PARTY DJ AUSTIN
Wedding & Event Planning Tips
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Summer is one of the most popular times in Austin to get married, and for good reason. The picture-perfect blue skies and low-risk for rain make it the ultimate moment for memories and amazing photos. Plus, it’s easier for guests to take off time to travel if need be. How do you make sure your wedding stands out among all the others, though? Here are a few tips for throwing the wedding of the summer.
Set the Date
Summer is a prime time for weddings–and vacations. Since most of your guests will be planning ahead for this time period, be sure to send an announcement out well in advance. For out-of-town guests, be sure to also include information about fun things to do in Austin while they’re in town. Your wedding website or a separate print-out that goes in the mail with their invitation are great ways to pass this info on–plus your guests will love how thoughtful it is!
Finding the Perfect Venue
Austin and central Texas are filled with an array of diverse wedding venues–from hotel and resort properties to private venues and even ranches! There’s plenty to choose from to suit your needs. And with the summer heat, picking the perfect location for your ceremony and reception is especially important to ensuring everyone has the best time. A pro tip: choose an venue that has both indoor and outdoor options. The Hyatt Lost Pines, Hideout on the Horseshoe, and Mercury Hall are all great locations. Your guests can float freely through the different party areas, such as a ballroom and an outdoor terrace. Everyone will stay comfortable in the air conditioned spaces or can enjoy the outdoor elements if they so choose.
Plan the Party
Of course, the ceremony is the most important part your big day. It’s the moment you commit yourself to your partner amongst family and friends. But after it’s all said and done, it’s time to party! After the ceremony, the music will easily make or break the evening. It’s important to hire a DJ that can work with your requests and read the crowd to ensure everyone has a great time.
There are many different ways to entertain guests at a wedding reception. While some couples choose to DIY a photo booth, the best way to really involve guests and capture the moment is by setting up an actual photo booth. Guests will surely enjoy any props you set out. It’s also a great opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind guest book by having guests place the photos next to their names.
Let’s face it: your dress is up there on the “most-important-things-list” when planning a wedding. To keep your cool (and the photos chic) stick to lighter, flowy fabrics such as cotton, chiffon, or crepe. For the men, be sure to keep their tuxedo fabric breathable as well, and opt for open-backed vests for maximum comfort. If your wedding is outside, skip the long train that will only gather grass stains, and avoid skinny heels that will get stuck in the summertime grass. As for your hair, curls and sculpted updos tend to fall out in the hot, humid weather. Work with a hairstylist to find an option that will withstand the weather and make you feel like your most beautiful self, like a low ponytail or trendy braids. Guard against a shiny face with plenty of blotting papers tucked into your purse as well.
Food (And Cake, Of Course)
From large to small, there are numerous ways to make a nod towards local Austin cuisine at your wedding. Start with the natural crowd-pleasers, like barbeque or creole cooking. If you’re looking for something a more refined (and little less messy–BBQ sauce is no fun to wash out of a wedding dress), you can work with a local chef to create a gourmet version of classic Texas dishes. If you’ve planned your wedding to be in an especially super-hot piping time of summer, lean towards a light and airy menu. Summer salads of mixed greens and seasonal fruit are a great option, along with a cool summer soup and fish such as tuna, halibut, oysters, and shrimp. The heat can do terrible things to some of these menu items though, so be sure to keep all seafood, cheese, and meats stored in supercooled serving dishes to avoid spoilage. Be sure to also keep your cake in the fridge so it won’t melt in the hot sun. An extra special touch–add frozen drinks to your bar menu to keep your guests extra comfy and happy.
Florists know this time of year makes it challenging to keep your flowers fresh. Be sure to select an arrangement with seasonal buds, and remind your florist to pay extra attention to their water sources during transportation. Bouquets of Austin and Gypsy Floral are two go-to local florists. You may also want to prepare for pictures by having a backup bouquet just in case!
