Looking for more than a cookie cutter Wedding DJ? Feeling uninspired by the big multi-DJ companies with subcontracted DJ’s?
Hi, I’m Wayne. I started out doing Clubs & Music Festivals in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and I’ve brought my Turntablist DJ/MC skills into the Wedding realm. Over the past 15+ years, I have DJ’d more than 300 weddings in the bay area, SoCal, and abroad.
I create exceptional experiences for clients with discerning tastes and a deep passion for music. I am not a businessman or sales person, I am an artist and music is my canvas. Your musical tastes are the paint I use to create a one time audible work of art, which in the case of DJing a wedding represents your love and commitment to each other. 💕
(Click a category below to jump to that section)
Experience & Skills
Demos: Can I hear some examples of you mixing and blending different tracks?
Definitely, click here: https://dj.waynenoel.com/music/dj-wayne-demo-mixes/
Demos: Are the mixes on your website produced live or in a studio setting?
Live, with my turntables, mixer, and Serato DJ.
DJ Style: Do you specialize in any types of music?
When I’m DJing my own parties in a club/house/festival I might incorporate one or more of the following: Old School Hip Hop, EDM (Electronic), Sexy R&B (yes, sexy), Funk, Soul, Latin, and Reggae. For weddings I’m super adaptable, and I’m down to play whatever you like because it’s a celebration of who you both are.
DJ Style: How would you describe your DJ style?
Turntablist, utilizing scratching, lots of beatmatching, EQ’ing, and FX during transitions. I don’t use the mic much unless my clients ask me to pump the crowd that way. Most of the time I let the music do the talking.
DJ Style: What makes you different and sets you apart from your competitors? Why should we choose you as our DJ?
After doing a little research and comparing me to some other DJs, you’ll probably notice that I offer a lot more information and details on my website. I’ve got a ton of dope demo mixes, photos, and these FAQs are by far the most in depth and honest you’ll come across. My entire website is about who I am and how I approach DJing.
I’m about as opposite as you can get compared to what most big DJ companies represent, with tons of random DJ bios that don’t tell you enough about who you are hiring; and most of the time those DJ’s are subcontractors who don’t even work there.
What you see and hear is what you get and I am really good at what I do! 😎
How long have you been a professional DJ?
I’ve been getting paid for this since 2003. I actually started DJ’ing with turntables in 1997.
I put my first DJ system together when I was a little dude, about 9 years old! I had a dual cassette boombox, a CD Player, and a dictation cassette recorder my grandfather gave me! I’d use the dictation recorder to play sound fx with one hand while I pressed play on the boombox or CD player… Oh, and did I mention I did all this outside in the horse field at my parents’ ranch? Yep, I had to shovel horse doo-doo every weekend for like 4 hours (or at least, that’s how long I told my parents it took). It really took me about 2 hours to clean up the fields and another 2 hours to DJ my “Horse Field Dance Parties”! 🐴
Weddings: Why do you DJ weddings when you could focus on other types of events that highlight your skills like clubs/festivals/ecstatic dance/etc...?
I’ve been there, and I’ve done that. I’ve played for huge audiences and that can be fun. At this point in my life I am finding a departure from ego, and feeling a pull towards connection with others. Playing a specialized set somewhere or playing my own creations for people, who came together just to hear me play can definitely foster a meaningful connection with my audience. And playing a music set for the guests at a wedding can too, in a very intimate and special way.
Back in 2003 when I was running around the bay area playing old school hip hop and EDM (Electronic Dance Music) in dingy clubs, and big underground warehouses I thought I had made it to where I wanted to be, status wise. But there was always this sense of longing to be part of something more, something not based on an audience constantly dropping molly and telling everyone around that they love them; or an audience where everyone was drunk as f*** and practically having sex on the dancefloor, very one-night-standish and often uninspiring as an audience to be honest.
