You and Your DJ:
Down Since Day One
Unlike with other DJ companies, Toast & Jam clients have a dedicated DJ from Day One – the DJ you first meet with is the DJ who deejays your wedding. Your wedding is a big deal - too big a deal to have a relative stranger just walk in and press play on any ol’ playlist, and then struggle with the pronunciations of your wedding party’s names because they were handed the list the morning of your wedding (yikes!). Our clients get a DJ whom they trust and who understands what they want for their wedding. We like getting to know our clients and we think it makes us better at our job (which is to help make your event awesome).
We Are Totally Team Players
We’re not just human iPods – we also work alongside your other vendors to help orchestrate all the critical moments of your big day and stick to your timeline. For example, we would never start toasts when you’re off in the photobooth, or let your photographer miss your first dance. Our DJs collaborate with caterers, photographers and planners to produce a beautifully soundtracked event that keeps people dancing and having a good time.
DJ Mary Nisi
DJ Dena Masley
DJ Emily Agustin
DJ Tabitha Boorsma
DJ Caitlin Bowes
DJ Ruby Des Jardins
DJ Dustin Drase
DJ Shannon Duffy
DJ Karin Fjellman
DJ Carrie Grucz
DJ Lauren Jobe
DJ Rachel Karlic
DJ Sarah Kohtala
DJ Jennefa Krupinski
DJ Katie Labombard
DJ Angie Ma
DJ Kristin Marks
DJ Daniel Musisi
DJ Kate Porter
DJ Rebecca Pyles
DJ Leslie Stiles
DJ Carrie Weston
Fed up with the cheesy antics and shameless self-promotion of typical wedding disc jockeys, Mary Nisi founded Toast and Jam in 2005 based on the idea that brides, grooms and guests should be entertained, not overshadowed. Music-obsessed since childhood, Mary got her start in radio at WLUW in Chicago where she deejayed the Monday morning drive for nearly a decade. She’s deejayed at numerous spots around Chicago including The Whistler, Danny's, Schuba's, The Burlington, Delilah's and Smashing Time, the legendary Saturday night dance party at The Hideout, as well as abroad at All Tomorrow's Parties, the celebrated music festival in Camber Sands, England. She is a founding member of the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) and the CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights, runs the CHIRP Music Quiz and currently hosts "The Noonday Underground" on Mondays from noon to 3pm on CHIRPradio.org. A graduate of DePaul University and a native of Omaha, Nebraska, Mary has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered, Chicago Public Radio, Daily Candy, CS Brides, The Knot, Brides Chicago, Martha Stewart Weddings and TimeOut Chicago. She and her husband John live in Logan Square with two cats and an astounding number of single-purpose kitchen utensils.
Imagine, if you will, a magical place where there are no cover charges. No dress codes. Just a laid back vibe where you can dance your ass off to Aretha Franklin and Britney Spears without even a hint of embarrassment. Dena Masley brought this dream to life when she launched a monthly dance party in her home town of St. Paul, and she has since brought her passion for totally dance-able music to Toast & Jam. Dena kicked off her DJ career co-hosting a radio show The Commute at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she majored in Radio, Television and Film. She can be heard at her traveling dance party (called This is Great We're Great, at various dates and locations around town), her naughty rap and hip-hop jam (called Booty Duty, naturally) and her soul and rap night (Tight Be Cool). In addition to being a stellar DJ, Dena is also taking care of business at the Toast & Jam offices, where she handles scheduling, client services and lots of other important stuff. In her free time, this Logan Square resident enjoys live music, football and soup.
Emily was born in California but her family moved about every three years, thanks to her dad's job as an architect. Never able to really sow roots, she learned how to sew clothes instead! A freelance seamstress, Emily has created dresses for bridesmaids and costumes for burlesque performers using vintage fabrics and patterns. She even sewed her own wedding dress! When she's not scouring the city looking for cool fabrics, Emily, a classically trained percussionist, can be found playing drums for various rock bands and theatre ensembles around Chicago. While she cut her teeth on punk and indie rock and cites the Pixies as her all-time favorite band, her latest musical obsession is old girl groups like the Shangri-las, the Fabulettes, and Goldie and the Gingerbreads. A seriously smart cookie, Emily holds a Master's degree in Women's Studies and DJs at CHIRPradio.org.
