Where Are All the Wedding DJs?

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Gary Hoffmann, who runs a DJ company with more than 20 DJs on staff at any given time, can’t remember a single time he had to turn down an engaged couple.

“I’ve never done that,” said Mr Hoffmann, founder of the Brooklyn-based company. 74 Events He is also a DJ since 2001. “In my 17-and-a-half-year business life, I’ve never had to tell anyone that we don’t have anyone.”

Everything changed this year when the tsunami of postponed 2020 weddings hit Mr. Hoffmann’s calendar. He had to deal with many delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I stopped counting around 400,” he said. “The truth is, in the early part of the pandemic, many couples were conservative or imaginative about how bad it would get for longer. I’ve seen multiple couples postpone their dates two, three – and in some unique cases – four times.

Currently, there are a handful of dates that are particularly popular. And that puts him in a difficult and unusual situation. “I’ll use a specific example: September 18,” said Mr. Hoffmann. “I have four or five different emails sitting in a folder, and here is the double ‘Hey, I’m so sorry, I’m so full. But I’ll save this email and let you know if anything changes.’”

The husband and wife team behind Jason Alexander Rubio and Diana Anzaldua Austin’s Best DJsThe Austin, Texas-based has also struggled to manage an influx of postponed weddings happening all at once. “We’ve seen a 300 percent increase in customers calling, emailing and booking in the past months,” said Mr. Rubio. “We’re doing our best to meet demand: arranging more staff and temporary events that we can’t do to other DJs who may not be as busy as we are.”

Further complicating the process is identifying a DJ who completes a couple’s vision. “Finding the right fit on the basis of style, experience and professionalism can be difficult these days because it can all be full,” said its founder, Vel Mensah. table butt“A multicultural couple I know needed help finding a great DJ for their cross-cultural wedding, including Afrobeats and Indi-pop.”

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As with any great wedding decision, research is essential. Decide on a budget for DJ and entertainment. Mr. Rubio recommends setting aside 8 to 10 percent of your total wedding budget. Next, browse wedding websites and make a list of your top five DJs.

“Do some online following and check out their social media and other reviews,” Mr. Rubio said. “Find out which DJ can best fulfill your overall vision for the wedding day and get a sense of your mood. See what other options the DJ has – you can book more services and not have to worry about paying too many vendors.”

If you have a signed contract, review it carefully to see if there is a section that discusses cancellations and how you are covered.

“Good, reputable DJ companies will have a policy of not letting that happen,” Mr. Rubio said. “If a DJ can’t do that, the company should have a backup DJ who can easily cover. This is an advantage of booking a DJ company rather than a solo DJ.”

Stuck after stalemate? Think of other places you haven’t looked. According to Mr. Rubio, some DJs do not advertise on major wedding websites due to cost. And many others may not have websites and rely solely on social media to attract potential customers. Search Facebook and Instagram by typing in “Wedding DJ” and the name of your destination.

“There are some good DJs on Instagram and Twitch,” said Schquita Goodwin, a DJ based in Washington DC. The vast majority of my work is recommendations from previous customers.”

While couples may face this option, Mr. Hoffmann warns against it. Without a live DJ to improvise and play the guests and their energy, a prerecorded set can run the risk of not fitting into the mood of the event while unfolding in real time.

“This is really not an ideal situation and I wouldn’t recommend it,” said Mr Hoffmann. “Save your money for a honeymoon or a mortgage. Simply create your own playlists for great background music and don’t worry about the dance part.”

Think live musicians. Quartets, guitarists, and other artists may be contracted through freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork.

“I would even consider exploring local places with live music, like a church or a bookstore,” said Ms. Goodwin. “However, the absolute, most cost-effective method would be to rent a loudspeaker from a local audiovisual equipment rental service. Then, involve your family and friends.”

Find out about your venue’s sound system and, if necessary, ask about the sound connection so you can plug in your own device and equipment. Once these features are approved, start curating on your preferred streaming service. Earlier this month, Tidal, a music streaming service, launched a Wedding CenterA one-stop resource for soundtracking all wedding-themed events like processions and first dances.

Spotify tends to be the most popular. Don’t forget to sign up for a premium account to avoid awkward interruptions from ads during cocktail hour and dinner.

Asking friends to stretch their amateur spinning skills can be a viable alternative, especially if the dance party is an absolute must. Mr Hoffmann said they must have a “basic instinct” to choose music that is fun for everyone. But even if they do manage to get the party started, they may struggle to rein in over-excited – and drunken – guests.

“This is a serious gamble,” said Miss Goodwin. “If you trust your friend, yes. If you don’t trust your friend, listen to their samples. If they can’t curate six hours of music, no.”

A significant minus: turning friends into sellers. Even if they insist, it may not be worth the effort.

“If your friend is already a DJ, sure,” said Mr. Rubio. “If not, that’s not the best idea. Also, you want your friend to be there and celebrate and enjoy this special day with you, not work.”

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