Adding an Austin Touch
Wedding themes should reflect the style and taste of the bride and groom. The decision you make will resonate in every decision from here on out, from the venue, to the food, to even the style of table you choose. To really add an Austin touch, find a wedding favor that showcases the local flair, such as a custom-labeled Texas BBQ sauce, a bag of secret-recipe chili spices from your favorite restaurant, or a gift from a local leather maker.
All Things Considered
It’s important to consider the time and money your guests have invested in your big day. If your wedding is set for a Saturday evening, it might be helpful to supply guests with nearby activities and attractions.
Dedicating a special area for guests to refuel will also do wonders in keeping the party fun (especially if you’re having an outdoor ceremony!). Rent water dispensers and set them up at the entrance of your ceremony so guests can grab a cold drink before they settle in their seats.
Hand-held fans are another great way to cool down under a hot sun, plus they look great and are fun for guests to take home. Most times, you can have these customized to a color and print of your liking to coordinate with your theme. Sunscreen is also a great and necessary party favor. Be sure to have insect repellent ready too if the sun will go down during your ceremony.
Last week, we wrote a blog discussing the top 10 father-daughter wedding songs. As promised, here is the top 15 mother-son dance songs! As we previously said, if you're planning your wedding, then you know that your music is very important on your wedding day! Guests usually care about two things at your wedding: the food and music! So, let's talk about the mother son dance in more detail.
When it comes to the traditional mother-son dance, we've seen numerous choices for this special moment. As we previously stated, the mother-son dance is a very special moment for parents! It's certainly a milestone moment in a parent's life. That being said, how can you possibly come up with just one perfect song, to capture a lifetime of memories? Sorry, no pressure! :) Try not to overthink it. Just choose a song that speaks to you and your parent.
If you have a step-parent, or someone else in your family who is just as close to you, you can always do multiple songs. We've also seen people use just one song, but split the time between parents or relatives. Tradition or not, this is your big day, so you do what works best for you. That being said, if you need some suggestions, here are our top 15 most popular mother-son wedding songs.
We hope this list has been helpful.If you're looking for father/daughter songs, check out our top 10 father/daughter dance songs, article. Feel free to visit our YouTube channel for lots of great playlists to help you plan the big day!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Austin's Best DJs is now offering day-of coordination services and full service wedding planning! Business owners, Jason & Diana, are actually certified wedding/event planners, and due to the overwhelming number of inquiries, we're now offering these services for Austin and central Texas weddings, quinceaneras, parties, and events!
Planning a wedding or event can be very stressful and time-consuming. We know that you are busy and don't have much free time to take on a new, part time job (aka wedding planning). We know you'd rather spend your free time doing things you actually want to do, such as going to the gym, hanging out with your friends and family, and of course spending time with your significant other! Wedding planning can certainly be fun to do, with your significant other, as well as with your wedding party and family, but if you find yourself getting overwhelmed or stressed out, then perhaps it's time to take a break and let us help.
Your entertainment is a huge factor in the overall success of your wedding, and therefore,
as wedding/event planners, we created our forms to outline every key moment of weddings and events, down to minute by minute! Providing the music and entertainment for weddings and events requires us to know all the key details of every event. We always take the time to discuss your wedding or event vision, and how we can help you achieve it. This is why we decided to also take the time to earn wedding/event planning certifications. We knew we could not always rely on others, to ensure our clients had a great event.
Over time, we noticed that some of our clients did not have a planner or coordinator. We don't require that our clients have a coordinator, nor do we charge extra fees if they don't. (Some DJ companies do). We simply go over the key details with them, and answer as many questions as we need to. Many clients always tell us how helpful our timeline and forms are, in organizing their wedding or event. Some clients would literally print out or documents and use them to coordinate, the day of the wedding. We happily assisted them, as much or as little as they needed.
