an unusual ceter piece idea

taigen_gwJanuary 4, 2006

I came up with an ususal center piece idea and we seem to be getting some very varied thoughts on it...although the only important feelings on it are the bride and groom. It is their day after all. I just thought I would post it here and see what the response is.

We are having a garden wedding with everything themed garden, all colours, not one in specific. They just want butterflies, dragonflies, flowers etc. They are being married at beside our larger pond which is were we all "live" in the spring, summer and fall. So I came up with the idea of taking the very large clear vases we bought, placing a large silk flower in the bottom, filling with water, floating some pretty but none scented candles on top and then taking some of our baby goldfish (we have lots every year) and putting two in each vase. They would only be in there for a short time. As the reception comes to a close the guests would be invited to take any or all of the baby fish home in bags. As I said the bride and groom really love the idea, but some people think it is not appropriate/cruel/ etc. etc.

What are your feelings on this? We haven't made a final decision yet and your input would be very welcomed. The original idea was for me to paint/etch the vases. But this one seemed more appropriate to the whole garden theme.

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I'm a mother of the bride and been on various boards for about a year and a half. I do have to say I have seen it posted more than a couple of times about people using goldfish in the centerpieces and the fish dying during the festivities.
I think it is certainly a cute idea, but I'd be very hesitant after the posts I've read elsewhere.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 11:51AM
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I am a wedding coordinator. A number of my brides have done this, but they usually use beta fish (blue with large tail). I have had a couple of people use gold fish as well. In fact, for a wedding this past June, a couple of the gold fish were already dead in the bag they came in from the store before they were even transferred to the vases. We tossed them in the pond for the ducks. Do you think that you can keep them alive? Also, be careful about the water that you place them in. It shouldn't be tap water if you are on city water.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 9:16PM
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I think it sounds cute! Goldfish live in bowls forever so I am sure most can survive a vase for a day. Just rinse the flowers and candles off well and use clean water.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 12:23AM
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Thank you for the respsonses...this seems to be one of those things that people either really dislike or like. Just so everyone knows, we have had ponds for about 17 years now and the fish will be coming from our own ponds. I catch as many as I can to keep the fish numbers down, and I usually just give them away. With the wedding I just thought it would be nice to have them in the vases and then give them away.
I really do appreciate your thoughts and ideas on this.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 1:36PM
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There are chemicals in tap water that will kill fish. If you do follow through with this idea, go to the pet store and get some "Prime" it removes Chlorine, Chloramine, amonia, detoxifies nitrate and nitrite (any combo of which we use to "clean" our water and then there are traces left in city water). It is not very expensive, a capful treats 50 gallons.


(who helps take care of two aquariums)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 8:15PM
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I think it sounds like a cute idea.

I don't kow how clean your pond water is, but if you used that to fill the vases it would be less stressful on the fish... but then you probably already knew that... :)

I saw a picture of a wedding cake, which was standing on cilindrical vases filled with water and... you guessed it, goldfish. It was a pretty neat effect.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 10:33AM
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Usually if goldfish are in water that is not aerated, they die pretty quickly. You don't want guests eating with a dead fish in the centerpiece.

I also think this creates a lot of work for someone bagging up fish at a wedding when people are in their better clothes. I honestly cannot imagine anyone wanting to take a fish home from a wedding.

My opinion--thumbs down!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2006 at 1:08PM
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Goldfish are surface breathers, so do not need to be in aerated tanks. However, the bagging question while in good clothes is a valid point.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2006 at 6:38PM
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The fish will be caught throughout the summer and instead of giving them away right away, I would set up an outside "tank" for them till the wedding. I usually have a large container full of duck weed with an air bubbler out by the ponds. The fish eat the duck weed as a treat and the bubbler keeps away any mosquito's. I could just put them in with the duck weed.
I had already planned on trying the pond water fresh from the filter system, but we'll see how it looks in the vase first.
Your point about clothing/netting is well taken. I could always hold onto them for any guests that did want them. They sure aren't going back in the koi pond.....putting goldfish in their was a big mistake!! If you think rabbits breed quickly you should see these guys! I also have a friend who has a very large natural pond on her property that said any extras could go there. She already has some in there so I know they would survive. A local pet store may also take some.
I guess we won't know if we'll do this till we try it early this summer and see how a fish does.
Thanks for all the input on this though, it is appreciated.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 6:15PM
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I went to a wedding reception where the centerpieces were goldfish bowls and it was a real disaster. Even though the day was not too hot, the sun magnified the water and the poor fish were leaping out of the bowls trying to get away from being cooked alive. They flopped out onto the tables and onto some of the plates where guests found dead or dying fish.

