This gives more space for all our pretty flowers.
When buying vases for your rectangular table, you’ll want to start with 6-8 large vases. If you want more look, you can add in some medium and small too.
Round Tables Expect 4-7 Vases
With a typical 60” or 66” round, 4-7 vases in a variety of sizes is a good start. On a round table, your centerpieces tend to be less spread out and closer together making a bigger impact.
Again, you can play with the sizes of your vases to create your desired look. Don’t forget to add in candles for warm romantic lighting too.
Second Step: Plan Where to Buy Your Vessels
Start this process super early! As soon as you’ve decided this is your look, start keeping an eye out for vases wherever you go. In Los Angeles, we start with Michaels, Home Goods, Target and plan weekly or twice a month visits to start collecting for a wedding that’s about a year away. Some of these big box stores are great options because they constantly have coupons or special offers.
If you’re having a problem finding chinoiserie vases at your local retailers, search online as you may find an affordable vendor who will ship to your home.
We also like to always work with local vendors when possible, so if you have a local flower market or floral shop, you can speak with them about buying in bulk and securing a special price.
If all else fails, there’s always Amazon.
Keep your receipts in case you need to make any returns and always make sure the vases are wrapped up well so they don’t break when you are transporting them home!
Choose Your Colors to Compliment Your Vessels
Color is always complimentary to a chinoiserie tables cape. Although, most times you’ll find this look paired with blue and white flowers for a clean, modern and monochromatic feel.
But, if color speaks to you, go ahead and use flowers in every palette, pink, white, purple or anything that calls out. It’s important to play around and look at photos to understand the look you’d like to achieve with these vessels.
Types of Flowers of Flower Matters for Affordability
To achieve this look in an affordable way, use big, fluffy flowers such as hydrangea. Hydrangea is an amazing wedding flower because it’s everywhere, affordable and doesn’t take many to fill a vase. They leave your tables looking pretty and polished!
However, when using hydrangea make sure to keep them thoroughly hydrated and in a cool place. Direct sunlight on a hot day will quickly wilt these beauties.
Hydrangea may be your most affordable DIY centerpiece flower, but just about any flower works. Keep in mind, the bigger and fluffier the better as it keeps the cost down too! Some other varieties to consider: dahlias, sunflowers, garden roses, anemone or even peonies. If you go the peony route, keep in mind they are more expensive and seasonal which can quickly cancel out any cost savings from DIYing your centerpieces.
Transporting Container Safely and Have a Plan
When driving vases to and from a venue, they can easily break. Use bubble wrap, newspaper or even old towels to protect them! To add even more protection, wrap and pack the vases tightly in big tubs. The last thing you’ll want is the inconvenience of breakage and having to replace vases right before your event.
Ask Help From a Friend
Don’t tackle this yourself, especially on your wedding day! Have a friend, trusted neighbor or family member involved in the process. From the mock-up to putting together your transportation plan, make them a part of the entire process so it’s off your plate. Even if they’re part of the process, sketch out the table and give them an inspiration photo so they have a guide to follow.
Setting Up The Table, Then Add Water
First fill the vases with the water and flowers. Then, the vases should be the first thing placed on the tables after the linens are laid down. This will save you from having to reach over any glassware or dinnerware and prevent spills and accidents. Set-up becomes even easier when the chairs are out of the way too, this way you can easily reach the middle of the table.
Most times, we recommend our couples to try and avoid DIYing too many things on their wedding day as this instruction keeps them free to enjoy their day. However, if you are looking to DIY tables for your reception, rehearsal or brunch and love this look, you now know how to achieve it.
Having a solid plan ahead of time will enable you to just enjoy the beauty of your wedding day. Be sure you want a Chinoiserie look and feel, know your table sizes and give yourself plenty of time to shop the look.
And most importantly, create a sample table. Whether it’s in your yard, garage or dining room table, you’ll want to test out the look and play. This way you know exactly how many vases and flowers to buy to achieve your look. Oh and always get extra, you never know when that extra vase or stem of flowers could come in handy!