Even if clients do have a planner or coordinator, the event's success highly depends on the coordinator working with all the vendors, especially the DJ/band, to ensure the night goes as planned. The DJ often is the MC, and makes key moment announcements, helping the guests know what is happening, before it happens, or as it happens, throughout the night. Coordinators and DJs have to work side-by-side, to ensure the event goes perfectly, every time! Just ask a coordinator if he/she has ever worked with a "bad" band or DJ, and how that event went. :)
Wedding and event planning is what we have been doing with our clients, every week, all year long, for the last several years. We're happy to help you plan your wedding or event, as the day-of coordinator (month-of) or with full service planning, if you need it. We'd love to help you and your guests have an amazing time, and a stress-free day, on one of the most important days of your life! Contact us, today, and leave the hard work and stress to us! Let's celebrate, together!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Last week, we wrote a blog discussing the top 10 Music really creates the atmosphere for any event. Good music can make a good party even better! Bad music, well, you know the deal.
When planning your wedding, you should first think about your wedding key moments and the music you'll choose for them. You have to select your wedding prelude songs (when guests are arriving), ceremony songs, cocktail hour genre, dinner genre, and the key moments of the night, such as the first dance, cake-cutting, send-off, bouquet toss, garter toss, and parent dances - typically father-daughter, mother-son, mother-daughter, etc. We've also seen plenty of variations of parent dances, with step-parents, other relatives, and even best friends!
When it comes to the traditional father-daughter dance, we've seen numerous choices for this special moment. It's very hard to capture this special moment that sums up a lifetime of memories, with just one song. We encourage you to pick the song that best works for you and your dad. Perhaps even think of a song that your dad really loves, or even sang to you, as a kid. If you can't decide on just one, feel free to make a mix of 2-3 songs. Your DJ should be able to do this for you and send it to you, so you can practice.
If you have a step-parent, or someone else who is just as close to you, you can always do two songs, or just practice with each parent knowing what time they come in, to dance with you. No need to follow "tradition," since it's YOUR special day to celebrate your love. So you certainly should do what you want. That being said, if you need some guidance, here are our top 10 most popular father/daughter songs.
We hope this list has been helpful. Obviously, there are millions more songs to choose from, but these are the most popular for the Austin and central Texas area. Our list also factors the most popular requested songs from around the US. If you're looking for mother/son songs, check out our top 15 mother/son songs article!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
We're proud to be one of the top DJ & photo booth companies in the Austin and central Texas area. We continually evolve and adapt, to meet our clients' needs. We always do our best to continue to provide the best services possible, for every wedding, quinceanera, party and event, every time. That being said, we've made a few changes to best meet the changing needs of our clients.
We've noticed that more and more, people want to be able to customize every aspect of their wedding or event, to fulfill their unique vision. We completely understand and know that personalizing every detail is important. Now, we've added a few more custom options to help you do just that! Whether it's karaoke, uplighting, lawn games, or whatever you need, if it's a trending optional upgrade that you've heard about, we've got it! Additionally, we've even added an unlimited package! For those special moments and times that you don't want to end too early, our unlimited package is perfect!
Even though we have several packages and optional upgrades, you're definitely not limited to the above packages. Any package can be customized to fit your unique vision of your special day. Contact Jason or Diana, today, and let's celebrate, together!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Gratuity for wedding and event vendors is a subject that has various opinions, from various people. If you're planning a wedding, quinceanera or event, in our market (Austin & central Texas), or anywhere, then you're likely wondering about gratuity for all your vendors. Be sure to read every contract, thoroughly. Many vendors actually require a certainly percentage for gratuity, and it's stated right in their contracts. We often see 18% - 20% added on to the total bill.
Is this fair? Depending on who you're asking, the answers will vary. My thoughts are, what if you're not happy with your service? Are you still required to give a tip? That part doesn't seem fair to us. Tipping should be completely optional, and it is with us. We certainly are always happy to receive gratuity, but it's never a requirement. We do encourage our clients to tip, if they feel like the service deserves it.
We are aware that many companies are owned and managed by completely different people than who will actually work your event, so this is a way for those companies to offer a nice incentive to their employees, as part of working with the company. The people who actually work your event usually get paid a small fraction of what your total cost is, in most cases. So gratuity is certainly appreciated by those staff members, of course.
I won't take a side on whether a company should pay their staff more, to avoid the staff from depending on tips, but for us, this is what we choose to do. We want our staff and clients to be happy. We pay our DJ and photo booth staff very well, in order to keep them happy and so that they don't have to depend on a tip. If they do get a tip, it's a nice bonus, but never expected.
