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

Get Hip With Sacramento Mobile Photo Booths!

Photo booths have been a staple of Northern California weddings for several years now.

They can be a great way to get wedding guests involved and interacting throughout your celebration. With many photo booth vendors also offering highly-customized photo templates, and photo-album options in conjunction with their services, they offer an added layer of sentimentality & value by providing both you and your guests with incredible keepsakes.

And let’s face it – when else are you going to get a photo of your grandma and your best man together, wrapped in a pink feather boa, wearing mustaches?

Fortunately for brides and grooms looking to spice up their wedding celebrations with something fun, hip, and different, several Northern California companies are taking the novelty of photo booths to a whole new level with the idea of the motorized, mobile photo booth.  Utilizing vintage vehicles & trailers, these options are the perfect compliment to a rustic, vintage, or kitschy wedding!

Check out these great new options, and be sure to tell them Justin from Sounds To Go sent you!

The Photo Bug

From Temple Photography and Photo Booth, we have a 1967 VW Beetle. Small enough and maneuverable enough to work it’s way into a prime spot at just about any outdoor (and some indoor!) events, this fun booth is super-groovy for sure. The front seats come out after arrival, making way for a fun, fully-immersive photo booth experience.


The Photo Booth Bug, by Temple Photography & Photo Booth

The Photo Booth Bug, by Temple Photography & Photo Booth

The Booth Bus

Meet Georgia.  She’s a 1970 VW travel bus/camper who has racked up many awesome memories she call’s her own.  Now, after many years of “roughing it,” she’s ready to help you make your own memories at your special event!


The Booth Bus. Plenty of charm, ready to roll!

The Booth Bus. Plenty of charm, ready to roll!


From OurDIYLove, we have Lucy, a 10′ 1961 Field & Stream trailer.

Totally hip, retro-vibe with awesome backdrops, and plenty of room for some rustic/vintage merriment and camaraderie.

Get the group shot!


Lucy brings vintage photo fun to you!

Lucy brings vintage photo fun to you!

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


Get The Group Shot!

Wedding Guest Group Shot.  Photo by, and courtesy of, Emily Heizer Photography

Wedding Guest Group Shot. Photo by, and courtesy of, Emily Heizer Photography


A group shot with all of your wedding guests is a great keepsake, and can be one of the most memorable photographs your photographer captures on your wedding day.

The trick is…

When to do it.  Just like everything else at a wedding, there are tons of variables at play that go into determining the best time for your group shot.  Things like time of day, venue type and layout, and other factors all come into play.

The main consideration is that, if possible, you do it at a time when all of your guests are still present (i.e. don’t wait until later in the reception!) and they are all still in the same general area already so gathering everyone together isn’t like herding cats.  :)

There are a few times during the course of a typical wedding that lend themselves nicely to this shot.

Do it at the wrong time, or at some random time during the night, and just getting everyone together and setting up the shot can take a good half-an hour out of your already precious and limited dancing and visiting time.

Let’s do it right!

Since your DJ/MC is most likely the person you’re looking to to help you come up with a nice, smooth-flowing reception timeline, look to them to help determine (with your photographer!) the time and place that makes the most sense for this shot, and for any other shot (think Sunset Shots) that could potentially take time away from your celebration or grind it to a halt if not thoughtfully planned.

Experience, communication, and a team-player attitude are all essential to the success of your wedding day!

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

Photography Packages: Be Sure To Get The Coverage You Need!

Tip: Try to avoid hourly photography packages that will see your photographer leaving early on during, or half-way through, your reception.

Sacramento’s professional photographers and videographers are some of the hardest working wedding vendors around!  Quite often, along with DJs (often the first vendor to arrive at your location, and the last to leave) they are also some of the LONGEST working wedding professionals you are hiring.

Their days start very early on with shots of you and your party getting ready, and often involve travel between several different locations.

For this coverage, many, or perhaps maybe even most photographers charge an hourly rate for their time and talents.  As with anything else, these rates can add up fast, but trust me – if you’re working with a true professional (especially one from my preferred vendor list:  http://www.sounds2go.com/sacramento-wedding-dj-vendors-venues.html), they are worth so much more than you are paying!

Please note:  While I’m suggesting in this article that we maximize and make the most of your wedding day photography coverage, I would never recommend hiring a less-experienced photographer who is “cheaper” simply because you will get “more time.”  Just as with DJs, you’ll only get one shot or chance to “get it right.”  It is better to work within the limitations of your budget with a quality provider, or even re-evaluate your budget itself for the sake of quality, than it is to sacrifice quality itself.

