Family In the Center - How We Focused on Family For Our DIY Wedding Centerpieces Using Glass Vases and Seashells

In addition to the whole “til death do us part” thing, a wedding is a time for all your loved ones to come together. That one uncle who’s prone to inappropriately timed fart jokes, that second cousin you met maybe once in diapers, those friends from work, college, and childhood – they’ll all come together to celebrate your special milestone (and maybe for the open bar and free steak).

It’s beautiful and overwhelming all at once (the open bar will help), and seating arrangements can work wonders to avoid any awkwardness and foster new friendships. At our wedding, we wanted our seating plan to not only keep the peace (we seated the fart-joke-uncle near the kids table), but also celebrate the whole family – including those who couldn’t be with us in person.

Cue our seashell scrapbook centerpieces. Being oceanside at The Emerson Inn in Rockport, MA, our wedding had an obvious ocean theme. We made our centerpieces with real seashells from New England beaches (Dad was pretty happy for his wedding-planning task to be “go to the beach and collect shells”), and we filled glass vases (by “we” I mean “Mom”. Thanks, Mom.) found at flea markets. Inside the vases were photographs of our grandparents, great grandparents, and other relatives on their wedding days.  Many of these relatives were no longer with us, so the vases were our way of including them in the celebration – and celebrating their own wedding days.

Not only were the centerpieces an homage to ancestral legacies, but they also became a discussion piece for each table. We noticed guests pointing at the pictures and turning the vases around to see all the photographs, trying to guess who was who. The centerpieces were a subtle celebration of our roots and a way for guests to break the ice during dinner – and they were ridiculously easy to make.

(Photos by Joseph Prezioso)

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