Creating a fall centerpiece

You don’t need to be a successful florist or gifted party planner to pull off an eye-catching centerpiece this fall. Check out these tips from Handmade Host founder, Aimy Tran. 

Just enough

We’ve all been there – standing in front of the flower section at your local store and feeling the urge to buy all of them. But Tran has one piece of advice: don’t. “I’m always tempted to overbuy flowers. But you really just need one bunch of filler – your silver dollars and eucalyptus, one bunch of your focal flower – the flower that draws your attention, and one bunch of your filler flower – like baby’s breath, to fill in the rest.” 

And when you’re making those selections, says Tran, make sure you choose some different textures to give your arrangement some dimension. Her favorite for the season are celosia, which look like furry spikes. 

Prep your flowers

Once you’ve gotten your flowers, it’s time to prep them for the centerpiece. Start by cutting the stems at an angle near the bottom, says Tran. Then remove the excess leaves and any thorns on the stems. And for roses, Tran has a hack. “First, take off the bottom layer of the rose petals. Then turn the rose upside down and twirl it. This will really open the flower up and make it look beautiful.” 

Construct like a pro

Before you start assembling your centerpiece, Tran recommends grabbing a mirror. Assembling in front of a mirror will help you see all sides through the construction. “You don’t want to have one side of your arrangement with zero flowers, so someone sitting on that side will be looking at stems for the entire party.” 

Another hack, says Tran, is to put a frog pin in the bottom of your container and put chicken wire on top of it. This way, you can put the stems through the chicken wire into the frog pin so they stay in place. “And remember, keep your arrangement low and wide so that people can see over top of it when they’re sitting.” 

Get creative 

There’s no written rule that says you have to keep your flowers in a vase. It’s easy to add some personality with a fun alternative – like a pumpkin. “It’s an especially good choice for Thanksgiving,” Tran says. “It’s not going to last very long, but it’s perfect for a special occasion.” 


Centerpieces aren’t just about looks. It’s also a chance to play around with fall scents, like herbs from your garden. Sage and rosemary are a good addition, says Tran, although basil is her favorite. 

“Towards the end of the harvest, herbs start to grow flowers. Basil is my favorite to use because they get long and turn purple.” 

November 2023
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