Real Wedding Wednesday: Paloma and John at Whitehall Manor!

by Jennifer Reitmeyer on April 23, 2014

It’s time for another lovely real wedding! Today we’re featuring Paloma and John’s fall wedding at Whitehall Manor. We absolutely loved seeing these images of their special day courtesy of Timmester Photography (thanks again, Tracy!), and we’re so excited to be able to share a recap with our readers.  Enjoy!

Bride-and-groom-outdoor-shot Bouquet Cake Matches

The couple chose the Etta James classic “At Last” for their first dance.  Then, Paloma danced with her father to “In My Life” by the Beatles.

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Check out these moves!

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All the best to you, Paloma and John!

Venue: Whitehall Manor, Douglas Armstrong

Photographer: Tracy Timmester Photography

Cake: Fluffy Thoughts

Florist: Maryam Flowers

Officiant: Carlos De Mier

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In the Mix With… Heidi Brown of AFR Event Furnishings!

by Jennifer Reitmeyer on April 22, 2014

Heidi Brown is a designer for AFR Event Furnishings, one of the best event companies in the industry. Her company provides stylish, high quality furniture to transform a space to fit each couples unique taste for their wedding day.  We’re so impressed with the ambiance she’s created for so many events, and we couldn’t wait to learn more about her experiences in the business!

Heidi-Brown

How did you get started in the wedding business? My career started as a corporate event planner in Florida. Personally, I wanted a change in location and decided to take a job as a supplier in Washington, DC. Naturally, as soon as I switched to the supplier side it opened the door for weddings.

What do you do when you are not working?  Living in the District opens so many doors for fun and inspiration. My free time usually consists of visiting the cheetahs at the National Zoo or checking out the other Smithsonian Museums. The Portrait Gallery is one of my favorites…also the gem exhibit at the Natural History Museum; what girl wouldn’t love all those jewels!

How would you describe your approach to weddings?  It’s important to get to know the couple and their interests. The design and personality all need to match up as it’s their day. I want to find out before even designing why they selected that time of year, why they selected their venue, what their non-negotiables are, etc. Once I get an understanding of the why…I can design the wow.

What inspires you in your work? I customize every, single proposal. Honestly, I could have packages and make my job easier, but getting to know the couple and venue inspires me every time and makes for a more successful outcome.

What do you find the most rewarding about your job? As a designer, I get a thrill in seeing a blank space transform into something spectacular. It’s another form of art that in itself is rewarding and creative.

What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business? Furniture is not just about putting a lounge in a corner and calling it a day. You really have to think about the style, layout and design as it will impact the comfort of your guests and the flow of the event. A sofa or focal bar in the wrong size or place can throw of your catering staff as well as your guests.

What do you think sets your company apart from other rental companies? Since I started as an event planner, I know my process is unique from most rental companies. I would rather be over-informed so I can pick the perfect piece. Also, since we are a national company, we have an extensive amount of inventory. We can have every guest in a sofa for the ceremony if you want!

What do you love about weddings? Getting to be a part of such an important milestone in a couple’s life.

What do you hate about weddings? There is a lot of emotion involved, and understandably so. It can get in the way sometimes of making the appropriate choice versus what is thought to be the right choice.

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? I have seen a fair amount of interesting things. Fresh in my mind is the upside down hanging wedding cake chandelier at Kaley Cuoco’s wedding by The Butter End Cakery in Santa Monica, Calif.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? Do what is right for you as a couple. Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t be persuaded to make decisions that don’t fit you both. Some things are worth standing your ground on and some aren’t – choose wisely.

Who is your favorite artist or band? Adele & Bruno Mars – I’m a throwback who loves the Temptations and Supremes so I adore the fact that both of these artists have a modern take on that style.

What is the worst song of all time? Celebration and YMCA…nothing will get them off the dance floor and to the lounge faster. Wait, maybe that’s not a bad thing for me after all.

