Whether you’re a bride to be or just a lover of all things decor (guilty!), then you’re gonna want to read this post! We had the pleasure of e-interviewing Yuriko Larson of Vintage Origami, a wedding decor and styling company in Kelowna, BC. Almost five years ago this Fall, we had the opportunity to work with Yuriko and her team to help produce our own wedding! Best. Investment. Ever.
From the moment I first called Yuriko, I knew I had to have her design our wedding. Immediately after securing our venue and date, she was next on my list of vendors to hire. Planning a wedding is challenging enough – but planning from another Province was no easy task! A dear friend of mine recommended Vintage Origami to me and I’ve been so thankful ever since. The decor was flawless and perfectly styled to our taste. And seeing more of her work kinda makes us want to get married again! We’ll settle for a vow renewal.
Yuriko and her team have perfectly positioned themselves as the go to decor and design company in Kelowna, but what she shares in this candid interview is useful for brides everywhere. So grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and settle in to read the full interview below.
What was your inspiration for starting your business in styling and design?
“Originally Vintage Origami began as a decor rental company but I decided to make that change to my business model a couple years in. This was spurred on after seeing many couples overwhelmed with the design process who were exhausted and overrun on the actual wedding day. Originally I did not consider myself a designer, as I did not train professionally for this role, but I realized I needed to take on this responsibility to alleviate stress on my couples. I also realized this was a necessary role so that the finished product of their wedding was completed with accuracy, precision and as the couple originally envisioned in their mind. The wedding day is emotional and busy enough. Couples should rather spend their energy and attention in being present on their wedding day to thoroughly enjoy the experience and their guests.”
What is your favourite type of event to do?
“My favourite type of event to decorate will always be a wedding day. There’s so much to be celebrated in that single day. It’s an event when two individuals are celebrating their love for one another but it’s also one of the few occasions you’re going to have your full family and all your favourite friends together in one space. How special is that! You get the opportunity to toast and tribute the parents, wedding party and family and to publicly thank them for their investment in your lives.
Being part of a wedding is experiencing a miracle and I can’t believe I get to witness it first hand as often as I do. Today after meeting with a sweet new couple I turned to Erik misty eyed and I said, “isn’t it amazing that those two beautiful and kind talented humans met each other and that their lives aligned for them to choose each other as their soul mate?!” It emotionally moves me just thinking about it. And since I’m such an emotional human being it is a guarantee that I will always cry at a wedding. Always.”
“The wedding day is emotional and busy enough. Couples should rather spend their energy and attention in being present on their wedding day to thoroughly enjoy the experience and their guests.”
How did you choose the name Vintage Origami?
“The name Vintage Origami was a tribute to how I started my business first collecting a large inventory of vintage and antique decor. I was the first vintage rental company in Canada established in 2010 and I began my collection before vintage decor was popular in the usage of weddings or design. The term origami is referencing my Japanese Heritage and how it is a craft that takes detail and precision. I don’t design weddings that are only of vintage or antique decor now but it was a theme that originally started my business and set me apart as a designer. Vintage decor pieces tell a story in the patina and it becomes a conversation piece for guests who enjoy the nostalgia or the uniqueness of the items. I now design in all themes, eras and styles like I said, but I will never forget how my collection began while hunting through Texas vintage markets, participating in live antique auctions, and my hunting excursions to find carefully curated decor inventory.”
You style and design weddings but don’t plan them. How did you get into that niche?
“I chose to not attach the role of planner to my title or responsibility as I wanted to provide only the services that gave me life. Sure, I could add planning to my role but then I would feel like I’m taking away time and focus on the wedding day allowing me to be the perfectionist that I am as a decorator. I would feel torn that I need to be all over the place catering to the logistics of the day, when I’d really desire and see it important to be the individual personally seeing excellence forward in the decor details.
I also love the idea of collaboration with other industry professionals, so working alongside a planner is a joy for me as I know they excel at their role and they can trust me in mine. Together we are better as a team.”
Favourite season for a wedding?
“This is a great question about what my favourite season is. I wanted to say spring as I was typing out this interview response while I stared out at the cherry blossom trees budding. However, I’m going to lean towards the fall season being my favourite.
We live in the Okanagan and I never want my couples concerned about rain or worried about extreme heat that we will experience more likely in the middle of the summer here in British Columbia. I’m likely also leaning towards fall as I love, love, love fall colours in the leaves, trees and the way it feels comfortably cool in the evenings to wrap yourself in a cozy shawl. Cooler weather is better for florals and all around I’m a huge fan of seeing the orchards and winery vineyards lush and full of grapes and Okanagan produce. Fall season is the winner!”
