Aug 28, 2014
02:47 PMStyle & Shopping
Rentable Style in Simsbury Makes Wedded Bliss a Little More Affordable
It’s not enough to have a white, traditional wedding anymore. Your nuptials are expected to be unique and reflective of who you and your betrothed are as a couple.
There’s a certain fun in that–picking out the cake topper that perfectly describes you or the centerpieces that mix your fiancé’s love of kayaking with your obsession with sunflowers. Whoever you are and whatever you like there are ample opportunities for you to express that at your wedding. And if you can’t come up with ideas, there are plenty of resources for inspiration that go way beyond the wedding catalogues of yesteryear.
Pinterest and other message boards are virtual treasure troves of adorable DIY wedding ideas. The trouble that some brides run into though is that they are not crafty enough to execute the ideas themselves, or they simply don’t have to the time to try. That’s where Diane Murray (below) comes in.
Lady Slipper Affairs & Events aims to be a one-stop-shop resource for wedding décor and design, allowing brides to purchase or rent wedding details at a fraction of the typical price. Murray also offers set up and tear down services and a list of vendors to make planning easy.
Opened in a busy Simsbury shopping plaza just this summer, Murray’s small store is filled to the brim with beautiful wedding décor—every little girl’s dream.
Tables are topped with wrought iron birdcages and floral arrangements, place cards and tea lights. The four sets of shelves that serve as the backdrop for the wedding wonderland are lined with mason jars, brushed silver vases, cake pedestals and more. Candles, ribbon and crystal decorate every available space.
Murray’s business model adheres to the wedding adage—something old, something new, something borrowed (and depending on your taste) something blue.
Brides can purchase or rent the decorations on display at the shop. They can also sit down with Murray to come up with their own original ideas, which she will then execute for them.
“We brainstorm ideas,” Murray explains. “Sometimes brides will come in and say, ‘This is what I want,’ or ‘This is what I saw on Pinterest.’ They can save a little money and the choices are custom.”
Depending on what she is asked to create, Murray will either sell it to the client or let them rent it. She says she holds onto items she knows other people will be interested in renting—like a set of rustic wood table numbers she designed for a recent wedding. Another bride has already asked to rent them for her big day.
“I go with the trends for brides,” says the Massachusetts resident. “It’s about keeping up with the styles. I purchase things I know others will want to use.”
She searches local farmers markets, craft shows and consignment shops to find on-trend pieces she knows brides will be looking for, such as antique plates and trays, blown glass bottles, woven baskets and much more.
Lady Slipper Affairs & Events is also the place to sell your used wedding decorations (because who really needs 30 mason jars?) Items can be sold outright or on consignment.
When renting bridal decorations, Murray charges one third the retail price. That means you can rent ornate birdcages to hold the cards from your guests for $5 or $6 depending on the size. You can rent all the mason jars you could possibly want at 25 cents each. And the more you rent or buy, the bigger discount you get.
(Photos above and below by Nicholas Krawczyk)
So what’s the trend right now? Murray says Great Gatsby-themed weddings with lots of silver and vintage fabric. Country chic-themed weddings are also popular, with wood accents and bright flowers. Her set of blue glass bottles are a popular item, as are some of her vintage silver accents.
She hopes to turn Lady Slipper Affairs & Events into the place where brides can get all their shopping done—and save a little money in the process.
She decided to open a customizable wedding decoration rental company after having her hand in the industry for many years. She assists her California-based sister, who owns a flower shop, with events, and has helped set up and tear down weddings including her niece’s. She operated Lady Slipper Affairs & Events out of her home for a while (that’s where she still houses much of her product line), but decided a storefront was crucial so brides could see the decorations in person.
“I’ve had a good reception since moving into this space,” says Murray. “Five or six brides have either bought or rented items from the store.”
She opened the store in Simsbury because of the plethora of event venues in the area. So far, it’s been a good choice. Currently, she has five weddings in the works, and each is a highly personalized affair.
Most of her business has been based on word of mouth so far—one bride loving the experience and telling her girlfriends.
Lady Slipper Affairs & Events is open Thursday and Friday, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments can be made for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
For more information on all of the services provided, visit ladyslipperevents.com.