Expert Advice: Syzygy Events International President Julie Shanklin

Custom events that bring dreams to life.

Images courtesy Syzygy.

Julie Shanklin started her own company over twenty years ago as a young florist looking to expand into all aspects of event planning. Today, after partnering with Vincent DiGiorgio in 2005, Syzygy is an internationally-recognized event design company. From the Naval Academy’s James Bond-themed soiree to a wedding with thousands of white butterflies strung overhead, Syzygy specializes in bringing your vision—no matter how extravagant—to life.

What’s something required to be event designer that most don’t know?

You need patience and to be prepared to do a lot of hard work. Its funny, our company’s blog is called “My O So Glamorous Life,” and everyone thinks you live this life of glamour. I do have to admit it has its perks, but hard work is the stepping stone to the glamourous part.

What makes Syzygy different from any other event design companies?

Our commitment and ability to make renderings into reality sets us apart from other vendors. We always deliver what we promise. We are extremely proud of our capabilities when our art team renders the event, and then we make that drawing come to life. The clients are thrilled to get exactly what they saw in the rendering. We also do custom design, so we don’t just do cookie cutter events.

What’s something custom that you created?

We’ve had the opportunity to create custom bars, backdrops, and stage sets for all types of events. We are currently designing a new bar that will feature an infinity mirror design that we are very excited about and another bar to represent Red Rock in Nevada that has rock walls and a water feature.

What are some event themes you’ve seen that are popular among Washington brides?

Urban chic and rustic style are big, and they’re created by using anything from wooden tables to a burst of color and metallics.

How do you transform a space?

We have our own graphic designers and fabrications department. They can transform a cafeteria to an Under the Sea experience by adding video and lighting elements mixed into all of the décor elements. We’ve also created rooms that feel like you are in the artic, by using fabrics and color and cold blast special effects. Nothing is impossible—whatever you dream we can do!

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.