What do you foresee being the next trend for weddings?
“I don’t really believe that wedding trends should or need to be followed but I can’t say that I’m not influenced by them as I love seeing new styles inspired by fashion or interior design. Trends in wedding decor can be based on fabrics or colours, or certain varieties of florals.
I would envision the next couple trends of weddings being very different in colour palette than what we’ve experienced in the past couple years. One style being a very classic theme of black and white as a formal black tie affair. This would be all about having the men in black James Bond tailored suits with bow ties and bridesmaids in gowns that are made out of satin, silk or velvet. Minimalism for this theme will be the focus with intentional design and stationery will have more modern font rather than classic or handwritten script.
The other style I could see emerging are tones for the florals, linens, wedding party attire and stationery being more muted/rusty/fall colours. We’ve experienced a lot of blush pastel in the past couple years and instead of a blush, we are going to see more rose tones or muted beige pinks. Instead of just white accents for this theme more sandstone, cream, mocha and muddy pinks will be used. Vases and charger plates will be made of materials like concrete, ceramic and cement rather than glass or metallics. Less solid metallics will be used and more matte tone finishings will be desirable.
“Vases and charger plates will be made of materials like concrete, ceramic and cement rather than glass or metallics.”
I am looking forward to seeing how couples will apply more design choices that are of architecture influence like an eclectic style, art decor theme and Scandavian design influence.
My couples have always been focused on making their events feel intimate, inviting and unique of an experience for their guests. They don’t want it to be overly pretentious or in any way too opulent that the guests feel underdressed or uneasy. I do think this also relates to future style choices that couples will make as they are going away from overly grand decor like huge candelabras to instead caring about the comfort of their guests using more conservatively shorter florals on tables that allow for sightlines.
I imagine that couples will be choosing to trend towards smaller guest lists as they will want more intimate weddings and to invest spending their time with only close friends and family. Gone are the days of inviting guests out of obligation or allowing parents to invite all their coworkers, neighbours and acquaintances. Couples will be culling down their guest lists and they will be more intentional on the day to ensure they speak with each guest rather than relying on a receiving line – which is extinct. Thank goodness for that!”
“I don’t love seeing a microphone stand in photos or as part of the ceremony decor and I think this is a detail often missed.”
What are some must have wedding items?
“I think the ‘must have’ item in your purse that day would be lipstick that is going to stay in place all day and mascara that doesn’t run when tears are shed. Aside from the beauty products I just mentioned I think it’s important for a couple to keep hydrated and energized with power bars, their breath feeling great with breath mints and the usage of drinking straws so the bride can keep hydrated without smearing her lipstick.
I have seen way too many weddings where a pack of variety size safety pins became handy and maybe the night before the wedding the couples might want to consider the usage of a non drowsy sleeping aid so they can rest well without their minds going a million miles an hour. Those are all items that will help the couple in preparation to the wedding and once the day begins I think other important emergency items would be back up flat sandals to wear for usage during the photo excursions and during the end of the night when tired feet start rejecting those pretty heels.
As for decor items that I think are essential it would be requesting the officiant, commissionaire or religious leader who is conducting the ceremony to use a clip on microphone. I don’t love seeing a microphone stand in photos or as part of the ceremony decor and I think this is a detail often missed. I would also recommend that the couple consider choosing or requesting for a pretty and photogenic settee for them to sit on during the reception rather than the provided banquet chairs. I want my couples to be able to snuggle and sit close to one another at the dinner. When the couple enter into the banquet room from their grand entrance they will know exactly what seats are assigned to them (noted by the special settee) and the other wedding party will as well (with them utilizing the banquet chairs). This is especially helpful when there’s an uneven number of wedding party on each side of the head table.
Okay, one more recommended item I think is essential for a wedding. I think it’s so important to have a seating chart that is large enough for guests to read so they aren’t squinting and for it to be set up in an area where guests won’t get bottlenecked. The seating designation process needs to be efficient and as quick as possible to keep the schedule moving. I could probably name off a hundred more essential wedding day items but I won’t bore you.”
What is your favourite piece in your decor inventory?
“The very first antique I ever bought for my business was a vintage Tandem Schwinn Bike that I love to use for decor adding full florals in the wicker basket. On days off I love to ride around with my husband while he does all the peddling. Other than that my favourite decor pieces are anything that has a story and that I can custom design uniquely for the couples. Right now as I look around at my collection I would say that I’m so grateful for my carefully curated collection of linens that I make from scratch. I choose the fabric and have it sewn and even though they cost me a couple hundred dollars each they are made of fabric that I’m really proud of and that I feel are of the highest quality. High end linens set the tone for exquisite decor.”