Tabitha Boorsma loves music. But she doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. Literally - she played tuba for competitive marching bands in high school and college. Born in Iowa Falls, Iowa, Tabitha taught herself to play piano on an old upright that her mom, who grew up on a farm, had traded a cow for decades earlier (true story!). Tabitha studied Music Education at Illinois State University before transferring to Columbia College, where she received a degree in Music Business. Today she works for the Steans Music Institute at Ravinia and for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She also plays in The Reading Band and loves going to hear music at Grant Park, The Gallery Cabaret and La Villa Italian Restaurant, where every Friday they have a guy who covers pop songs on his accordion (awesome).
If DJ Caitlin, who is currently working on a Master’s degree in early childhood education, had to read her own fairy tale during pre-nap story time, it might go something like this: Once upon a time, there lived a girl from Rocheport, Missouri (Population: 214) who traveled to the big city (Boston) to study acting and then across the great wide ocean to The Netherlands, where she lived in a castle (for real ... it had a moat). One day she happened upon a pie-eating contest in Utrecht. But, alas, there were no female contestants! Appalled, Caitlin she stepped up to the table, put her hands behind her back and took down that apple pie like a champion. All the villagers rejoiced! Later, Caitlin moved to Chicago, adopted a dog named Iggy, married Prince Charming (aka her husband Bob), ate lots of tacos at Chilaplan, deejayed regularly at Cole's, played keyboards and sang in a folk duo called The Kates, and lived happily ever after in Logan Square.
Most people consider the U.S. Virgin Islands a pretty awesome place to vacation. DJ Ruby considers them home. A native of St. Croix, Ruby lived there with her brother and her parents, a folk and calypso duo whom she often accompanied on gigs. Touring with mom and dad, aka Peter & Eileen, taught Ruby some valuable lessons that she carries with her as a DJ today, like how to read crowds and wrap cords. Ruby left the island (in body, but never in spirit!) to attend Suffolk University in Boston and worked as a bike activist in Brooklyn before moving to Chicago, where she nannies and continues to advocate for urban bicyclists. She loves dancing, particularly at The Hideout and at Soul Night at The Empty Bottle and, as a wedding DJ, finds great joy in seeing guests kick off their shoes and get their fancy clothes sweaty on the dancefloor.
A self-proclaimed dude with a lot of records, Dustin studied journalism as a means to get paid to write about music, gracing the print and online pages of Magnet, MTV2 and the now defunct Stop Smiling magazine. He started DJing at local clubs and bars in his early 20s, landing a number of residencies along the way. As of late, you can find him at monthly gigs at Coles or the Whistler in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. A veteran of the local record label scene, Dustin worked his way through ranks at Drag City and Locust Music before landing a full time gig with the Numero Group. As if that weren't enough to keep him busy, he also ventured out on his own with two boutique labels, Addenda and Plustapes, in 2008. An obsessive collector of records and comic books, chances are good that you'll run into him digging through the stacks at one of the many fine stores around town.
A librarian at Riverside Public Library, Shannon Duffy spends her days talking about books, music and movies, investigating unsolved mysteries and, yes, teaching old people how to use the computers that have replaced card catalogs. She directs regular literature discussions and research projects great and small - she once helped out a woman who wanted to find out if anyone had been murdered in her house (they hadn’t), which she believed was haunted (it wasn’t). A South Side native, Shannon studied Gender Studies and Radio Broadcasting at North Central College, where she had a radio show called Femme FM, and later got her Master’s in Library and Information Sciences. While librarians are known for the shhh-ing skills, Shannon also loves the loud, live music. She plays guitar for a band called The Peekaboos and doesn’t need a library card to check out new bands at The Burlington, Cole’s and The Empty Bottle.
You'd never guess from her warm and spirited demeanor that DJ Karin was born in Anchorage, Alaska and raised in Minnesota and Wisconsin. This cold-weather child (who actually isn't a huge fan of winter) has the hots for vinyl records, particularly the soul, power pop, punk and new wave tracks she plays on her radio show (Wednesdays from 6-8pm) on CHIRP; she 's also CHIRP's Event Director. Karin studied film and media studies at Chicago's Loyola University, where a research project led her to vegetarianism — ask her to share her soup and thai curry recipes. Karin lives in Humboldt Park and often DJs at The Whistler and Cole's. She was a Spelling Bee Champion and even went to the Wisconsin state championships in 6th grade. Can you spell awesome?
