We knew we wanted to have a board game per table once we settled on our Fun & Games theme, but I also wanted to add some height to the design since board games are so low profile. It was very important to me that the tall item was slender enough to see across the table, and to not take up much space on the game it sat on. I also needed it to be very inexpensive. I didn’t want to put too much effort into the centerpieces since the dance floor was in a different area. Our guests were just going to eat there, not dance or listen to toasts.
Here’s the issue: when you search “inexpensive centerpieces” you get $15-20/table options. Doesn’t sound bad until you multiply it by 20 tables. Then you’re looking at $300-400 minimum and I would rather have that money go to something else that was actually going to improve my guests’ experience, not just improve my pictures. I was sitting at my sister’s house when I saw the double bottle of wine my mom had brought:
It was a riesling bottle from Sam’s Club, about 18” tall. The extra height gave it some extra oomph and the streamlined design made it feel less like a traditional wine bottle. I convinced my mom to hold onto her bottles for me. Cost for bottles: $0.
Then I put it on a dowel and turned it upside down to spray paint them. I used matte paint for the olive green, and glossy for the coral. I found the green covered better than the coral, but I’m pretty sure that’s more to do with the color being closer to the blue than the finish of the paint. I painted WAY more than we needed, but we hadn’t even sent out invites yet, so we had little idea how many tables we would have. I was also only in Virginia for a week and a half, so I wanted to get them done!
Then my maid of honor, Amelia (who has a blog about her life with CP), and I glittered the bottom third and the rim of the bottles. To do this, we spread mod podge on the bottle and then
sprinkled dumped glitter on each bottle. Here’s where my perfection rule comes in handy. We purposefully made the bottles IMPERFECT. When we were spreading the mod podge, we had it go anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 way up the bottle, intentionally making it uneven. This way we could enjoy ourselves and didn’t have to check with each other to see if our bottles matched. We glittered the rims primarily because that’s where all the paint flaws were. Honestly, if I wanted everything to match exactly, I would have the same person do all of them–and where’s the fun in that? Cost of glitter, mod podge, and spray paint: ~$40 (About $1.42/bottle). And the bottles are done!
So the whole idea behind our escort cards and board game centerpieces was to make finding your table a game in itself. Instead of table numbers, your table was identified only by the game. Your escort card had your name stylized like your table’s game’s logo. I designed all of the escort cards in photoshop before we even sent out invitations with my own name as a placeholder, this way I could just replace the text as appropriate. I went to Reddit and had their riddle subreddit help me out with phrasing a sign explaining how it works. This was one of my first times entering into the Reddit world, but people were so helpful!
To help with finding your table, we wanted a “table marker” akin to the table number signs you’d find at most weddings. We were inspired by this post on Offbeat Bridea to use perler beads to make table markers to help people figure out and find their tables. We used this site to lay out our designs, because we could easily layer an image behind our work to stay true to the source material. The site didn’t save images well to my Mac, so we took a screenshot of our designs and printed from that. We limited each design to one large square template, with the exceptions of Clue and Yahtzee. I hot glued the perler bead markers onto 2’ tall wooden dowels so they would stand up in the wine bottles. Here’s how the Monopoly one looks from pattern to finished product. With the stylized placecard to boot. These ended up being about $2.50 a piece. Dowels came out to 75 cents each, and tissue paper was 20 cents a sheet.
The board games themselves we picked up at Goodwill for about $2 each. We went with Goodwill games so there wasn’t a high investment if anything got ruined with barbecue sauce. We wanted them to be playable as well, so we hid the instructions for the games under the boards and put the little pieces in jars. (No one ended up playing the games, but I didn’t think they would unless it was a rainy day). We got the jars for about 50-75 cents apiece.
When we packed up things for the wedding, we unboxed all of the games and put them all in 2-3 boxes. All of the jars had labels (just return address labels!). This drastically reduced the setup time needed to get the tables set up. We had a table map labeling which tables were which games. I set up one table when I arrived and then my bridespeople, groomspeople, and ushers (and parents, and a few family friends) did the rest!
We had two empty tables not assigned to anyone. They were kind of tucked away in a corner, so if people wanted to sit with someone from a different table, wanted an empty table to play a tabletop game, etc they had a place to do so. They were still fully themed, and we let people know about them by placing this card on each table.
The other things on the table were plasticware wrapped in a napkin, and 6 bottles of barbecue sauce—all different flavors from my caterer. The table cloths came included in my venue’s cost. So all of those things are not included in my table display cost. My escort cards cost 15 cents each, with about 8 people per table, and those Sorry/Clue sheets cost about 3 cents each. I did all of my own printing, so labor/ink costs are also not included.
Total cost per table: $8.60*! They weren’t dramatic, but they fit the theme perfectly. And they definitely looked more expensive than less than $10 a table! Perks of a casual wedding: not spending thousands of dollars on florals!
*Of course, I did end up with more than I needed. I had about 10 extra wine bottles, loads of extra perler beads and tissue paper, and had to buy Operation new because I couldn’t find a good enough version at Goodwill. I tried my best to make my calculations close to what was actually used for the average table.