Name: Shelley Anderson and Tyler Huffman of Cage + Aquarium
Shelley: Head Photographer and General Manager
Tyler: Head DJ and General Manager
Specialty: Providing turntable style DJs and unique, photo-journalistic style photographers for weddings and events.
CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
S.A. & T.H.: Since 2007
CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
S.A. & T.H.: We provide a complete experience that captures emotions throughout the wedding day and sets each day to the perfect soundtrack.
CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
T.H.: Our team includes real DJs with hundreds of hours of training on turntables. Our style of DJing allows us to engage the crowd with old-school style of DJing and make great mixes and seamless transitions between songs. Our clients book either an all digital music service, or they have the option to add in a “wax” element where we bring crates of records and play vinyl throughout the evening.
S.A.: Our photographers capture the whole day from start to finish, so it is a very photo-journalistic style mixed with classic wedding portraits to create a well-rounded gallery for each couple we work with. We have a true passion for covering weddings and I think it shows in our final product.
CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
S.A. A recent memory came from a wedding that I shot where Tyler DJed. His mixer glitched for just a second and the sound went out…during the dance floor. It was a few moments of silence while Tyler worked to fix the situation. In the meantime the crowd started singing a song that Tyler hadn’t been playing when the sound when out. It was “Party Up (Up in Here).” Tyler got his system up and running and took a few seconds to find “Party Up.” When he dropped that track to bring the music back on the crowd absolutely lost it and started dancing like crazy, break dancing, etc. When you work weddings there is always the stress that something could go wrong, we wedding professionals are only human. Even with years of experience, things happen from time to time. I loved Tyler’s ability to take that moment and use it to pivot the mood in the room to escalate it to the best party those guests had ever been to.
CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
S.A. & T.H.: Marriage Equality! Since same sex weddings were made legal we’ve had the opportunity to work with so many more amazing couples, and it makes us happy!
CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
S.A. & T.H.: One time we had a groom obsessed with Chicago radio jingles, like the Luna and Empire carpet commercials. He wanted them played at his wedding, so we sprinkled them into the dinner music.
CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
S.A. & T.H.: We are fully focused on our events and weddings for the day! Our photographers typically start with getting ready photos and cover through dancing at the reception, very often 8-10 hours of shooting. Our DJs meet at the studio to gather their gear and wedding notes before heading to the venue. Between loading gear and event performance time, our DJs consistently put in 12 hour days for a wedding.
CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
S.A. & T.H.: Our daughter, Eleanor! S.A.: a camera, T.H.: turntables
CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you.
S.A. & T.H.: When people find out we are married, they always ask if we met at a wedding, but we actually met many years earlier in college. Tyler was the lead singer of an 80s cover band, and Shelley stopped in to Harpo’s (Columbia, MO) to see the band with her roommate. It was love at first sight and we’ve been together ever since!
S.A.: I have an identical twin sister. She lives in Ft. Collins, CO so people don’t often see her around Chicago.
T.H.: Before I became a DJ I was in live music for most of my life. One of the first bands I was in was a ska band and I still love that music.
CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
S.A. & T.H.: Do your research, but don’t overthink it. If you find a vendor you love and want to work with, go with it and book them! Too many meetings can make the planning process overwhelming and tedious.
CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
S.A. & T.H.: It has a unique, modern and fresh style that you can do almost anything with. It’s the perfect canvas to paint your unique day!
Thank you Shelly and Tyler! We look forward to working with you in 2017.
Photography by: Cage + Aquarium