With over 20 DJs on his roster at one point, Gary Hoffmann, who runs a DJ company, can’t remember a single time he had to turn down an engaged couple.
“I’ve never done that,” said Hoffmann, the founder of Brooklyn-based 74 Events, who has also been a DJ himself since 2001. “I have never – in 17 and a half years of activity – I had to tell nobody that we have nobody. “
Everything has changed this year, as the tsunami of postponed weddings in 2020 hit Hoffmann’s calendar. He has had to deal with many postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I stopped counting around 400,” he said. “The reality was that many couples at the start of the pandemic were conservative or delusional about the gravity of the situation and for how long. I have had several couples postponing their dates two, three – and in some unique cases. – – four times.”
Right now, he has a handful of dates that are particularly popular. And that puts him in a difficult and unfamiliar situation.
“I’ll use a specific example: September 18,” Hoffmann said. “I have four or five different emails in a folder where I said to the couple, ‘Hey I’m so sorry, I have a solid reservation. But I’ll keep this email and if anything changes, I’ll let you know. ‘”
In Austin, Texas, Jason Alexander Rubio and Diana Anzaldua, the husband-and-wife team behind Austin’s Best DJs, have also struggled to deal with an influx of postponed weddings that are now happening at the same time.
“We have seen a 300% increase in the number of customer calls and emails and reservations over the past month or so,” said Rubio. “We’re doing our best to keep up with the demand: hire more staff and put events that we can’t do to other DJs who may not be as busy as we are.”
To further complicate the process, identifying a DJ who complements a couple’s vision.
“Finding the right fit based on style, experience and professionalism can be difficult these days as they can all be complete,” said Vel Menash, founder of TablePop, an experience planning platform. event organizers and an event concierge based in Burlington, NJ “A multicultural couple I know needed help finding a DJ who would be perfect for their cross-cultural wedding, which included Afrobeats and Indi-pop.”
BOOK A DJ
As with any major marriage decision, research is essential. Decide on a budget for the DJ and entertainment. Rubio recommends allocating 8% to 10% of your total wedding budget. Then check out wedding websites and make a list of your top five DJs.
“Do some harassment online and check out their social media and other reviews,” Rubio said. “Determine which DJ is best able to answer your overall vision of the wedding day and understand your vibe. Check out what other options the DJ has – you might be able to book more services and not have to worry about paying too many suppliers. “
IF YOUR DJ CANCEL
If you have a signed contract, review it carefully to see if there is a section that deals with cancellations and how you are covered.
“Good, reputable DJ companies will have a policy in place that will not allow this to happen,” said Rubio. “If a DJ is not able to do this, the company must have a back-up DJ who can easily cover. This is one of the advantages of booking a DJ company over a solo DJ.”
IF YOU CAN’T FIND A DJ
Strike dead end after dead end? Think about other places you might not have looked. According to Rubio, some DJs don’t advertise on major wedding websites because of the cost. And many more may not have websites and rely exclusively on social media to attract potential customers. Search Facebook and Instagram by typing in “Wedding DJ” and the name of your destination.
“There are great DJs on Instagram and Twitch,” said Schquita Goodwin, a Washington-based DJ. “But your most reliable source would probably be to ask around: alumni networks, co-workers, the kickball team. The vast majority of my business is referrals from former clients. “
WHAT ABOUT REGISTERED SETS?
While couples may encounter this option, Hoffmann cautions against it. Without a live DJ to improvise and riff on the guests and their energy, a recorded set could run the risk of not matching the atmosphere of the event as it unfolds in real time.
“It’s not really an ideal situation, and I wouldn’t recommend it,” Hoffmann said. “Save your money for the honeymoon or the mortgage. Just create your own playlists for great background music, and don’t worry about the dancing part. “
ALTERNATIVE MUSIC SOURCES
Think about live musicians. Quartets, guitarists and other artists can be engaged through independent sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
“I would even consider looking for local places that have live music, like a church or a bookstore,” Goodwin said. “However, the absolute and most cost-effective method would be to rent a speakerphone from a local AV rental service. Then involve your family and friends.”
Familiarize yourself with your room’s audio system and learn about audio connectivity so you can plug in your own device and equipment, if needed. Once these capabilities are confirmed, start organizing your favorite streaming service. Earlier this month, Tidal, a music streaming service, launched a Wedding Hub, a one-stop source of music for all wedding-themed events, such as the procession and the first dance.
Spotify tends to be the most popular. Remember to sign up for a premium account to avoid annoying ad interruptions during aperitif and dinner.
ENGAGING A FRIEND
Asking friends to practice their amateur spinning skills might just be a suitable alternative, especially if a dance party is an absolute must. They should have “a basic instinct” to select fun music for everyone, Hoffmann said. But even if they do manage to get the party going, they might find it hard to contain over-enthusiastic – and intoxicated – guests.
“It’s a serious bet,” Goodwin said. “If you trust your friend, yes. If you don’t trust your friend, listen to his samples. If he can’t deliver six hours of music, then no.”
One major drawback: turning friends into salespeople. Even if they insist, it may not be worth it.
“If your friend is already a DJ, then of course,” Rubio said. “Otherwise, it’s not the best idea. Plus, you want your friend to be there to celebrate and enjoy the special day with you, without having to work.”