Ceremony Microphones – To Hold or Not to Hold?

This morning I saw a Facebook post from one of my favorite local wedding officiants who was thankful that the wind isn’t as bad today as it was yesterday.

She had to hold a handheld mic during the ceremony, while trying to hold and control all her papers in the wind for the ceremony service.  To make matters worse, the wind was making a lot of noise when it was amplified through through DJ’s sound system.

I placed a lighthearted, joking comment, but it really got me thinking.

See, what she really needed yesterday wasn’t necessarily less wind, although that might have been awesome as well!

What would have really helped her experience was working with a DJ that provided better tools for the job, and who had the experience to use them.

As her post suggested, wedding officiants often do more with their hands than juggle papers.  Hand binding ceremonies, holding and handing out rings… These are just a couple.

Their hands shouldn’t have to do these things while juggling a microphone.

A stand isn’t a solution either, because that places a physical barrier and obstruction between her and the couple, who are standing in fairly close proximity.  A stand make interaction more difficult and cumbersome.  And a microphone on a stand between the two of you in all your wedding photos…?  Well, you get the idea!

A much better solution for wedding ceremonies would be wireless clip on mics, called lavaliere mics.  They are small, discrete, and hands free.  The kind you see on TV on the news, or reality shows.  They’re very discrete, and very easy to hide and obscure in clothing.

Also, the DJ should always use at least two of these mics during your ceremony.  One on the officiant, and one on the groom.

Two mics allows your guests to hear the couple as they read or repeat their vows.  Two mics also serves as built in backup if something were to happen to the officiant’s mic.  In addition, having multiple microphones just provides better sound, because it allows your DJ to adjust the levels and EQ on the different microphones at different times to get a more balanced sound, and to help reduce amplification of any ambient noise that might be present.

Now, in all fairness, some might even say that the DJ in question CHOSE to use the handheld instead of a lav mic because they are more resistant to ambient wind noise.

While this is true generally speaking, the difference isn’t anything that can’t be accounted for by using adequate windscreens, mic placement, and EQ on lavaliere mics.

High quality lavaliere mics can be more expensive to invest in, are more sensitive, and do have a steeper learning curve to use effectively.  But doesn’t your wedding ceremony deserve that extra investment, time, and effort?

To learn more about how I go above and beyond for my clients, and how I put my experience to use for you on your wedding day, please contact me today!

What Will Your DJ Review Be Like?

You definitely do have a lot of choices for your Sacramento wedding DJ!

When hiring your DJ (or any of your vendors really), ask yourself this question.

What would you want your review to say after your big day?

What’s your answer?

After you’ve thought about it, look for vendors whos reviews say just that – and more!

Check out Evan & Haley Barth’s review from their 6-11-2016 wedding at Evan’s parents’ beautiful home in Winters, CA.

Sacramento Wedding DJ. Photo by, and courtesy of, Marta April photography.  http://www.martaaprilphotography.com/

Photo by, and courtesy of, Marta April photography.








Winters, CA Wedding DJ Review

We have musicians for our ceremony. Do we still need a DJ?

It’s very common for couples to tell me they are considering hiring live musicians for part or all of their wedding ceremony music, or have a friend or relative that might be performing.

I LOVE IT when I hear this!  While I as a DJ can play literally anything you could possibly dream of for every part of your ceremony, there’s no denying that live performance adds that special something.  And if you can have a friend or relative perform?  Well, that just pushes it over the top!

So if you’re having, or considering live musicians for your ceremony, do you still need a DJ to be present, providing coverage as well?

The short, and obvious answer (obvious because, well, I’m the DJ… DUH!) is:  YES!

For the longer answer, and to learn why, read on!

Music is only one aspect of your wedding ceremony.  Your officiant’s service, and more importantly, your vows to each other, are SO important, and should be heard and experience by all who are present.

Once you get past a couple rows, it becomes exponentially more difficult to hear what is being said at the alter.  This is compounded once we take nerves into the equation.  Generally speaking, people tend to speak softer than they otherwise would when finding themselves in the emotions of the moment.

Your DJ should be providing sound support with multiple microphones for you or your fiance, and your officiant.  This coverage will ensure that everyone, all the way to the back and off to the sides can hear everything clearly.  This is more crucial when your ceremony is outside, and is subject to background noise, be it wind, nearby or passing traffic or other sounds, etc.

