Joshua Volpe of Kalifornia Entertainment has always had a music-focused passion -- a passion that eventually (and surprisingly!) led him to a successful entertainment company in the local wedding and event industry.
"At a young age, I had developed a love for all types of music and it's stayed with me throughout my entire life," he said. Josh first started as a club DJ, acting as resident DJ at just about every nightclub in Rochester.
His nightclub gigs led to repeated requests for wedding gigs, to which Josh responded with a resounding "NOPE!," he shares with a laugh. "I was all about the clubs and not wedding music. But then the requests started to come in more frequently. It was crazy."
When a local DJ company didn't have room for him to join their team, he simply began Kalifornia Entertainment on his own.
"I decided that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it properly," he said. "I went out and bought all top-of-the-line equipment and made sure I was doing things properly."
2017 is his 4th year doing weddings and he's already booking into 2019. "Every year, the number of events I do goes up by a large percentage," he said. "I'm booked every single weekend from the beginning of the year to around November. And then the corporate holiday parties go through December and January."
BOOKING YOUR DJ
Josh recommends booking your DJ about 12 to 18 months prior to your wedding date. For popular wedding months, like September and October, Josh is typically booked about two years in advance.
"I'm a one-event-per-day type of DJ and never double-book," he added.
Keep in mind that cost is not everything, Josh advises couples.
" The most expensive doesn't mean you're getting the absolute best and the cheapest doesn't mean you're getting a great deal," he said. "There's a lot that goes into choosing the right vendor -- experience, reviews, referrals (both vendor and client), equipment, personality, customer service, knowledge and other things should all come into play when choosing your entertainment. Anyone can call themselves a DJ nowadays. The ones that really stand out are the ones who help you along the way and match your vision in every way possible."
The consult and booking process with Josh typically events meeting over coffee and asking lots of questions to ensure everyone is on the same page. "It allows them to see my personality and I get to see theirs," he says of the first meeting. "I try to get to know my clients as much as possible. By getting to know their wants, needs, ideas and thoughts on their wedding, it allows me to hit a bullseye every time. The more information I can get, the easier it is."
Josh says the number one goal is always to have guests walk out of a big day saying, "This was the BEST wedding we have EVER been to!"
WORKING WITH OTHER VENDORS
Knowing about and communicating with the other wedding vendors for a client's day makes a huge difference, Josh says.
"Working well with other vendors is extremely important, because if all of the vendors are on the same wavelength, then the wedding or event will run a lot smoother. Think of a wedding as a well-oiled machine -- if all parts are moving freely and in sync with each other, then that machine will continue to work flawlessly for as long as you need it to."
All of your wedding day vendors should know timing of events, location of key moments and tinier details like exact spots for things like entrances and cake-cuttings, etc.
WEDDING DAY ENTERTAINMENT TRENDS
Things like receiving lines and dollar dances seem to be happening less and less frequently, Josh said. Bouquet and garter tosses also are losing popularity among his recent couples.
Old trends may see unique twists put on them, too.
Josh is looking forward to new and fun ways to get crowd interaction at his weddings, through things like guy and girl dance battles and maybe new lip sync battles, even featuring a trophy for the winner.
"Music is a very powerful thing," Josh says. "It has the ability to make people smile, cry, laugh and bring everyone together."
Josh loves seeing the look of amazement when a couple first enters their venue and sees all of their plans come to life.
"It's almost like a kid running downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing everything that Santa brought them," he says with a laugh.
Having clients become lifelong friends is so meaningful to Josh and he's grateful to his past and future clients.
"It means more to me than people realize that they have me share in one of my biggest days of their lives."