Cathy Akinkunmi dishes on challenges and trends when it comes to wedding decor.
What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to decorating for the big day?
The one thing I always ask clients right away: Let me know your budget. It’s almost like when you go dress shopping. You can try on a dress, fall in love with it, and then realize you cannot afford it. So, I always ask them—what are the most important things? What do you have that we can use? If the chairs look nice already, maybe we don’t have to cover the chairs for the ceremony. There’s a lot of give and take, so what are the priorities? If you want uplighting, or want to cover the walls and the ceiling with draping it could be completely out of your budget. So what else can we do?
What are your favourite trends ?
The kind of thing people have liked for the past three years is rustic, but more so now I’m seeing people do more vintage, more floral, greenery.
What about trends you’d be happy to never see again?
I’d have to say burlap—the very raw-edged burlap in a banquet hall, I just think that doesn’t mesh. You have a big chandelier in a banquet hall, and then you have Mason jars, and burlap, and it’s mismatched. I don’t mind it in other places, but it just doesn’t match there. I think brides who put a spin on things, it’s good, it’s their wedding and they have to make it their own. There’s nothing wrong with burlap and lace and all that, it just has to be in an appropriate setting and it should all go together.
What’s your best piece of advice for people trying to plan their wedding look?
Really sit down and think about what you love. Sometimes it’s not about what is in, or what the Pantone colour of the year is. A lot of brides come to me—I talk to about 300 brides in a year—and most of them, their colours are completely different from the Pantone colour. It’s whatever they love. Be true to yourself, it’s your wedding, your special day. When you look at your pictures years later, you’ll say that’s what I loved and if I had to do it again, I’d probably do that again. There are a lot of voices, you know, a lot of opinions. And you’re going to have that person in the family that everyone thinks is chic, or is a planner extraordinaire, and the bride doesn’t want to go against them. And I say, come back later—without them.
—interview by Allison Saunders
Cathy Akinkunmi is the lead designer at Beautiful Linen Rentals & Design.