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DJ Pick of the Week: “Emilia” by Ana Tijoux

by Jennifer Reitmeyer on April 18, 2014

It’s time for another DJ Pick of the Week! This song suggestion comes from Juan Leon, who offered Ana Tijoux’s “Emilia” as a “unconventional but striking, stirring” choice to accompany a Mother-Son dance.  Enjoy!

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In the Mix With… Andrea and Renata!

by Jennifer Reitmeyer on April 17, 2014

Andrea Ackermann and Renata Janes are some of the best kind of photographers to work with: they’re warm, kind, great friends, and extraordinarily talented! They’re also genuinely cool people who balance their passion for photography with busy, interesting lives – something that is an inspiration for us! We so appreciate Andrea & Renata sharing their experience with our readers. Here’s what they had to say!

Andrea&Renata

How did you get started in the wedding business?  Wedding photography really fell into our laps! Andrea began shooting portraits for friends as a hobby and one fateful New Year’s Eve was asked by a friend’s sister to photograph her Valentine’s weekend wedding that same year. Andrea asked Renata, a longtime friend, to come along for solidarity and while it was scary, we had a great time! After that, our little Blogger blog alone booked us 9 weddings the same year and Andrea quit her full time job to officially start the company. We’ve been so lucky to have incredibly gracious mentors and industry friends to help us along!

What do you do when you are not working?  We’re each mom (talk about work!) to multiple kids, so that takes up most of our time! Andrea has two girls under 4 and Renata has two boys and a girl under 7. We love our families and take every opportunity to be with our husbands and children. When we’re not working, we still hang out together a good amount, too! Sit us down at a good restaurant with no evening plans and we’ll thoroughly enjoy ourselves. Individually, Andrea enjoys writing, baking, reading and generally hanging out. Renata homeschools her two oldest and loves 80′s music and good coffee.

How would you describe your approach to weddings?  Since we both had weddings before we entered the industry, we’ve tried to use our experiences to serve our couples to the fullest. We believe that 1. There is a “perfect fit” photographer for every couple and 2. Every couple deserves great images from their wedding day. Our approach to photographing couples is extremely relational and the chemistry between us and them is crucial. Not everyone wants our approach to wedding photography and that’s totally okay!  As much as we are artists, we are also individuals and encourage couples to consider our character and personalities before hiring us. Our cameras record the wedding day as we see it and it’s important to us that a couple truly wants their day captured that way. A lot of our past clients have become friends and we couldn’t imagine it any other way.

What inspires you in your work?  Above all, we are inspired by the people we photograph. Wedding photography is not just about recounting details of the wedding day, it’s about telling the story of the couple, the way they move together, what makes them laugh, how they appreciate each other. We are champions for legacies and it’s so, so inspiring to know we’re documenting people as their build theirs.

What do you find the most rewarding about your job?  As photographers, obviously, it’s incredibly rewarding when clients love what you’ve created and are proud of. As stay-at-home-working-moms, wedding photography has afforded us each a creative and social outlet that we’re so grateful for. 

What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business?  It sounds trite, but we really are honored to be a part of a wedding day and, in some cases, be allowed to document growing families! The weight of the responsibility doesn’t get lost on us, especially now that we both have children. During different parts of the wedding day, we’re constantly thinking about our own families and how one day, it’ll be our daughter dancing with her dad and it’ll be us remembering them as babies. We cry too much I’m sure, but we’re reminded of the importance of our job and truly recognize how privileged we are in those moments.

What do you think sets your company apart from other photographers?  We’re firm believers that good photography is as much technical skill as individualism. We bring our own experiences and vision to the table and capture a wedding day the best way we know how. We’re obviously different than other people, so our perspective will vary as well. Our very favorite thing is when couples truly want us at their wedding, not just because of our portfolio but because of our character and personalities and what they bring to the photographs.

What do you love about weddings?  Over the years, we’ve really come to appreciate weddings and the role they play in a family’s life. Our favorite part? Probably the ceremony sermon or charge to the couple. We’re usually challenged to strengthen our own marriages and are always rooting on the couple as they begin their life together.

What do you hate about weddings?  The very worst thing that can happen at a wedding is for a couple to get too lost in the details of the day being perfect and losing sight of the reason they organized the event in the first place – to get married. It’s our privilege to be able to take a couple out alone for portraits and give them a break and a chance to reset.