Please, even fish are living creatures and not decorative objects. Give them a little respect and kindness.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 6:09PM
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I went to an "Under the Sea" party years ago where part of the decorations were live gold fish in bowls....
Believe me, even one "floater" spoils the effect!
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 2:57PM
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Well, we are really thinking about all your replies. We had no idea there were so many disasters with goldfish! You have given us lots of insight and things to think about. Maybe little plastic ones weighted down would be better!!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 5:01PM
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I attended a very elite local historic homes tour & one home owner had goldfish in the floral arrangements. She also did some with lemons in the water, minus the fish. It's been years, and I still remember them, as they were really dramatic & unique. Some were in tall vases, some big clear urns & others in huge globe bowls.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 5:46PM
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given some of the bad results--why don't you try a test run before deciding? I do agree--hot weather would be bad & maybe a deal breaker. Try some in similar size containers your considering...try to think about the direct sun or shade having an effect...see if the chlorinator affects the flowers, etc. Little testing, tweaking might do the trick!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 6:02PM
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sep2897....we had already decided to do a test run to make sure they would be safe. They would also be under the large tent we have rented. Just some of the stories about them jumping out etc. have me a bit concerned now, although our daughter really wants to give this a try. Everything about the wedding is garden and pond themed. I just finished cutting, grinding and foiling today all the pieces for the dragonfly favors. The attendants are wearing dragonfly jewelry and in their bouquets will be butterflies etc. The tables will have white table clothes with a wavy blue center runner that the vase with the goldfish will be on and all the dragonflies with the the poem and little clear glass blobs to give the impression of water bubbles. There will also be cylinder vases that I will paint with cat tails etc. that will hold pillar citronella candles. So you can see why she has her heart set on this, but if they would be harmed or if I can find realistic plastic ones then we would change to those. I really am quite surprised at some of the stories as we have had goldfish and koi for many many years without problems...both in the ponds, tanks and bowls.
Thanks again for your thoughts....nothing is a done deal yet.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 9:48PM
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Please reconsider this concept. I normally post at decorating, but was perusing other forums and found your post.

It is cruel and insensitive to use live fish in this manner and some of your guests will find it horrifying and disgusting even if the fish survive the wedding. You can not avoid trauma occuring - the table will be bumped, chemicals and dyes from the flowers and candles may leach into the water and harm the fish, vases could tip over, as the candles burn the oxygen will be exhausted in the vase and fish can die at any time.

I think you have some lovely, elegant ideas such as the dragonfly stained glass that it would be a shame to take such as risk of ruining the effect with dead fish and upset guests.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 10:05PM
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I like the idea of artificial fish. If you can find them, if it isn't too expensive, I would not go with plastic fish that are supposed to look real, but very stylized looking glass or acrylic or even paper. You know, real artificial instead of artificial real!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 12:09PM
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With all the scrapbooking things out I am hoping to find something that, like you said, doesn't look too artificial. Been busy getting the invitaions completed and I finished all the stained glass dragonflies. I also got 2 rose balls made that the attendants will be carrying. They have dragonflies pinned to the ribbon handles. I do have to look around more for the fish though now that spring is hopefully coming soon.
Thanks for all the input :)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 2:39PM
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No, no, I meant to make it look MORE artificial. Artwork fish, not fake real fish.

But really, you don't HAVE to have fish at all. The dragonflies might be plenty!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 5:21PM
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If I came to a wedding, was all dressed up and had to cope with bringing home goldfish, I think I'd throw them and the bowl out of the window of the car. Too much hassle. And there will always be someone who empties his drink into the vase to get the fish drunk.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 6:47PM
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I think it's cruel, and there may be some at the wedding who think that also.
If you want a pond theme in the centrepieces, how about water lilies...they would look gorgeous!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 5:35PM
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I think this is a great idea. My centerpieces also include gold fish (a bud vase with clear gems, a single goldfish and a Hydrangea). It's unique, which is definitely hard to get nowadays, and I think people will enjoy watching the beautiful fish swim as they eat their dinner, as well as being able to take them home after the reception (especially the children).

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 9:23AM
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I went to a wedding and took home two goldfish that were centerpieces on the tables. Those fish are now in my pond, and have been there for 3 years. When I see them I always think of the bride and groom. There were no dead fish in the bowls on the tables. It looked just beautiful!!! Diana

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 8:22PM
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If your daughter really has her heart set on fish, why not paint them on the outsides of the vases? Then you could float flowers or water lilies inside as another poster suggested.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 2:25AM
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Won't the candle burn the oxygen in the vase opening and leave no oxygen for the fish?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 4:40PM
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I am a wedding planner and have seen this done at many weddings. I think it is a great idea and have never seen it go wrong. Seeing that they are coming from the pond that the bride and groom are getting married beside makes it that much more special. My only suggestion is that when welcoming and thanking guests you tell them WHY there are fish on the table and offer them as a favor. Good luck and take lots of pictures.
Kimberly Grubbs
PS. As a symbol you might have the bride and groom take two from the vase on their table and put them back in the pond that they got married next to.

Here is a link that might be useful: And Ever After

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 2:32AM
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