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Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

This couple’s centerpiece from our Real Pittsburgh Weddings shines brighter than the traditional table bouquet.

Photos by Kristi Telnov Photography


When it comes to wedding centerpieces — or really any wedding decoration — most couples go with some variation of flowers. They’re an easy, customizable item that’s able to fit with most any wedding theme. However, some couples, such as Courtney Frederick and Mark Cowell, saw their centerpieces as an opportunity to get creative with their wedding decor.

When the couple began planning their wedding for June 25 at Armstrong Farms, they knew they wanted a rustic yet charming atmosphere at their reception to match their outdoor ceremony. “I wanted to create a barn elegance feel, with using neutral colors — ivory and black, a metallic-gold, and pops of saturated colors — eggplant and burgundy,” says Courtney.


When picking out centerpieces, the couple knew they wanted something that didn’t just fit the requirements but also added to the atmosphere of their wedding. “To create some interest, I was looking for an object with some height, but not too high that it would get in the way of conversation,” says Courtney. “The lantern was perfect, because it was simple, yet romantic with the candle glow.”

Courtney and Mark wanted a reception filled with “candlelight” and “sparkle,” so the lanterns were only one in a list of decorations that help transform their wedding into a twinkling wonderland.

“Light was playing off of your eye all around the room, from the candle in the lantern, to the mercury glass votives (that were also on the tables, around the lantern), to the mercury glass votives on the barn beams all around the upstairs, to the ivory and gold paper lanterns,” says Courtney. “Even the barn beams were wrapped with little white lights!”

And, although the couple still included some flowers in their decorations, the real benefit of this nonperishable centerpiece was that lanterns don’t wilt, unlike large floral arrangements. So these centerpieces were more cost-effective and sustainable in the long run.

Courtney and Mark used the lanterns as props later in the night for a sunset photoshoot — which actually produced the couple’s favorite photos from their special day.


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