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?  A hawk delivered the rings to the officiant during one outdoor ceremony a couple years ago. The couple gave us a heads up, but it was a surprise to everyone else! It was trained to fly in from the back, deliver the rings, then fly back. Crazy.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding?  My husband and I have adopted a family slogan which I think is perfect for this question: “Do you, boo.” It’s your wedding and while traditions are important and family members need voice and respect, in the end, it’s about the two of you getting married. Have uneven wedding party sides? Totally fine. No garter toss? Fine. Want to get married outside/inside/underwater/skydiving? Go for it. Make the day about the two of you and everyone else will get on board.

Who is your favorite artist or band?  You really can’t beat JT. Or Beyonce. Yeah, Beyonce.

What is the worst song of all time?  Wedding photography has ruined “We Are Family” and “Shout” for us forever.

Open mic, final thoughts:  We love what we do and the people we get to work with, couples and vendors alike! Thanks to MyDeejay for their talent, encouragement and kindness!

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Real Wedding Wednesday: Anton and Tracy at Rockwood Manor!

by Jennifer Reitmeyer on April 16, 2014

Today we’re pleased to share another very special wedding that we had the honor of performing at last year: Anton and Tracy at Rockwood Manor! It was such a pleasure to be included in their big day and we know Brian Jones had a truly great time working with this sweet couple and their vendors.  We hope you enjoy these fantastic images by Inspired Photography by Susie and Becky!

Bride-and-groom-outside Bouquet Cake Introductions First-dance Father-daughter-dance Mother-son-dance Dance-shot-2 Dance-shot-5 Dance-shot-3 Dance-shot-4 Dance-shot

Continued best wishes to the happy couple, and thanks again to the amazing team of vendors!

Venue: Rockwood Manor

Caterer: Savory Gourmet

Planner: Perfect Planning Events, Tara Melvin

Photographer: Inspired Photography by Susie and Becky

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In the Mix With… Michelle VanTine!

by Jennifer Reitmeyer on April 15, 2014

In our business, we’re privileged to have worked with a ton of amazing photographers, and over the past year or two, Michelle VanTine has become one of our favorites! Her images are so distinctive and stylish, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s so funny and SUPER nice too! Today, Michelle’s filling in our readers on how she got her start, what makes her (and her fabulous photographer Pablo) stand out in the industry, and much more!

 Michelle-Van-Tine

How did you get started in the wedding business?  I went to College in Orlando, Florida for Art Education. I took all the Fine Arts classes such as sculpture, ceramics, painting, and one of my favorites: film photography. I loved spending hours in the dark room, developing prints the good old fashioned way. I spent the next 5 years teaching art, and did wedding photography on the side. In 2005 when I had my daughter, I pursued wedding photography full time.

What do you do when you are not working?  Changing diapers! Ha ha! Only for a few more months! I have a 5 and almost 2 year old who keep me very busy. I work out a lot, and love having “pinot and painting” nights with my girlfriends. And of course, hanging out with my best friend– hubby Jarrett!

How would you describe your approach to weddings?  For me, wedding photography is my art form. Some of my art school colleagues paint, or do graphic design, I take pictures. I have to. It just is the way that I experience things. My husband sometimes tells me to put my camera away and just enjoy the moment, but for me when something is so beautiful and fleeting, I feel the need to capture it. I love giving my couples that gift. I want them to enjoy their love, their big day, and I just capture the tears, the laughter, and the beauty of each couple.

What inspires you in your work?  Sometimes I’ll come home from a wedding, and even if it’s in the middle of the night, and I’ll just scroll through all the pictures of the night.  I just love seeing all those special moments captured in a split second of the moment. And sometimes when I’ve been editing for several hours, I’ll suddenly realize that my jaw is getting sore! I realize it’s because I’ve been smiling so much from the pictures I got, and I’m really happy!

