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The centerpieces were one of the last things I did for the wedding, mostly because I’d hoped we’d be able to do flowers and realized too late that we couldn’t afford it. As a result, it was about two months before the wedding and I was scrambling to find something within our budget that would go with our wedding theme.

In the end, I stole an idea from my brother’s wife, Caitlin. She’d wanted to use lanterns for centerpieces at their wedding, but hadn’t been able to find affordable lanterns. I discovered some at our local Family Dollar, however, so I quickly nabbed them at $6.00 a piece. I still didn’t have enough lanterns, so I went on Ebay and found some fantastic yellow glass and black metal Moroccan lanterns for the same price. Perfect.

We had the lanterns. I just wasn’t sure what else to put on the tables with them. And then the idea came to me as I was packing boxes for the move. We both loved to read and collect books. Why not use books for centerpieces? And what if I put together a little blackboard on the tables with them?

I stacked a few books and put a lantern on them. Blackboards were created out of foam poster-board from Dollar Tree and I hand-wrote the following with gold pen:

May 1, 2011

Today a firefighter married his flame.

 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death,ardor is fierce as the grave, its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.
Song of Songs 8:6-7  

A blue ribbon tied to the top of each blackboard tied the centerpieces in with the rest of the wedding colors (cornflower blue, gold and ivory). With the gold chairs and ivory tablecloths, our centerpieces were the perfect unique touch at the reception. We had a blast deciding what books to put on what tables. My husband even got out his old fire-related books to put on the tables assigned to his fire department family!

And all told, I think we spent about $8.00 on each centerpieces, between the lanterns, candles, ribbon, poster-board and pens.  Definitely a win in my book!

PS – The other awesome thing? My husband’s sister decided to use lanterns for their wedding reception too! Check out her gorgeous centerpieces in this post.