Our one suggestion would be for brides, grooms, parents, or whomever hired the staff, to actually be the ones to give the tips. It's much more meaningful and appreciated when the client(s) directly give(s) a tip and mentions how happy they were with the service. We know that people are busy at the end of the night, but it's certainly a nice gesture and is always appreciated.
Another reason we encourage clients to directly give tips, is to consider the possibility of the planner or coordinator losing the tips. This has actually happened at one of our events. The coordinator came up to us at the end of the night and asked if we saw any money on the floor. We didn't. She said, "well, I had the tips, but I think they fell out of my pocket." She then proceeded to give us a crinkled up $20 bill and said, "here's your tip. I didn't lose your tip, I lost mine." We thought it was odd, but just said "thank you." We then helped her look around, but didn't find anything. We're not saying that this will happen, but know that it can; it only happened to us, once.
Additionally, we've also had a few brides and grooms come up to us, at the end of the night, thank us, and say, "I left your tip with the coordinator." We of course said thank you, but never actually received a tip from the coordinator. When we mentioned it, the coordinator said "they never gave me a tip, sorry." We left it alone, but this has happened a few times. We're not suggesting that anyone was lying, but we thought it was strange that this happened. The good thing is, we set our rates so that we don't depend on tips. So if we get a tip, great. If not, that's fine, too. :)
Overall, be sure to thoroughly read your contracts and find out exactly what is required. Ask questions about the requirements and be sure to ask "what happens if I'm not happy with the service or product?" If you're completely happy with your service, sure, feel free to tip. In lieu of a tip, it's always nice to leave a review for your vendor. For us, great reviews are just as appreciated as gratuity!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
With Valentine's Day week, this week, love is on everyone's mind. Valentine's is also one of the top days that people get engaged! Getting engaged is a great thing to celebrate! After engagement, though, comes planning! Lots of planning.Whether you've hired a wedding planner or not, you still have so much to think about. There are numerous details to discuss with your other half.
One detail that is important, is your wedding music. Picking the right songs for the key moments of your wedding can be overwhelming. There are millions of songs and a variety of genres out there. Luckily, we're here to help! Here are some of the songs we often play, at weddings, and a brief description of the moments that they may fit. We've also included the song link, so you can listen to it, too!
"Forever" - Chris Brown
Though this song came out 11 years ago, this song is still perfect for the couple's grand entrance, as well as a great send-off song!
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight" - Elton John
Yes, we all know the song from the "Lion King" movie, from 1994, but it's still a good song for weddings. We've played this song for a grand entrance, as well as other moments, such as cake cutting, or during dinner and cocktail hour.
"What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong
This song is timeless and is a great song that we've often played for a first dance and parent dances.
"Unchained Melody" - Righteous Brothers
This is a great song that we have played for the first dance, for the anniversary dance, and if not for a key moment, it's just a great song that usually gets the couples dancing!
"How Sweet it is to be Loved by You" - James Taylor
We often play this song for the cake cutting moment, but have also played it for the couple recessional song.
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole
This song is a great song that we have played for the first dance, parent dances, wedding processional and recessional, or just as a great reception song.
Other songs that we often play for parent dances are: The Beach Boys "God Only Knows," and Celine Dion "Because You Loved Me." Another example of timeless songs are songs from Journey. We often play "Don't Stop Believing," and "Open Arms," for key moments and often as a send-off song. For the anniversary dance, we have played "After All These Years."
We hope this small list has been helpful! If you still want more ideas, be sure to check out our "popular list" in our online music library. As always contact us if you have any questions and we'll be happy to help!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Wedding hashtags are almost necessary in today's digital and social media world. Whether you're planning a wedding, birthday party or event, a hashtag is a great way to keep all the photos together! There are several wedding hashtag generators out there, but we like the wedding wire version the best, since it includes more information, such as wedding city, wedding state, year, and even nicknames. Most of the others just ask for names. Here is the free wedding hastag generator. Enjoy & congratulations! Contact us if you need a DJ, photo booth, uplighting, games & more! :)
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Saturday night, we had a great time providing a DJ for this fun wedding, at Antebellum Oaks, in Austin, TX. Jason & Diana, personally worked at this wedding, and provided music for the cocktail hour, dinner and dance. Thanks to all the great team of vendors for creating an awesome experience for Mr. and Mrs. Zlatos!
