Just about every DJ service you talk to will provide services for your wedding ceremony, and most will include music and voice amplification. Be careful though, because all DJ’s aren’t the same.
Many use the bare minimum in equipment just to get by. As a result, certain parts of your ceremony go un- or under-amplified, so your guests won’t end up hearing all the important and meaningful parts of your ceremony.
Some services won’t include what they consider “extras” simply because they don’t have them. Others may have them, but will charge you extra to use them or have them available, which may result in unpleasant surprises after you hire them and get closer to your wedding date.
Here are some tips, and things you can look for when hiring a DJ to make sure they are going to be able to handle the needs of your wedding ceremony, and more importantly, do the job right.
- Be sure your DJ has a separate, discrete sound system for your ceremony. If the same equipment is being used for your reception and ceremony, there will be an awkward delay in music between your ceremony and reception while your DJ moves around their equipment. Not to mention, it’s just not cool to be moving around big clunky gear amongst your friends and family. Your DJ should have two sound systems set up, and ready to go with music in both locations before your first guest even arrives!
- Be sure they include not one, but at least TWO wireless microphones. Clip-on lapel (lavalier) microphones are preferred, and they should have one for your minister/officiant, and one for your groom as well so everyone can hear your ceremony AND your vows to each other. Not only does having two microphones provide better coverage and allow your DJ to dial in all the voices better, but it also serves as backup in case something goes wrong with one of the microphones half-way through your ceremony. Your DJ should ALWAYS have a backup plan!
- Lapel mics are preferred because of clarity and sound quality, and because they are hands-free. This is important because your officiant will already be juggling a binder or tablet, papers, rings, and perhaps other things during your ceremony. You can use a microphone stand to free up their hands, but this provides both you and them with an awkward obstacle during the ceremony. Microphone stands are also unsightly clutter in your pictures. Clip-on lapel microphones are also preferred because they are so small and can easily be hidden in clothing, making them less visible in photos. Some DJ’s don’t like to use clip-on microphones because they do require a much longer learning curve to operate correctly. They are much more sensitive (part of what makes them a better choice for ceremonies), which makes them more prone to feedback and distorted sound if not setup and handled correctly. All this means though is that your DJ should be a professional with the experience to know how to use these types of microphones properly & effectively. If a DJ only “includes” one microphone, and/or only offers handheld microphones, you may be dealing with a cheaper or less-experienced service that is trying to squeak by with the minimum and/or charge you more to do the job right.
- If your ceremony requires it, be sure to ask about additional handheld microphones for special readings or musical performances during your ceremony as well. Maybe you would like to have someone read some scripture, or a poem. Maybe you have some friends who would like to play a musical instrument or sing during part of your ceremony? Either way, your DJ should be able to “patch them in” so they can be heard by your guests. Also ask about audio connections for your videographer if you’re hiring one so they can record your ceremony, music, and vows.
- Ask them how large their ceremony system is, and what it looks like. The sound system should be small and discrete, and should not detract from the appearance of your ceremony site. If they seem to be selling or making a big deal about how small or compact their ceremony system is, they may be using the bare-minimum to get by, and may be sacrificing many of the things above for the sake of having the most compact and “easy” setup possible. These DJs may try to charge you more for for the things we’ve been talking about, or they may not even have them available at all!
I use a ceremony sound system that offers all of the above, and more! Best of all, I don’t “charge extra” for any of it! You can see my ceremony sound system above. It’s clean and attractive, and fits nicely into any setting while falling into the background. Your DJ should be heard and not seen at your ceremony. Large, clunky speakers on stands, tons of loose cables, and brightly-colored extension cords can all detract from the beauty, elegance, or rustic charm of your ceremony location.
Of course, it should SOUND good too! You can see my Bose® sound sound system. No big, boxy speakers! Unlike traditional speakers that throw sound in just one direction, the Bose® system I use provides sound across a very wide area because of its 180° dispersion. What this means to you and your guests is crystal-clear, even sound coverage whether your guests are sitting in the back of your ceremony site, on the sides, etc.
Tools are only one part of ensuring a successful wedding. When you hire Sounds To Go, I do my best to provide not only quality tools, but the knowledge & experience to use them right! Remember: There’s only ONE SHOT at getting the job done right, and you shouldn’t have to “pay extra” for that… should you?