Understanding the investment you make in your choice of wedding photographer and videographer, I would suggest, wherever possible, that you consider arranging enough hourly coverage to last you until at least 2 hours before your reception is slated to end.  They don’t need to stick around to take umpteen-million photos of folks dancing and having a good time, but it is important that they are scheduled long enough to allow for, and to capture, a thoughtfully-designed and smooth-flowing event that has the best interests of your guests’ enjoyment – and NOT your vendors scheduled – as first priority.

Why is this important?  Well, if your photographer has to leave much earlier than a couple of hours prior-to the scheduled end-time of your reception, one of two things will happen.

Events and special dances at your reception will have to be arranged and crammed together “up-front” so your photographer can capture all the important shots “before they leave,” or they will miss some of them altogether when they do!

Why does this matter?  Your wedding DJ will work closely with you in the months leading up to your wedding to develop a smoothly progressing event flow that has dynamics, and that will ebb and flow from one event to the next.

This flow is determined ahead of time with you, and takes into account your desires for your wedding day celebration, the demographics of your guests, vendor & venue logistics, and so much more.  This means that some events will tend to be “spread out,” separated by segments of open dancing to avoid your guests (and you) feeling rushed, or like you’re just being pulled from one event to the next.  Your timeline should allow your reception (and you) to “breathe.”

In short, there is a lot that goes into planning a deliberately smooth-flowing, and stress-free reception, and both of those things can be lost if we end up having to “rearrange” or “move up” special events and dances last-minute because of scheduling limitations brought about by poor planning or budget limitations.

When reserving your photographer, you should be sure to reserve their talents long enough that they are able to focus on you, and do what they do best…  Which at the end of the day, is capturing your thoughtfully-planned and well-executed wedding day celebration!

An entertainment schedule that is cut short or rearranged last-minute because of limited vendor coverage isn’t conducive to your primary goals going into your wedding day, and can work against you.

Sometimes though, budget constraints do see us needing to cut coverage shorter than we might like.  When this happens, it is vital that your DJ/MC know about the time-frames involved ahead of time so this can be taken into account when developing your itinerary, and so he/she can be on the same page with your photographer prior-to the wedding day itself as to the schedules and timelines involved.  Proactive communication and a team-player attitude are required from all your vendors!

When you work with me, I will always find out how long your other vendors are going to be present, and will communicate with them before your wedding, getting them copies of our timeline, synchronizing our timeline with their photography schedule, etc..

This communication, and the drive behind it is never one-sided either.  This pro-active communication helps meet your photographer’s needs and allows us to achieve all of your objectives as well!   We’ll coordinate on the timing and placement of certain special shots that you would like to capture.  It allows us to place them when and where they make the most sense based on any number of variables.  Some examples of common shots that need to be thoughtfully placed within your reception timeline include Sunset Shots, and group photos with all of your guests and wedding party.  When it comes to group photos in particular, there are many variables that can play into the best timing and placement, including venue layout, time of day/night, and more.

You should expect no less than this type and level of communication between all of the vendors you decide to work with on your wedding day!

Bottom line:  You’re hiring and entrusting your DJ/MC with the overall success of your wedding day.  It only makes sense that you’d want your photographer and videographer to be able to capture as many of those special memories and moments as they can!

“Off-Peak” Wedding DJ Prices for Budget Conscious Couples!

In today’s economic climate, it’s more and more common for couples to plan weddings onSacramento DJ Wedding Prices “off-peak” days of the week, such a Sundays or even weekdays.  Doing this can often help keep their overall budget smaller since the demand for these days is lower.  Because of this decreased demand, venues and vendors alike often appreciate the opportunity to fill the “extra” dates on their calendars.

While it’s common for vendors to offer discounts for off-peak days, many times you don’t have any idea what those discounts may be, or even what their “regular” rates are until you’ve contacted them directly.  Some will offer a reduced rate right off the bat when they find out what day your wedding is on, while others will quote their regular rate, and leave you in the position of having to ask for a discount outright.  This can be awkward for both you and your vendor, and I don’t think there’s really any need to go through this dance just to get a reasonable quote for your wedding services.

This is why I offer seasonal pricing specifically for couples in the greater Sacramento area who are having their wedding either Sunday through Thursday, or during certain “off-peak” months or times of the year, which is between November & March.

Best of all, NOTHING CHANGES!  Even though you enjoy a discount, you don’t have to give up or do without any part of my normal wedding packages, and you don’t have to “settle” for less.  You get the same great service, and enjoy built-in savings without having to negotiate or haggle!

Shouldn’t everything about planning your wedding be this easy?  I think so!