Thanks to the following vendors for all their hard work and creating a fun, memorable day for the newlyweds:
Cassie and her team, from Bride's Best Friend, did a great job with the planning and day-of-coordination. The PEJ Events team provided great services and amazing food, for cocktail hour and dinner. Hill Country Events did a great job serving up drinks and bartending for the evening. Cori Beth Photography captured the special moments throughout the day and evening! Ann's Kitchen Cakes provided the amazing cake that looked almost too good to eat! Transportation was provided by R&R Limousine & Bus. Bouquets of Austin provided the beautiful floral arrangements and bouquets.
We're glad to have helped make this special day memorable for our newlyweds. Congratulations, again, to Mr. & Mrs. Zlatos!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
Valentine's Day School Fundraiser at Westview Middle School - Pflugerville
Friday, we had a great time providing a DJ for Westview Middle School's Valentine's dance! As always, they had a great turnout and the energy was amazing! These students always have so much fun and literally dance from the first song, to the last! Thanks to our DJ, Tommie, for doing a great job and keeping everyone entertained, all evening! We love doing events here and look forward to the next one, in May.
Valentine's Day Dance - Blazier Elementary - Austin
Friday evening, we also provided a DJ for a great Valentine's dance at Blazier Elementary in south Austin. The PTA put on this event and they had an awesome turnout! Nearly 700 people showed up for this fun event! Jason & Diana personally worked this event. Everyone danced the entire time! It was great to see students having so much fun, and even dancing with their parents! We're happy to have helped Blazier Elementary have a fun, successful fundraiser. We look forward to the next event, soon!
Thanks to both schools for allowing us to be a part of your fundraising efforts. We had a great time and are happy to be a part of the celebrations!
- Austin's Best DJs & Photo Booths
We love Amazon and are in no way affiliated with Amazon, but we have to tell you about this awesome article in our new magazine! Besides providing music and entertainment for weddings and events throughout the Austin and central Texas area, Jason & Diana are also certified wedding & event planners. They write the hand little blog that gets over 10,000 visitors per month! We do this to help our clients and anyone who is planning a wedding, quinceanera, party or event. Whether you need a DJ, photo booth, lighting, wedding planning tips, or anything else for your event, you can find our helpful articles, here on this blog! Check out the article about Amazon wedding planning, below.
How Amazon Can Help You Plan Your Wedding!
"How much is a DJ for a Quinceanera? How much do DJs cost per hour? How much does it cost for a DJ, for 6 hours," and lastly, "Quinceanera DJs near me," are the most searched questions and terms related to Quinceanera and event DJs. Hundreds of teens and their parents or siblings, call us, email us, Facebook us, and chat with us on our website, and ask these exact questions. The first question, how much is a DJ for a Quinceanera, is actually the number one question we get asked, when it comes to Quinceaneras! The answer, however, isn't a simple one. The cost for a DJ can vary, depending on a few things. Here are the top 5 things that affect the price of a Quinceanera, wedding, or event DJ.
1. No Set Price
First, there's no set price that DJs charge for their time or services. Some DJs and DJ companies charge by the hour (we do) and others charge by the event. Usually, the DJs that charge by the event, cost more, since they'll basically take the hourly rate they want to get paid, and multiply it times the average number of hours they'll work for most weddings or events (most weddings are 5-6 hours).
Prices can vary from as little as $200 for the entire event (usually brand new DJs), up to $4500. Most clients are willing to spend about 8-10% of their total Quinceanera budget, for the DJ and/or entertainment. So do the math and see if the DJ, band or other entertainment you're hiring is about this much. You're certainly not limited to the 10% rule, but it's what we see most often.