Around that same time some good friends asked me to DJ their wedding. That would be the first wedding I’d ever DJ’d. You might be aware of the stigma that being a “wedding DJ” can carry amongst some circles, and at that point in my life I was all about “seeking approval from others”. I said yes, and began planning with her and her fiancee but I was worried it meant something about my “identity” and status as a DJ. I loved my friends and was glad I could help them have a good wedding and amazeballs dance party, but simultaneously I chose to keep it a secret from my EDM & HipHop crew that would come in to the city to hear me play. And this went on for a few years where I kept the two worlds separate.
Around 2008, I was booking more than half of my weekends doing weddings and still feeling this contradictory relationship with them. This all changed when I DJ’d an off-grid downtempo beach party (along the lines of what would later be called “ecstatic dance”) north of San Francisco in the summer of ’08. There was a couple there who loved my song selections so much that the three of us kept the party going till like 6am, sober, even after everyone else had gone to sleep in their tents or headed home. Finally, after the generator ran out of juice they came up and asked if I’d DJ their wedding in Hawaii later that year. And I immediately said yes, but not because of where it was happening but because of how honored I was, to have been an integral part of their lovingly connected dancing for the previous 6+ hours. I suddenly felt a new sense of appreciation for being invited to witness two people saying their sacred commitment vows to one another, joined only by their close friends and family. I immediately felt a deep gratitude not just for that pivotal couples’ trust and inner circle invitation, but for all the couples who had come before them, and for all the couples who I now knew would come after. I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes even as I type this. All I can say to finish this loooong answer is what an honor it is when a couple and I click, and the 3 of us create a once in a lifetime celebration together; based on love, respect, and commitment. Fuck the stigma, yeah I DJ weddings and I love it.
Weddings: How many do you typically do in a year?
For a while there I used to DJ about 40 weddings p/yr! But I didn’t feel as connected to my clients as I wanted then, so lately I’m more selective and I only do about 20-30 weddings per year. This gives me enough space to spend 20+ hours on pre-production/planning -getting super detailed with the timeline, my clients’ tastes and personalities, their other vendors info, preparing my equipment on a gig by gig basis, and ultimately digging super deep into my music library as well as buying new music to create all the playlists for one single wedding.
Weddings: How many have you DJ'd?
In total I’ve DJ’d about 350+ weddings.
Other Events: How many other types of events do you do per year?
10 to 20 depending on many different factors including the economy and corporate spending, my free time, vacations etc…This could include private club rentals, corporate events, festivals, ecstatic dance, bar/bat mitzvahs, birthdays, high school reuinions…
Venue: In the past have you performed where our event will be?
If it is in the bay area, there’s a good chance the answer is yes, and even if I haven’t been there before it’s all good. After having DJ’d hundreds of events all over the state, I know exactly what to bring so I’m prepared to setup in multiple locations anywhere; this includes all the power cables, speakers, stands etc that I might need. Plus if there is any doubt in my mind, I’ll check in with the venue ahead of time and maybe even schedule a site visit if I don’t get what I need over the phone or email (which usually covers it).
Day of Event Flow
Backup Equipment: Will you be covered if any of your equipment fails?
Breaks: Do you take official breaks?
No. I might run to the restroom when I play a long song, or put on a mix for 10 minutes when I eat dinner, but other than that I’m always posted up by my DJ booth, ready for whatever comes next. Now, if I’m DJing a 5 hour dance party, then yes.
Coordinator/Planner: If we hire a day of coordinator/planner how do you work together?
We work together like a team. I love wedding planners and coordinators. They help everything run smoothly. Now, if you hire someone who is new to the game there can be hiccups, but I roll with it and practice patience and understanding. Weddings can make a newbie planner/coordinator super stressed out, and I get that, so I try to be there for them when they need the support.
Coordination: If we do not hire a day of coordinator/planner can you fill that role?
The short answer is yes, and you’ll also need to enlist a friend or family member to help with a couple things.
The long answer requires that I explain the difference between a wedding planer and a day of coordinator, and then tell you what I can do in place of the day of coordinator:
WEDDING PLANNER ROLES
Day of Coordination, plus:
Budget -Be sure all 3 of you (planner and couple) agree on the total budget for the wedding. -Be sure the client understands that the wedding cost will likely need to be flexible up or down, and which way it goes might be unpredictable. Knowing this going into the early stages of hiring vendors is important, otherwise hyper-strict budgets can lead to hiring the wrong vendors for the job and personality of the marrying couple.
