September 20, 2005 10:40 AM PDT

It's a nice day for an iPod wedding

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As a bride-to-be, Jessica Spence was taking extra care to note the details at a friend's wedding recently.

One thing that stood out to her was an idle-looking DJ who hit a few buttons on his laptop and appeared to take the rest of the night easy.

"I swear to god, the DJ was playing Solitaire throughout the dinner and cocktail hour," Spence noted in an online forum at wedding-planning site TheKnot.com. "It seems sort of silly to pay someone a lot of money to sit at a laptop and put on songs when we can do the exact same thing."

"You bring it, you program it, it sounds great. It doesn't surprise me at all that more people are doing it."
--Lori Leibovich, editor, IndieBride.com

With their confidence in wedding DJs dented, Spence and her fiance are counting on their iPod to provide the musical entertainment at their wedding reception in Minneapolis later this month. They're among a growing number of couples making personal music players a central part of their big day.

Keeping wedding budgets in check is one reason couples are going the digital-DJ route. According to wedding-planning guide Bridal Bargains, professional DJs charge an average of $600 per wedding. A live band can run upwards of $1,000. If a couple has already plunked down $300 or so for an iPod or an iRiver, and spent hours refining their digital-music collection, it's easy to see why a DJ might seem superfluous.

"What could be easier?" said Lori Leibovich, editor of IndieBride.com, a Web site for brides. "You bring it, you program it, it sounds great. It doesn't surprise me at all that more people are doing it."

Do-it-yourself wedding music has emerged as a popular discussion topic on IndieBride's discussion forums, as well as those at TheKnot.com. In another signal that the trend is on the rise, the latest edition of the best-selling book "Bridal Bargains" features a section on "the iPod wedding."

Celebrities are looking into iPods as DJs, too. Rock star Alanis Morissette, who's engaged to actor Ryan Reynolds, has said during recent interviews that she may use an iPod at her wedding next year.

Indulging your inner DJ
Saving money obviously isn't the only motivation. Many couples view their wedding music as an opportunity to express themselves and put a personal stamp on their event. A digital-music player seems to set a more relaxed tone, too, one bride-to-be said.

"I think it will really add to the feel of the night not being so staged," said Emily Mighdoll, who is planning to use an iPod at her wedding next year in Delray Beach, Fla. "There's music, but no one will be telling us what to do the whole night. It's also sort of neat being able to control a piece of how the party goes."

It's also the ultimate way to indulge a bride or groom's inner disc jockey. Grooms, in particular, find that aspect appealing, Mighdoll said.

"My fiance is definitely an audiophile and has tons and tons of music--anything we'd want a DJ to play and more," she said. "He's definitely selecting the playlists." (Mighdoll, however, said she's retaining veto power over the song selection.)

But do-it-yourself wedding music is not as simple as it might sound. For one thing, most couples find that they need to borrow or rent a sound system, including speakers, amplifiers, cables and a microphone. Rental costs can easily exceed $100.

Couples may also want to ask a trusted friend or family member to play MC and manage music transitions from dinner to dancing. Others advise using a laptop to sidestep some of pocket-size players' limitations, such as some iPods' 2- or 3-second pause between songs. Backing up music to a CD in case of a technical malfunction is also not a bad idea.

Music selection can also be tricky, a former radio DJ writes on IndieBride's online forum. "From a DJ's perspective, the music is not for you," she writes. "You are not playing your favorite songs. You are playing songs people want to hear and that people want to dance to."

She recommends sticking to crowd pleasers like "YMCA" by the Village People and "Whip It" by Devo.

Professional DJs say all of this detail is too much for most amateurs to handle. That's why the technology isn't putting any DJs out of business, said Jim Tremayne, editor of DJ Times magazine.

"A good, experienced, professional mobile DJ will offer more than music selection," Tremayne said in an e-mail interview. "That DJ will offer the timing that an iPod can't. He'll do introductions. He'll play the music at the exact time that you want. He'll offer the expertise of someone who's done this hundreds of times."

82 comments

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This is a good thing for society
Wedding DJs play songs like YMCA because they're easy. Really though, is that song reflective of *anyone's* relationship? Yet it's played by DJs at every single wedding...YUCK!