2. Costs Vary by Region
Another factor that can affect price is the region or market you're in. A Quince in a small, rural town, will be much cheaper than a Quince in Manhattan. Businesses know the costs of weddings and events in their market, and set their prices accordingly. In bigger markets, like ours in Austin, Texas, price is greatly affected by competition. The average price for a DJ in the Austin area is about $1200. There are certainly DJs for as cheap as $200, and DJs that cost as much as $4000! The price varies, depending on what is included with the DJ packages.
3. New DJs Versus Experienced, Professional DJs
This is where you will truly see a difference in pricing. A new DJ, who is just starting out, operates under the "I just want to get my name out there" business model. If budget is your number one concern, you'll want to book a newer DJ, to save big! The only issue with doing this, is that the DJ has much less experience, and therefore, your experience may be different.
Most new DJs won't have all the equipment they'll need for their events, since they're just starting out. Sure, they can always rent some equipment, but renting equipment isn't always a guaranteed good experience. We've actually rented equipment that did not work well, unfortunately. This is one drawback.
Another drawback is lack of experience. Experience and failure are truly the best teachers. Experience truly matters when unexpected situations arise. You don’t want that DJ to learn what to do next time, at YOUR event.
You always have to expect the unexpected and be prepared for it. Things that have happened to us are: the timeline is completely off track, people are not arriving on time, a song isn't playing, the band didn't show up, the bride's dress is accidentally torn, a bride/groom is stung by a bee, unexpected torrential rain happens, power outages, a member of the court got into an accident, a medical emergency happens, a tornado warning is sent to everyone on their phones, etc. When all this happened, we were prepared and able to change things, as needed and go with the flow. Most guests never knew a thing in most cases! You won't get this with newer DJs. Quinceaneras and weddings are a once in a lifetime event, so paying for peace of mind and being stress-free on your big day, is truly priceless!
4. Other Factors That Affect Pricing
Number of Hours - For us, the average weddings and Quinceaneras are 5-6 hours long; however, a 6 hour event means a 9 hour day, not including drive time (2 hour set up, 1 hour breakdown). Some companies and DJs charge set up and breakdown fees, which we find strange, since they absolutely have to set up and breakdown, in order to perform the job. Surprisingly, DJs will charge this fee and clients pay it. We include set up and breakdown at no charge. Be sure to ask about this, when hiring your DJ.
Location – The location of your event may also affect the price. Some DJs will travel within a certain number of miles at no charge. Others will include a travel fee, regardless of where the event is. For us, we service the great Austin-metro area and do not include a travel charge. For events that are outside this area, we do add a travel charge, which varies, depending on the distance we must travel.
Indoors/Outdoors - Additionally, if your event is indoors only, or indoors and outdoors, this will also affect pricing. Weather can take a toll on your guests and vendors. Not only the vendors, but our equipment, too! We’ve done weddings, quinceaneras and events in 20 degree weather, in areas with little heating (think barn type places). We’ve also done all outdoor events in August, with 105 degree temperatures. These extreme temperatures can truly affect the equipment’s performance, so be aware that this may affect pricing, too.
Season - Along with the weather, of course, is the season. You'll find that winter events are usually cheaper than other seasons, since not as many people have weddings and events in winter. Even mid-summer events can sometimes be cheap to have, depending on where you're located. Here in central Texas, we're less busy in late July and August, due to the extreme heat!
5. Optional Entertainment Upgrades Increase Overall Price
Last, but certainly not least, is the optional upgrades. Always ask your DJ what’s included with the price. If you need music in different rooms or even indoors and outdoors, the DJ may need a separate sound system and a microphone for announcements This is not included in a regular DJ set up. If you’ll have live musicians and need extra microphones, that will be an additional charge. Need your DJ to set up super early? That may be an additional charge, as well.
