Thanks to Lindsey & Philip for Choosing Sounds To Go!

Thanks to Lindsey & Philip for deciding to work with me for their 6/8/13 wedding at the Elks

Tower in Downtown Sacramento!  This will be my first time working at this venue!

My thanks as well to Lindsey’s planner, April Mosher from April’s Events, who recommended me to Lindsey.  April & I have worked together before, and I look forward to working with her again!

Here’s to a GREAT wedding reception!

Taking the Stress out of Family Portraits – Sacramento Wedding Photographer Chris Shepard on KCRA 3


One of our favorite local wedding photographers Chris Shepard offers great advice in this KCRA 3 piece on doing family holiday portraits. Check it out!

Chris Shepard from Shepard Photography offers great advice on booking and surviving Family Portrait sessions.

Looking for an AWESOME photographer for portraits, weddings, or any occasion?  Check out Chris’ photography website here:

Chris is a GREAT photographer to work with.  First and foremost a great guy, and truly an artist.  Take a look for yourself – his work is amazing!

When contacting Chris, be sure to let him know Sounds To Go sent you!

Sacramento Wedding & DJ Costs

Sometimes it can be hard to know how much to budget for different aspects of your wedding, let alone for the entire wedding itself.  Chances are you’ve already had to adjust some of your initial expectations and ideas when it comes to budgeting for certain things, and if you haven’t had to already, trust us – you will before you’re done!

However you came up with it, you probably had a number or range you wanted to stick to when you started your planning.  Sometimes though, it’s hard to know if these budgets are realistic as a whole, or when it comes to certain vendors, or services.

It’s important when considering each and every aspect of your wedding to make sure that your financial expectations for vendors and services are realistic for the area you are in.

If you have a budget set for a certain category, service, or vendor that is not realistic, you may find yourself unknowingly searching for and/or ending up with services or vendors that are sub-par, and your event, including the overall experiences of you and your guests may end up suffering because of it.  These vendors may be newer and less-experienced, or they may be cutting corners in the way they run their business, or in the type and quality of services they offer.  We know it’s important to you that you find vendors that are not just hobbyists, and who are professionals in the way they conduct themselves, the way they run their business, and most importantly, in the way they service their clients.

So what’s the kicker in all this?  You guessed it…  Professional vendors charge professional rates for their services!  It does seem obvious, and you might even be thinking “no, REALLY?!”   But let’s be honest with ourselves.  As obvious as it seems, it isn’t always something we really want to remember when we’re the ones footing the bill, is it?  That we’re going to pay a little more for higher-quality, professional service providers can be a harder pill to swallow if we’re stuck in the mindset of “the lowest price” is the “best deal.”  We know this isn’t really the case when it comes to most things in life, and wedding vendors are no different!

So what do you do now?  Well, it’s time to see if your preliminary budget, or the one you’ve been operating on so far, is realistic for our area.  Think of it as a Wedding Budget Reality Check!

Here is a great site showing average wedding costs across the country.

It’s important to note that these figures are based on actual couple spending in each area, and not just on vendor or venue prices.

So what does it say when it comes to spending trends for Sacramento wedding DJ’s?

When we run it for Placer county, where we are based, we find the following breakdown:


Average Cost Spending for Well-experienced Professionals
DJ $621 – $1,035 $1,242 – $1,656+

We can see that pricing for well-experienced DJs and entertainment professionals doesn’t have to break the bank, and when we keep in mind that this is an investment in the success of your wedding, these figures seem very reasonable indeed!

It’s important to remember the real role a true entertainment professional plays both before and during your wedding.  They wear many hats and make many investments in time, money, effort, training, and planning before your wedding so that what you see and get during your wedding is exactly what you wanted – and so much more.

It’s because you want to ensure the success of your wedding celebration for yourself, your family, and your friends, that you want to be sure your budget expectations are realistic.  This is true not only for your wedding entertainment, but for every aspect of your wedding day.

If you haven’t already, check out our Packages page to see our all-inclusive ceremony & reception offerings.  We’re sure you’ll agree that we’re a great value all around!

The High Cost of Hiring Low Price DJs

Some food for thought when it comes to hiring entertainment for your wedding day.

It is definitely hard not to feel sorry for all of these people, who tried their best to hire quality entertainment for their events, but who did not know what to look for.  The common denominator for many of these reviews is what a “good deal” these folks thought they were getting on a DJ.  The mistake in all of these cases was the decision to shop for quality entertainment based on price alone.  The assumption was made, even if unconsciously or unknowingly, that all DJs are created equal, or that they all offer “pretty much the same thing.”   “After all,” it is reasoned, they’re all ‘just playing music and making some announcements’ right…?”

Once we think that all DJs are “pretty much the same,” we start to think its okay to shop for them like we would, say, a tube of Crest whitening toothpaste.  At that point, price does seem to be the main, or even the only, real consideration left.