Venue Research -Availability, rental items, sound/noise/music rules like level and end time, food & beverage if they have in house kitchen staff, etc…)
Vendor Research -What this looks like can depend on how much help and advice the couple wants in finding the right vendors. -If possible arrange vendor pre-booking appointments over the course of a day or two, so the marrying couple can contact or meet with potential vendors all at once and not have too much on their plate consistently over the course of several weeks or even months. How this is planned can be dictated sometimes by the couple’s amount of available free time, and where they live in relation to where the wedding is happening and where the vendors are located. -Viewing samples of what various vendors are offering and giving your opinion/advice (Printing & Graphic design-invitations/save the dates/place cards/seating charts, floral corsages/boutonnieres/bouquets/vases, cake, linen colors and fabric, food selection/dinnerware/menu and serving style, DJ demos/photos/bios, Photo/Video demos/bios, Lighting options/design/colors, Rental company options, Decorations, Color schemes and design etc…)
Booking Completion Timing -Make sure venue, vendors, rentals etc are all locked in early enough in the planning process to be sure there is enough time to properly plan and coordinate everything.
Rehearsal Ceremony & Dinner -Invite all the necessary guests to the wedding rehearsal & dinner (get an RSVP from them). This includes the couple getting married, bridal party, and anyone being escorted during the ceremony. Being clear about everyone the couple getting married wants to be at the rehearsal.
DAY OF COORDINATOR ROLES
At LEAST, 2 weeks prior to the wedding:
-Contact all the vendors hired by the bride & groom to establish a line of communication and ensure everyone has the same information.
-Create a master timeline that combines the timelines from all the other vendors (catering, DJ, photo & video mainly). Be sure everyone is prepared for and aware of all the key events taking place, and that they are all listed on the timeline (ie: ceremony, introductions, first dance, cake cutting, toasts, special activities, last dance etc…)
-Make sure the vendors are familiar with what they will need to bring/setup at the venue.
-Arrive on site as early as needed to provide access and instruction for all vendor arrival and setup.
-Act as an intermediary to relay information between the vendors and the marrying couple (when effective, but not when direct communication is needed).
-Use the timeline to keep things flowing as expected or slowing/speeding things up when needed. For example, after everyone is seated for dinner, the marrying couple might want to take their time during dinner to say hi to all the tables before they eat, thus extending dinner by say 45 minutes. A skilled and confident coordinator will be able to roll with this and not make them feel rushed; rather the coordinator will inform all the vendors and just make the dance party a little shorter. One of the things a skilled coordinator will have done in preparing for this potential outcome is to have asked the venue ahead of time if the couple could to extend their dance party on the night of the wedding. If so, how much extra would that be? Then, if the couple is having a blast during dancing and wants to go an hour later, everyone will already know if that’s even possible, and adjusting for it won’t be a headache because this information was gathered before the day of the wedding.
-Handing out pre-ceremony items (like flowers)
-Ensure ushers, greeters, guests, officiant and the wedding party are in place.
-Cue music and the wedding party entrance.
-Guests ushered to the next area (ie Cocktails, then dinner/dancing etc…)
-People needed for activities are where they need to be
-Notify vendors when key events are about to take place, so everyone is ready (ie: ceremony, introductions, first dance, cake cutting, toasts, special activities, last dance etc…)
After the Wedding ends:
-Gather gifts, flowers, vases, personal items and misplaced/lost items belonging to guests, and put them in a location discussed with the couple, appropriate vendors (ie floral) and venue ahead of time. This way they couple knows exactly where their items will be if they didn’t get them before leaving the night of the wedding, and the venue will have communicated how long and where it would be OK to store such items. A coordinator should check the vendor contracts to be sure what things the couple will be responsible for keeping safe between when the wedding ends and when the vendor picks up said items. If the contract seems unclear or unfair to the couple, the time to clarify and advocate is weeks before the wedding. And conveying all of this information clearly to the couple before the wedding will ensure that they don’t blame the coordinator for something in a vendor contract that the coordinator isn’t actually responsible for.
