The Prop Finder

Photo: Victor Prado/New York Magazine

Corrin Arasa, Owner of Patina Vintage Rentals

Wait, props at a wedding?
It’s often the first time people get to express themselves as a couple. Props and décor play a pretty big role in that. It took a few creative couples to really get the concept out there and make some noise on wedding blogs.

What kinds of props exactly?
We’ve had people rent mantelpieces to deck out with vintage cameras as the backdrop to the ceremony. For the reception, we’ll do furniture and lounge-y props, so people can relax in an area that really represents the couple’s design aesthetic. A lot of the smaller details show up on tables displaying seating assignments or the guest book.

What’s popular now?
Lots of Art Deco–inspired stuff, props with gold accents, like gold end tables and gold coffee tables. Lots of typewriters or vintage books for writers or people who love to read; plus artwork, postcard holders, and photography.

Where do you find all this stuff?
I go to a lot of auctions and estate sales in upstate New York, some in Massachusetts and New Jersey. I like to go to the Brimfield Antique Show in the spring. Brass and copper accents and accessories are very high on my list right now. Anything tufted is always high on my list. And there are the industrial pieces. You can never have enough industrial stools or tables. Couples really like them for displaying items.

How can couples keep from going overboard?
If it’s what you love—a certain color or feeling that you’re going to try to evoke—then everything will come across in the props. You just can’t go too far in one direction because people aren’t one-dimensional. It’s about contrast.

But surely some couples run the risk of becoming too twee for their own good.
I say go for it. It’s your one day. What the hell, right? Do whatever you please. It’s really about what you’re trying to say and where you’re trying to go. However, if someone told me that she was all about mid-century modern and then started going down the route of the Romantic early- 1900s era, I would definitely have to pull her back.

How do you do that?
It’s really fun to look around a room of awesome things and feel like you want it all. But I ask couples to think about what they’re trying to say, what they like, what their tastes are—even how they would decorate their apartment. Go back to that and hone it in, because if you come in with a clear vision and you leave with everything under the kitchen sink, it’s no good for anybody.

Illustration by Jim Mezei

“If you buy a prop instead of renting, make sure it’s something that can work in your home after the wedding. Hit local flea markets or check out Etsy and eBay.”


The Prop Finder