For some reason people are starting to use iPods, but this has been possible to do for years with CD-Rs or tapes.

I think perhaps it's easier to have someone switch playlists in iTunes or an iPod which may make the difference.

In any case, I think people will start putting on much more meaningful songs that better reflect their lives as a result of this.

I can't imagine the response when a bride-to-be asks her mate to name the songs he thinks of when he thinks of his love for her, and the song he picks centers around the lyrics "It's fun to hang out with all the boys".

And no, this isn't an anti-gay thing. I can't imagine the same question being asked by a gay spouse-to-be and the answer that comes back involves song based on cruising as opposed to monogamy and commitment.

Bottom line: iPods will make weddings more elegant.
Posted by macslut (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I did the same thing
But since I got married in 2000 I just used a CD-R.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
YMCA - If you hate it, stop dancing
MrEd,
DJ's Play YMCA because people dance to it, yet they also play music that is meaningful to the relationship. If you hate the song, sit down, stop dancing, and shut up: you are in the minority.
A wedding is about the couple, the reception is to share their happiness with thier friends and family. A wedding is about elegance, the reception is a party. If you want to replace the curch organist with an IPOD, go right ahead (I wouldn't reccommend it though). If you replace a wedding DJ with an IPOD, I think it would look pretty funny in a Tux.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
In response to "Mr Ed" "elegant comment"
Mr. Ed,

I have to strongly disagree with your final summation that by employing the use of a digital mp3 placback device (i.e. "iPod) *make* a wedding more elegant. I have been a professional, full-time mobile disc jockey for over 10 years and when you look at a DJs equipment, lighting, or type of CD players, you are focused on the tools. An iPod or Digital DJ system, music, or even lighting are just tools. That would be like saying, "I'm going to hire Bob the carpenter because he uses that new Craftsman HandyMan wrench. He can build be an elegant-looking den."

I do agree that playing songs unique to the bride/groom's taste is particularly important, as is listening to their ideas. Did you know that not ALL DJs play YMCA? In fact, I never play that, the "Chicken Dance, Hokey Pokey, Cha Cha Slide, or the Electric Slide", unless requested by the couple and guests. A real entertainer will take the time to establish a relationship with his clients. He/she serves as the "spokesperson" for the bride and groom and is responsible for ensuring the evening flows smoothly. He is their MC, s(he) makes announcements, learns the correct pronuncation of their names, *doesn't* embarrass the guests or upstage his clients, and most importantly, he puts the focus on the wedding couple, not himself. To say an iPod adds "elegance" to an event is hardly an intelligent suggestion. Again, it is just a "tool" in the bag of tricks that is needed to combine with both talent and experience.

And for those who complain that wedding entertainment is too expensive... consider the outcome of your event and ponder this: "On the night of your wedding will you be thinking about HOW MUCH YOU SPENT on entertainment or will you realize the QUALITY (BAD OR GOOD) of your entertainer?

Thanks for letting me share.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
hahaha yeah right
Call me ........ Not when you ruin a few functions you attend after suggesting the use of IPODS

I always get a call back the NEXT year after that one is ruined and they want a Professional to do the Correct way not an IDUD

