I thought it would be fun to do an interview series spotlighting my favorite Pittsburgh vendors for some behind-the-scenes insight into what they do to make weddings go off without a hitch. I am so excited and honored to work with these talented artists week after week.

This week’s interview is with DJ Jeremy Ganss of Jeremy Ganss Productions. Jeremy started out DJing clubs in 1997, but he’s been providing entertainment at weddings now for almost two decades! He started working weddings back in 2000, and switched to nothing but weddings in 2005. I love so, so much how he describes his path to becoming the person who brings the party to the wedding: “I just always had a knack for keeping guests dancing and making the evening very enjoyable for everyone WITHOUT being annoying or cheesy.”

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How would you describe what you do?

JG: A DJ can literally make or break a wedding reception. A not-so-great DJ makes people want to stay in their seats, head for the bar or, even worse, head for the door. A good DJ gets guests moving for a while. But an awesome DJ has the dance floor packed all night. This is accomplished by planning and organization. I work hand-in-hand with each and every couple to make the event what they envisioned from the beginning. Once we finalize all the details for the night, I draft it up in a flowchart and estimate a timeline. I then send the plan to the bride and groom three to four days before their wedding for final confirmation. Once they confirm, I send this plan out to all the other professionals: photographer, venue manager, caterer, photobooth or video company, and if I’m doing the ceremony, the officiate gets a copy too. I am there to facilitate that seamless mix for the wedding couple while they get to enjoy their special day.

How many weddings do you do a year?

JG: You know the wedding world; everything changes year by year on how busy it is. My goal is to DJ around 30 to 35 weddings a year.

What’s your favorite thing about weddings?

JG: There aren’t many jobs where you get to be involved in one of the most important days of people’s lives. Really, my favorite thing at a wedding is seeing people dance to the music I’m playing. Their happiness, laughter and the fun people have on the dance floor are direct representations of the music I am playing, and that is awesome!

What’s your least favorite part of a wedding day?

JG: Least favorite… I would say the drive time I put into every wedding. I don’t live in the city, and on average my drive to a wedding is 1.5 to 2 hours each way.

Tell me about your favorite wedding ever.

JG: My favorite weddings are the ones where people are there to party all night. Any wedding where I can beat mix for a solid two hours of dancing = one of my favorite weddings! One memory that always sticks out in my head is the wedding where I had four generations of women from the same family out on the dance floor together. The groom’s 107-year-old great grandmother was on the floor!

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What’s that one thing that you love that brides can do to make their weddings unique?

JG: It’s all about the little things! Like that choreographed first dance. There was this one time when I had a groom, the groom’s brother, and his father play the first dance of the night. Or the wedding where the groom sang a song to his wife, and the bride sang a song to her husband. I always tell my couples not to follow the path others have set. Pick things that represent you, your life, your love, your family – don’t copy Pinterest! Make people want to copy YOUR wedding on Pinterest. Songs for the ceremony are often the same – Cannon in D, the Bridal March, etc., etc. – use songs that you love, songs that you will never forget and songs that represent you.

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Photo from Jeremy Ganss

Tell me about your family.

JG: I’ve known my wife, Heather, since I was 15. Heather and I dated for 7 years before we decided to get married, and we just celebrated our seventh anniversary in July. We don’t have any kids, but we do have a super hyper fur child named Tyke. Tyke’s a 98-pound Doberman we lovingly call Tykenado.

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Photo from Jeremy Ganss

How do you mix work and family life?

JG: If you are in the wedding industry your life revolves around it. It’s rough in the summer time when all of my friends want to hang out, and I’m off DJing weddings. The good thing is that Heather and I have the same downtime. She helps her family run a greenhouse and market business, so we try to fit in our vacations and friend/ family visits during the slow winter months.

If you could have a wedding again, where would you have it?

JG: Truthfully, I would have it at the same place we got married. Heather and I had our wedding at a country club in Franklin, Pennsylvania. It was an outside ceremony, and the club had a huge wrap around porch where we had cocktails. Then we went inside for dinner and dancing!

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How can photographers best help you?

JG: Don’t steal the bride and groom away from the dance floor to grab pictures at the high point of the night. I understand why this is done – you want that awesome sunset picture or those final portraits that need to be done. But, the dance floor revolves around the bride and groom. THEY are the highlight of the night. Once they disappear, the dance floor suffers. Let me know beforehand, and I can tailor the dancing on the floor for the missing bride and groom.

What’s one thing you wish brides knew before talking with DJs?

JG: Not all DJs are the same. You actually don’t want just a “DJ” at your wedding. You don’t want someone who’s just going to show up, play music and leave. That’s what you have at a high school dance or bar. What you really want is an Entertainment Director – someone who will help you organize the night and follow through with the details on your wedding day so that you can feel like guest at your own wedding. Organization is just as important as the songs at a wedding.

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What do you think distinguishes you from other companies?

JG: First and foremost it would be the personalized service you receive from the first time we speak until the end of your event. I make myself available to you anytime you need me. I answer my business line up to 10:30 pm. I also strive for perfection in every aspect of being a DJ. I am always trying to improve, whether it’s by buying more music, getting the newest equipment or expanding my ever growing wedding knowledge.

What advice would you give brides when it comes to selecting a DJ?

JG: I know price drives a lot of decisions in the wedding world, but don’t just compare prices when looking at a DJ for your wedding. I don’t say this because my prices are more than most in the city, I say this because there’s a lot that goes into being a good wedding DJ – not just the music. As I said before, the planning and organization HAS TO HAPPEN before the big day.

Thank you, Jeremy, for sharing your story with us! You can find Jeremy at his website or his Facebook page, and tell him you met him through us.

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