When we think of centerpieces, most of us think of flowers. And why not? They are fresh, natural, and always beautiful. In the dead of winter, flowers welcome your guests with their clean exuberance.
Flowers appropriate for a winter table are usually more formal than those used in the spring and summer. Think about white, cream, red and dark burgundy blooms. These might be roses, lilies, carnations and pretty white alstroemeria. White and red tulips are also found in winter arrangements.
Even a few flowers mixed with evergreens make a powerful statement on dark, chilly nights when your table welcomes friends for good food and conversation.
There are three basic types of centerpieces, and you will have to select the one that best suits your party’s needs.
First is the classic center-of-the-table arrangement. For this, the centerpiece should be low enough so that guests can see each other across the table without having to crane their necks.
Since you will want to clip the stems of the flowers, consider an elongated arrangement in a pretty oval or rectangular container. Another idea is to put the flowers in three small bowls and arrange then along the center of the table.
Second is an arrangement that sits at the end of the table, with guests on the other three sides. This can be taller than a classic centerpiece, but keep the proportions of the table in mind so that the flowers are not overpowering.
Third is a buffet centerpiece. Usually, these are designed so that the front and sides are meant to be viewed, while the back of the arrangement faces a wall. Again, think of the size of the table and how much the flowers will dominate. Of the three styles discussed, this will be the largest and perhaps most dramatic.
If you want to try your hand at arranging the flowers yourself, as opposed to ordering them from the florist, keep it simple. Think about balance, height, and overall shape.
You can hold the flowers in place by inserting the stems in floral foam, which is easily available at florists and craft shops, or another implement designed for the purpose. Or you might prefer to let the flowers rest in the vase without support.
Fill the vase or other container with cool water and freshen it each day. Even a little evaporation causes wilting.