At the time of updating our COVID protocols (late July 2021), Toronto weddings are coming back to life! Couples have the confidence to proceed with their previously planned weddings, and new couples are starting to plan their weddings too.  The future is bright.

But, let’s talk about the Covid protocols we do have for when we are working together.  We so are fortunate to be back working again and we developed some protocols for DJing weddings that will be applicable to our future events.

  1. Planning remains contact-free.

    There are no situations that require us to meet face to face in the lead-up to your wedding.  We will do all planning by email, call, or video chat.  Our detailed online reception planning and music request system will make sure you think of everything!

  2. Healthy and happy DJ.

    If your DJ is required to quarantine or is not feeling well, we will always have a backup available that is healthy and ready to make your reception a success!  Also, if a DJ is not comfortable working, for any reason, we have an amazing team that will take care of step up and ensure everything is perfect.

  3. Masks at events.

    Your DJ will wear a mask and observe social distancing at all times.

  4. Contactless requests.

    Having a clipboard at the DJ booth will let guests write us notes and write out requests.  Our DJs are happy to share their cell info so requests can be made by text.

  5. Dedicated microphone for your use and cleaning between speeches.

    Our DJ will have their personal microphone at the DJ table, and a dedicated cordless microphone with a stand for your use.  We will wipe down the microphone to sanitize it between speeches.

  6. Manage dancing and socializing.

    Our experience has been that the DJ, through the choice of songs and the volume levels, can control the energy in the room.  They won’t be heavy-handed on the microphone making warnings and reading rules.

  7. Work with your vendor team.

    Now more than ever we are working as part of the team that will make your wedding and reception perfect.  No one will not have to worry about the DJ going off-script, and causing any problems or disruptions.

If there are new best practices that evolve we will work with our couples to ensure safe and successful receptions. We want you to be confident when you work with Maximum Music.  We know you want a fun and safe environment for your friends and family, and we will deliver when you are ready to party.

Professional Development, and what makes wedding guests dance.

In North America, every city and town has mobile DJs. Many DJs are what I would call “jack of all trades”. They DJ in clubs and bars, host trivia and karaoke nights, DJ the local school dances in addition to weddings and corporate events.  They have to be diverse to have enough work. But what makes a DJ, a great wedding DJ?

I feel very fortunate that in Toronto, Maximum Music has been able to specialize in weddings.  We have a wedding first focus for everything from our equipment to the DJs that I choose to work with.

To me, staying in front of wedding DJ trends is why professional development is crucial to our business and its growth.   Every year in March, around 1000 members of the mobile DJ community gather in Las Vegas for a convention. I have been able to connect with wedding DJ professionals that share our wedding first focus.

In March 2018 I had my eyes opened at a workshop by Michael Walter.  He runs a successful wedding DJ company in New Jersey that services the commuter communities to New York City.  His seminar spoke to what makes people dance; specifically at weddings where you are bringing together your friends, co-workers, and university buddies and putting them in the same room as your families.  Talk about diversity!

To summarize he identified, and I completely agree, that there are three types of people.

Dancers – These are DJs’ favourite, and they are easy to spot!  They are the first to the dance floor and are having fun during dinner with all of your games and activities.  They love music and dancing is natural.  DJs LOVE dancers!

Sitters – There are guests that are not comfortable dancing, it is not natural to them and, frankly, dancing is not fun for them.  They are there to celebrate and they are as likely to love music as much as the dancers.  They don’t dance and that is OK.

Skeptics – This is where a good reception can become a great reception.  Skeptics will dance but are not as crazy and outgoing as the dancers.  If the music is right and perhaps they have had a few drinks dancing will follow.  They will come to the floor on their own terms when they are comfortable.  They do not want to feel threatened, or feel like dancing could lead to embarrassment.

We had a staff meeting and discussed this premise and it was like the light came on for us.  We are at your wedding to facilitate you and your guests having fun, not to coax or guilt your guests to dance.  If we are attentive to the crowd and are playing good music they will come out and dance.