In addition to vocal support, what about additional sound support for your musicians?  If you’re hiring a professional musician, duo, or ensemble who is used to performing for weddings, chances are they have their own sound support, but even they might benefit from being plugged into and amplified partially by the DJs high quality sound system, designed for covering larger audiences in larger areas.

Contact me today to talk about the pros and cons of using a DJ for your ceremony.  Of course I’m going to tell you “yes, you NEED your DJ there too!” but after reading this, you’ll understand why!  :)

Courtney & Jeff had Courtney’s two brothers play guitar next to the altar during her ceremony, and it was WONDERFUL!  Looking down from the back of the aisle in this photo tough, do you think you’d be able to hear everything they’re saying down front?

Wedding ceremony with musicians and DJ

Photo by, and courtesy of, Eric Asistin Photography. www.ericasistinphoto.com


Subwoofers. To Woof, or Not to Woof?

Hint:  It’s never REALLY a question!

One of the biggest misconceptions among DJs is that you “only need” subwoofers for larger crowds or bigger rooms.

That’s just not true. At all.Sacramento Wedding DJ.  Sounds To Go DJ Service.

Music is recorded on a spectrum of frequencies. From high to low. Everyone knows this.

Every speaker cabinet has both an upper, and lower limit to the frequencies they can reproduce. The “tops,” or speakers DJs use are no different.

Without subwoofers, specifically designed to reproduce the lower frequencies in the program material, the resulting sound is weak, thin, and hollow. Of course, modern day speaker cabinets sound great, and many do a respectable job of reproducing a limited amount of low end, but they can still only go so far.

DJs who try to run modern dance music without the benefit of dedicated subwoofers are often the ones you hear so many complaints about when it comes to sound. Because their sound lacks low end extension, and has no real body, they’re forced to crank the volume a lot higher than they should have to to fill the area they are in. The result is simply LOOUUUUDD, shrieky, distorted, and still WEAK sound. In addition to sounding terrible, and causing ear fatigue for everyone around them, they’re also placing a ton of unneeded strain on their speakers and amps. When the sound starts to get distorted, they even run the risk of damaging or blowing their speakers and amps!

Having the low-end extension offered by dedicated subwoofer enclosures becomes especially critical at events outdoors, which an ever-increasing number of wedding receptions here in Northern California generally are.  The sound disperses way faster in these outdoor settings, and higher levels are generally required to cover the same amount of people in the same amount of space because of this rapid dispersion.

These outdoor receptions and events are often attended by sound restrictions or ordinances because the location is in either a residential area, an uneven, mountainous setting where sound will echo, or is out in the middle of a large, flat area, where the sound simply travels farther.  In these cases, the initial gut instinct says that having “more bass” would be undesirable.  Here again though, the truth of the matter is counter-intuitive.  We have to remember what we said before.  Providing warmer, fuller sound, concentrated right when and where you need it means you don’t have to turn up your sound system AS A WHOLE as loud as you otherwise would!

The result?  Less echo, less sound travel, fewer grumpy neighbors, no 10:55 PM visits from local law enforcement, and so on.

Ask your potential DJs how many subs they typically bring to events. If they say “none,” that their tops “don’t need them,” or that your event or room “isn’t big enough to need them,” keep looking.

Having subwoofers at your small to medium event ISN’T “overkill,” and doesn’t mean it’s going to be “too loud” or have “too much bass.”  On the contrary, it simply means warmer, fuller sound at more reasonable volume levels all night.  If your event has music, even for background, there is a TON of benefit to having a nice, full sounding sound spectrum, and no downside whatsoever.

And yes… It also means the ability to THUMP when the time is right!

For your truly professional DJ service provider, the question is never “do we need subs?” but is rather “how many do we need?”

New Music: How do we know what’s HOT?

Have you ever wondered (okay, probably not, but I’m going to tell you anyway!) WHERE and HOW DJs get all their awesome music, and keep up with what’s hot?

How do professional DJs get all the hits BEFORE they’re hits, and before YOU want to hear them at your party, wedding, or special event?

Sacramento wedding DJ music

Professional music subscriptions for DJs help us stay current!









With all the different genres and charts, keeping up on it all sure does seem like an impossible task.  Heck, to do it right would be a full-time job all on its own!

Luckily for us DJs – AND OUR CLIENTS – there are folks who’s job is just that!

