Wedding DJ – Rivier Maya Vendor Interview
Choosing your DJ and MC for your wedding is one of the most important parts of the wedding planning process. The truth is that a lot of your guests will remember the wedding party by the music and the good time they had. That’s why I am bringing back the vendor interview with one of the best DJ companies in the Riviera Maya – Plug In Audiovisual. Find out more about their story, how did they get into the wedding DJ industry, and useful tips and tricks on some things couples should look for when looking for a wedding DJ.
GET TO KNOW PLUG IN AUDIOVISUALS – RIVIERA MAYA WEDDING DJ
Tell us a little bit about your story and your company.
We are a small DJ and Audiovisual company based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We have been DJ’ing weddings in the Mayan Riviera since 2009. Agustin is the Founder and DJ- also the guy you will see behind the scenes on the wedding day, checking all the sound, lighting and overseeing our part of the event. DJ Chuy Mota is our Lead DJ and has been with us since we first started 10 years ago. And I, Katherine, am the behind the scenes contact point. I work with the wedding planners, couples, and vendors coordinating the details of the music and lighting.
How did you get into the wedding and events industry?
Before Plug In Audiovisual, the three of us had actually worked together in the Resort and Entertainment industries for many, many years in Huatulco and the Mayan Riviera. Agustin and Chuy are both DJs from Mexico City who worked for the same Hotel chain for a time. When Agustin and I re-located to Playa in 2009, I began got a job as a wedding planner at a boutique hotel and meanwhile Agustin founded Plug In Audiovisual. He started doing weddings almost immediately and Chuy joined him soon after. By 2014 I left my Hotel job and began working with Plug In full time.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding and events industry?
Getting to be a part of one of the best days of each client’s lives. We love that our job is all about happiness. We get excited about every single wedding we do love getting to bring the party. There has not been one day that we don’t say how lucky we are do to what we do and could not imagine doing anything else.
How do you work with couples to come up with the perfect playlist?
We are so excited to have invested in a really cool new interactive Music Planning App to make the music planning so much easier and super fun for our couples. They each receive an invitation to their event and download the app. From there they can add songs to their music list by searching the Youtube window, importing a playlist from Spotify, or browsing through all of our suggestions divided by genre. So for example, if they are looking for suggestions for their First Dance song, they can browse the different categories like Classics, Modern, Upbeat, Most requested, Funny etc. Couples can invite their friends to join as well so that they can add suggestions for cocktail hour, dinner and dancing (guests won’t be able to see or edit any of the special songs for the ceremony and reception!). There are so many cool features, I could go on forever, but I’ll just say that the couples are loving it. Two weeks before the wedding day, we finalize the music list with the couple and go over any questions or changes. We love connecting with our couples so are always happy to hop on a call anytime as well to talk all things music. We import all of the song requests (careful to stay away from any Do Not Plays) into our DJ software so that on the wedding day, Chuy or Agustin can pull songs from the request list and mix them together in a way that will keep the the evening flowing and the dance floor full.
Do you act as the emcee and make all of the announcements?
We can absolutely help with any announcements and introductions, such as the bridal party entrance, newlywed’s grand entrance, first dance, cake cutting etc. Or if the couple is having one of their friends emcee, then our team will coordinate with them and always be ready with the mic and songs ready to be cued. Our announcement style is professional and fun, and we can help out in English or Spanish. Typically we prefer to keep our time on the mic to a minimum, only to make necessary announcements and intro, but if the couple wants more a more interactive style, we have backgrounds in entertainment and animation, so this is no problem.
What type of equipment do you use?
For DJ equipment we use Pioneer, Technics, Urei, and Serato. For sound, we prefer Funktion One, HK, Bose, and JBL. We choose the specific DJ and sound equipment for each event based on the venue, layout, and the number of guests in attendance. Agustin and Chuy are old schools so while they love all the new technology, whenever possible they prefer to spin with turntables. Whatever the equipment, we try our best to make the set-up as subtle as possible to not interfere with the wedding decor or stand out in pictures.
What are some of your favorite first dance songs? Is there any specific song that couples have been using a lot?
