Gary Hoffmann, who runs a DJ company, cannot remember having to turn away an engaged couple once because he has more than 20 DJs on his list at any given time.

“I’ve never done that before,” says Hoffmann, the founder of 74 events from Brooklyn, who has also been a DJ himself since 2001. Tell everyone that we have no one. “

That changed this year when the 2020 tsunami of postponed weddings crashed onto Hoffmann’s calendar. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, he had to cope with many postponements.

“I stopped counting around 400,” he said. “The reality was that when the pandemic started, many couples were conservative or delusional about how bad it was going to be and for how long. I’ve 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 it puts him in a difficult and unfamiliar situation.

“I’ll take a specific example: September 18,” said Hoffmann. “I have four or five different emails in a folder telling the couple, ‘Hey, I’m so sorry, I know I’m fully booked.'”

In Austin, Texas, Jason Alexander Rubio and Diana Anzaldua, the couple behind Austin’s Best DJs, are also struggling to cope with the influx of postponed weddings that are now happening all at once.

“We’ve seen a 300 percent increase in customer calls, emails, and bookings over the past month,” said Rubio. “We’re doing our best to meet demand: we’re hiring more staff and hosting events that we can’t do to other DJs who may not be as busy as we are.”

The process becomes even more complicated when a DJ is found to complement a couple’s vision.

“Finding the right fit based on style, experience, and professionalism can be difficult these days because they may all be fully booked,” said Vel Menash, founder of TablePop, an event experience planning platform and resident event concierge in Burlington, NJ. A multicultural couple I know needed help finding a DJ who would be great for their cross-cultural wedding that included afrobeats and indi-pop. “

BOOK A DJ

As with any major wedding decision, research is essential. Go on a budget for the DJ and entertainment. Rubio recommends providing 8-10% of your total wedding budget. Then check out wedding websites and make a list of your top five DJs.

“Do some stalking online and check out their social media and other reviews,” said Rubio. “Find out which DJ is best able to fulfill your overall vision of the wedding day and understand your mood. See what other options the DJ has – you can potentially book more services and not worry about them to pay too many providers. “

IF YOUR DJ CANCELED

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

“Good, reputable DJ firms will have a policy that doesn’t allow this,” Rubio said. “If a DJ is unable to make it, the company should have a replacement DJ who can easily cover. This is an advantage of booking a DJ company over a solo DJ.”

IF YOU CAN’T FIND A DJ

Hit one dead end after another? Think of other places that you may not have searched before. According to Rubio, some DJs do not advertise on the major wedding websites due to cost reasons. 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 decent DJs on Instagram and Twitch,” said Schquita Goodwin, a Washington DJ. “But your most trusted source would probably be asking around: alumni networks, colleagues, kickball teams. The vast majority of my business is referrals from previous customers.”

WHAT ABOUT RECORDED Sentences?

While couples may come across this option, Hoffmann warns against it. Without a live DJ improvising and firing the guests and their energy, there is a risk that a recorded set will not match the atmosphere of the event, which unfolds in real time.

“It’s not really an ideal situation and I wouldn’t recommend it,” said Hoffmann. “Save your money on the honeymoon or the mortgage. Just create your own playlists with great background music and don’t worry about the dance part.”

ALTERNATIVE MUSIC SOURCES

Consider live musicians. Quartets, guitarists, and other artists can be signed up through freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork.

“I would even consider exploring local places with live music, like a church or a bookstore,” Goodwin said. “The absolutely cheapest method, however, would be to rent a speaker from a local audiovisual equipment rental company. Then get your family and friends involved.”

Familiarize yourself with your venue’s sound system and ask about the audio connection so you can plug in your own devices and appliances if needed. Once these features are confirmed, start curating on your favorite streaming service. Earlier this month, Tidal, a streaming music service, launched a Wedding Hub, a central source of music for all wedding-themed events such as the procession and the first dance.

Spotify is usually the most popular. Don’t forget to sign up for a premium account to avoid uncomfortable interruptions from advertisements during cocktail hour and dinner.

HIRE A FRIEND

Asking friends to show off their amateur spinning skills could well be a viable alternative, especially if the dance party is a definite must. You should have “a basic instinct” to choose music that everyone enjoys, Hoffmann said. But even if they manage to get the party going, they may struggle to contain over-enthusiastic – and drunk – guests.

“This is serious gamble,” said Goodwin. “If you trust your friend, yes. If you don’t trust your friend, listen to their samples.

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

“If your friend is already a DJ, then sure,” said Rubio. “If not, this isn’t the best idea. You also want your boyfriend to be there to celebrate and enjoy the special day with you, and not have to work.”

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