Always Have A Backup Plan

October 9, 2015 by Tony Schwartz

I must admit that in nearly ten years of performing as a Wedding MC & DJ, its been pretty smooth sailing. After hundreds of weddings, I’ve never had a catastrophic issue with my equipment that has ever once jeopardized my ability to perform.serato-setup

And then this past Saturday night came along.
We had just finished the ceremony in Puyallup, Washington, and Sara & Jesse were finally married! As we transitioned from the ceremony site to the reception tent, I raced over to start the cocktail music.

And that’s when my worst nightmare came true: my external hard drive – with my entire music library, except for my DJ edits – was DOA. No access to my crates in Serato. No access to my music files. And the Grand Introductions were scheduled to begin in about 15 minutes.

HOLY $(#@!

Luckily, a long time ago, I had designed an emergency backup plan for various scenarios that could arise. Think of it as my DJ Doomsday Playbook, where I conceive the craziest scenarios and how I would fix them quickly, without becoming THAT guy.

So, with a couple of swipes on my iPhone 6+, I had music up and running with the cocktail and dinner list that was selected for this reception. And then I turned on my iPhone’s hotspot feature, and was able to re-download the songs needed for the Opening Sequence: Four Grand Entrance Songs, plus George Strait’s “I Crossed My Heart” for the First Dance.

Now, I could run through the opening sequence, delayed only a few minutes, and then have enough time to get my backup external hard drive. (And yes, I’m going to move my entire music library back to my MacBook Pro and run it off my solid-state hard drive. But that’s a different story, for a different day.)

And yes, because I believe in being honest and transparent with my clients, I let Jesse and Sara know what was going on prior to the Grand Entrance, what I was doing to fix the problem, and reassured them everything would be okay and this was merely a small hiccup.

And at the end of the night, when it was all said and done, I got multiple hugs from Sara for making her vision come to life, as well as set plans to do a morning basketball run with Jesse in the near future.

And that is why professional wedding DJs have back up protocols in place. Because technology can be amazing, and it can be downright frustrating. On this particular Saturday night, it was both for me. So review your protocols now for any situation; and if you haven’t designed back up protocols yet, GET ON IT.

Wedding DJs, the show must go on – are you prepared?

This post originally published on June 8, 2015 at


Tony Schwartz Tony Schwartz (36 Posts)

Tony Schwartz is an award-winning MC & DJ, a business entrepreneur, stock market investor, a dog lover, a daily blogger, and a die-hard Red Sox & Seahawks Fan.

Filed Under: Digital DJing, DJing Weddings, Lighting for Mobile DJs, Mobile DJ Performance Tips, Playlists, Songs & Music Charts, Sound Engineering for Mobile DJs