04 Mar

Getting Creative with Carnations

carnation centerpiece ideas

Carnations seem to get a bit of a bad rap when it comes to the floral “status quo” – but the truth is that there are plenty of beautiful – and even cool – looks you can achieve with this budget-friendly flower.

Because of the price point and shape of carnations, they allow you to create soft, lush, and substantial floral arrangements – and just like anything else, it’s all about playing up their strengths and “packaging” them the right way. Here are a few great examples from floral designers who did just that….

Pictured at top – pretty carnation design ideas from InstyleWeddings.com.

carnation centerpiece ideas

Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Mini carnation bouquets from Brides.com; Todd Oldham™ Triple Scoop bouquet from FTD; a budget-friendly idea from Martha Stewart with a contemporary, yet feminine flair; and Todd Oldham™ Sweet Scoops Sundae bouquet from FTD.

Pictured below: This gorgeous “dome” design featuring all-white carnations & crystal strands is the epitomy of glam, but a similar arrangement works just as well at a casual beach wedding when paired with a simple, chic cake stand and “best wishes” notes from guests.

carnation centerpiece ideas

Pictured below… going beyond the centerpiece: This California bride had her bridesmaids carry pomanders of red carnations (which also hung from chairs lining the aisle) instead of the usual bouquets.

carnation centerpiece ideas

Last but not least… how cool is this(!): floating styrofoam balls covered with red, fuchsia and yellow carnations made a colorful splash in the pool at this St. Helena, CA reception.

carnation centerpiece ideas

Comments 36

jenn s.


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elle denise SAYS:

This is great!

March 4, 2009 at 10:09 am

DayOldNews SAYS:

I love the look from Martha Stewart. Those white vases look really great with the color of the carnations!

March 4, 2009 at 10:22 am

amy @ stem SAYS:

Jenn –

I love this so much. I used to be a total carnation snob but now they are one of my favorites. I love working with them en masse. (Still not a fan of them as “filler” in your everday boring arrangement but still….)

I just sent a photo of the carnation balls atop a tray of wheat grass to a friend planning an event yesterday. I’ll have to send her this post!

I’m sure you have, but have you (and your readers) seen this? I have been dying over Eddie’s simple cake and use of the candlestick as of late.


I think one of the best parts of this post is that EVERYONE can recreate these designs. Don’t be intimiated to try them!

Gorgeous eye candy! Thanks!

March 4, 2009 at 10:51 am

nat SAYS:

eddie ross recently posted a great how-to for arranging carnations in bunches like this: http://www.eddieross.com/eddie_ross/2009/01/beauty-in-numbers.html

March 4, 2009 at 10:52 am

nat SAYS:

wow, amy beat me to it by one minute! :)

March 4, 2009 at 10:52 am

Leika SAYS:

Love it! I’m glad that carnations are finally started to get some recognition — I hated them forever, but finally came around to seeing the possibilities…in fact, my bridal party will be carrying them at my June wedding!

March 4, 2009 at 10:53 am

jenn s. SAYS:

The Martha look is one of my favorites too – budget-friendly AND super easy… love it :)

Amy – I actually hadn’t seen that post of Eddie’s yet and it’s fabulous! Thanks for sharing! :)

March 4, 2009 at 10:56 am

Taylor SAYS:

Love ice cream cone and sundae. I just love!

March 4, 2009 at 11:00 am

Trina SAYS:

These are beautiful! I’ll admit i’ve never been a fan of carnations, they’ve always been considered “cheap”, but these absolutely change my mind.

I’ll have to pick some up for myself tonight!


March 4, 2009 at 11:49 am

Caitlin SAYS:

I used bunched white carnations for my bridesmaids to carry in my November ’07 wedding – they ended up looking like a mass of peonies (which is what I would have LOVED to have if it wasn’t for the pesky fall/winter season). Really beautiful and my bridesmaids loved them!

March 4, 2009 at 11:59 am

Kim O. SAYS:

Wow! I thought that I hated carnations, but these are really cool! :)

March 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Gabreial SAYS:

Wow, these are gorgeous. What a fabulous idea.


March 4, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Coupon Queen SAYS:

those are really great decorations for weddings.
Anyone have any good wedding gift coupons?

March 4, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Jennifer SAYS:

Stunning ideas! Thank you!

March 4, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Sandra @ Ribbons and Favors SAYS:

I have always loved carnations an felt they got kind of bum wrap – until now. At times even the florist looked at me like I was crazy when I said “Carnations please” – so who’s crazy now….these are beautiful. Finally this simply little flower is “showing off” !

March 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Kendra @ My Insanity SAYS:

These are beautiful! I made carnation kissing balls for my sister’s wedding several years ago in citrus colors. They looked fantastic, but they took more flowers than I thought they would for that lush look. Don’t underplan (cause the grocery store might not have a bunch of extra carnations hanging around in the right color in the middle of the night. :-))

March 4, 2009 at 7:05 pm

jomygoodness SAYS:

i love this post! it’s funny because I was going to post something about carnations today too since they’re showing up everywhere… instead, I posted about orchids! =)

March 4, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Jess SAYS:

You know, I’m not usually a huge fan of carnations, but these arrangements make them look ultra-appealing. Nice finds :)

March 5, 2009 at 6:27 am

Andrea SAYS:

I’m gonna have to echo everyone else…until I saw these pictures I have always disliked carnations. Receiving a single long stemmed carnation always seemed like a bit of a disappointment [i.e. in school].

I love the creativity shown here and the way you reminded us to play up the strengths…
THAT’S GREAT ADVICE [for many situations]!!!

March 5, 2009 at 6:47 am

Andrea SAYS:

The deep fuchsia in the first picture looks delicious!

March 5, 2009 at 6:50 am
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