A Conversation with Event Designer Kelly B. Jenkins - District Weddings

A Conversation with Event Designer Kelly B. Jenkins

April 28, 2009

You may know how much I love Capital Decor & Events.  If you don’t, let me tell you.  Capital Decor & Events (CDE) is one of the top event design firms in D.C.  They do flowers.  They do party rentals.  They do creative design.  Really, they do it all.  

Kelly B. Jenkins is one of the founding partners of CDE, and he uses his many talents every day as the Lead Creative Designer.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that Kelly agreed to share his insight with us.  So, without further ado…


What is the difference between Capital Decor and a traditional florist?

The biggest difference between CDE and a traditional florist is that we are a “one stop shop.”  Although my background is heavily influenced in floral design, we have become extremely involved with overall event design and production.  Meaning, we can design the entire esthetic of the room and provide everything from pipe and drape fabrications, dance floors, staging, lounge furniture, non-traditional dining tables, custom made bars, ceiling treatment, non-floral centerpieces too, and of course, beautiful flowers!

kelly-jenkins-1Design by Capital Decor & Events


What trends are you seeing right now in wedding floral design and decor?  

I think there is a very defined turn towards the hip, young, edgy and relaxed look.  I have been in the special events industry here in Washington for almost 20 years and DC has always been known for having a conservative look to their events. 

Now we are starting to do so much more “loungey” looks with backless sofas, ottomans, seating cubes and lots of South Beach-type elements.  We are doing lots of unconventional seating like large banquettes, square tables covered in faux leathers such as snake skin, ostrich and crocodile.  We are doing clear Lucite tables filled with water and flowers and tables covered with mirrors.  We are really getting away from the typical round table with linen.  We are also adding lots of elements such specialty bars and buffet tables. 

Clients are really starting to “think outside of the box” and we are no longer just decorating a ballroom, but creating a restaurant/ lounge atmosphere.


kelly-jenkins-2Design by Capital Decor & Events; Photo by MBK & Associates (top)


What should a couple look for when meeting with (and eventually deciding on) a design specialist/florist?

Well, obviously the designer’s style should be in sync with the couple’s style.  I think it’s good for the couple to go to the office or studio of the designer and see their work space; how is it decorated/ designed, are they a legitimate business and not just working out of their garage (this can help insure that they will really come through for you on your wedding day and have the staff to back them up) and do they seem “in-touch” with current trends and fashion? 

All of these things are important, but what’s really most important is a connection.  You have to feel comfortable and have a sense of trust.  A good designer will and should be willing to give you a detailed proposal, sketches and a sample centerpiece….but no matter how many visuals they provide, the client can rarely, truly visualize what the designer can see, so its imperative that the client have a comfortable trust level in their vendors.  I feel this applies not only to designers, but all vendors from caterers to coordinators to valet service!


kelly-jenkins-3Design by Capital Decor & Events


How do you suggest a couple maximizes their floral/decor budget? 

Put your money on big impact décor.  Sometimes it’s more effective to put your dollars in an area that has a big visual and go simple on small details.  Example, if you pipe and drape a room your guests will walk in and really notice the warm, lush ambiance…then go simple on the tables, like a huge cluster of various height vases filled with water and floating candles and tons of votives.  A room wrapped with flowing drapes surrounding 20 tables filled with reflective candlelight is one of the most opulent and romantic looks you can get! 

Also, go simple on the bridal bouquets.  I think the days of big, trailing bouquets of flowers are over, and I say…”good riddance.”  I feel bouquets should be small, tailored and simple.  Let the girls stand out and be seen and not hidden with big, over done bouquets of flowers. 

But, it’s also very important to be realistic….. remember, this IS a business and although most of us LOVE what we do, we are all in it to make a living.  So, don’t expect vendors to give and give and give without fair compensation.  Most business owners have many expenses and many mouths to feed.  So try not to order the filet when your wallet is telling you to have a burger!       


Well said, Kelly!  I love it when vendors are open, honest, and trustworthy.  I am very grateful that Kelly shared a few minutes of his day with us.  I’m telling you, Capital Decor is the way to go! 

Back later with a special giveaway…


{*Photographers –  If any of these are your pictures, shoot me an email and let me know.  I want to be sure to give you credit!}



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