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!
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?Rememberto 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.”