Wedding Wednesday: Low vs. High Centerpieces
The age old question that comes with a lot of opinions and strong feelings from both sides, "Should I have low or high centerpieces for my wedding?". As I said in my post about bouquets, it's completely up to you what you choose but I will offer some pros and cons to both ideas.
Let's start with the first argument against tall centerpieces. "I can't talk to someone across the table if there is a tall centerpiece." Well the truth is you can't really have an intimate conversation with someone who is sitting 5 sometimes 6 feet away from you, especially over the sound of a band or dj nearby. Now, while my first statement is true you don't want to completely block the view of any of your guests. So if you choose to use a tall (or "tallish") centerpiece keep in mind that you want the bulk of the design to at least be above the sight line of your guests while sitting at the tables (about 18" or above). And make sure that whatever is in their sight line is not too obtrusive, ie., a narrow footprint or at the very least transparent container or vase.
Now with the argument for tall centerpieces. "The ceilings are so high I want to fill up the space." Okay, this is a true statement (sort of). Unless you are considering hanging things from the ceiling or having massive centerpieces (refer to first argument against tall centerpieces) you will most likely not fill up the space of many of the vaulted ceilings in ballrooms/lofts and other types of venues by using a tall tabletop centerpiece.
The key thing to keep in mind is that you want to create a look that will allow the eye to wander throughout the space without it feeling too stagnant one way or the other. With all tall centerpieces you have a great impact as guests first enter but then it may feel a bit uninteresting if there is nothing left to discover as they take their seats.
This leads to the argument for low centerpieces. By using low centerpieces you can create a more intimate feeling for your guests. I often have couples wanting to recreate the feeling of an intimate dinner party in their home - even if it happens to be for 300 of their closest friends and family. With the design of a low centerpiece you can still incorporate varied heights of candlelight etc. without blocking any views.
In the end I think a combination of both low and high centerpieces can create the best look. It gives a more interesting look for the entire space, allowing for the initial impact as your guests first enter the space and continuing as they sit and enjoy dinner.
Most couples don't need to be talked into using low centerpieces, in general that's what they have in mind when the come to meet with me. Tall centerpieces seem to have a bad rap as being too traditional or "contrived" looking. Above all else I think you need to go with your gut reaction to something but keep in mind that there are some great, innovative designs that can be considered "tall" and you might missing out if you dismiss the idea too quickly.