Floral centerpieces are a dime a dozen (well, all right, they’re considerably more than a dime!). All the more reason, then, to go with a fabulous alternative: tabletop topiaries! Centerpieces in this eye-catching form are sure to be conversation pieces at a fun event like your bridal shower party. With their customary ball-shaped top, topiaries bring an interesting sense of height to your table display. Plus, they allow you to try a whole range of decorative treatments. Just let your creativity flow!
Take a look at the innovative topiary designs we have here. They can range from yummy to quirky to opulent—depending on the materials they’re made from and on your particular bridal shower theme. And without the need for fresh flowers, our ideas are welcome budget-stretchers as well. So, get ready to wow guests with your own topiary centerpieces!
Topiaries Good Enough to Eat
We dare guests to resist these scrumptious edible topiaries! For a pastry table at your bridal shower, topiary toppings could be sweet treats like mini chocolate crinkles or honey-glazed donut holes. For a wine and cheese party, they could be crunchy bread stick slices ready for dipping in gourmet paté.
What to Use: Try bite-size edibles: cookies, donut holes, Macaron de paris, meringues, croutons; candies: gum balls, marshmallows, Hershey’s Kisses®, sugared gum drops, candy hearts, peppermint swirls, champagne bubbles, chocolate truffles, nonpareils; fruits: apricots, strawberries, melons; and nuts: Jordan almonds, chestnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts
Application: Prepare a base, such as a styrofoam ball. Wash it very well and air dry. Then, attach it atop a wooden dowel standing upright in a small pot or vase. Use florist’s foam to hold the dowel in place. As an added decoration for the base, wrap your vase with a large organza fabric.
For sweet topiary toppings, mix up a bowl of gum paste icing (or buy it commercially prepared from a cake supply store). Use this as your “glue” to attach the edibles in place, one by one, until the entire ball is covered. Fill any remaining spaces with the icing, using a frosting tip.
For non-sweet toppings (such as our bread stick slices), use a similar styrofoam base. But attach the edibles using toothpicks. Another option is to coat the base with a sticky edible material such as caramel.
Hint: Making a themed candy topiary—such as one for Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s, or Christmas—can be loads of fun, since seasonal candy would be readily available at many stores.
Fun and Unusual Topiaries
What to Use: Look around the house for fun items, full of color and varied textures, that would make great topiary toppings. Think shirt buttons, cork slices, beads, faux pearls, feathers, or ribbons.
Application: Obtain styrofoam forms—in fun shapes, such as cones, cylinders, or even cubes—from your local craft store. Attach these to a base. Then, using a glue gun or white craft glue, attach the little toppings all over these forms until they’re entirely covered.
You could arrange your chosen materials in an interesting pattern, use them to create a design, or mix and match contrasting materials. You could also stick to one material for a striking effect—pearlized sequins, for instance, for a bedazzling finish; tiny satin ribbons for a sweet, feminine look.
Fabulous Fabric-Made Topiaries
At this Marie Antoinette-inspired bridal shower tea party, we took advantage of a high-ceilinged venue to incorporate a towering tulle topiary in the opulent table display. Breathtaking, isn’t it?
What to Use: Gather fabric remnants, such as tulle, chiffon, satin, and lace; as well as embellishments like ribbons, brooches, strings of beads or pearls, and faux roses. For a towering topiary, look around for a discarded lamp base or table leg. And for a surprising twist, you can also use pomander-shaped bags pinned to the topiary. The bags can then be removed as favors for guests.
Application: Choose one or a combination of fabrics and bunch these up into a pompom shape for your topiary top. Secure it with a few stitches of thread, and attach it to your base—also covered with fabric. Add finishing touches with satin or textured ribbons, jeweled brooches, fabric flowers, and other decorative accents.
Hint: You can also create balls using yarn made of wool or cotton. Vary the colors for an attractive creation!
Eco-friendly Organic Topiaries
What to Use: Think organic: seashells, leaves, colored pebbles, bits of bark, seeds, florist’s moss, and straw
Application: Choose an interesting styrofoam base or fashion a free-form one out of plastic foam. Then, using a glue gun, attach the organic materials you’ve prepared—aiming for a natural look with that unique rustic charm. For instance, a moss-covered topiary can be topped with a glittery-winged butterfly or two for an enchanting fairyland look; while a seashell-encrusted one may have a dried starfish or seahorse to complete the seaside effect.
A Recap: Basic Materials for Topiary Making
For regular-sized tabletop topiaries, you will need at least the following:
- styrofoam shapes or plastic foam for the basic form
- wooden dowels
- glue gun and/or craft glue
- gumpaste icing (to attach sweet edible toppings)
- toothpicks (to attach non-sweet edible toppings)
- small pots, vases, or similar containers
- florist’s foam, moss or straw to fill the containers
- spray paint, glitter, etc. (optional)
- materials to cover the topiary top
- decorative accents such as ribbons as finishing touches
Decorating Options With Topiaries
Whatever topiary style you choose, do show it off in the best advantage! At your bridal shower party, you could consider having one large topiary or a grouping of smaller topiaries at mid-table—or several identical topiaries all in a row. You could even assemble interesting arrangements, combining the topiaries with candles, flowers, fruits, or other décorative accents to suit your party theme. Or you could deviate from the traditional topiary shape, and try something whimsical such as hearts, bells, and doves, even snowmen for a Christmastime bridal shower.