So, what makes wedding guests dance? Well…

A bad DJ will still get the dancers on the floor but will piss off the sitters by trying to “make them dance” by talking on the mic or trying to force them to dance.  A bad DJ will never earn the trust of the skeptics because this DJ will not make the dance floor a safe space to have fun and be judgment-free.

But!

A great DJ will get the dancers up, will respect that the sitters are having fun, and will not play games, talk, or otherwise embarrass the skeptics so they can get up when they feel good and have fun.

This is what we do! Our best compliments are when guests who were not expecting to dance, end up on the dance floor because we let the party run its own course.  they felt comfortable coming out to the dance floor on their own terms.  This is how we have come to be known as the best wedding DJs in Toronto.

Are you a dancer, a sitter, or a skeptic!?

4 Wedding Planning Tips to get your dream wedding

I’ve been seeing tons of engagement announcements coming up on my Facebook feed, followed by a flood of private messages that usually go something like this: “Just got engaged! I have no idea where or how to start planning, HELP!!”  Chances are, many of you have never done any wedding planning before, so here are my tips for all you newly engaged couples to get your dream wedding!

Wedding Planning Tip 1

Get Organized

Write things down! This is the easiest way to keep yourself organized. Come up with a list of things that need to be done before your big day arrives, and do it together! Decide which items need to be taken care of now, and which can be put off until later. You can always re-organize this list as you go.

Consider using a colour-coded system. Go out and get yourself a monthly planner just for wedding planning tasks, appointments, and due dates. Assign a different colour for each vendor.  This will make it easier to look ahead and see what’s coming up. This may feel like a lot of work but you will thank yourself when your agenda starts filling up.

Start planning early. To help reduce stress, be proactive and get started early! Getting some of the less exciting things done early will free you up to spend more time on the fun parts like dress shopping and cake tasting!

Keep your ideas in one place. We’ve all had that experience of seeing a perfect idea, and then losing track of where we saw it, right? Avoid this by making a dedicated folder on your computer, or a Pinterest board where you can save all of your wedding ideas. Having all of your ideas and inspiration together makes planning easy, and sharing your ideas with your vendors even easier!

Make a plan to plan. The only way all of this comes together is by actually sitting down and doing it. Schedule time to focus on your wedding plans. This will help keep your plans from getting behind schedule and prevent last-minute scrambling.

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Planning Tip 2

Budget, Guest List, Dates, Venue

Set your budget first! Set your budget early in your planning because it will dictate everything else. The next thing you should do is come up with a rough guest list, having an idea of the number of guests will narrow down your venue search drastically. Once you’ve set your budget, and have a rough guest list outlined, you should set a date range for your wedding.

With your budget set, guest list outlined, and some dates in mind, you can start seeking out venues. Once you’ve found a venue that fits your vision, a specific date can be set based on when the venue is available.

Wedding Planning Tip 3

Decide on a Style

Choose the style of ceremony and reception that you and your partner would like to have. Deciding whether you want a formal dinner or food stations, a DJ or a live band, etc, will have a big impact on who you hire, so it’s very important to do this before you start looking at vendors.

  • Note: There is some debate about whether this should be done before or after you’ve selected a venue. After all, your reception style could be a big factor in deciding which venue you choose!  You may want to have at least an idea of your reception style when looking at venues.

Planning Tip 4

Find Your Vendors

You will look back on this day for the rest of your life, and you want it to be perfect! To achieving this, hire experts with the skill and experience to make it that much more memorable. In Toronto, there are tons of wedding vendors, and finding the right ones can be stressful. Here are a few tips to help make finding your perfect wedding vendors easier.

The key to finding your perfect wedding vendors is … research! Start with referrals from family and friends, particularly those who have experience planning their own wedding, or hiring vendors for other events. Find out who they’ve used in the past and what they liked (or didn’t).

Comb through wedding directories like EventSource.ca and theweddingring.ca.  Make note of those that strike you and pay attention to reviews!  Visit their official website and social media platforms to get an idea of the quality and style of work.

Wedding expos and open houses can be another good way to meet vendors. Just remember, it’s always a good idea to research them online as well to see real customer feedback.