have a nice day
Posted by icemanx (8 comments )
Link Flag
And so you say
I guess the new generation of techies feels that their knowledge
of music makes them experts on how to entertain people of all
ages and ethnic backgrounds. As an apple user in more than a
few areas, I own 2 iPods, 2 laptops, and 2 desktops, and 1
windows machine. I also DJ for a living and have tried every
format to entertain people for many years. I disagree that iPods
are the way to go because they only make good back-up units
for my large collection of music and usually sits on the bench
during my gigs. Can you name any meaningful songs that are
dance songs? Or do people really want to listen to 5 of 6 hours
of love songs!...YUCK! Being a wedding professional, means
taking care of the bride & groom and their guests which include
people young and old of different backgrounds. The reason
professionals are hired, is to manage and play the appropriate
music for the couple and interact with people to encourage
dancing. I've never seen a group of people who liked the same
music or the same songs at these parties so I guess the iPod will
no when to shift gears. Or will the designated DJ pull an old
classic from his archives that almost everyone will know? It's
great to know that some people can analyze the lyrics to YMCA
and make sure everyone knows it's meaning. Give me your
address so I can mail you a consulting fee.
Posted by djjiml (4 comments )
Link Flag
And so you say
I guess the new generation of techies feels that their knowledge
of music makes them experts on how to entertain people of all
ages and ethnic backgrounds. As an apple user in more than a
few areas, I own 2 iPods, 2 laptops, and 2 desktops, and 1
windows machine. I also DJ for a living and have tried every
format to entertain people for many years. I disagree that iPods
are the way to go because they only make good back-up units
for my large collection of music and usually sits on the bench
during my gigs. Can you name any meaningful songs that are
dance songs? Or do people really want to listen to 5 of 6 hours
of love songs!...YUCK! Being a wedding professional, means
taking care of the bride & groom and their guests which include
people young and old of different backgrounds. The reason
professionals are hired, is to manage and play the appropriate
music for the couple and interact with people to encourage
dancing. I've never seen a group of people who liked the same
music or the same songs at these parties so I guess the iPod will
know when to shift gears. Or will the designated DJ pull an old
classic from his archives that almost everyone will know? It's
great to know that some people can analyze the lyrics to YMCA
and make sure everyone knows it's meaning. Give me your
address so I can mail you a consulting fee.
Posted by djjiml (4 comments )
Link Flag
And so you say
I guess the new generation of techies feels that their
knowledge<br> of music makes them experts on how to
entertain people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. As an apple
user in more than a few areas, I own 2 iPods, 2 laptops, and 2
desktops, and 1 windows machine. I also DJ for a living and have
tried every format to entertain people for many years. I disagree
that iPods are the way to go because they only make good back-
up units for my large collection of music and usually sits on the
bench during my gigs. Can you name any meaningful songs that
are dance songs? Or do people really want to listen to 5 of 6
hours of love songs!...YUCK! Being a wedding professional,
means taking care of the bride &#38; groom and their guests which
include people young and old of different backgrounds. The
reason professionals are hired, is to manage and play the
appropriate music for the couple and interact with people to
encourage dancing. I've never seen a group of people who liked
the same music or the same songs at these parties so I guess
the iPod will know when to shift gears. Or will the designated DJ
pull an old classic from his archives that almost everyone will
know? It's great to know that some people can analyze the lyrics
to YMCA and make sure everyone knows it's meaning. Give me
your address so I can mail you a consulting fee.
Posted by djjiml (4 comments )
Link Flag
And so you say
I guess the new generation of techies feels that their knowledge
of music makes them experts on how to entertain people of all
ages and ethnic backgrounds. As an apple user in more than a
few areas, I own 2 iPods, 2 laptops, and 2 desktops, and 1
windows machine. I also DJ for a living and have tried every
format to entertain people for many years. I disagree that iPods
are the way to go because they only make good back-up units
for my large collection of music and usually sits on the bench
during my gigs. Can you name any meaningful songs that are
dance songs? Or do people really want to listen to 5 of 6 hours
of love songs!...YUCK! Being a wedding professional, means
taking care of the bride &#38; groom and their guests which include
people young and old of different backgrounds. The reason
professionals are hired, is to manage and play the appropriate
music for the couple and interact with people to encourage
dancing. I've never seen a group of people who liked the same
music or the same songs at these parties so I guess the iPod will
know when to shift gears. Or will the designated DJ pull an old
classic from his archives that almost everyone will know? It's
great to know that some people can analyze the lyrics to YMCA
and make sure everyone knows it's meaning. Give me your
address so I can mail you a consulting fee.
Posted by djjiml (4 comments )
Link Flag
Refresh my memory...
How many weddings have you planned and coordinated? That's what I thought...
Posted by jwh704 (8 comments )
Link Flag
I Was A Pro DJ..
....and I mean professional club DJ touring my native UK and Scandinavia in some fantastic clubs. 1974 - 1987 I made my living DJ'ing and was/am still told I was good at it - notice I don't say I thought I was good at it I just had a party every night :)

I came to the United States in 1995 and saw a wedding DJ in San Francisco that was absolutely chronic - it was pathetic and I was so embarrassed that everyone knew I was an ex DJ.

I decided to start up my own wedding DJ business and was booked solid for a few years due to my NO YMCA and NO Chicken Dance policy.

