fish centerpiece

My wedding's come and gone, but that hasn't stopped me from oohing and aaahing over other couple's nuptial styles. This weekend, one of Nate and I's go-to double date couples tied the knot. The bride was a huge help when I was planning my wedding, and I was more than happy to return the favor for her!

For their late summer wedding, Kim and Dom wanted romantic colors (deep purple and ivory with hints of blue) and a really fun atmosphere. They were on a budget, but wanted to infuse their own personality into as many aspects as possible. They added playful touches with an unconventional cake topper and spunky ceremony music (the recessional was the theme from Top Gun, at which point the bride and groom threw on their aviators and boogied down the aisle). I really liked their child-focused centerpieces at the kids' tables, which included candy, glow necklaces and small toys.

cork placecard holder

The bride's dad used a razor blade to cut wine corks in half and then made slits for each of the placecards. This was a nice, personal touch for the couple as they live in Temecula and are big fans of the wine country.

The couple also made centerpiece cards with photos from throughout their relationship and named each table after an aspect of their relationship that they enjoy (Passion, Joy, Determination, etc).

fish centerpiece

My favorite part, of course, were the fish centerpieces. The couple used a large hurricane glasses filled with either beta or goldfish at each table.  They accented the main glasses with several smaller glasses (borrowed from friends to keep costs down) and filled those with floating candles and orchids. I've been to a number of events with fish at the table and it didn't always turn out as well as it did at Kim and Dom's big day (no fish were harmed at their wedding!).

Here's my advice for a successful fish centerpiece:

  • Choose older/bigger fish. I've seen  people use those tiny silver ones (minnows?) and…well, it seems to me that smaller fish are more susceptible to untimely death. I'd stick with large, mature goldfish or bettas.
  • Bettas don't get along with each other or other fish. Don't ask me how they ever manage to procreate. Always keep them isolated in their own bowl.
  • Don't use tap water. Tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that need to be neutralized before it's safe for fish. On your big day, I'd say play it safe and buy some bottled water. Otherwise, ask at the pet store what neutralizer you should buy.
  • Let water sit for at least an hour before adding fish to the bowl. This will ensure it returns to room temperature and the fish will adjust to the changed atmosphere more easily.
  • Be careful adding floating candles, plants or other decorative items. I'd avoid mixing candles and fish altogether, but if you must do this make sure that the wax isn't running down into the bowl and that the candle isn't heating up the water temperature. If you add plants, make sure that they've been rinsed thoroughly of any pesticides or chemicals. And word to the wise: freshwater fish + saltwater shells don't mix.

Also, you should have a plan for getting all the fish home. Don't count on guests wanting to take your fish centerpieces, and make sure you have a safe mode of transportation for the fish after the party. It's a good idea to keep the small betta containers that you get at the store, since those are easier to transport them in than large, water-filled hurricane glasses.