Carrie started DJing seven or eight years ago (at the Fireside Bowl) because she loved music (and thought she could do a way better job than the dudes who usually manned the turntables). Turns out, Carrie's got miles of style, with music and beyond. This Detroit native worked for years as a stylist (a job she got because the boss liked her coat), styling ads for glamorous brands like Land's End, JC Penney and Sears. Her passion for fashion took her to L.A., but after just seven months (blame the traffic and smog), she hightailed it back to Chicago, where she's now studying radiography. This super animal-lover can totally make you dance like one, DJing around town at Cole's, the Whistler and Town Hall. Carrie lives in Logan Square and her first concert was The Monkees with special guest Weird Al Yankovic.
DJ Lauren was born and raised Memphis, Tennessee, but you won’t find this Southern belle curtseying in petticoats and fanning herself on a chaise lounge. She’s an outdoor kind of gal whose idea of a good time is hiking in Appalachian back country, fishing for her meals and camping under the stars. Lauren’s met her fair share of toothless, wacky mountain folk, a couple of which even pulled a shotgun on her. Fortunately she’s got nerves of steel, which, coupled with her intense love of music, makes her perfectly suited for the job of creating a fun-filled and stress-free wedding day for her clients. A resident of Humboldt Park, Lauren is currently studying graphic design at the American Academy of Art and enjoys photography and collecting records. She deejays regularly at The Owl, Cole’s, The Charleston, The Continental and The Burlington.
Rachel's musical expertise ranges from opera to reggae, but she got a soft spot for the 60s and 70s jams she spins as co-host on Kate & Rachel's Old Style Show, a popular late night program on Chicago's WLUW 88.7FM. She also enjoys spinning her vintage vinyl at places such as The Whistler and Beauty Bar. Rachel earned her Bachelor's of Music Degree in vocal performance, and dawn-lights as a cantor in Chicago and Wilmette. Rachel has been with Toast and Jam for 8 seasons and adores her job as a dance-floor connoisseur. Never one to limit herself creatively, Rachel has wrestled for KPOWW (Kalamazoo Precinct of Women's Wrestlers) and helped to choreograph the Miss Kalamazoo County Beauty Pageant. When she is not spending money on records, dancing her pants off, or playing guitar in her band Squish, Rachel enjoys racquetball, chicken-raising, and dessert.
Sarah grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, where she proudly embraced the city's reputation for having the highest voter turnout in the United States. She studied history at Coe College in Iowa, whose caucuses are the first major electoral event of the presidential nominating process. Shortly after graduation, Sarah took the next logical step on her patriotic, all-American journey: she moved to Japan. There she taught English and also started deejaying at a club called the Mominoki House, where she rocked the crowd with old soul, classic rock and dance hits. In 2005 she brought her crazy skills, both at teaching and deejaying, to Chicago, where she teaches 10th grade history. Sarah is also the advisor for her school’s DJ Club, ensuring the future of raging dance parties for generations to come.
Jennefa smuggled her love for music over the border from Kenosha, Wisconsin- home of Orson Welles, the Nash, outlet malls, and the Mars Cheese Castle. When she’s not slinging the wedding jams, Jennefa’s a busy bee! With plans to graduate in May 2014 from NEIU, she also takes care of the bands at Pitchfork Music Festival, or can be found deejaying whatever tunes float her boat at venues around town. Jennefa has held down a variety of gigs in the wedding industry, including caterer, photographer, and even officiant for fellow DJ Dustin’s Leap Day wedding at The Hideout. Playing music for weddings is by far her favorite, as it’s the best time to witness wedding guests cutting a rug while dancing along behind her DJ table!
We’re hot for teacher. That is, teacher and deejay Katie LaBombard, who captivates 7th and 8th grade math students the same way she dominates wedding dancefloors. This enthusiastic educator is also a crazy crafter. DJ Katie makes jewelry, built a lamp out of mason jars and, putting those geometry skills to use, recently retiled her entire bathroom. The proud owner of a circular saw and like 18 glue guns, Katie is a regular at Paper Source and Michael’s and has been known to spend absurd amounts of time in the pen aisle at Dick Blick Art Supply. She’s also a regular at Montrose Dog Beach where she plays with her beagle/pit Chauncey and her cattle dog-mix Penny. When she can pull herself away from her collection of Sharpie markers and her adorable mutts, Katie loves to listen to music at Schuba’s, The Hideout and The Empty Bottle.