After a few years I just couldn't handle the monotony of playing the same 30 songs over and over again.

I seldom had a really imaginative Bride and Groom that weren't cookie cutter so gave up.

The funny side - I now rent out iPod/iTunes friendly sound systems here in the Charlotte Area for Brides and Grooms that just want to do it their way - I have seen much suffering

To all the self proclaimed "Entertainers" here you'll be selling up soon. What one earth is entertaining about giving out straw hats and forcing people to do the Macarena

iPod is the way to go!

www.davidcheese.com
Posted by david28078 (1 comment )
Link Flag
See more comment replies
Just one less unnecessary expense.
My wife and I were married in our Churchs temple in
Washington, D.C.. She bought the material for her dress for
under $100 and had her grandmother in West Virginia sew it for
her. I wore a new suit, which I continued to use on a regular
basis thereafter. A friend of her family made a three-tiered
wedding cake for $80 for the reception in Indiana, and my
parents and their friends made all the food for the sit-down
reception in New Jersey (except a fairly standard cake). The
music at both receptions was provided by a CD boom box.

We had an absolutely beautiful wedding, plus two receptions in
two different states (over 300 invited guests, between the two)
for somewhere around $750and that included gas for about
3,000 miles of driving. (Yes, gas was about $1/gallon back then.
Deal with it.)

I guess what Im trying to say is that Ive never understood why
anyone would ever pay for a DJor half the things they seem to
think are important for a weddinganyway. Were at least as
married as anyone else, and we didnt have to mortgage our
house to get there!

Just my 2ยข&.
Posted by the Otter (247 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ask your guests years later
I bet they will say "yeah the music sucked - there was no Dj and we where bored all night"
or
"I have seen cheap weddings before but no Dj was the cheapest yet"

I hear that from people that have been to "Cheap" weddings for over 20x years
thats why they will always hire a Professional Dj to do thier functions

have a nice day
Posted by icemanx (8 comments )
Link Flag
Cheap, Cheap, Cheap!
Well, if you don't want to spend any money on a party then you shouldn't have a party!

80% of the success of most events (like receptions) is going to depend on the ENTERTAINMENT! Whether it's a DJ, Band, Magicians, Jugglers or whatever...

The Entertainment will affect the success whether they are good OR bad! Bad band? Bad event... Great DJ? Great Event... Get the picture?

In MY opinion if you INVITE people to a reception, you should ENTERTAIN them and supply them with FOOD and DRINKS at NO COST to your guests! After all, they are YOUR GUESTS!! You wouldn't invite someone someone over to your house to watch the superbowl and then ask them to pitch in $6 towards your cable bill!!

But hey, imagine that. You are having a superbowl party, but you are doing it cheap, cheap, cheap...

You ask everyone to bring their own food, their own drinks... You will supply everything else!

Almost game time... And you go over and turn on your 12" Black &#38; White TV set and start wiggling the 'rabbit ear' antennea to get the game! Now THAT's entertainment!! Oh yeah baby! Everyone will have a GREAT time!!

People rarely complain to the B&#38;G about things like them playing music on a CD player - why? because they already figured out you were way to cheap to hire proper entertainment and hey, it's your 'special day', why ruin it for you? Nah... instead they will just tell the story of the 'cheezy wedding' they went to every year at Thanksgiving or Christmas! but hey, see, you made them into entertainers. "Hey, did we ever tell you about Jim and Susies wedding? No? Wow, they were so cheap... First, they had a 'pay it yourself' bar... Then, when it came to dancing, they had a little ghetto blaster playing some CD they made up. Sounded like crap. Talk about cheap. Only about 10 people got up to dance and the were drunk!

Oh well... If that's the kind of party YOU want to throw, then go for it!

But MOST people want to have a GREAT reception with Good food, good drinks and good entertainment!

hey, maybe we should start a new trend. Wedding Reception cover charges!! yeah... As the guests arrive, just ask them to each pay $50 to cover the cost of the food, service, drinks (only 1 free!) and entertainment...

Yeah, that will go over bigtime!!

