Fact: fresh flowers are expensive. In this post, I share my secrets for stretching your party décor budget without sacrificing the “wow” factor of a centerpiece bouquet.

I am an affiliate partner for some products mentioned in this post. All expressed opinions are my own. However, I may receive commission for the sale of some products or services.

I admire the $20, $40, and $60 bouquets at the florist, and I’ll treat myself every once in a while. When I’m creating a centerpiece for a party, however, I prefer to get creative with the $5 supermarket bouquets so I can invest in ingredients for a drool-worthy charcuterie spread.

Pro tip: White carnations are inexpensive, widely available, and match everything.

Think Outside the Box Vase

Stretch your budget by upcycling containers you already have at home. Your centerpiece will take up more space on the table if you spread out the stems among a variety of small “vases,” like beverage bottles, food containers, and other household vessels.

upcycled containers

Pro tip: Rinse containers thoroughly. Your flowers may not enjoy the wine as much as you did.

Beverage Bottles

  • wine » large and small
  • liquor » various shapes and sizes
  • sparkling water » for the sober-curious lover of bubbles
skinny repurposed vases

Food Containers

  • spice jars » bonus points if the contents are used in the dishes you’re serving (cinnamon sticks for a hot cocoa bar, saffron in paella, etc.)
  • gelato + maple syrup containers » because you had to taste test the flavors before the ice cream social, right?
  • tin cans » beans and chilies for taco night
  • olive jars + olive oil bottles » we’re ready for the charcuterie!
shot glass vase

Household Vessels

  • tall shot glass » I love the ceramic ones from Mud and Maker.
  • watering can » major garden party vibes
  • coffee pot » perfect for brunch…just add pancakes (This was actually my dad’s idea!)
  • test tube vials » so versatile I have an entire post dedicated to them!
watering can vase

Pro tip: Use the packet of flower food that came with the bouquet, cut the stems on an angle to encourage hydration, and change the water at least every 48 hours. You can get by with “cheap” flowers…but not dead ones!

Make It Work

There are many ways to work with the containers you already own. If the bouquet doesn’t seem to stand up right or fill the space in a wider container, try one of these tricks.

  1. Use the trimmed stems as “filler” to prop up the flowers.
  2. Nest a smaller container inside the larger container.
flower arrangement tricks

Full disclosure: I discovered the “nesting” trick by accident. For the sake of space efficiency in the cabinet, I stored a small mason jar inside of a medium cylindrical vase. I have not been able to separate them since that day.

nesting vases

Another fun discovery resulted from that accident: ombre water. For blue-purple ombre water, add one drop of blue in the large vase and one drop each of red and blue in the small vase. Fill the water in the large vase to double the height of the water in the small vase to create a layered effect.

ombre water bouquet

You can get by with “cheap” flowers…but not dead ones!

Pro tip: When the flowers begin to wilt, follow the instructions in this post to preserve fresh flowers for enjoyment all year.

What do you have in your house right now that you would consider upcycling into a flower vase? Get creative! I want to hear about the rain boots the kids’ outgrew for a baby shower, and the gourmet tomato sauce jars for pasta night.

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