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Great ideas for your table centerpieces

Napkin rings are nice, and hand-painted dishes are an impressive sight, but more than any other element, it is the centerpiece that makes the statement of a dining table dressed for a dinner party. A beautiful centerpiece is ultimately what ties all of the other attractive elements of the table together.

There are as many different styles of table centerpieces as there are meals to be served around them. You can easily create your own unique centerpiece by starting with a couple of classic parts: flowers and candles.

Festive Floral Centerpieces

Of course, by far the most common circumstance for people to be talking about flower centerpieces is during wedding planning -- too many brides have had too many arguments and lost too many hours' sleep deliberating on what the floral arrangements will look like in the middle of the dinner tables at their wedding reception.

A floral centerpiece is also a lovely accent to the table when you host a dinner party in your home. In-season -- or just seasonally colored -- flowers combined with other seasonally appropriate items create an impressive arrangement. Try dahlias surrounded by little gourds for an autumn centerpiece, or white lilies encircled by wreath of pine boughs and red berries for a winter one.

Creative Candle Centerpieces

One problem that many people run into when they want to decorate the dinner table with a centerpiece is that that is the place where they normally keep their fruit bowl. A very simple yet elegant solution to this problem is to incorporate your fruit into a decorative centerpiece. Place a pillar candle in the center of a large circular or oval platter, and arrange the fruit on the platter all around the candle for an easy and beautiful (and edible) centerpiece.

The candles in your centerpiece don't have to be real wax-and-wick candles, either. Using flickering, battery-powered LED candles gives you much more flexibility in designing your candle centerpieces because you don't have to worry about the other parts of the centerpiece catching on fire or getting wax dripped on them. Also, you can keep the candles "burning" throughout dinner without having to avoid passing dishes or wine over the top of the centerpiece.

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