After some research, you’ll start seeing the same names pop up over and over. Make a shortlist for each service you’ll need and call or email them. After some conversations, you’ll undoubtedly have a few favourites. Discuss your plans and expectations, and before long you’ll know who fits your vision best!

That’s it!

A good vendor is one who knows what to do but is also flexible about what you want. Pick someone who understands you, your vision, and shares your excitement for it.

Finding the right vendor is like discovering your soulmate. Find someone you can count on, communicate well with, and will help you realize your dreams.

We hope our wedding planning tips help you on your planning journey!

⬇️  To check our availability for your date and have instant access to our rates, contact us below ⬇️

Confession time, we have worked at events that have not had smooth reception flows, but it is easy to remedy!

Think of your wedding day as a string of events and then look at the way you connect them.  We’ll will skip your preparation early in the day as we are focused on the music and how that can help your ceremony and reception flow perfectly.

Pre-ceremony

Let us or your live musicians play for 30 minutes as guests arrive so there is a sense of being in the right place and knowing they are welcome and wanted there.

Ceremony

When it is time to start, have the music fade down to silence for 10 to 20 seconds.  Suspense is an amazing way to put an exclamation point on your processional into the ceremony.  Make it intentional and not just a continuation of the pre-ceremony music and we will play it a bit louder than the earlier music and we will fade down to silent when you get to the front and your officiant is ready to start.

I feel the topic of a microphone has to be addressed.  When possible, we discourage having a microphone at your ceremony for a few reasons.  A mic puts technology between you and your vows, your officiant may not have practice using a microphone, it might not be close enough to pick up the words but will still be immortalized forever in your wedding photos.  If you are 200 guests in the flight path of Pearson Airport then yes, a mic would be helpful.  At most, you could set one on a stand to the side for readings if you believe this will be helpful.  Just had to include this paragraph so you think about technology and your ceremony. This helps the reception flow more than you would think!

Once the ceremony is finished, you will have a burst of energy with a fun recessional song and then upbeat cocktail reception.  If live music is in your plan keep them for cocktails as the cost for an extra hour or so is negligible once you have them there for the ceremony.  Reach out to our friends to evaluate if live music is right for you, your ceremony, and cocktails.  Brent Miller LiveWellington Music, GuitarGuysLiz Craig are just a few of our favourites in the GTA.

Reception Flow

OK, you’re married!  Now it is time to segue into the reception.  This is a great opportunity for music to connect the cocktails to dinner.

Here are the most common sequences:

– Intro and first dance | dinner | speeches | bride & groom thank you | cake cutting | parent dance, then party!

– Intro and welcome | dinner with speeches between courses | bride & groom thanks you | first dance & parent dance, then party! (with cake cutting later)

– Intro | dinner with speeches & parent dances between courses | bride & groom thank you | cake cutting | first dance, then party!

What we aim to do, is have our couples bundle events together.  This way, your photographer and guests can capture what is happening in each moment, and also avoid you sitting and standing multiple times.

Put events at the start and end of dinner and sprinkle in your toast and speeches as needed.  It is a lot like a recipe.  Do things in a logical order and it will create a great result!

The kissing gamecenterpiece giveaway, shoe game, slide shows, and all that wedding stuff…  Recently, there’s been a wedding trend where “Less is More”.  There is less “Stuff” happening at weddings during the dinner and personally, we like it!  It helps keep the reception on schedule and you can get into the dancing sooner.  There are still lots of weddings with these games but please don’t feel like it is mandatory.  Do your own thing!

Your reception flow during dancing.

I always refer to the dancing as where we earn our pay but the reality is that so much of being a wedding DJ is the behind-the-scenes work with your vendor team.

Early evening is often not as loud and we play a bit more to the older guests so they have the fun wedding reception experience and then work towards your personal music taste as the night progresses and the volume can increase.  An early night is when you will see a set of those Greek dances or polkas if that is your family’s thing.