DJ WAYNE “DAY OF” COORDINATION ROLES
(if no day of coordinator will be present):
*Please tell me ahead of time so that I can be prepared and plan accordingly.
3 weeks prior to the wedding:
-Email all the other vendors you hired to establish a line of communication and share my DJ timeline with them (i.e., catering, floral, cake, photo & video).
-Contact the venue and verify logistics, ask if they allow extended dance parties and what they would charge you for that.
-Arrive on site as early as needed to setup for all locations where DJ/Sound is required. This is done before your guests arrive.
-Act as an intermediary to relay information between the vendors and the two of you (when effective, but not when direct communication is needed).
-Use the timeline to keep things flowing as expected or slowing/speeding things up when needed, and coordinate all this with the other vendors.
-Announce to your guests what comes next throughout the wedding.
-Notify vendors like the photographer when key events are about to take place, be sure they are present and ready (ie: ceremony, introductions, first dance, cake cutting, toasts, special activities, last dance etc…)
*THINGS YOU’LL NEED A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER TO HELP WITH (if I’m doing the day of coordination)
Ceremony -Ensure ushers, greeters, guests, officiant and the wedding party are in place, cueing me the DJ on when to start the songs for the wedding party entrances, and handing out pre-ceremony items like flowers.
Reception -Line up your wedding party for introductions and wait till they hear me say the name of the first couple entering to open the door(s).
After the wedding has ended -Gather gifts, flowers, vases, personal items and misplaced/lost items belonging to guests, and put them in a location they discuss with you, related vendors (ie floral) and the venue ahead of time. This way you will know exactly where your items will be if you didn’t get them before leaving the night of the wedding, and the venue will have communicated how long and where it would be OK to store such items. You should check your vendor contracts to be sure what things you will be responsible for keeping safe between when the wedding ends and when the vendor picks up said items. If the contract seems unclear or unfair to you, the time to clarify is weeks or months before the wedding.
*Also, without a wedding planner, you’ll be responsible for all the things listed at the top of this answer that they are responsible for. It can be a lot of work, but sometimes you just want to handle it yourself and I get that. I will say that if you can afford a good wedding planner and you don’t mind letting go of planning a few things, it’s worth it when you don’t want to deal with all the aforementioned things. If you need a recommendation let me know, I work closely with several planners and coordinators I trust to do an exceptional job.
Food: Do you require a meal and if so are there any dietary restrictions?
Yes, I require a meal and I don’t have any dietary restrictions. I do require that I am fed before the guests -not after, as some caterers prefer. This is because I need to be finished eating before the guests are, so I’m ready to facilitate what comes next.
Loudness/Volume Level: How do you ensure a comfortable volume level for all the guests?
Checking in with guests and vendors, and being the approachable friendly kind of guy that people feel comfortable asking for what they need from.
MC/Emcee: Can you make announcements and/or act as the master of ceremonies?
MC/Emcee style: How would you describe the way you make announcements?
Short, sweet, effective, well spoken, confident, non-gratuitous, and above all –authentic.
Motivation: How do you get the crowd pumped or get shy people to dance?
Intention, intuition, confidence, and love. I don’t head straight to the mic, instead I’ll check in with my intuition and ask myself what do the guests need? Who is present? Have any of them said hello or asked me if I have any specific songs which might indicate their preferences? What are the dominant ages present. Are people from the east coast, west coast, midwest, or abroad? Hmmm… if the song bombed, I better change it up seamlessly so people don’t smell fear, but simultaneously witness my finesse and skill….
It’s a magical art form, and I love applying my expertise to the craft of motivating diverse crowds.
Outfit: What do you typically wear while performing?
Business Casual. Enough to look good and be comfortable at the same time. Do I wear custom outfits to match the event? Sure, if you want to pay the tailor. -Seriously, some of my clients do that, and it’s all good with me. Otherwise it’s biz casual.
