My name is Erin Anderson Whiting and my brother Jordan and I own Mr. Music DJ and Event Services. Seven wedding seasons ago, we purchased northern Michigan's largest and longest-running disc jockey service and re-launched as the area's only boutique DJ company, in order to create unique experiences for couples in love with music. We craft customized celebrations -- the ceremonies, cocktail hours, dinners, and receptions that reflect the true personalities of couples and their guests -- throughout the Grand Traverse region, and beyond.
How did you get into the wedding industry?
My brother and I were attending a lot of weddings; we were both at that stage in life. Afterward, we found ourselves debriefing, comparing notes about what worked and what didn't. Typically--barring any tragedies like running out of wine or food poisoning--the make or break element of the evening was the music. So many DJs we saw were on auto-pilot. It was clear they came into the situation with a set "wedding playlist" and--beyond that narrow scope--they weren't sure what to do. They might as well have plugged in an iPod and walked away. We thought there was a better way. We wanted to provide personalized, problem-free celebrations that helped couples express their own unique style and show their guests a great time.
How would you describe your style?
When it comes to the music we play, it isn't about our style--it's about the client's! We understand that every wedding reception is different and every couple has their own relationship to music. Our job is to translate our clients' vision, style, and personality to the dance floor, ensuring that friends and family experience an incredible party that could only be thrown by this couple. We believe music is the motivator. We don't believe a DJ egging people on is a good tactic. The crowd doesn't know us and it can come off as the dreaded "cheesy wedding DJ." Professional, creative, and never over-the-top, we work to deliver exactly the event you're looking for with none of the DJ cliche. We pay close attention to what's working, what isn't, what songs get people on their feet, and what songs have people trickling off the dance floor. From there, we are constantly changing the idea of what's next--in real time--to reflect the crowd's energy as it changes throughout the night. Think of us as the human Pandora. As we move through your event, our DJs handle everything with a professional air that is crisp, light-hearted, and engaged. You won't find us playing on our iPhones or staring into space; we're always in the moment, right there with you.
What is your favorite part of a wedding?
There are so many! If I had to narrow it down, I'd say the moment when the couple has recessed back down the aisle after the ceremony--before they are overwhelmed by guests--and they take that first real look at each other as a married couple. It's usually just a few deep breaths, and then they're off to greet guests, but that is really special. The other would be dancing, of course--that moment when everyone's exhausted from the fun, but just can't sit down yet because "they're playing that song!" so they turn back toward the dance floor. We work to keep moments like that happening all night long!
What advice do you have for couples about choosing a DJ?
Make sure you choose someone who listens. You know yourselves and your guests best and you've put an incredible amount of effort into curating a unique event that reflects who you are as a couple. If a potential DJ is doing more talking than he/she is listening, it's a sign that they aren't interested in customizing the experience for you; they think they already know what you want/need and will probably override your directions with what they "know works." The right DJ for you is one who is actually interested in getting to know you!
How far in advance should a couple look into booking your services?
Right now, we're booking at least a year in advance, and sometimes two. Most of our summer 2016 weddings were booked in winter/spring of 2015. Of course, there are always last-minute scheduling changes and accelerated timelines, and we make every effort to accommodate those when possible. We want to work with you!
What do you love about living and working in Northern Michigan?
Northern Michigan isn't a place where people just "end up." Living here is most often a very well thought out choice--either to stay here, move back here, or relocate here from another part of the world. We all know there are challenges to living in a mostly rural region, but the rewards outweigh the challenges every time. The warm, rolling dunes; cool, deep forests; and incredible fresh water make the area's natural beauty undeniable. We have an amazing food scene here; fantastic wine, beer, and spirits; as well as impressive arts and culture opportunities; and communities of caring, committed people. When you choose to live, work, or say "I do" in northern Michigan, it's because you appreciate how unique our corner of the world truly is. In some ways, when you choose to have a northern Michigan wedding, the place itself is a guest of honor.