Getting to Know DJ Josh: Your 30A Wedding DJ/MC
One of the most important parts of being a 30A wedding DJ/MC is, oddly enough, not the DJing side of it. That’s not to say the DJ part of DJ/MC isn’t important. To be an effective DJ, you need to be able to read the crowd, put together songs in a way that makes sense, and execute smooth transitions between each track. However, in my opinion, it is the Master of Ceremonies portion of being a 30A Wedding DJ/MC that helps me the tone for an event. After all, that’s the first impression a couple’s guests have of me at a wedding reception. The couple has gotten to know me throughout the wedding planning process. The first time I am introduced to most of them is when I greet them at the start of the reception.
Because of how vital MCing is to a wedding reception, I decided to join the local Toastmasters International chapter in Destin, FL, to improve my public speaking skills. This may seem odd because of how essential public speaking is to being a 30A Wedding DJ/MC. The thing is, you don’t often get a lot of outside feedback while you’re performing at a wedding. Being a 30A Wedding DJ/MC can be an isolated profession. I had been meaning to join Toastmaster’s years ago but I just wasn’t able to budget the time in my schedule.
The first task every new member of Toastmasters has is to write a four to six-minute icebreaker speech. Since most of my blog discusses topics that are either wedding-related or someone else’s wedding business, it wouldn’t hurt to include something about me, right? Anyway, without further ado, here is the icebreaker speech.
How I Got Here
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to welcome you all to the beautiful Sandestin Hilton for Scott & Margaret’s wedding reception! My name is DJ Josh and I will be providing the entertainment and soundtrack to their big day!”
This is how I first learned to introduce myself to guests of a wedding I was the DJ/MC for. I’ve been many things in my life from an enlisted airman to a barista. I worked retail and earned my real estate license. I’ve been a host in a restaurant and even a screen printer for a t-shirt shop.
As eclectic as these past 38 years have been, it might surprise you (unless you’re reading my blog of course 😉 ) for me to tell you that I am now the owner of my own event company, Highlight Weddings and Events. My goal is to make the couple’s wedding the highlight they deserve.
If you told me ten years ago that I would be a wedding DJ/MC or even just a DJ, I would have laughed at you. Music has been a part of my life since I sang in the children’s choir. But I never saw it as something that would be a livelihood. Other people DJ’d. Up until around five years ago, the thought never crossed my mind that I would be one, too.
Something that I’ve always had has been great music recall. I can usually remember a song after hearing it once or twice. You can probably imagine that’s an important skill to have as you select songs to use for an event. I do planning before each event I DJ, but I’ve always enjoyed putting a set together on the fly. There’s a part of it that’s just fun. But it’s even more rewarding when you hear the crowd on the dance floor go crazy to a set you’ve never played before.
I didn’t always have this confidence. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I felt comfortable with who I was. During middle school and high school, I was the shy nerd that was too chicken to talk to girls because I was afraid of being made fun of or get rejected. By my late teens, I became more and more ok with being by myself. Even to this day, I don’t HAVE to be social. I can, and do it often, but it’s not something that energizes me. Once I finish a day that’s full of meetings, I feel pretty beat.
Even though it took me longer than I think it should have, I am thankful that I matured when I did. I probably would not be married to my beautiful wife, Rhoda, if I hadn’t. We’ve known each other for almost nine years and been together for all but four months of that time. She is one of the reasons I enjoy being a wedding DJ. Every wedding I get to be a part of reminds me that I am lucky enough to be married to her. Seriously. I truly believe that she was, and still is, out of my league. But, that just encourages me to show that I love her more than I have loved anyone. And, that’s saying a lot since I have seven brothers and sisters. Oh, by the way, I’m also the oldest.
Growing up with seven younger siblings was interesting. In my house, you treated people with respect, finished your food (and if you didn’t you ate it again for your next meal until you finished it), and always did your best. It may not have been perfect but as long as you put forth an honest effort, that was the most important thing.
Because of that upbringing, I’m not a picky eater, and I always try to strive above and beyond the goals I make for myself. I’m not perfect, though. I haven’t always achieved what I set out to accomplish. But, I’ve found those instances are usually the lessons we need to be able to succeed later on in life.
If you were able to look back at my life and see my experiences, you would probably call me a failure. The first time I attended college, I dropped out. I nearly got kicked out of the Air Force. The real estate investment company Rhoda and I founded is no longer in existence. I quit as a realtor. The overwhelming majority of my life choices were the result of me being in a position where I didn’t have many options to choose from because of my own doing.
But the cool thing about life is our past can only tell our story up to the present. It doesn’t have to define who you are or determine who you will be. There’s a saying that goes, “Make the next move your best move.” Not all of my moves have been great. But I have learned not to make the same poor moves that I have before. Also, who we were is not nearly as important as who we are. I believe our character defines who we are: how we treat others, how we view the world, and how we react to our circumstances.
I don’t know where I’ll be five years from now. I’d like to think that Highlight Weddings and Events will have continued to grow. I hope that by then it will be an established wedding and private event company that has had the privilege of serving numerous couples by creating an event of a lifetime for them. But we will see. All I know for sure is I can only do my best while loving Rhoda. Despite making most of my life choices with little planning or forethought, I’m glad I made them. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Except for marrying Rhoda. That decision was one I gave PLENTY of thought and consideration to.
There you have it. Mostly good but some not so good. But it’s all me. And that’s all I can ever be.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Toastmasters International, click here.
In case you missed my last blog, I got to talk to Avis from Peach & Pearl Events about how to determine the right wedding coordination for you.