While DJs will get the occasional odd request or random new track from the same types of legal music purchasing outlets you would (iTunes, Amazon.com, etc.), once we have a solid physical library built, we keep ourselves current across all the major genres and radio formats by subscribing to weekly and monthly music services like Prime Cuts music, shown in the picture here.

Each week, I get access to the newest downloads, and then I get the discs as well!

Why is it better?

Using these subscription services is more efficient, and economical that trying to pay per-song for all of the songs you might need to get to keep up.

That’s one benefit for us that works its way down to you, but what does it mean for you and your event?

  • We have access to new music QUICKER.  We get the songs from the same services that release them to radio, so we don’t wait for a song to chart to realize “oooh, may I should get this!”  At that point, it’s too late, and you, your friends, and family already know and want the song, and we’d have to lose time at your event to download it online, or worse, tell you “sorry, I don’t have that one!” (L.A.M.E.!)
  • Clean edits!  We get the edits that are released to radio, so they’re already pre-screened.  In addition to the radio edits, some services, like one I belong to, edits songs even further to make them even more friendly to the types of functions (schools, family functions, etc.) that mobile DJ’s tend to do.  You have to be careful with consumer outlets like iTunes, Amazon, etc.  Many songs are tagged wrong, and you may think you’re getting a clean version, and you’re not.  Or, you may get a version that says “clean,” but still has objectionable content because they only took out some of the potentially questionable content.
  • Backup!  Because I get discs with all of the new music each month in addition to weekly downloads, I have physical copies of all my new music, and music going back many years.  If something were ever to happen to one of my computers or hard drives before an event (I have backups anyway), I wouldn’t LOSE any of my library or have to scramble to find my music.  Having the physical copies means I always have my complete library at my disposal.  iTunes and Amazon DJs who strictly download can’t say that.
  • Faster than “The Cloud.”  In the age where we can back everything up to the cloud, one might wonder why a DJ doesn’t just back their library up on the cloud. Many do.  There are many great reasons to do this, but this is for archival purposes, and with the access times and bandwidth limitations involved in downloading music files, the cloud and cloud-based services are not an answer, or a solution, for quick recovery from a disaster.  Besides, you certainly should not/would not want your DJ to be streaming the music for your event anyway.  Regardless of the strength of the signal, we all know how wireless and data connections go.  DJs should always play from local, physical (meaning physically-stored digital) libraries, and they should only download the occasional on-the-spot request at an event.  They should never be streaming the song you’re dancing to RIGHT NOW.  It’s not a matter of if, only when that goes bad.  And when it does, it will be embarrassing and frustrating for everyone involved.

There are many such services available to professional DJs, not just the one I use.  Some are highly specific, catering more to club and remix DJs.  Others, like the service I use, focus on providing content to the mobile DJ who plays the songs people want to hear, the way they expect to her them, at all types of events.  Don’t worry though – we still get enough remixes, dance-edits, and alternate versions to keep things interesting!

See more about my music library, learn more about the great care I take in helping you program your event, and see the latest charts on my website.  If it’s listed in the weekly charts there, I have it for your special event, guaranteed!


Does size really matter?

As a wedding vendor, I often run into the perception that the size (guest count) of a wedding should matter, or make a difference, in the base rate a DJ would charge for a wedding.

While it’s definitely the case that pricing can and should reasonably go up with significantly larger crowd sizes, the fact of the matter is that size on the lower end of the scale really doesn’t matter, and isn’t really a factor in pricing at all.

To understand why, we need to look at different types of vendors and services that are usually used for weddings, we need to understand what makes them fundamentally different.

There are things that go into your wedding whose final price does depends almost entirely on how many guests you have, and hence “how much stuff” you need to rent or purchase.

Obvious examples of this are the total cost for meal service, costs for flowers, chair cover and linen rentals, etc.  All of these are things that are based on a quantity of hard goods rented or purchased, or are consumable/disposable items that cost to produce, and that are gone once they are delivered or provided.  These types of items that vary based on the “size” of your wedding are not at all analogous to DJ services, because we aren’t renting you “things,” and you aren’t purchasing single-serving-sized portion-packs of good times and fun.

