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The Wedding Ceremony Sound System Conspiracy

As someone planning your wedding, are you the trusting type or a bit suspicious? Maybe you wonder if all the prices are on the up-and-up?  I get it. Can you be doing something for your living for 13 years and still be surprised? Oh, yes. A brief story:

A bride’s mother wanted me to play guitar for the wedding ceremony. We chatted on the phone, the next day, she wanted to book me.

I had that date open. It was to be a wedding at the Farm on South Mountain, about 150 people. My role would be to play for the wedding ceremony and the cocktail hour. After that, I’d turn it over to a DJ for the reception. This is right in my wheelhouse. She asked for a song list, which I emailed her.

You cost about the same as a DJ’s add-on price for the ceremony, she said

This was surprise #1. Generally, DJs charge a lot more than ceremony musicians for the reception. Well, that makes sense: they haul a ton of equipment, they serve as MCs, they have to keep a party going for 4-6 hours.  But they charge extra to do the ceremony. And that extra charge was comparable to what I charged in total.

A bit of an ego hit here. I’ve been playing guitar for 25 years and practice an average of 2-4 hours a day. I have 50 5-star WeddingWire reviews, am referred by lots of wedding planners, venues, and other people who have seen me. My going rate is average or high for a guitarist. But the add-on fee for a DJ to bring out a couple speakers and a mic is the same as what I do for a living.

Are you getting value for your wedding investment?

DJs are valued colleagues of mine. In my experience, they are highly professional and competent. But here’s the thing. Sometimes the couple hires both me and a DJ for the ceremony.

Two sets of speakers.

Two sets of mics.

Two people to do one-and-a-half jobs.

If you’re making your decision based on the sound system, I use the same high quality speakers that good DJs use.

I also can bring a microphone, even a handheld wireless mic I own.

Sound system from the venue

This is the real shocker. Last weekend, I found that at a particular venue, to rent the wedding ceremony sound system, just for the ceremony, was nearly double what I charge… to play guitar.

No DJ here, who has the ability to play ceremony songs, just a sound system and a guy to operate it.

And me, with my own system.

I thought back to the many dozens of times I came to a wedding and saw a system already set up. I didn’t know it was costing the couple so much… and they were paying me, too.

In some cases, this is all fine and good.

  • High-venues use high-end companies with great gear and trained technicians. These folks are good at what they do.
  • Top DJs also have good gear and experience with sound, playing mp3s for the ceremony, and running the wireless mics that many officiants and couples want.
  • But if you’re a couple considering music, and your budget’s getting tight, consider this: You might not need a DJ for your ceremony, a sound system from the venue, and also me. I bring a high quality system to every event.

I always bring my own system, whether it’s just you two or three hundred people. My job is to get the music to you, and there are no upcharges or hidden costs. Get in touch if you’re interested.

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