The $1,500 Centerpiece

When guests sit down to a reception, they're often dining beneath a towering (and expensive) floral masterpiece. Sarah Matteson, co-owner of Boston's Spruce Floral, explains how arrangements like this one – and the accompanying price tag – grow to such heights.


Photograph by Eric Kulin

More than 75 roses and a few peonies were used to create this spherical table-topper. After Matteson attaches the flowers to an absorbent foam core, she flips some of the petals inside-out to give the piece dimension.

While many florists get their blooms from the Boston Flower Exchange, thereby relying on what’s seasonal and locally available, Matteson special orders her blossoms and greenery (like the grayish-pink Faith roses and resilient New Zealand succulents used here) to get the quantities and specific varieties she needs.

Matteson carefully weaves cut-crystal drops, strung from the centerpiece on fishing line, among the succulents. In a romantic candlelit setting, they sparkle.

For extra hints of glitter, Matteson pins crystals into the center of many of the succulents on the arrangement’s base.

In place of the typical glass pedestal (which would have kept the per-centerpiece price at a more-manageable $250), this “living vase” is constructed using 100 succulents. It takes three hours to wire them to a custom-made Lucite and Styrofoam form.