These turned out exactly as I had hoped! They were old looking, simple, and reminded me of us. They were also very simple to do! (and cheap) The books were all borrowed from friends and family, with a few exception of books we thought looked cool at thrift/antique stores which are now used for decorating at our house. We basically spent less than $5 on the books. The lanterns were a little trickier because not many people have old looking lanterns, but we did find quite a few from friends and family and only have to buy about ten ourselves. We began perusing thrift/antique stores months before the wedding and found one here and there, and just made sure to stop and look each time we were near a store. We probably spent only $30 on lanterns all together, they are actually a pretty good deal at thrift stores ranging from $2-$10. Now the bottles were lots of fun, we had friends and family with lots of old bottles and mason jars which was extremely helpful and the rest we found at thrift stores like everything else. Glass bottles were a bit more expensive, but much easier to find. I had no idea when we began looking that bottles that they could be collector's items, so we had to be careful when looking not to pick out the expensive ones. All in all, I'd say we spent another $30 on the bottles as well. Doilies were the same way, except our families had them all. So, overall we spent under $100 on our centerpieces for 24 tables! That is a bargain, I must say :)
When choosing flowers, I told the florist to just give us stems of flowers matching the bouquets, and we would arrange them ourselves. I just wanted random arrangements of flowers, nothing super fancy because I like the more freshly picked, thrown in a bottle look, than an arranged look.
So, once all that was planned and I had collected all my items. I arranged and rearranged everything I had into the centerpieces I liked, made the table names and tied them to random objects in the centerpieces. The last thing (and most helpful) I did was to take a picture of each arrangement and place the picture in a plastic bag with all the items necessary to create that centerpiece. That way, the day before the wedding when we went to set up, everyone could help. I also made a chart indicating where each table went. We literally set up all the tables, put water and flowers in all the bottles in less than two hours. It was so fun and quick, and no one got stressed out which was the best part!!
To see how people found their seats, check out my "escort cards" here.