Where does your inspiration come from when styling?
“The inspiration for my weddings originate from my couples and it comes from me examining their stories, their lives, their interests and hobbies. I start my process with asking a million questions. So many questions that the grooms begin to look glazed over and start getting twitchy but this is important for me and it can be a really fun process for everyone. The questions are about what their ideal home decor would look like if they had unlimited options or it might be inspired from their favourite outfit they wear on date nights together. These clues and hints about their personal design preferences I adopt from my conversations with the couple and the more they share with me the more information I can pull from it. I am a sponge in that way and I can articulate quickly and quite accurately a vision of design from their verbalized descriptions or the stories that the couple share with me.”
“The details of the day in the decor tells a story of the couple and it is a journey of discovery for the guests who attend. “
Why should couples hire a wedding stylist?
“The asset of hiring a wedding designer is they have now recruited an individual who thrives on perfectionism and detail. Hiring a professional stylist is adopting on your team a person, like myself, who believes that the way an environment looks, or even how the lighting is set, will help define the emotion and overall experience of the day for attendees. Ambience matters and sets the tone of romance. The feeling, weight and texture of linens speaks of the quality of the decor. The details of the day in the decor tells a story of the couple and it is a journey of discovery for the guests who attend.
Hiring a wedding stylist and decorator allows for a whole different level of design as they are trained, skilled and extremely crafted at looking at the whole wedding aesthetic. They will ensure the wedding details are manicured and it possesses continuity from the beginning of the process to the final detail.”
What do you feel is the biggest accomplishment in your career?
“I have built a lot of beautiful friendships out of my 11 years designing and decorating weddings. My most touching moments are when a past wedding couple will reach out and pursue their friendship with us. I’ve had baby announcements sent to me, couples who visit our city for their anniversaries who want to reconnect, bride’s who will text me out of the blue to say hello and just recently I had a couple request a facetime wine date for my husband and I during our covid-19 isolation period. I feel really invested in my couples during the planning process that can take upwards of 2 years and then once the wedding is completed I go through a mourning process knowing I don’t have a purposeful reason to email or call them other than to say hello. So to know the couples desire to continue a relationship with us beyond being delighted with the outcome of their wedding is the greatest honour that I don’t take lightly. Strong trusting relationships with my clients are my biggest accomplishment. And friendships that grow out of our experiences together have been the greatest reward for me.”
Do you have a tip for other designers out there?
“Don’t rely on Pinterest or on the design inspiration you see online. The decor that you create for your clients should represent the story of the couple or of their interests and personal style. Don’t follow trends or pursue your personal design goals and don’t just replicate something exquisite that you saw online, unless you were requested to do so by your couple. Choose decor that speak of your couple’s personality and let that be the main focus and inspiration to your design vision and your creation process. In most cases I would say, “You Do You” but in this case I want to say that the decor should be all about them and that will guarantee an original design.”
Quick fun facts:
“My favourite dessert. Oh that’s an easy question. I’m a savoury gal so I always lean towards buttered popcorn but if you were asking me for a sweet dessert it would be rich chocolate mousse or New York cheesecake with cherries.”
Favourite destination spot?
“Again.. That’s an easy answer when you ask me about my favourite destination. The island of Maui. 100% it is the most relaxing and fulfilling experience being on that island and feeding off the beauty of its culture, the locals and the whole mentality of the Aloha spirit. I could write an essay on this. Nothing makes me more happy than watching tourists in Maui enjoy the evening sunsets and seeing them sink their toes in the sand and watching how their souls are healed in the presence of the ocean, sand, sunsets and mai tais.”
Favourite board game?
“You are a woman after my own heart when you ask me about my favourite board games. I love you for asking this question. Okay… this is a toss up of the card game Bonanza or the classic version of Settlers of Catan. I played Settlers a lot during my University of Saskatchewan years so I know every angle of strategy for that board game and I have impressive bartering skills, says my husband, (it’s in my Asian blood).”
We hope you took away some valuable tips for your upcoming wedding (or vow renewal like us lol). Yuriko is a kind, generous, and creative soul and we sincerely hope you have the pleasure of meeting her someday too! So, if you’re planning a wedding in the Okanagan area, we highly recommend hiring Vintage Origami to make your special day absolutely perfect.
Don’t worry Alberta couples, we’ve got you covered here. We style weddings from Calgary to Banff and beyond! Inquire below to see how we can help make your day perfectly designed just for you.