What do you find the most rewarding about your job?  Getting feedback from my clients when the job is done. When you’re the bride there’s SO much that you miss. Friends laughing over cocktails, mothers crying during the ceremony, the groom secretly admiring his bride across the dance floor. To be able to capture the whole of the day and give it to clients in a gorgeous album that will last for generations is a real honor for me. The joy it brings my clients is very rewarding.

What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business?  That it’s not “a business” for me. It’s an art form. I, personally only take 2 weddings a month. I’m not out to conquer the world or shoot every weekend. I could, but I just don’t want to. It’s like in college, for art school, you had to turn in a painting every week, a sculpture every week, a ceramic piece every week. Sometimes you just don’t have that many ideas or creativity in you. I turn down A LOT of weddings (or give them to my AMAZING sidekick Pablo) because I like to fully invest myself in each of my weddings as if it were a masterpiece painting. I think that’s also why I’ve been able to thrive in the industry for almost 10 years when people often burn out between year 5 and 7.

What do you think sets you apart from other photographers? My work. It’s creative – it’s me. There’s only one me, and you can almost always recognize one of my shots. Colorful, vibrant, full of life, interesting compositions… or at least I like to think so!

Do you usually work by yourself or do you have a team you work with?   I have a handful of talented photographers that we use to second shoot, but mostly my right hand man is Pablo DeLoy. I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out how I am lucky enough to have him on my team. He’s shot such prestigious projects like Jose Andres’ cookbook Made in Spain and had his work featured in LA Times and Washington Post. He has a degree in Photography AND in graphic design, from Uruguay and Italy. He’s insanely talented and keeps me from getting overly stressed out with his fun personality. He’s been a HUGE asset to the business, and the brides love working with him.

Pablo

What do you love about weddings?  The people. Being part of a couple celebrating that they found the person that they want to spend the rest of their lives with. The emotion and joy. It’s a very special thing, and I’m honored to be part of it.

What do you hate about weddings?  Hahaha… errrr. It’s hard when I see brides a total stress case on their wedding day. It doesn’t happen that often, but every few weddings, it does. They’ve spent so much time planning their décor, seating, hair, makeup… it can become more about the production. When a person is stressed out, it doesn’t matter how much your camera cost you, how good you are at Photoshop, or how creative you are… you can’t hide it. I always encourage girls to decide the day before the wedding to stop all planning and just enjoy the day.

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?  At one wedding I shot, the guests on the dance floor were putting the bride and groom in chairs, and tossing them high above the crowd. They tossed this gorgeous, petite, size 0 bride so high that they knocked down this ENORMOUS chandelier! Thankfully the chandelier was caught before it crashed on the floor! It was really hilarious to watch and photograph.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding?  Choose the vendors for your wedding not just based on their portfolio, but based on their personality. Once you hire a vendor for your wedding, you typically have to work with them for 6 -12 months, and still like them on the most important day of your life! You want someone that you can connect with, and that you think understands you both as a couple.

Who is your favorite artist or band?  Haha. Impossible question. Currently, Michelle Armas is my favorite painter, and “Gym Class Heroes” help me through my ‘Insanity’ workouts.

What is the worst song of all time?  If I have to hear that stupid “Blurred Lines” one more time, I’m going to throw up. Also anything that sings about barbeque stains and white t-shirts.

Open mic, final thoughts:  I’ve really enjoyed working with several of your staff from MyDeejay. I worked with 4 of them in the last year or so, and they always do a tremendous job. I especially remember Devin Alexander bringing down the house at a Riverside wedding we were both on at Indigo Landing. They always do a great job not only keeping the crowd sweating, but also communicating with all the vendors so we’re all on the same page. I hope to have many more weddings to come with you all in 2014.

 

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Meet Your DJ: Brian!

by Jennifer Reitmeyer on April 11, 2014

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It is time once again to pass the mic to another of our awesome DJs from the MyDeejay team! Up today is Brian Jones to share a little bit of himself with our readers.  Take it away, Brian!

What is something that you hate that everyone else likes?  IKEA. Yes, they make practical, affordable furnishings. No, I don’t want to go shuffle around fake living rooms and get meatball stains on my shirt.