DJ Angie disproves the old adage, “Those who cannot do, teach.” In fact, Angie is pretty awesome at both. Angie teaches vocals and keyboards at Chicago’s School of Rock, a job she loves because the 12-year-olds can shred like the pros but without the adult egos. She also composes for her orchestral pop band Sewing Pattern, which has released two albums through a small record label in Japan. Although she graduated with a degree in music, this Washington state native went to Lake Forest College intending to study art. She still enjoys drawing (particularly comics) and also spends her time cooking (her specialty is French gruyere onion pie), eating sushi (Sunshine Cafe in Andersonville is her favorite), and, as you would expect of any good music teacher, soaking up as much live music as she can.
Kristin was a competitive Irish Step Dancer for 12 years - she's danced at The St. Patrick's Day parade and at the U.S. Nationals. These days she's traded in her ghillies for a guitar, playing in the wildly popular Chicago band Summer Girlfriends and opening for acts like Twin Sister, Neon Trees, Outer Minds and Black Lips. Kristin's had several radio shows over the years but you may have also heard her doing commercial voice-over work for local radio promos. While Kristin frequently DJs around town at spots such as Cole's and The Whistler her talent for flow is not limited to records - she's also a wiz barista and has been a finalist at the Great Lakes Regional Barista Championship.
DJ Daniel’s childhood hobby of recording mixtapes off the radio turned out to be a pretty telling clue as to where he’d end up in his adulthood. His love for radio led him to study audio production at American University and later become an engineer for Washington, D.C.'s NPR member station, WAMU. And his knack for putting together playlists eventually took him all the way to the White House, where he deejayed several events including a luau-themed Congressional Picnic, three Halloween parties and even the Commander-in-Chief Ball at the 2013 Inauguration. And while it was a thrill to play music for POTUS, Daniel’s got a soft spot for deejaying weddings because, as he puts it, “there’s no political agenda - just a bunch of super happy folks who want to dance and get sweaty and have fun.” Daniel lives in Wicker Park with his wife and his collection of 1,500 records (recently edited down from 4,000).
Kate cut her DJ teeth spinning records at the Rollerworld Roller Rink in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and she spent more than ten years in radio as a DJ on WIDR in Kalamazoo and WPHS in Detroit. Currently she is the co-host of Kate & Rachel's Old Style Show on WLUW in Chicago (Tuesdays 12am-2am). Although Kate has a particular passion for punk, soul, and psych, her depth of knowledge and deep down love of music make her DJ sessions pop. Kate is also an avid pinball enthusiast (she owns TWO pinball machines) and never misses the Annual Pinball Expo. She’s also a crack hockey player and owns her own dog-walking business called Hounds of Love.
DJ Rebecca is an organized taskmaster and a talented aesthete; she puts both traits to use in her work as a production manager and stylist for numerous film, photo and commercial projects. Highlights of her varied career include locally produced film Drinking Buddies, the original Broadway run of The Addams Family, interviewing Peter Murphy for The Onion’s AV Club, and making it snow INSIDE the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan for P Diddy's 40th birthday party. She also works for Ultrapom Event Rentals – so basically, if you're having a party, Rebecca is your girl. When she's not having fun working she can be found having fun spinning records at local hangouts such as The Burlington, The Whistler, Liar's Club and several art galleries around town. Born in Ohio, Rebecca bounced from Chicago to New York and back before settling in Logan Square, where she now lives with her two cats and fiancé.
Leslie earned her musical cred working at Chicago’s famous Reckless Records and DJing at local bars such as Danny’s, Delilah’s, Schubas. Originally from Chicago, Leslie bounced around the country, from Austin to Seattle, collecting records along the way. She loves all music and has a knack for putting together playlists and making mix tapes. Leslie’s hobbies include playing records, shopping for records, staring at records and dreaming of records. Although music feeds the soul, it does little for the tummy. Fortunately, Leslie also happens to be a registered dietician who works with kids and adults.
DJ Carrie Weston is a modern day explorer. She has a talent for scouring the racks of Chicago's thrift stores with the same dedication and vision as Hernando Desoto, except instead of discovering the Mississippi River, she's likely to find a very fabulous vintage dress or bespoke hat. Like Ferdinand Magellan, she's practically circumnavigated the globe; past trips include Turkey, New Zealand, India and Vietnam. And although she 'd never want to conquer the Aztecs like Cortez, Carrie has conquered dance floors both in Chicago at spots like The Hideout, The Whistler, The Burlington and Rotofugi Gallery and abroad at All Tomorrow's Parties Festivals in the U.K. and even a wedding in Frankfurt, Germany. Carrie may love a voyage as much as Christopher Columbus did, as a Realtor and co-owner of Big Shoulders Realty, she's also a fan of putting down roots and helping people to do the same.
DJ Photos by Jeremy Lawson Photography