If you ask Integral DJs's Marc Matsui (a.k.a. DJ Marc Sense) what his "guilty pleasure" song is, he'll admit it's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham.
If you ask him how wedding DJs can be better environmental stewards, he'll explain how creating connections with an audience and making fun mixes doesn't require wasting electricity or trash bins filled with throw-away glow sticks.
Although making weddings more sustainable often focuses on food and floral, Marc shares several ways that DJs can reduce wedding entertainment's carbon footprint.
Here's a Q&A with Emerald Hour Charter Member (and George Michael enthusiast) Marc Matsui.
Was there a specific point in your business journey when you became inspired to prioritize sustainability?
There was never a turning point, I think sustainability was a part of our business from Day 1. It made sense to do simple things like use rechargeable batteries to save money. As we've grown and got more experience under our belts, we see opportunities to be more economically efficient and utilize high-quality equipment through its full lifespan instead of constantly churning through new gear.
What are some of the main ways you’re already making events more sustainable?
Our events are more sustainable simply because we prioritize the service we are providing for people. So many DJs prioritize the latest and greatest gear, which is much easier to buy and market than actually developing skills that improve the end experience for the client.
"At the end of the day people remember the shared experiences, not the stuff that ends up in a landfill."
Marc Matsui, President, Integral DJs
Are there additional practices you plan to implement this year or in the near future?
This year we've substantially cut back on doing destination weddings. The further we travel, the bigger the carbon footprint. So instead of us making the haul from Seattle, hopefully clients are more inclined to book local, which also helps those communities. It also allows us to service events closer to home and spend less time away from our friends and family.
What would you tell a fellow vendor in your industry area who is interested in making their business more sustainable? Where should they start?
At the most basic level to become more sustainable, fellow vendors should take stock of how many miles they're driving for business. If you have a meeting that's far away, can you couple it with a personal errand or another business meeting? In the end it will save them time, money, and reduce harm to the planet.
What do you want couples to know about sustainability within your industry?
Sustainability in the wedding industry is important because it prioritizes the welfare not only for them, but future generations. The biggest harmful practices within the DJ realm are definitely the single use flip flops and glow sticks. At the end of the day people remember the shared experiences, not the stuff that gets tossed in the trash and ends up in a landfill.
What are a few things you’re doing to encourage couples to adopt more sustainable practices at their event?
We're working on creating a welcome packet that will include sustainability tips as it applies to the scope of the services that we provide.
Have you seen any sustainable wedding trends (within your industry, or others) that you’re really excited about?
I'm just excited that the wedding industry is actually recognizing that sustainability should be a priority. As DJs, there are many practices we see from other vendors that just don't really make sense. The hardest pill to swallow is at the end of the night when you see the garbage cans full of flowers, food, dessert, etc.
What gives you hope for the future of sustainability in weddings, either as a whole, or within your industry?
The fact that couples are beginning to be mindful of sustainability is encouraging. They are the primary drivers behind how much or how little of an impact their celebration makes.
What do you think is/are the biggest obstacle/s to making our industry more sustainable?
The biggest obstacle to sustainability in weddings is the fact that a wedding will always draw people from far and near. Hopefully people will choose a method of transportation that is the least impactful. At their destination, take mass transit or go in on a rental car with others. Or, perhaps couples can be mindful of guest list counts and make those tough choices that benefit us all in the end.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
My team and I are inherently solving problems in our line of work, so sustainability is something we embrace. We've got some pretty solid practices implemented — now I think we're in a position to raise awareness and share those with other DJs and couples. It doesn't matter where you're at in the sustainability spectrum, but it is important that you're working to improve things!