Remember - They'll forget the food, but not the FUN!!
Posted by AlanMck (2 comments )
Link Flag
Power to the DJ's
Man I spent $30,000 on my wedding. The DJ costs were $2500, plus another $3000 for the video and $2000 for the photographer. I don't get why you people are getting so chintzy. If I had said I was gonna use my iPod for the music, my wife would have killed me.
Posted by (174 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Truth about Music at Weddings
I am a techie and would love nothing more than the concept of an IPod Wedding. I automate my computer for all my house parties; I am a lover of music of all kinds.

Now the Truth is, I personally would never setup a playlist and hit play for a wedding. Music at weddings all depends on the size of the wedding and the type of guests. If you have a small quiet group that just wants to socialize, you can pipe in rat pack / jazz music and be just fine. If you have a roudy, beer drinking crowd that would give up anything to be a groupie for INXS, than a live band is usually the way to go. If you have a hyper crowd that lives at dance clubs, than any old DJ is the way to go. Finally if you have a large, mixed crowd (as most weddings do), than what you need is a professional entertainer. The difference between a DJ and an Entertainer is huge. A DJ is any tech savvy kid that can put CD's into a machine and push buttons. An Entertainer is a professional who's job it is to make sure everyone at the party gets what they expect from the night.

An Entertainer will get out on the dance floor and teach a crowd the Hokey Pokey or the Electric Slide. They are able to read the crowd and adjust the music to what the crowd responds to. An entertainer has the ability to get the brides grandmother to dance the funky chicken. Having fun is contagious and Entertainers have the ability to pull that fun out of people. Most importantly, an Entertainer can pull a huge burden off the couple when it comes to time management. Entertainers keep the night going long enough so the couple isn't overwhelmed by all guest at once. It gives them time to rotate through the crowd as people come and go from the dance floor.

An IPOD can play through the music that a couple likes to hear, but it can't predict what everyone at the party wants to hear. It can't direct everyone's attention away from a embarrassing moment when crisis occurs. It can't step in and change the mood of a crowd to prevent a fight from breaking out. In other words, it would be like having a bar with a machine that you put your money into and get alcohol out. it can't put a smile on your face with a witty comment, it can't wipe a tear from an eye, and it can't protect you and those around you by cutting you off. You tip bartenders for being human, and you pay (and hopefully tip) DJs/entertainers for doing the same.

Yes there is logic to playlisting your own music, you save money and are in more control. The thing that marks the difference is either having an wedding reception, and having a wedding reception to remember.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Entertainers
Very true, but DJs are not always that good. If I knew a rent-a-DJ who was that good then I might have considered the same option. I had a relatively small wedding and I was a bit socially swamped by the guests.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
thinking back over weddings i've attended, really, the music doesn't matter! it's the company. no deejay can turn a tableful of bores into charming raconteurs, and no laptop playlist will turn your friends and family into people you don't want around on your big day.
Posted by jamidwyer (6 comments )
Link Flag
Reord companies will want their cut
So, if you play your own tunes at a wedding, do you have to pay the record companies royalties? I know our church has to pay royalties for some of the songs they use.

I know it would be difficult for the record companies to enforce this, but they might try anyway.
Posted by Mad Dog - Chi (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes.
The MPAA would tell you it's a public
performance of a work (and, technically they
would be right). In practice, if they had to
negotiate with every wedding party, it would be
a madhouse -- not to mention that it would be
impractical from the standpoint in that
"fair-use" might actually be successfully argued
in many cases (making fighting it a risky
crap-shoot).

I would add that when you hire a DJ you also get
access to his catalog (which, hopefully, is
bigger than yours), his equipment, and,
hopefully someone that makes a decent MC and
host (but that's rare). This may or may not be
of value.

Also, I don't see this as an iPod phenomenon.
While an iPod is great and all, you would have
much better luck with a laptop and the
approriate software (music database). amaroK?
[ <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://amarok.kde.org/" target="_newWindow">http://amarok.kde.org/</a> ]
[ <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://amarok.kde.org/index.php?full=1&#38;set_albumName=album03&#38;id=07_G&#38;option=com_gallery&#38;Itemid=60&#38;include=view_photo.php" target="_newWindow">http://amarok.kde.org/index.php?full=1&#38;set_albumName=album03&#38;id=07_G&#38;option=com_gallery&#38;Itemid=60&#38;include=view_photo.php</a> ]
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
Link Flag
Yes.
The MPAA would tell you it's a public
performance of a work (and, technically they
would be right). In practice, if they had to
negotiate with every wedding party, it would be
a madhouse -- not to mention that it would be
impractical from the standpoint in that
"fair-use" might actually be successfully argued
in many cases (making fighting it a risky
crap-shoot).