We play music in sets of 2 or 3 songs so the party doesn’t feel disjointed.  Sets allow people who like a type of music to hit the dance floor and get 10 to 15 minutes of dancing before we segue to something different.  We will work on the requests you provided us and weave the music into something awesome.

On the spot requests are something we can definitely accommodate, but also this is the time to have fun and trust that we will make the right choices for music based on what is happening in real-time.  We are not there to break new music or be artistic.  We are there to build a soundtrack that is unique to you and your guests.

Late Night

If you want to do the bouquet and/or garter toss and late-night food service, bundle them together just before the photographer leaves around 10:30 or 11:00 pm.  We will follow the lead of your catering team but typically this is a simple announcement and not a full stop to the party.

1:00 am finish.  At our staff meetings, our DJs say “nothing good happens after 1:00 am”.  End on a high note and finish off big rather than trying to keep high energy until 2:00 am.  There are exceptions but for most couples, it has been a long day and they are happy to tidy things up at 1:00 am and get back to the hotel room.

Karyn D’Souza and Ryan Faria had their stunning Guild Inn Estate wedding in June of 2018. Their spectacular evening was accompanied by music icons.  From Queen, to Stevie Wonder, the energy was always high. Their kissing game consisted of trivia about the couple or getting up and singing a love song to the happy couple. The DJ was asked to double as an MC as needed, and Max DJ Tim was happy to provide this service for them throughout the whole night.

First Dance Song – Lights (Journey) – Bride and Groom

Second Dance Song – A song for mama (Boys ll men) – Groom and Mom

Third Dance Song – Malika (Boney M) – Bride and Father

They were looking for a wedding DJ rather than a Club DJ and they came to the right place. We were so happy to make their wedding have the desired mood with the right songs playing at the right time.

There is no better feeling than seeing a wedding that turns into a party that everyone gets to enjoy. This is a perfect example of how committed we are when it comes to communicating with the Bride and Groom. After using all of our provided wedding planning tools, we can ensure that your night looks and feels exactly like you want it to be, just like we did for Karyn and Ryan!

The event was tied together perfectly thanks to the collaboration between Maximum Music, Veronica Belle Events, and the Guild Inn Estate Wedding Team. The couple also had an amazing robot from Ti-Bots for the guests to enjoy and complete this spectacular night.

Other Vendors

Wedding Planner / Day-of Coordinator
Photographer
Videographer

Thank you so much, Karyn and Ryan for having us at your Guild Inn Estate Wedding!

Below is a real email to a real 2018 wedding at Graydon Hall Manor. If these are their questions, there is a good chance some of them may be your questions as well!  By publishing them, we hope it will help you decide if we are a good fit for your wedding.
Rod here, owner of Maximum Music

I will put answers after your questions that I have made bold italic.  It is hard to condense it all into a sentence or paragraph.  I am confident that my unbiased approach to assigning the best DJ to each wedding works and that our system of having Suzanne and me in the office to manage and curate the details for our DJ is the best model in our industry.   This will be one part of your day and you will not need to worry about it. We will be your best value!

Call me and we can discuss. (647) 549-6642

Rod

1. Will you be doing any beat matching at the wedding?  If so, is it possible to hear an example of a live mix that was done in the past?

Some of our DJs come from a club background and are very proficient beat mixers while others are better at just blending the songs and will not be super technical.   I find out what each of our couples is looking for and make sure to match the right DJ for the room as some couples do not want beat mixing and find that the shortened songs annoying.

2. Do you have an Omni-directional lapel mic for our officiant?

No, we have not had success with lapel microphones and if your ceremony is in the garden at Graydon Hall we cannot put a speaker out there anyway (no DJ is allowed).  In my opinion, to have the sound come from a speaker and not the person speaking sounds weird and puts technology where it should just be an intimate exchange of vows between the couple. (There are times when we provide a handheld cordless mic, and I can better evaluate your situation in a phone call if you like)

3. Where do you get your music?  Is it all from iTunes?

We subscribe to a music service called Multi Music. This company has provided our base library and we receive updates every 2 weeks.  We fill in the gaps using iTunes if a song is not released on our music service or if there are specific cultural or ethnic songs we need.

