I have also seen similar centerpieces that use epsom salts instead of sugar. You could also sprinkle a mix of pearls/gems. Sand (or sugar), faux pearls, a 3 candle. An easy DIY wedding centerpiece idea.
Love this Cardboard Dollhouse DIY with rooftop garden. Check out all the photos, on flickr to see how clever she was with her use of everyday items to furnish and decorate. Especially the tea strainer turned barbeque!