Today on the podcast, Sara interviews Emily Murray of Something Borrowed Event Decor. Whether you are looking for that extra umph to take your wedding to the next level or you love hearing from women who began their entrepreneur journey as a way to build their dream lifestyle, this episode is for you! Emily and her husband have created and installed signage and décor for over 200 luxurious weddings in their two short years of business. Listen in to hear how they bring their creativity to life while Emily shares tips and tricks for how you can accomplish your wedding day vision, even if that means DIY-ing it!
I began working right out of college in corporate events and I loved the creative side, but there weren’t a lot of opportunities for it working in the corporate world. I always had a heart for weddings. Then, in December 2020, I lost my job during the pandemic. At the time, I had a side hustle of making home decor. Still, my heart really wanted to work on weddings. So, in January 2021, I did a mentorship program and three months later, launched Something Borrowed Event Decor. Now, we rent out custom decor for weddings in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. We specialize in mirrors, acrylic wooden items, and we’re getting thrown into this world of custom build installations for couples who want to go all out for their wedding.
What is a custom installation?
So, signage can be as simple as a sign you print out on poster board or something bigger. We specialize in these Pinterest worthy moments that take your wedding from a beautiful day to a really memorable one – with seating charts, welcome signs, those kinds of things. Your guests will look at it and say: “that is so them!” This is a big representation of you as a couple throughout your seating charts, escort displays, bar signage, little things like that to tie together and create a cohesive wedding. The custom installation is us designing these beautiful pieces and then bringing them to your event, setting them up, and breaking them down.
What do you want our listeners to know about signage?
I want them to know that even if it’s not at the top of your priority list, it’s still important for your guests. And if it is at the top of your priority list and you love color, those personal touches and elements, then invest in those areas. Also, if you don’t have the budget to invest, there are still plenty of ways to get those looks on your own or through Etsy to achieve that cohesive look for your guests. Whether it’s through a signage vendor where you’re doing a full custom suite of signage and items, or if you’re going through the DIY route of doing it yourself, it is possible.
If you’re engaged and starting to plan your wedding, where do you start with signage?
I think the first place to start is Pinterest. I always ask my clients if they have a Pinterest or mood board so we can find out what they like. These boards are helpful to see trends in what you like! Once we know what you seem to like, then we can figure out where to start. Like if you have a lot of mirrors, we can begin thrifting for options. Your Pinterest/mood board can help you see textures and colors you like, too. The next step is to look into whether or not there’s a signage vendor in your area (or Etsy!). If you go with Etsy, I recommend doing that for all of your pieces and sticking with the same colors and fonts so things tie together – even back to your invitations. This helps your guests get a really cohesive look for the whole day from start to finish.
That’s so helpful! Tell us more about installations, since that’s a huge part of what you do.
A lot of couples go with us because we have the experience of bringing all of these items to life – from creation to transporting them. On the day of your event, we bring all of the pieces and extra paint, tools, and really anything that could help us if something goes wrong. It’s one less thing our couples have to think about. Here’s a little tip too – many venues ask us to show insurance to go onsite, so if you think anyone can just show up and go onsite to install, you need to talk to your venue. There’s honestly just a lot of logistics that we have to think about when we go to install these pieces. So, we’re helping people with the design and with the installation logistics for your venue.
A big part of our business is also that most of our products are rentals. So we return the next day to break down all these pieces and take them back so our couples don’t have to worry about where to house them after the wedding or reselling them after! We work with the venue leading up to the big event to determine when we can bring them in, set up, and take them apart later, too.
You can do all of these things yourself, but there’s so much to think about: keeping your pieces safe, setting them up and taking them down. There’s also actually creating about your pieces and how they have to be adjusted as your head count changes. Honestly, there’s just a lot of logistics!
What are some important areas to think about on a wedding day that might need signage? Where can couples use it and what should they think about?
There’s three main areas that couples seem to focus on when it comes to their signage: their welcome sign, seating chart or escort display, and bar signs. I think these three are the most important because they’re the things your guests will see most of the day. People initially see your welcome when they arrive, then during cocktail hour and the reception, they’re looking at your seating chart. Most of the night, they’ll be up at the bar so it makes sense that that’s where people put their energy. Couples will add some sort of sign or flowers to just really elevate it.
I just love taking something like that and making it a piece that your guests will be excited about. It can be as simple as some florals and a mirror, but it really adds an extra touch that will make your wedding stand apart.