4. What sort of experience do your DJs have?  Is it self-taught, or do they have some formal education?

There have been attempts in Toronto at a “DJ School”, but that does not make a successful DJ in my opinion.   All of the “good” DJ’s that I have ever worked with have been mentored and have practiced for hours.  (None of our DJs will “practice” at your wedding.)  There is a big difference between a club DJ and a wedding DJ.  You can be good at both, but, in my experience, a wedding DJ needs much more people skills, less ego, and that’s something that cannot be taught.  I am confident that I have chosen great DJs and great people and that is why Graydon has recommended us since they opened. (No one else can boast that fact!)

5. Do you have any backup equipment?  If so, what sort of equipment do you have?

A backup laptop at each event, our speakers have built-in power supply and amplification so there is redundancy there.  A backup mic on-site, and me or one of our team is available as a backup should the person not be able to perform, or have any issues and need some technical help.  Many of our photos come from me visiting weddings on a busy night!

6. Do you have an unedited video clip of you MC’ing a wedding grand entrance?

Not really.   We do not shoot videos much at our events because our clients ask for privacy. We have a few cell phone videos on our YouTube page and what clients and professional videographers have given us.  There are about 40 videos on our YouTube channel.  The video on our homepage at www.maximumDJ.com has lots of footage of an introduction at Graydon Hall in 2015 that was shared with us by a very happy client!  Some of the most successful receptions we do have a combination of the DJ and someone from the bridal party or family share MC duties. It blends personalized heartfelt speaking from one of your people with us being able to fill in the gaps that might include introductions and everything after dancing starts.  There are as many examples of how people plan receptions as there are weddings we have done.  All are a little bit different!

7. Could you provide us with a recent outline/timeline that you prepared for a wedding?

We work with the outline and timeline that you create with your wedding planner and/or your venue contact.  We’ve got a detailed wedding planning form and music request list builder on our website, but it is not a “once size fits all”.  We’ll work with you to make sure that the music is fitting to the different parts of your reception.

Each wedding files include your guest requests, your requests, the schedule, and info on the show report that I create from the information we collect.  This level of detail allowed the couple to have an excellent night and NOT feel like they had to micro-manage details.  In my opinion, this is an awesome snapshot and very representative of what we need to do our part in creating a successful wedding and reception.

8. What lights will you be setting up for the dance floor? Is it customizable?

We do not bring lights to Graydon, they ask us not to do this.   Occasionally, we have done LED up lights or simple dance floor lights but frankly, they can look cheesy in there and if the room is full, they can get in the way.  If you are interested in lights, then let’s talk about it and decide what is a good fit for you and your venue. Here is a link to a Facebook photo album with our lighting.

9. What music do the DJs have the most experience with?

To work for Maximum Music they have to be good at everything but, if you have a specific taste that is a bit more obscure, I will take that into account when assigning your DJ.

10. Can you send a picture of what your DJ set-up looks like at a wedding? 

Here is a link to a Facebook photo album that has random DJ setups at different venues

There are many more photo albums on our Facebook page but it is basically a DJ controller and laptop with speakers on tripods.  Nothing over the top and we try not to look cluttered.   We have a lot of photo albums on Facebook, and also lots of great information on Instagram and Pinterest.

Melini Gupta and Gautam Goel held their charming Steam Whistle Brewery wedding on October 8th, 2017. Melini grew up in Montreal and Gautam, in Vancouver. They developed their taste in music, as we all do, from the years in the clubs when they were younger. Their special night was complete with music from artists such as Drake, Calvin Harris, and Avicci to bring that club atmosphere that they both loved so much into their special day.

The first dance was set to Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez

The first dance began with just the bride and groom dancing together.  Halfway through the song, they invited the bride’s father and groom’s mother up to finish off the song altogether.  This was such a special way to show the two families really joining together – in our opinion, what a wedding is all about.

They trusted our judgment in choosing the music and the timing for each set, as well as each song. They enjoy relaxing to rock and indie but love a good dance party with 2000’s EDM and pop music to keep the energy high. We couldn’t agree more with this mix of genres! They were also looking for one of our DJs that was comfortable as an MC.  Of course, we were more than happy to provide.

