Have you met Matt? You’ve gotta meet Matt! He owns Stumptown DJs. Now here is a Portland, Oregon wedding professional that will not disappoint on your big day. Let’s get this party started! Here is more about Matt and Stumptown DJs.
AOW: Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
Matt: I’m originally from Highland, MI, about 60 miles northwest of Detroit. I’ve been in Portland since October of 2007, so almost 10 years. Wow, time flies!
AOW: What is your favorite thing about Portland?
Matt: The people of Portland are my favorite thing about the city. They’re very honest, nice, down to earth, and weird. That’s something you don’t come across very often in cities as large as this.
AOW: What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
Matt: My favorite thing to do in Portland is to go to the various beautiful parks we have scattered across our city with my wife and 11-month-old son. I particularly like walking over to Peninsula Park. It has a soccer field, two baseball diamonds, a tennis and basketball court, a pool, playground and a gorgeous rose garden. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Photo credit: Christy Cassano-Meyer Photography
AOW: How long have you been working as a professional wedding DJ?
Matt: I have been running various businesses since 2002, and I’ve been DJing weddings since 2008. So 15 and 9 years respectively. Next year will be Stumptown DJs 10th year in existence. I’m pretty excited about that.
AOW: What people/training/experiences/opportunities led you to this career path?
Matt: This is a tough question to answer. I don’t think there’s one particular job, person, or experience that has led me to this career path. I would say that an accumulation of everything I’ve done in life has led me to where I am in my career now. However, the main event that happened and caused me to create Stumptown DJs was the market crash of 2008. At that time, I was working in promotional product sales, and all of my customers had just put a freeze on their orders. At the same time, all major companies instilled a hiring freeze, too. So I was forced to look elsewhere for work. In order to pay the bills, I responded to an ad on Craigslist saying they needed an in-house Wedding DJ at the Acadian Ballroom. The existing staff trained me on how to properly DJ and MC a wedding. The rest is history.
AOW: How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional DJ for their wedding day?
Matt: At a wedding, the job of a DJ requires a lot of organization and planning with the couple, their guests and other vendors. It’s not as simple as simply showing up and playing music, as most amateurs think. If done by a professional, there is a lot of planning that is done prior to the event. From music selection, to announcements to be said over the mic and proper sound equipment required, there is a lot to be arranged prior to the big day. With each wedding only happening once in a lifetime, there are no “REDOS or DO OVERS,” so there can be a lot of pressure on the DJ to make sure everything goes right. That’s one of the biggest reasons to hire a professional.
Another component most people don’t realize with a professional vs. amateur wedding DJ is MCing. A true professional wedding DJ will make various announcements throughout a wedding and coordinate the timing of them with others. Professionals know how to use the microphone properly in front of various crowd sizes. They can project their voice and speak clearly to get people’s attention in a polite manner. They can also orchestrate when each announcement needs to be made without causing confusion among guests or other vendors.
AOW: What is the best part of your job?
Matt: For me, it’s kind of two-fold. One amazing part of the job is knowing that you are part of a couple’s most memorable day of their life—and assuming it goes well, they will remember you for it for the rest of their life. The other part is that I get to run a business and listen to music—two of my deepest passions. So running a DJ company mashes it all together in one great package.
AOW: What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?
Matt: The most challenging part of our job is dealing with clients who do not follow through with what they say they will do, and dealing with a friend of the client, that is placed in what is normally a professional role on the wedding day.
We create many deadlines for our clients in order to make sure that they get us all the information that we need in order to do a great job at their event. Many a times, our clients don’t meet these deadlines, which leaves us chasing after vital information—sometimes up to the day of their wedding. It can be quite worrisome, because if we don’t have something as important as their first dance song or ceremony song, often times, we will get the blame for it. Thus, we choose to plan things out with plenty of time in advance, so we can avoid some of this extra stress.
Many clients choose to have a friend work in what is normally a professional role at their wedding. From caterer to day-of-coordinator, if this person does not do this on a regular basis, it can be very difficult for us and other vendors. If we make a mistake, it can hinder our professional reputation. But if they make a mistake, they may choose just not to coordinate a friend’s wedding again. We’ve had various people say that they are going to have their friend coordinate their wedding. Then on the day, the friend doesn’t seem to know what’s going on most of the time, is very disorganized, and/or before the end of the night, they relinquish themselves from their position and leave us to do their job as well.
AOW: Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
Matt: We have an office in NW Portland right near the Montgomery Park building. It has a great meeting space for clients to come in and chat with us. We share it with two other great wedding vendors (Your Perfect Bridesmaid, Candy Glass Productions), so it can be a one-stop-shop for customers looking for some other quality wedding vendors. As for a team, we have a crew of 9 DJs available and always keep at least one backup available for any day that we have an event booked.
AOW: What do you attribute to your success as a wedding DJ company? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
Matt: I attribute my success to the time I spent completing the University of Oregon OEMBA program from 2010 to 2012. During that time, not only did I get a Masters in Business, but I also realized that Stumptown DJs could be more than just a side business. It could actually be a full-time job and a powerhouse DJ company in Portland. I created a real business plan for the business, hired two DJs and doubled my revenue within two years.
During my schooling, I learned that a truly successful business solves an industry problem. So when creating my business plan for Stumptown DJs, I made sure that everything we did as a company solved an existing problem in our industry. This helped us find the perfect niche in the Portland DJ market. Stumptown DJs is an affordable, professional and talented DJ service that’s simple, flexible and fun for everyone. And that sets us apart from others in our field.
AOW: At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
Matt: Shortly after you book your wedding venue is ideal. In order to draw up a contract with us, we require that you have a venue first. Also in most cases, it is best to book us at least three to four months prior to your event.
AOW: Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
Matt: Most of my inspiration comes from DJing at least one event a month myself. Just seeing all those happy faces and people dancing to the music I choose is satisfying. It makes the daily grind in the office so much easier and reminds me what we are doing beyond making phone calls, checking emails and organizing key wedding information.
As for trends, one that I really like right now is called silent disco. It’s a great solution to many venues not being allowed to have amplified music being played after certain times. Basically, sets of headphones are given out to each guest on the dance floor and the DJ transmits music over the airwaves that can only be heard using those wireless headphones. This way, guests can continue to dance to their hearts content and the DJ can work later into the night. Plus, if a guest wants to have a conversation with another person, all they have to do is take off their headphones. There’s no need to yell. It’s quite a site to see and really fun, too. In fact, we rent them out to any clients who are interested. Check out our website for more information. http://www.stumptowndjs.com/silent-disco.html
AOW: What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?
Matt: I suggest asking five main questions prior to hiring someone in our line of work:
- What is your process from start to finish in terms of organizing things for the day of? What things do you need from us, the client?
- What equipment do you include in your services and what is extra?
- How do clients give you feedback in terms of the music they want to hear at their wedding? What is your process?
- Name your top three favorite wedding venues you like to work at and why?
- Name your top three favorite wedding vendors you like to work with and why?
If they answer all these questions solidly, you know you’re getting a DJ that’s organized, up front about costs, allows you to have a say in your music choices, is experienced in weddings and professional.
AOW: What is your best advice for wedding clients?
Matt: Do some research on actual costs for wedding vendors in your area before establishing a budget. And if you plan on having more than just a ceremony at your wedding, hire a professional DJ. We have a saying in the wedding industry: People come to weddings to see you and your significant other get married—plus, eat and drink, but they stay at the wedding because of the music and DJ.
AOW: Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?
Thank you so much for sharing your awesomeness with us Matt! We are so thankful to have Stumptown DJs here in Portland. You guys always provide outstanding DJ services to our local couples!