Without any background or expertise in decorating or weddings, Yuriko Larson became a wedding decorator.
“I just fell into it,” said the 32-year-old, who owns and operates Vintage Origami wedding rentals and decorating.
“It all started with a vintage tandem Swimm bike from the 1960s that my husband brought up from Texas. I started to rent it out for photo shoots and events and before I knew it I started to collect more vintage items and started a rental and decorating company.”
The company name, Vintage Origami, has nothing to do with the ancient Japanese art of folding paper.
Rather, it’s a reference to the antique nature of the rentals and decorating and a nod to Larson’s Japanese heritage.
This was in 2010, the exact same time vintage was becoming a huge trend in weddings.
Larson capitalized and became the first in Western Canada to specialize in vintage-themed wedding styling and decorating.
The tandem bike is still in service, but Larson also has an incredible line up of other antique and beautiful items ranging from dressers, cameras, bikes and linens to place settings, glasses, chairs and settees.
A wedding ceremony, reception and-or dinner can be decked out with functional furniture, working props and whimsical touches reminisent of Victorian times or the roaring 20s.
A vintage typewriter can be set up for wedding goers to type best wishes in the guest book.
The table can be made to look like the dining room in Downton Abbey.
Guests can be seated in antique church pews or plush parlor chairs and couches.
And the bride and groom can have their photos taken on the vintage tandem bike that always seems to be popping up.
Larson’s services are particularly popular among brides from Vancouver and Calgary who are having destination weddings in the Okanagan.
“I take care of everything for them and they just have to show up and have an amazing wedding,” she said.
Vintage Origami has become such a hit – it did 120 weddings and events last summer – that it has branched out to renting and decorating for contemporary weddings and all kinds of other events.
For instance, she’s styled showrooms and window displays, balls, fundraisers and photo shoots.
Her volunteer work and community service tends to be donating her rentals and decorating services for good causes.
She’s styled events such as the Kelowna Museum’s 75th anniversary, the Daffodil Ball benefitting cancer research and support and fundraisers for the Kelowna Women’s Shelter, Global Nursing and Freedom’s Door drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
This is all quite a departure for a woman who earned a degree in world religions and previously worked at a Montessori school and as a optician’s assistant.
At the Professional B.C. Wedding Awards, Larson has won best wedding decor and best industry award.