I would add that when you hire a DJ you also get
access to his catalog (which, hopefully, is
bigger than yours), his equipment, and,
hopefully someone that makes a decent MC and
host (but that's rare). This may or may not be
of value.

Also, I don't see this as an iPod phenomenon.
While an iPod is great and all, you would have
much better luck with a laptop and the
approriate software (music database). amaroK?
[ <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://amarok.kde.org/" target="_newWindow">http://amarok.kde.org/</a> ]
[ <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://amarok.kde.org/index.php?full=1&#38;set_albumName=album03&#38;id=07_G&#38;option=com_gallery&#38;Itemid=60&#38;include=view_photo.php" target="_newWindow">http://amarok.kde.org/index.php?full=1&#38;set_albumName=album03&#38;id=07_G&#38;option=com_gallery&#38;Itemid=60&#38;include=view_photo.php</a> ]
Posted by Gleeplewinky (289 comments )
Link Flag
No, they won't
A wedding is technically a private party/performance...not open to the public. The RIAA /ASCAP/BMI will get to continue to spend their precious time prosecuting 10 year olds who use Kazaa.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
Cassette Tapes and Small Weddings
Great for Smaller Wedding

At big weddings you need someone to read the crowd, make announcements, pass the microphone around and some of the DJ these days, entertain, dance or teach line dances. Plus to fill a big hall up with music you need some big speakers and amplifiers.

But for a small wedding, say about 100 people, in a small venue its easy to do your own music and put a friend in charge of it.

Twenty years ago when I got married we really didnt have the budget for a DJ. My roommate and I took our music collections and put together 3 hours of cassette tapes with all our favorites and a few crowd favorites. My roommate ran the music. We used my stereo, tape deck and turntable and some 100 watt speakers and filled the small reception hall with our personalized music.

What was cool about having tapes was we took them with us on our honeymoon and listened to them in the car, and we listened to them at home and on trips. Eventually the wedding tapes demagnetized to the point they sounded like crap. A couple years ago I listened to the terrible quality old tapes, made a list, bought CDs I didnt have and ripped ever song from our wedding to MP3. I added them to a new MP3 player for my wife for an anniversary present.

Now that we have that cleared up, someone explain why wedding cake is $6-12 a slice?
Posted by timcoyote (56 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Carefull what you wish for...
As someone who has been to and worked at numerous weddings, I really am skeptical about the whole "Ipod the reception" craze.

In my mind, the most important function of the DJ at your garden variety wedding is to keep things on schedule! Trust me, I've been to weddings that were "unstructured" and they ending up being meandering, boring train wrecks! People started leaving before some of the big events (toast, bouquet, first dance etc.) had even occured. If your guest list is narrow, and everyone has the same background, then this type of thinking outside the box can work. A larger, more diverse crowd needs structure! If you use the Ipod method, than make sure you have a coordinator to keep things moving along.

The opportunity to select music that's meaningfull to the couple is a benefit, but the same caveat applies. If everyone on the guest list is into techno, fine. But when you have a diverse crowd, chances are your music will be boring to some if it's too eclectic.

The other problem is managing the technical side. Players fail, batteries die etc. etc. Often people cut costs with video by trusting Uncle Joe to use his camcorder, but more times than not, the results can be less than professional.
Posted by RickBee (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
actually, that's not a good idea
As someone who has coordinated the music at over 1100 weddings- and as an avid iPod lover- let me tell you why that's not a good idea.

You know how in iTunes the music segues seamlessly from one song to the next? Ever notice that it doesn't do that on your iPod? That 2 or 3 second gap after every song sure will kill the mood on the dancefloor. You could, of course, bring your laptop and use iTunes, but that's not what the story was about.

