When you think of local musical venues you might think of Cervantes’ Masterpiece, The Black Box or Sanchos Broken Arrow as hot spots to catch homegrown favorites. While those are all likely vessels to experience Denver music, some of your favorite bands and DJs are probably throwing down in other arenas around town as well…at weddings. The wedding DJ scene in Denver is one of the most popular in the state and runs as deeply eclectic as any other alley of creative energy in the Mile High.
Since the seasons are spinning us into that time of year when you are moving and grooving at wedding after wedding, we thought we would introduce you to some of the faces you will see living in the DJ booth after the nuptials have been vowed. 303 Magazine spoke to some great contributors to the sound of Denver Matrimony.
Mike Handby – Ignight Entertainment
Mike Handby has been DJing in Denver since his early 20s. As someone who had always been involved in music, he found a more laid-back atmosphere in DJing at weddings, both emotionally and physically. In addition to giving his drummer-arms a break, he also found his livelihood. After becoming one of the most sought out DJs at UCCS, Handby started his own business, Ignight Entertainment. Now, he is able to gift wedding jams all over Denver which, he claims, is a city that keeps things pretty zesty in his line of work. “I love the diversity in the weddings that I do,” Handby said. “What’s truly incredible about the Denver wedding industry is that we have so many people moving here each month and this allows me to spin some crazy different weddings.”
Obviously, the DJ is a maestro of sorts for your reception, and it is imperative that guests feel like they can get down without fear of running into dead noise and empty silence. With all that there is to plan, hosts do not want to be thinking about how many times the same song has played or how their grandma feels about vulgar lyrics. So, what does Handby like to throw on? He keeps it close to home, citing Denver’s own Illienium as his go to. ”’Feel Good” (feat. Daya) has got those amazing, unique first-dance feels.”
Jonathan Huvard – Great Family Reunion
Jonathan Huvard, who also performs with Denver-based Foxstreet, got into weddings to revive the industry, one that he feels has “succumbed to to its own stereotype — cheap suits, low budget production and burnt out musicians taking ‘Play That Funky Music White Boy’ for their 1,000th spin around the block.” In order to accomplish this revival, Huvard and the rest of his team at Great Family Reunion offer a complete wedding experience: musicians, sound engineers, production specialists, etc. With 20 years combined between Huvard and his business partner, Jordan Linit of Denver’s Analog Son, they have been able to offer wedding musicians that have contributed to every kind of performance imaginable. Great Family Reunion works to make the big day as carefree as possible.
“Take a deep breath and enjoy. Stop and enjoy the moment — everyone is there to celebrate you,” says Jonathan Huvard from Great Family Reunion of appreciating your wedding day.
What is the secret ingredient making Denver a top stop for a spectacular wedding party? “We try to step outside of the more ‘cliche’ wedding tunes. However, you can never go wrong with a solid MJ jam.”
Tyler Hawkins – Vendana DJs
Tyler Hawkins, from Vendana DJs in Denver, feels it is his place to ensure the party goes off without a hitch. In fact, that is why he got into the line of work in the first place — to make money while playing music for people.
“A major part of my job is making it as easy for [the bride and groom], as they already have enough to worry about on their big day.”
One of the more interesting aspects we came across in our research were the quirky stories from each individual DJ about what they had seen at Denver weddings. Each wedding and party are completely different and unique — mix in an open bar and some interesting events are bound to transpire. Hawkins says the craziest wedding story he remembers was a laugh-out-loud experience, with a mooning bridesmaid. “Everyone was getting a kick out of it,” he said. “So no harm no foul.” Hawkins experience in situations like this has shown him how to throw on a track when in need, but it is the classics that he always turns to. “Ignition Remix,” he says, (why are we not surprised?) “never gets old.”
“My favorite part is probably all the different people I get to interact with. I get to meet and work with a lot of rad individuals and getting to travel all over Colorado to some pretty cool places is also a bonus,” said Trizz of playing Denver weddings.
“People in Denver love to dance! I’ve played all over the country and there are only a few cities where people love to get on the dance floor as much as they do in Denver,” said Boyhollow.