If you want to add more entertainment options, such as a photo booth, Karaoke, lawn games, or other forms of entertainment, this will cost more. More entertainment options are always great, since not everyone likes to dance, or is able to dance. Additionally, lighting is another factor to consider. Dance floor lighting may or may not be included in the DJ’s package. Uplighting is another great option to add, since it can truly transform the venue’s look and bring your theme colors together. A custom monogram (a light showing your name or initials, and usually the date) is always a nice touch to add, too! Talk to your DJ to see what optional upgrades they offer. Adding these options are a great way to make your event unique and personal.
Overall, these are the main factors that affect pricing. This article reflects the current pricing for 2018 Quinceaneras, weddings and events. There may be variances in different regions, but overall, this is a good guide. As always, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions!
Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths
Last weekend, I was faced with a challenge that I never thought I'd face in my DJ career. I've provided music for thousands of events, created and recorded over a hundred mixes, wrote, produced and recorded a few songs, played small and huge events with thousands of people, etc. Last weekend, however, was different. I was challenged with a very different music mix request. One mix I never thought I'd be asked to make.
Two weeks ago, I was on social media and I was shocked to see that someone I knew, suddenly passed away. I was very sad to learn that Mr. Joe Rivera was gone. Joe was a great man, who was a truly sweet, sincere person. Joe always had a big, unforgettable smile on his face and was always very optimistic. Every time I saw him, at any public event where I DJed, he always sincerely told me, "it's so good to see you. I love coming out with Janie, and listening to the great music you play! You think you can play something for me tonight? Play something that you know I like!" Of course I knew exactly what to play, to make Joe happy and take him down memory lane, dancing away. That's one of the best parts of my job!
I met Joe through some friends, Virginia and Raul. Joe was Raul's dad and I had the pleasure of evening DJing his birthday party, not too long ago. It was great to help Joe celebrate his birthday, along with Virginia, Raul, and the rest of their friends and family! Last year, we provided a DJ and photo booth for Virginia and Raul's wedding! Everyone had so much fun, and of course Joe was there, dancing the night away with Janie, with his big smile, giving me the thumbs up, when I played just what I knew would get him out there! It was a fun, memorable night for Diana and I, as well as all the friends and family of Virginia and Raul. I never thought that would be the last time I'd see Joe, in person.
Like most people, I knew about Joe and how he was doing, through casual conversations on Facebook. Just a day before he was gone, I remember reading Joe's post about going to the doctor, again. I didn't think too much about it, and then was very shocked to hear the news about Joe, a day later. I was sad, thinking about all the times he and his family had came out to see me, wherever I played, when I did public events. I remembered his party and the wedding, too. I listened to a few songs that I remember he loved, that day I found out, and it made me sad.
Most people think that DJs simply show up to play music and that the DJ may not think much about who they're entertaining that day or night. For me, this is not true. I truly appreciate being a part of some of the best milestone moments of people's lives. I looked back on those moments, that day and week, in a somber mood, thinking of Joe.
Last week, Raul called me and asked me for a favor. He said: "Hey Jason, how much would you charge me for a mix of all of my dad's favorite songs, for his funeral? I can send you a list. Do you think you can do it?" Without hesitation, I said "sure, of course I will. I won't charge you at all. I'll be happy to do it." Raul sent me the song list, that weekend. I worked on it that week, and wow, it had many of the songs I remember playing and watching Joe and Janie dance to, over and over again. It made me sad, knowing that these were his favorite songs and that I'd never see Joe out on the dance floor, again.
Everything I've ever done, musically, before this, seemed much easier. I never thought I'd make a mix for such an occasion, but I knew it was important. I can't speak for all DJs, but I can say that for me, doing this last mix for Joe's family was quite challenging. I'm sure most DJs would agree, if faced with a similar situation. I completed the song list and sent it over.
After I posted this, I was contacted by Joe's daughter, Stephanie, who informed me that it was actually Joe, who put the list together for his own funeral. She thanked me for helping the family respect Joe's wishes. Wow, I had no idea of this. Thank you, Joe, Janie, Raul, Virginia, Stephanie, and all your friends and family, for allowing us to be a part of so many milestones and memorable moments in your lives. Joe will be truly missed, but never forgotten. Rest in peace, Joe!
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