What ARE we providing then, and what ARE you getting?  Most accurately and succinctly, you’re hiring a talent-based creative and consultative service that culminates in a talent-based (hopefully, right?!) performance.  Someone who consults with you to design and create a wedding day timeline and a flow that has several specific goals (“FUN” being among them) in mind.  The time, talents, and experience required to do this, as well as executing the plan the day-of, do not vary based on the number of people who will be there having said fun.

Let’s look at it this way…  Would your hairstylist or makeup artist charge differently if there are going to be 50 people looking at their work on your wedding day, versus 500? Chances are they won’t.  And they shouldn’t!  Why?  Because you want to look just as fabulous for a small crowd of 40 friends and family as you would for a larger crowd of 200!

It’s all about the results, and we should be thinking of our DJ along these same lines.

As always, take the time to compare apples-to-apples in considering your services.  Sure, some services will likely offer discounts or lower pricing for smaller-sized weddings, but these providers aren’t focused on giving you the time and attention your wedding day deserves, and are instead offering a bare-bones minimum of in just about every aspect of their service (“just music and some announcements”).  Anyone offering more, and bringing more to the table to ensure the overall success of your wedding day for you and your guests, is going to have a minimum service rate that doesn’t drop once your guest count dips below a certain number.

Do you really want to sacrifice quality of service and the experience you want all your guests to have simply because there are fewer of them?   That’s not a choice or reasonable compromise at all, really, but that’s what you’re going to end up with if you hire a service that drastically lowers their rate because you have “a smaller crowd.”

Of course, there are different sound and lighting options, etc. that will change based on guest count, how big your room or space is, what you would like for your event, etc., but we’re not talking about those types of “extras” here.  Those things, understandably, make rates go up.

We’re talking about “FUN,” and until they find a way to vacuum seal that in handy, individual plastic pouches that we can hand out as favors at your wedding, we shouldn’t expect our professional DJ to charge any differently for 50 people than they do for 150.  Because regardless of how many people you’re sharing your day with, every one of them should have the same great, uncompromising experience!

Sacramento Wedding DJ Review: Steven & Briana Wolfe Wedding at Pavilion at Haggin Oaks

Sounds To Go, Sacramento Wedding DJ.  Photo by, and courtesy of, Dee & Kris Photography.

Steven & Briana Wolfe at the Pavilion at Haggin Oaks, in Sacramento, CA. 

Justin was our DJ for our wedding in June 2014. From the minute we met Justin he was very professional and we could tell that he was very talented! He was in constant contact with us through emaiil, phone, and even text messages. He answered any question we had and was extremely helpful. We met a couple times before the event and he had all the paperwork and material ready to collect the information for our big day. He made it personable to our event, made great suggestions, and was open to any changes that we made throughout the whole process.

Justin met the whole family and wedding party on the night of the rehearsal. He took lead and we felt very comfortable with him helping and running through the order of details for the whole wedding.

On the day of our wedding, Justin showed up early to set up and get everything ready! He was great in the fact that he knew exactly what he was doing and exactly where to set everything up without asking us any further questions (last thing anyone wants on their wedding day is to be bugged with questions or anything else). He made relationships with the venue staff and all of our vendors to ensure a perfect day! He set up sound/music for our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception! We had wireless microphones for the ceremony that worked perfectly the entire time. The timing of the different music and songs for the procession, bride, and recession was perfect!

The reception music was PERFECT! Justin was great and a true professional DJ! He played exactly what we wanted and chose perfect songs to complement. Justin made sure EVERYONE was dancing and having a great time! He was great on the fly with request from the guest! At our wedding we had a surprise performance by one of our guest that sang the entire “Humpty Dance” song! Justin made the call to allow it and it was a great decision!!!! Possibly the highlight of the night!!!

All of our guest could not stop raving about how great the wedding was because of our DJ Justin! He did a great job! I would recommend Justin to everyone!

Please do yourself a favor and book this AMAZING DJ for your wedding or event! You will be extremely happy with him!

Thank you so much Justin! Look forward to working with you in the future!

Steven & Briana Wolfe

See this, and other reviews for Sounds To Go on Yelp!

I also have a lot of great reviews on Wedding Wire!

Photo by, and courtesy of, Dee & Kris Photography.

Great Sacramento Wedding DJ Review – Jessica & Jonathan Wallace 3/7/14

great sacramento wedding dj reviews

Another 5 Star Review for Sounds To Go!