What are other things that you want our listeners to think about when adding pieces to their wedding?
We’re starting to see more personalized touches for your guests – like a place card they can take home as memento (like oyster shells). We’re also doing more acrylic items. Engraved acrylic place cards have extra details and they’re something guests can take home for later. I also think things that are meaningful for your guests are becoming popular. I saw something on Pinterest where a couple wrote personalized thank you notes for their guests for the day of the wedding and people can open it on the spot and get that little “thank you for being there” note. Those little touches mean a lot to your guests and it’s something they’ll talk about for years to come.
I think that’s so sweet! We had cards at our wedding like that and when people turned them over, there was a message about why we wanted them there. It’s so simple. What other trends did you see last year?
We’re seeing a lot of different shapes come through for signs – like arched signs. Sometimes it’s full structures that are offset from one and another – those bigger impact details. We love creating them because they’re so different for each wedding! We also saw a lot of guest book alternatives – like the audio guestbook where guests can record a message for the couple to listen to later. Couples also like the guest books with the instant cameras for people to stop and take photos. It’s a fun memory for everyone.
Mirrors are on trend right now. They’ve been pretty popular for a couple of years. As a photographer, they’re hard for us to photograph and I know that older guests have trouble with them sometimes.
Yes! But there are certainly ways of making it easier to read. We offer card stock with a beautiful wax seal that has your guests’ names on it instead of writing it on the mirror itself. It’s easier to photograph and read!
Interesting! That’s why it’s important to talk with a professional about the logistics and ideas. They can help with all of that but also just the ideas!
Absolutely! And we’ll always work with our couples on what they want to do. But, I will say: I always recommend that you put your seating chart in alphabetical order and not by table. You don’t want your guests to spend 20 minutes looking for their name. You want them to find it quickly and appreciate that moment, then mingle and have a good time. That’s what they’re there for – to support you. Not to find their name through dozens of tables and names.
What is one smaller signage or idea you’ve noticed from weddings lately that you love?
Oh, that’s a good one. One of my favorite elements from weddings last year was people incorporating their pets into their signage – like on their bar sign or even naming drinks after them. Like, I recently had a wedding where we made custom wax seals based on their dog and named a drink after them. They also had a custom made acrylic stirrer for the drinks inspired by their dog’s face. It was super cute! It’s something we’re definitely seeing a lot of as we go into 2023.
Another popular thing has been custom backdrops. We have plans for one laster this year that will be a beautiful all-black brick wall. The bottom will have the couple’s name and a 3-D sign but the rest is blank. It’s the perfect opportunity for guests to get a cool photo taken. It’s fun whether you have a photo booth or not. I think it’s a moment that people will look back on and say how cool it was. I’m a sucker for giving the guests something to interact with. Personally, I also really like the idea of an installation behind the sweetheart table – anything you can do to block eyesores in a room or space.
Should couples show you the spaces when planning their installations or signage?
Yes, nothing makes me happier or my life easier than when a couple will send me a video ro picture of the space. We’re happy to go to space in person and figure out all of the logistics, to measure, and all of that. But sending photos or videos is also super helpful. There’s no such thing as too much knowledge to help prepare yourself and your vendors. Once you know the space, you can go back to Pinterest and really start there.
What are some key points that couples should be considering when looking into signage companies versus doing it themselves?
I think the most important things are how much time you have to give to these projects. They do take a lot of time and there are things you can make in advance, but a lot of it does have to be made in the final weeks up until the wedding. So you want to make sure that you have the time and the resources available to do them.
The next most important thing is your venue and if they require outside insurance.This is to make sure that your vendor has what they need to be able to get in and out and set up the pieces.
Infuse you as a couple into these pieces. Whether you’re having them made by a signage vendor or going the DIY route, it’s so important that these pieces are representative of you and your wedding and your love story.
What We Discussed
Meet Emily (8:02)
What happens with an installation (12:56)
Hiring a vendor v. DIY (15:31)
How to add more personal touches to your wedding day (25:09)
Wrap-Up Question (34:23)
Links Mentioned in the Episode
You can subscribe to this podcast from wherever you’re listening so you never miss an episode. And, we would so appreciate it if you left a fabulous review for our show on Apple podcast! Even better, share it with a friend. It’s a great way to show your support and let us know what you think. Thank you so much for listening!