Wedding Experts: The Rental Collector
Whether you’re saying “I do” in a grand ballroom or a tranquil garden, Kristen Bender Daaboul’s furniture collection adds personality to any venue.
When she couldn’t find the right vintage-modern rentals for her wedding at Brookline’s Larz Anderson Park in 2015, interior designer Kristen Bender Daaboul ended up buying furniture instead—and founded her own rental company in the process. “I realized there was a pretty large hole in the market for pieces [with] my specific style,” she says. Now the owner of Stoughton-based Kadeema Rentals, Daaboul helps couples dress up their venues with antique armchairs, sparkling chandeliers, plush Moroccan rugs, and—of course—the velvet settee she used at her own nuptials three years ago. “It represents the backstory to Kadeema,” she says. “It started with [me and my husband] and kept moving.”
What are some creative ways couples have used items from your collection?
The majority of our pieces are used for lounge areas where people can have more-intimate, personal conversations. I always like having a space that is a little bit calming, where you can sit and take a break from dancing but not be put in a corner. Accent chairs provide a beautiful backdrop to a sweetheart table and look great in photographs. And smaller tabletop accessories are all about the details: A single flower on the table may be enough for some people, but others might want a more-complex arrangement with lanterns, florals, and votive holders with tea lights.
When in the planning process should a couple start thinking about rentals?
A good time to start inquiring about rental pieces is three to six months out. Usually if a couple comes to us, it’s because they have a little more space in their budget or they really love something [in our collection ]. We have pricing packages that include some of our [most frequently rented] staple pieces. I’d say choose one larger piece you’re looking for, and then—depending on how much wiggle room you have in the budget—you can add a small piece from there.
Speaking of larger pieces, I’ve read that Kadeema is now offering glam tents. What are those for?
A glam tent would be perfect for a small, intimate outdoor reception. Your guests could even sleep in it after a fun night of celebrating your wedding. If the event was larger but still outdoors, you could also use the tents as lounge areas or host different activities in them.
How do you coordinate with wedding planners?
They give me background about the event date, as well as their clients’ needs and personal style. In some cases, the planners pick pieces the clients already know they want. In other cases, planners will give me an inspirational image, the budget, and the amount of space a client has, and ask me to create a design proposal with a furniture vignette. I show them something safe and something that’s a little more out there that they may not have thought of. I always like when planners give us some design freedom.
Where do you find items for your collection?
I’m used to sourcing items for my interior design projects, so I know of a few places where I can look for things. Locally, I sometimes go to estate sales, Brimfield’s antique shows, or antique shops such as Cambridge Antique Market and Ramble Market in Waltham. Small stores on the Cape and islands are also good. I even find pieces from antique dealers through eBay and Etsy. I pick and choose from a mixture of different manufacturers, styles, and time periods.
These pieces must have a lot of history behind them. Any standouts?
We acquired our “Cane” settee a few years ago from a couple who was downsizing. The wife’s father worked as the CEO of a large American company, which had taken him all across the world. He bought this settee in France, and he shipped it to every location they sent him. It’s been in Morocco, the Philippines, and Cuba.
I noticed that many of your pieces, like the “Lily” settee, have female style names. How do you choose these?
If they are vintage or unique finds, we usually name them based on what we think their personalities would be like, or we name them after someone we know who would love the style of the piece. I named the “Navalia” sofa after my mother-in-law, for example, because it’s luxe and soft but in a quiet and minimalist way. There’s a real elegance with the smaller tufted details and the velvet—I automatically thought of her.
Have you ever gotten an unexpected request for a rental item?
We just recently got a request for an 8-foot-tall gilded floor mirror. That’s a huge piece, and I wasn’t sure what the clients had in mind. Then they said it was going to be the central point for people to take selfies at the wedding. I never would have thought of that. I would have seen it as an accent piece in the background.
Kristen Bender Daaboul creates four party-ready vignettes.
BEACH SITTING AREA
The essential: “Adele” sofa
Pair it with: “Charlene” ottomans
The sofa’s textured burlap back mixed with the light-gray velvet ottomans evokes the casual vibe of a beach wedding.
GARDEN PHOTO BOOTH
The essential: “Lily” settee
Pair it with: “Audrey” hurricane lanterns
The settee creates that romantic feel with its blush velvet upholstery and walnut frame. Add a brightly colored backdrop and the lanterns’ antique-brass detailing, and you’ve got a beautiful area for photos.
The essential: Collapsible bar
Pair it with: Mercury-glass votives and bottles
Bringing in warm textures with its dark wood and brass rail, this piece makes a nice satellite bar, while mercury-glass votives and bottles give it height.
The essential: “Coyote” chairs
Pair it with: “Leona” tables
With our faux-fur chairs and brass tables, you’ll feel like you’re attending a 1920s high-society party.
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