Some of the top requests for First Dance songs are “100 years” by Christina Perri, “All of Me” by John Legend, anything by Ed Sheeran, “Can’t take my eyes off of you” by Frankie Valli (one of our faves) and “You are the best thing” by Ray LaMontagne. We also often see the classic by Elvis “Can’t help falling in love” but recently we’ve been getting requests for the cover version by Haley Reinhart which we are really loving. That said, we are true believers that the first dance song doesn’t necessarily have to be slow or romantic. When couples are stuck on what to pick, we try to encourage them to think of a song that holds a special meaning for them and that they will remember all their lives. We have seen couples dance salsa, a 3 minute choreographed hip hop number, alternative rock, or a traditional cultural song. As long as it means something to them, it’s absolutely appropriate in our books.
Tell us a little bit about DJ Chuy! What’s his favorite music style?
Chuy lives and breathes music, he has been DJ professionally for 25+ years! He plays all styles of music and will completely customize what he spins based on each couple’s request. That said, Urban is his thing; Hip Hop, Rap Reggaeton.
What’s the most unique wedding you’ve ever DJ’d for?
Oh wow, it’s hard to choose just one. We have DJ’d all styles of weddings, but here are 3 that we will always remember:
- A boutique wedding we DJ’s in Playa del Carmen about 8 years ago. Everyone- including the bride- wore black and the music and theme were all goth. It was amazing!
- A small wedding we did in Tulum a few years back. The bride and groom were die-hard Dave Matthews band fans and not only was every single one of their special songs by them but also their full request list for dancing was about 90% Dave Matthews band songs. That was a bit of a challenge, but they were so thrilled and everyone danced all night.
- A 300 person Indian- Russian/Jewish wedding we DJ’d last year. The parents of the bride and groom were the ones who handled all of the music requests and each side wanted to incorporate their cultural music. It was a delicate balance to incorporate all of the different song requests and blend them together in a way that would keep all guests on the dance floor. Another incredible great night we won’t forget.
What are some things couples should look for when looking for a DJ?
Good reviews and referrals are always a great place to start, but there is so much more that couples might want to take into account when finding a DJ that is perfect for them.
- What music does the DJ Play? It’s important that the couple feels confident that the DJ has a good understanding of the music they do and do not love, someone who is interested in the age and background of the guests who will be attending, and the vibe the couple wants to create for each part of their wedding day. The couple should feel confident that the DJ vibes with their music and will 100% customize the music they play based on the couple’s style and not just what they like to play.
- Will the couple be able to provide a list of songs that must be played? Can they provide a Do Not Playlist? Will the DJ be able to incorporate all of their requests and complement it with additional similar songs? If they only provide a few examples will the DJ be able to understand their style and fill in the rest or will they need to provide the DJ a full playlist?
- What is the DJ’s mixing style? Does the DJ hit play on a playlist or mix/blend one song into the next? Do they do quick mixes with shorter snippets of each song or play the song for a couple of minutes before transitioning to the next? Mixing is when the DJ smoothly transitions from one song to the next, manipulating the beats from the songs so that they match perfectly and one song flows to the next. An abrupt stop or quick change in tempo between songs can be awkward for dancing, so it’s a good idea to check out the DJ’s Demo mixes to listen to their style and make sure it’s a good match for you.
- Can your DJ work with live musicians? A trend lately had been to invite a live musician, such as a sax, violin, or drum player to join the DJ for a set during cocktail hour or dancing. if this is something that interests the couple, they might want to ask if this is something the DJ has done before or would welcome doing.
- It’s always helpful to have samples of the DJs work, like photo and video galleries, demo mixes, some behind the scenes footage on Instagram or Facebook, reviews, and referrals. This will give a couple a better idea of the DJ’s work, style, and personalities and they can decide if they are a good match.
Do you offer any other services?
We also provide wood and Infinity Gold dance floors, ambient lighting (up-lights, string lights, paper lanterns, custom gobos) and disco balls.
As a vendor, what has been your biggest wedding day challenge?
The first time we did a wedding at a private house located in the Biosphere of Sian Kaan (about an hour past Tulum). Not only is it difficult to access because of the narrow dirt roads, but there is a security checkpoint at the entrance to Sian Kaan. We found out the same day that commercial trucks and professional equipment are not permitted and some of the other wedding vendors were turned back. Agustin and the team went back to Playa, unloaded all of the equipment, and re-loaded it into his own personal car. They changed out of uniforms, put beach blankets and boogie boards over the equipment, and headed all the way back out to Sian Kaan for a “beach day”. They got in, the wedding was amazing, and the lesson was learned.