When I dance, I look like… I’ve forgotten how long my arms and legs are.

If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be?  My practical answer would be gaffer’s tape. My actual answer is crab chips.

If you only had 24 hours left to live, what would you do?  Fly to Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis.

What is the last piece of music you bought for your personal collection?  Pushin’ Against a Stone by Valeria June.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? What was it?  Whitewater rafting the Gunnison River in Colorado!

Name 3 things you think will become obsolete in ten years.  Eye-glasses, pennies, having to charge your cell phone twice a day.

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If your house was on fire, what one thing would you take? (assuming family and pets are safe)  My first instinct would be to take my computer simply because it would be expensive and annoying to replace. Then I realized it would be impossible to replace my numbered lithograph poster from seeing one of my favorite bands, The National, at The National Theater in Richmond, VA. It was given to me when my friends and I got to hang out backstage with the band after the show. Best night ever!

What is your biggest fear or phobia?  It’s a tie between spiders and lava.

What was the first album you ever owned?  I really liked oldies when I was younger and remember having this compilation of songs from Buddy Holly, Chubby Checker, and others from the 50s.

What is your favorite song to sing at karaoke, and why?  It’s Not Unusual by Tom Jones, just because it’s in my very limited range and there’s a good chance someone will bust out the Carlton dance.

What do you keep in the trunk of your car?  Whatever I want! Station wagons rule!

If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be and why? If you already play an instrument(s), what do you play?  Piano. I just want to be able to play one song: the theme from Peanuts. I do already play drums. Rhythm comes pretty naturally to me, but I’m useless when it comes to reading music.

Do you have any hidden talents?  I can make a squeaking noise that confuses most dogs.

If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be?  MOSQUITOS!

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Name something on your bucket list.  Seeing Daft Punk live.

If you could trade lives with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?  One of the astronauts on the International Space Station. Everyone else would probably wonder why their comrade was suddenly hysterical/terrified for a day.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?  Soap. Unintentionally. It was at my Aunt’s wedding. I was five and there were these centerpieces on the table with small, pastel-colored shells. Obviously, I thought, these are edible. I managed to get a few down before someone stopped me.

What’s your TV guilty pleasure?  Downton Abbey. Haven’t seen season 4 yet; no spoilers!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  Anything with music. Creating it, playing it, writing about it, sharing it, whatever.

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It’s always a good time when we get the chance to work with Lisa Marie O’Quinn of Sweet Tea Photography, and we were even lucky enough to have her shoot our most recent Thursday Therapy event! We’re so happy that she agreed to share a little bit about herself and her experiences with our readers.  Here’s Lisa!

Lisa-Marie

How did you get started in the wedding business?  I just remember looking at my grandparent’s wedding portraits and thinking how special they were to our family. After realizing how precious these photographs were, I wondered why my family wasn’t taking better care of all of our photographs. So I began organizing the images into photo albums and framing them as well. This was the beginning of a true passion that led me to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Photography at Hollins University and then a Master of Arts in Commercial Photography at Savannah College of Art & Design. During my time at Hollins, I focused more on creating two series of fine-art photographs. I really dove into shooting film and creating images in the dark room setting with black-and-white film and alternative processes. During my time at SCAD, I focused more on nailing down my shooting style for weddings, branding, and making sure to continue to treat each image as something you would see in a gallery or museum.

What do you do when you are not working? During my time off, I enjoy exploring the District, trying new restaurants, traveling, and checking out modern art exhibitions. You can often find me checking out new bands at the 9:30 club, doing Pilates at the Washington Sports Club, or Brunching with my sweet boyfriend in Dupont.

How would you describe your approach to weddings? We like to look at each wedding as a unique piece of art, which is why we refer to ourselves at Fine-art photographers. We take a non-obtrusive approach during the happenings and a relaxed directness with the portraits.

What inspires you in your work? I would say that color, patterns, fashion, music, and new experiences are the strongest influences in my work. I always find that when I leave art museums, I’m left inspired by texture, light, and color. We are so blessed to live in a city that is filled with so much culture, art, and unique spaces that never ceases to inspire us.