Outfit: What do you typically wear while setting up?
Same as above.
Requests from our guests: Will you take them?
If you are cool with requests, I’m cool with requests. If they ask for the macarena and you aren’t down with the macarena, I say, “I’ll do my best to get to it, but it is being added to an already long request list, so no guarantees.” Wink wink. 😉
Setup Arrival: When do you arrive to set up for our wedding?
I usually prefer to arrive as early as the venue allows. I arrive at least 3 hours early whenever possible, even if I’m only setting up in one location. I’m a “nester”, meaning I like to dial in my setup so well that it feels like a second home. This ensures that things are not only sound checked, but I’m comfortable and ready to do this all night long if it comes to that.
Setup: Who will be setting up all your equipment?
Me. If it is somewhere like a museum in SF (ie: Legion of Honor or DeYoung etc..) I bring an extra setup assistant or two depending on those venues and the arrival/setup/breakdown rules. Most of the time for more chill venues, it’s just me setting up ideally 3 or so hours before guests arrive.
Setup/Breakdown: How much time is needed for this?
Without any hiccups it takes about 90 minutes to set up and dial in one location, and 60 minutes to break that location down at the end of the event.
Special Requests: Can you play the songs that are important to us (such as a traditional Jewish hora tune or a favorite pop hit)?
Definitely. This is your wedding, not my Dubstep/Trap/Old School Hip Hop house party. I’m here for you to play music that means something to you, and represents who you and your guests are as people & music lovers.
Alcohol/Smoking: What is your policy on alcohol or smoking during the wedding?
I don’t smoke or drink alcohol while I’m working. I prefer to be on my game while performing. Now after the wedding is over, if it is a destination wedding and I have a hotel room all bets are off, cuz it might be time to partay!
Planning Music & Details
Music planning: When do we need to submit our music requests and event details?
All of that info is due about 3 weeks before your wedding. I’m understanding if life happens, but that’s the general goal.
Music: Can I provide a list of must plays and don't plays?
Music: Can you help us with song lists and provide some suggestions?
Yes and yes.
Music: Do you use pre-determined set lists, or do you take requests (or read the crowd)?
Both to varying degrees, depending on my clients preferences.
Music: How involved can we be in selecting music for our event?
I’m adaptable, tell me what you want and we’ll make the most workable version of that happen.
Timeline & Itinerary: How do you stay organized and keep the flow on the day of?
I stay organized by creating a super detailed timeline that takes hours to put together, incorporating all the details we discuss leading up to the wedding. In fact a lot of the time other vendors like the catering manager/photographer/and even the day of coordinator will come up and check my timeline, because it is so detailed, easy to read and follow along with.
Venue: Do you know our venue space and its requirements for acoustics & power? If not, will you research it beforehand?
If I’ve been there before it’s all good. If I haven’t, I will most definitely make sure I have what I need to set up properly, whether that means calling, emailing, or a site visit.
Backup Equipment: Will you be covered if any of your equipment fails?
DJ Station Size: How large of an area do you need for your DJ setup(s)?
About 8ft wide, 4 ft deep, and 7 to 9 feet high (depending on the venue/location).
15 amp circuit, all to myself. 20 amps, even better.
Equipment: What kind of equipment do you use?
The good kind. (Pioneer, JBL, QSC, Sennheiser, Shure, Chauvet)
Extra Options: Would we need to rent any extra equipment?
Maybe, let’s see what you want to do and I’ll let you know what I think you need.
Lighting: Do you have lighting options?
Yes, click here for some examples of lighting options I can provide: https://dj.waynenoel.com/lighting/
Microphones: What types of wireless and wired microphone options do you offer?
I provide options for wireless handheld mics, wireless lav/lapel/whisper mics, and wired handheld mics.