The only thing you can really compare to that tube of Crest whitening toothpaste is another tube of Crest whitening toothpaste, and once you do that, you can search around for a “better deal” at another store.

The problem here is that DJs are not tubes of toothpaste. No two DJs are the same, and no two have the same personalities & philosophies, talents, approaches to event planning and organization, musical programing, etc.  While there are millions of tubes of Crest whitening toothpaste, there is only ONE ME, and to try to assume that someone is going to get anything resembling me and what I offer my clients for $300, $400, or $700 less (or more!) is just silly.

The key is to MEET with all of the DJs you are considering for your event first to get a feel for their services, personalities, styles, and approaches before you even think about price.  First find out what is available, and start to understand what it is you want.  A quality provider will take steps to not only learn about your vision, but will help to enhance and solidify it for you as well.

We know we need to “get some quotes” to “DJ a wedding,” but do we really know and understand what it truly means to “DJ a wedding” successfully?   Do we fully understand everything that a quality individual does behind the scenes to facilitate a streamlined, steadily flowing, highly charged, and memorable celebration?  If we don’t know or fully understand all of these things, how can we honestly say we would know a “good price” for these services if we heard it?  Certainly if you’ve been to celebrations and events like the one I just described, it might have looked like it was “easy” for the DJ involved.  It might’ve even looked like they weren’t really “doing much” at all!

The reality of the situation however, is that the more awesome the celebration was, and the “easier” it looked for the DJ/MC performing it, the more likely it is that he was charging a LOT more than just a “few hundred dollars” for a “few hours of his time” to DJ that event.  Many years of experience, many dollars and a lot of time and effort went into their business, and their ability to make it all “look so easy,” and many hours of planning and preparation went were invested before that same event to make it’s execution as seamless as it was.

There’s so much more to a successful event that just playing music and making some announcements, and when you meet with or talk to a quality service provider, chances are you will start to realize how much more they bring to the table from the second you start talking to them.

On the other hand, if you talk to a service provider who is just trying to sell you “music and some announcements,” (often with a price to match) chances are that is all you will get at your event, and there will more than likely be very real ramifications from that as lines of communication at your event get crossed, or don’t exist at all between your DJ and your other vendors, venue staff, etc.  The result will be a very reactionary approach on the part of a DJ where they appear to be just stumbling through your event from one thing to the next and are left reacting to things that “just seem to happen” rather than proactively guiding the entire celebration from beginning to end.

We’d like to do our best to help you avoid these types of nightmare experiences with your wedding entertainment, and we hope that whether you hire us or not, that our website, and this blog will give you some food for thought, and will help you determine what is, and should be, important to you in hiring DJ and entertainment services.

Since we know that the “best deal” isn’t always the best deal, we are left wondering…  what is?  Why do some wedding DJs charge “so much?”  How do I know when I’ve found a great value at any price point?  These are the questions we need to be asking, and we learn a lot in our search for the answers.

Here is a great read on wedding DJ prices, and on some of the differences between more amateurish and unprofessional providers, and those who invest serious time, passion, and resources into providing you with the best service possible.

Stacie Tamaki’s point in her blog post above is itself priceless.  She urges folks to not just think about how much they “want to pay for DJ services,” but to instead answer the question:  How much would YOU pay to avoid having an experience like the ones we started off with above?  For just a brief second let’s leave what various DJs charge for their services out of the equation altogether.  What is important, and what you need to consider is this:  How much is the success of your celebration worth to YOU?

On a similar note, do you want to get a bunch of quotes for “a wedding,” or is this your wedding we’re talking about?  Do you want your DJ to treat your wedding just like every wedding they’ve ever done?  More to the point, do you want YOUR wedding to be just like every other wedding you’ve ever been to?  My guess is not. :)  This is why it’s so important for your DJ and Entertainment provider to understand your needs and wants before they can nail down “a price.”

Asking a DJ “how much do you charge for a wedding” is like calling a mechanic and asking “how much do you charge to fix a car?”  There’s so much additional information your mechanic needs to come about a price, and chances are they will have you bring your car into the shop (think free consultation with your DJ :)) so they can really get to the bottom of things and see EXACTLY what services are needed, how they need to be performed, etc.

Let your DJ, and ALL of your wedding vendors for that matter, have just a few minutes of your time to properly understand your needs and show you how they can best tailor their services to meet the needs of your special occasion.  While they’re doing this with you, you might just find yourself learning that the vendors you’re talking to are actually bringing far more to the table than you initially thought.  Along the way, you might even find yourself thinking more about results than cost, and realizing that “price” is almost never as important as value.

Please take the time to browse our website and blog to learn more, and feel free to contact us about our offerings.  We’d love the opportunity to meet with you and see how we can help you realize the best value in entertainment for your wedding.

Thanks for reading!