What do you find the most rewarding about your job? The most rewarding part of my job is delivering beautiful memories to the client, knowing that they will treasure these images for a lifetime and will be passed down from generation to generation.

What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business?  I don’t think that many of my friends in the wedding industry know that we’ve made the transition back into shooting film. There are many things that lured us back to film, but what really drew us in were the vibrant colors and luminous skin tones. We feel much more a part of the creative process when we are making decisions in-camera rather than fixing mass-produced images in Photoshop to get the look we were hoping for.

We do love living in an era where both film and digital are options. We always have a digital camera by our side, just to compare the difference of the two. We usually pick the film images over the digital but sometimes prefer digital in darker settings.

For potential bride and grooms, I would assure you that you shouldn’t be afraid of film. Sometimes you have to think outside the box, to find something beautiful or unique. I’m sure like myself, you’ve see tons of people posting their wedding photos on Facebook. Have you noticed that most of them look the same? This brings me to ask why anyone would invest so much into photography that is mediocre. When you take the chance of hiring a true artisan, they will make sure to think of each wedding as a unique experience.   Creating a true piece of art out of your precious moments.

And just to be clear, when wedding photographers shoot film, the negatives are scanned and made into digital files that will be put with rest of the digital images onto a CD or thumb drive. Not only do you have that scanned image, but you have a hard copy negative as a back-up. So essentially by using film, you have one more way of backing-up the photos than you do with digital. We used one of the world’s most renown processing lab, Richards Photo Lab (RPL), for our developing, scanning, and printing.

What do you think sets you apart from other photographers? Our ability to put our clients at ease, really shows through our images. I think that our educational background and experience also sets us apart from our competitors. Both Michelle and I have Masters in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design. We have been photographing people for over 11 years and event/ weddings for almost 7 years. We have also been trained under some of the best wedding photographers in America (Jonathan Canlas and Bryan Johnson).

We are less structured them some and can adjust to any atmosphere.

What do you love about weddings?  There are so many things I love about weddings. My favorite thing is witnessing these precious moments on a weekly basis.

What do you hate about weddings?  Unnecessary drama or tension, so we really try our best to ease that tension whenever we can.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? When choosing a photographer, I would recommend starting off by comparing styles not prices. Then from there you can nail down the shooting style you prefer and find that photographer who may be closer to your budget. Make sure not to skimp on the photographer, because the photographs are the only thing you have left to remember the wedding day.

Who is your favorite artist or band?  Currently I’m into Alt-J and hope to see them at Lollapalooza this year!!! I would say that the best shows I saw in 2013 were Kate Nash, Best Coast, and Frightened Rabbit.

What is the worst song of all time? “We are family.” Even though I hear “Single Ladies” and “I Got a Feeling” at every single wedding, I never get tired of it. Though…I can’t say the same for Michelle.

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Today we’re remembering Claire and Brenden’s wedding last summer at Towson Golf and Country Club! Ashley Sullivan of Ashley Michelle Photography was kind enough to share some really awesome images of their big day with us, and we couldn’t wait to share them with our readers!

Bride-and-groom-outside Groomsmen-sneakers

Nothing is cuter than the ring bearer’s little royal blue sneakers to match the groom’s party. Loved it!

Flower-girl-and-ring-bearer Bouquet

Blue Sage Floral Designs provided the vibrant arrangements, and their beautiful cake was made by SugarBakers Cakes!

Cake

Devin Alexander  had a wonderful time providing the soundtrack for Claire and Brenden’s celebration.  The couple chose a mix of pop and hip hop tracks to keep their guests moving on the dance floor – and boy, did they!

Dance-shot Dance-shot-2 Dance-shot-3 Sparkler-exit

Thanks again, Claire and Brendan! We’re so glad we could be a part of your day!