A note about ceremony microphones: Often times wedding planners, coordinators, photographers, and videographers strongly suggests using lav/lapel/whisper mics for the ceremony to avoid having a mic on a stand in the ceremony photos. I can definitely provide lapel, aka lavalier, aka whisper mics for the ceremony. However, the audio quality from that type of microphone is never as good as a wireless handheld mic on a stand. They are simply more prone to problems like audio “feedback” and picking up unwanted background noise like wind.
Aside from the fact that lav/lapel/whisper mics don’t show up in photos, there is absolutely no other reason to use them instead of a wireless handheld on a stand. If there isn’t excessive wind or other factors that make that type of microphone sound really bad I’m all for using them, but 50% of the time they just don’t sound as good and/or they end up magnifying background noise. In addition to that, if someone getting married is wearing a dress it’s not possible to hide a lav/whisper mic on them, so they have to be picked up by the other person’s mic. That creates a huge volume difference between those with a mic and those without. This doesn’t happen with a nice wireless handheld mic on a stand in between the 3 of you because everyone is equidistant from one single microphone.
Music Library: How big is it? What styles can you play with it?
It’s big. 41k songs and growing.
Deposit: How much and when is it due?
50% of the total booking fee, due when signing the contract.
Final Payment: When is it due?
Approximately 3 weeks before your event.
Hold the date: How long will you reserve our date for us?
3 days, if requested. If you’d like me to hold it for longer, you can pay my $475 non-refundable retainer fee which locks the date down for you for 6 weeks. Many of my clients will do this because they know they want to book me and they don’t want to take a chance of me getting booked, but they need a couple weeks to be sure about all the options they want, or they might be finishing up securing their venue first. This gives you a buffer to iron out some details, before you have to finalize signing the agreement and completing the full booking process.
Once the contract and full deposit are done I’m officially yours and your event date is permanently reserved for your event.
How far ahead do I need to book you?
This varies, I might book one weekend 2 years ahead of time, but the following weekend gets booked just a few months beforehand.
I get a lot of inquiries; so I don’t have the ability to notify everyone if/when I get booked for a date they were interested in.
Basically, when you know I’m the right fit, -book me.
Meetings: Can we meet in person before we sign a contract?
Yes. I’m available via phone, video chat, email, and in person.
References: Can you provide me with personal contact information of past clients?
No, I don’t give out private contact information for past clients. If you weren’t personally referred to me by someone who I have DJ’d for in the past, you can check out my reviews on Google and Yelp.
Services: What options can you provide? (ie: DJ, Lighting, Coordination etc...)
DJ, Lighting, Coordination, Custom remixes/edits/mashups.
Workload: How many events do you book per weekend / per day?
1 or 2 events max per weekend, and 1 event per day max.
Cancellation Policy: What happens if we cancel or need to reschedule?
A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total is required at booking time. If the event is canceled, any payments that have already been made are non-refundable. If the final payment has not yet been paid prior to notice of event cancellation, it will be waived.
DJ Wayne: Are we guaranteed to have you as our DJ?
Yes. It’s just me in my company. I don’t subcontract other DJ’s to work events that I book. So you are guaranteed to have me for any event that I book.
Finalizing the booking: How do you make it official?
If you paid a retainer fee, it’s official for 6 weeks, by which time you should have e-signed your contract and paid the full deposit. Once the contract and full deposit are done I’m officially yours and your event date is permanently reserved for your event.
Insurance: Do you have it?
Yes. I can also provide proof of insurance to your venue if needed.
Replacement DJ: What happens if you aren't able to DJ our event?
This has only happened one time in the past 15 years, and it was about 15 years ago when I had a death in the family. Aside from that I take extra special care of myself and my immune system is super strong. I literally don’t allow myself to get sick until after my gig is over.
In the unlikely event that I was unable to provide DJ Services for your wedding, I would find a qualified replacement DJ. I am connected with several top notch DJs and you would be well taken care of. You would have the right to approve any replacement DJ or be refunded any fees already paid. If the replacement DJ charged less than me, the extra fee(s) originally paid would be refunded to you. If the replacement DJ charged more than me, I would pay the extra fee(s). To reiterate, this won’t happen, but if it did I’ve got you covered.
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