My husband and I had Justin as our DJ for our March wedding. From the beginning, we were completely impressed by his professionalism and thoroughness. He always replied to any emails or questions I had promptly and was extremely flexible. He was super organized and met with us to go over our plans and ideas for our wedding to make sure every detail was thought of, down to every last thing that we wouldn’t have even thought of. We had several special requests for him, like our entrance song and dance and every time I threw a new idea at him he made it happen. It was so nice to not have to worry about anything at all. He came early to the reception location to set up and practice coordinating lights and sounds with the lights guy. The whole night was flawless. He kept everything on track and played the perfect selection of songs to appeal to us and our guests. Some DJs tend to like the microphone too much, but with Justin it was the perfect amount of mcing. Seriously recommend Sounds To Go for your wedding!! You will be very pleased!!

Wedding: 03/07/2014
Services Used: DJ

Wedding Ceremony Microphones Done Right!

Do you want to avoid…

  • Guests not hearing your officiant, and your special vows?
  • Annoying and embarrassing static, feedback, squeals, and noise from the microphones and speakers?

In short, do you want things done RIGHT?

If you’ve visited my site, or read my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I spend a LOT of time talking about wedding ceremonies.  I focus so much on this aspect of what I do because at the end of the day, the wedding ceremony is the most intimate, emotional, and meaningful part of your wedding day, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Unfortunately, many DJs, and even couples, for that matter, can tend to treat certain aspects of their ceremony as an afterthought.  From the standpoint of a “typical” DJ, the ceremony isn’t “that big of a deal” because they’re only thinking about the limited nature of their involvement in it.

For them, it’s “just a small sound system,” “a few songs,” and “maybe a microphone.”  It only lasts half-an-hour or less in most cases, and isn’t a time for the DJ to “show off” their “fancy toys” or “Mad Skillz” on the decks.

I don’t see it that way at ALL!

This is the most important 30 minutes (or however long) of the entire day, and the reason we’re all gathered together!  The type and quality of the equipment used is of utmost importance because its presence should be as transparent as possible, and it absolutely MUST function FLAWLESSLY.

To this end, I continually invest quite a bit more than most DJs in my ceremony system, and have designed it specifically to meet the many and varied demands of wedding ceremonies.

One aspect of wedding DJ equipment that is essential to the success of your ceremony are the microphones (yes, plural – there should ALWAYS be more than one, and NO, you shouldn’t have to pay “extra” for them!) that are used for your ceremony.  Two are necessary to ensure your DJ has the best possible coverage and sound control for you, your fiance, and your officiant.  Having more than one live microphone also means you always have a built-in backup if you need it. 

Remember:  There are no “re-do’s” or second chances for your wedding ceremony!

The mic:  To hold, or not to hold…

Handheld microphones have many disadvantages because your officiant is either forced to hold them in one hand the whole time, making it awkward for them to manipulate their reading materials, facilitate things like ring ceremonies, etc., or the mic itself must be on a stand that will end up being front and center in your ceremony, where it will not only interfere with movement, but will also end up as an eyesore in all of your pictures!

Lavaliere (clip-on) microphones are the best solution for wedding ceremonies because they are discrete, portable, and work well for isolating and enhancing individual speakers at different times during your ceremony.  This allows your DJ to adjust the volume and EQ in real-time as each person is speaking to make sure everyone is heard clearly, and at the same volume.

They can be discretely placed, and even hidden in clothing to make sure they do not distract during your ceremony, or stand out in all of your pictures.

Notice in the photo below that the lavaliere microphone is placed discretely and professionally alongside the tie of the officiant, so that it is barely noticeable, yet is still placed so that it can pick up all three individuals.

You’ll also notice in the embedded photo of the groom that the microphone itself is not visible at ALL, as it is hidden behind his tie, so as to not contrast with the white shirt and vest or distract in photos, etc.

Because both of these microphones are “omni-directional,” they will pick up all three voices in close proximity, which allows me to really fine-tune the balance for whoever is speaking at any given time, and giving the best possible sound quality for your guests!

At the end of the day…

Your professional wedding DJ is investing a lot of time, money, and care into providing you with the most solid performance, and a stress-free and worry-free ceremony service.  It goes without saying, then, that YOU should make a reasonable investment in your professional Sacramento wedding DJ!

Loomis-Flower-Farm-Wedding-Photo-083Venue, The Flower Farm Inn in Loomis, CA.  Photo by, and courtesy of, The Goodness