Vendors:

Venue: Towson Golf and Country Club

Planner: Elizabeth Bailey Weddings and Events

Photographer: Ashley Michelle Photography

Cake: SugarBakers Cakes

Florist: Blue Sage Floral Designs

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In the Mix With… Liza Bourkard of Studio DBI!

by Jennifer Reitmeyer on April 8, 2014

At MyDeejay, we’ve had the privilege of spinning for several weddings planned and designed by Liza Bourkard and her fabulous team at Studio DBI. We’re always awed by the thoughtful details and by Liza’s commitment to ensuring her clients are completely wowed. Imagine how thrilled we were when Liza agreed to offer her experience and some inspiration for our readers! Without further ado, here’s Liza!

Liza-Bourkard

How did you get started in the wedding business?  I got started in the biz when the economy tanked in 2008. I was a financial analyst in NYC, and got laid off with the rest of my friends. I decided to take that opportunity to pursue my interest in event planning. Having known nothing about it, I applied to all the top planning and “design” companies in NYC and ended up getting an internship at The Designers’ Co-Op out of Brooklyn. As it turned out, the studio focused on floral design rather than logistical planning. I ended up finding a passion I never knew I had. So when in late 2010 my husband got transferred for work to DC, I decided to use my business degree and on-the-job experience at the Co-Op to open DBI.

What do you do when you are not working?  When I’m not working, I’m most likely getting my passport stamped or scavenging for vintage jewelry or chairs (random furniture piece – I know).

How would you describe your approach to weddings?  My approach to weddings is (not to be cliché) nontraditional. When someone says “What do people normally do?” my response is usually “There is no ‘standard’ or ‘normal’ – it’s all about what you want to do.” While I think traditions are extremely important, you have the right to choose which ones to incorporate. My motto is a wedding is a just a big party/celebration and should be treated like one.

What inspires you in your work?  Inspiration comes from numerous places, as I’m sure is true for many other artists/creatives. My travels are a definite place of inspiration (I mean have you seen what they do with flowers in Thailand?!). Architecture is another place – it gives me a different ways of looking at shapes, lines, and lighting. Fashion, of course, is another point of inspiration – patterns, textures, textiles, and accessories get my mind racing with ideas. And I’m not afraid to say that others in our industry are a huge inspiration for me. I’m always following what’s going on in NYC, my home state of California, and ever-inspiring London. Vendors in these markets are not afraid to do different, forcing me to strive for impactful, unique, and innovative designs. They push boundaries – giving me the confidence to do the same in DC.

What do you find the most rewarding about your job?  The most rewarding part of my job is, of course, is a happy client (and happy tears don’t hurt either).

What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business?  I tell all of my staff: treat every wedding (or event) as if it was your own. And that’s how we approach any project. You will always find my staff putting the final touches to make things perfect – we’ll never leave without getting every fingerprint off the glass vases.

What do you think sets your company apart from other planners and designers?  First, we’re a full production company – meaning that all decor and logistics can be handled here, one-stop-shop. Second, because we’ve worked on weddings from both sides – the project management side and vendor side – we understand the needs of everyone involved, from vendors, to guests, to the actual client. We over-prepare vendors, the clients, and ourselves to ensure everyone is on the same page and the day runs smoothly. We don’t just ensure the couple walks down the aisle, we make sure the families are set, the guests are having a great time, and vendors are well taken care of. And thirdly, we are not that serious. We are serious about our jobs, the tasks at hand, and getting things done but you’ll always find us smiling, ready to help, and usually at the end of the night dancing somewhere inconspicuously.

What do you love about weddings?  What I love about weddings is what the weddings are about at their core – the celebration, the guests, the loved ones, and the happy couple.

What do you hate about weddings?  What I don’t like about weddings is the crazy Pinterest obsession and desire to compete with every other couple to have THE wedding. Do it for yourselves and your family and not for a blog feature.

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding?  The coolest thing I’ve seen at one of my weddings is the groom arriving to the ceremony by boat – yup.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding?  Remember  to have fun and enjoy the planning process.

Who is your favorite artist or band?  Picking a favorite band is almost impossible but if I had to go to one artist that I can listen to in any mood it’d be Vaya Con Dios.

What is the worst song of all time?  Worst song ever is (and I probably won’t hear the end of it but…) Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

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