Wedding Planner / Day-of Coordinator
Photographer
Videographer
Caterer
Other Vendor

Thank you so much, Melini and Gautam for having us at your Steam Whistle Brewery Wedding!

Erin Valant and Geoff Bethune held their wonderful Rosewater Room wedding on April 28th, 2018. The amazing night was accompanied by music from various artists such as Frank Sinatra, Blake Shelton, and the groom’s own uncle playing the guitar for their first dance. They were looking for a fun night with a packed dance floor, and we were happy to deliver.

The groom’s uncle playing his guitar and sang for the first dance.  This perfectly suited the special occasion and was a very special and intimate choice.

The second dance was to The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra which took place during dinner, after a speech from the parents of the bride.

For the third dance, the groom and his mother danced to God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton.

The Maximum DJ for the night was none other than JB. He delivered an unforgettable evening of fun and dancing for the happy couple and all of their guests. We take pride in our efforts to assign the right DJ to the right couple. This allows the evening to have a better flow and for the couple to have a more personal experience with us.

Rosewater Room Wedding Info

The Rosewater Room is a beautiful space with an open concept design that includes floor-to-ceiling windows and hand-crafted chandeliers. The main room offers a capacity of up to 400 people for a reception-style wedding, banquet-style weddings are also offered. Some of the services this venue’s wedding packages offer include floral services by resident florist Luc Leclerc, an eight-hour regular host bar, wine service during dinner, sparkling wine toast, midnight coffee & tea service, and menu selection.

Testimony

“Every single thing was fantastic. Maximum Music made the booking and planning process efficient and enjoyable. We love the online planning tool. Our DJ was excellent and kept the dance floor full all night! I would recommend your services to anyone.”

**The Rosewater Room has since closed.

Do I need dance lights, a sub-woofer, and a second DJ? We say NO, this is a wedding reception, not a night club.  This may go against the popular message of many DJ services, but I ask you to consider what will be memorable in the months and years after your wedding. I truly believe it will be a beautiful ceremony, delicious dinner, heartfelt and concise speeches, touching first dance and dance with parents. Then, of course, the awesome party where you have time to truly relax and enjoy the company of all your friends and family that have given of their time to come and celebrate with you.

We strongly believe in delivering an unforgettable experience while being as discrete as possible. The main two pieces of equipment we use are an advanced DJ controller and a laptop. This allows us to set up on a single table in the background of the event. Then we can get the party started!

Andrew Darley and Carmen LI tied the knot at their delightful, York Mills Gallery wedding on September 9th, 2017. Their evening was filled with music from artists such as Mariah Carry, Daft Punk, and Spice Girls. Who doesn’t love a good throwback?! When it came time to fill the dance floor, they requested the current top 40 songs, some electronic dance music, and 90’s/00’s hip hop.

The bride and groom had begun their first dance to Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra.

Unbeknownst to the guests, this was actually a remix! 45 seconds into the song they burst into a choreographed routine. This put smiles on the faces of everyone, including us!

The second dance was set to Mariah Carey’s Hero. It began with just the bride and her father.  The groom and his mother were invited to join after 1 minute of dancing.  Then, after another minute with both the bride and groom on the dance floor, everyone was asked to join them up on the dance floor.  This was such a beautiful way to signify the two families coming together and then be surrounded by all their friends and family.  A perfect way to showcase the true meaning behind a wedding day and ensure everyone present is a part of your big day.

#MaxDJAndrew

Andrew liked to DJ in his spare time.  He was so satisfied with our work on his special night that he decided to come and DJ for us!  It was a great first impression from both sides, and we are so happy to have Andrew on the Maximum Music Wedding DJ Team.

Wedding Planner / Day-of Coordinator     Amanda Bell

Photographer:  Carlo Vitale

Caterer: Catered Trendz 

Other Vendor: Sole Power (lighting)

 

Andrew and Carmen, thank you so much for having us be a part of your York Mills Gallery wedding!