The real crux of the matter is that a good DJ reads the room, handles requests and beat- matches the music to keep the party groove going. While a DJ may have a standard playlist of backgrund music during dinner, once the action starts, it's an organic flow of music based on the mood of the moment. They use their experience at sometimes thousdands of events to pick the perfect next song. In my experience, brides and grooms can often be their own worst enemy when it comes to picking music. Everybody thinks that they have great musical tase, of course, but given the chance, grooms will often use the opportunity to show all their family and friends how hip they are. Auntie Betty just wants to hear "I Will Survive" so she can shake that thing, it's not the time for a Kraftwerk/Dr. Dre mashup to impress the groomsmen. Don't you want Aunty Betty dto have a good time at your wedding? She brought you a very nice toaster- oven, you know. A good DJ pre-plans the event to showcase the clients' msuical taste without killing the party.

In essence, the only advantage of using an iPod at your wedindg is saving a few bucks. When all of your guests start making excuses and leaving early, you'll wish you had hired a pro to handle the music- the #1 thing most guests remember from a wedding according to recent surveys.

www.willowentertainment.com
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Actually it is a good idea
I took a great deal of time to set up the music for our wedding
last year. I had my (now) brother-in-law help during the
reception, and it worked perfectly. We had several mixes ready
to go, covering the musical tastes of myself and my wife as well
as the rest of the family.

Many of the problems you mention - like the two second delay -
are easily done by changing the settings on your iPOD. The only
problem we had was getting a PA system that could handle the
output from the iPod.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
Bad Idea
I worked as a wedding DJ for over 10 years, but I wouldn't trust my own iPod on "shuffle" or playing a list as the music for my own wedding.

An iPod can't see when a song is killing the dance floor and change it up.
An iPod can't take last minute requests for the "song your Aunt and Uncle danced to at their wedding 45 years ago."
An iPod can't see when a particular style of music is rockin' your crowd and keep the floor going, preventing people from leaving early.
An iPod can't transition tunes, so I hope you like silence between songs, you're gonna hear a lot of it.

Let's try some analogies...
How about you pre-order what you think everyone will want for drinks ahead of time?
How about you pre-order what you think everyone will want to eat?
Ridiculous? Of course.

I have been known to pre-mix a party tape for parties, and it killed. But...I had a very specific audience and a very specific set of tunes..it ain't hard to make a good mix for a 3 hour period for drunk people to dance to. But, it was pre MIXED...no silence. And it was targeted at a very specific demographic. I would always prefer a live DJ, but since I didn't want any of my friends to have to work, I pre-made tapes. Although, since there were usually about 10 DJs at the party, someone always ended up taking over and mixing out of the tape!

One thing left out of the story...did the laptop DJ do a good job? Did he fill the dance floor? It ain't the tools that make a good DJ..it's reading your crowd. I want to go to Jessica Spence's workplace and critique how she does her job now...and see how many buttons SHE pushes on the job.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
um... you do pre-order all the food and drinks for a wedding. it's difficult, but that's exactly how it works. for a bride or groom who loves music, choosing the music ahead of time is way more fun than choosing the food and drinks. i'm sure you provide a valuable service for people who want traditional receptions, with dancing and garter removal and face-cake-smashing and such, and for people who don't care about music as much as you do. but not everyone is in that target demo.
Posted by jamidwyer (6 comments )
Link Flag
It's a Nice Day for an IPOD Wedding
It is ridiculous to think about IPODs putting a dent in the need for a DJ. The IPOD, if used, is just one small part of the job. Other important aspects of the DJs work include:

Pre-event planning--helping the bride and groom plan the reception and timeline.

Selecting appropriate music for guests as well as bride and groom.

Responding to requests.

Providing a professional sound system appropriate to the location of the wedding and reception. (That's not as easy as renting a sound system for $150. A lot of things can go wrong if you are not familiar with the sound system. Is that something the bride and groom want to risk at their wedding? )

Setting up and breaking down the sound system. (That can be a more work than one might think. Most DJs arrive 1 1/2 hours *before* the music is scheduled to start.)

Dealing with last minute changes.

Making announcements to keep the reception flowing smoothly.

Quickly switching music to enhance various events at the reception: cake cutting, bouquet toos, garter toss, money dance, generations dance, children's dances and so on.

In my case, as a musician and dance teacher, I also provide other related services to the bride and groom: optional live music and private dance lessons. I use Itunes myself on a laptop and have a duplicate copy of the entire play list on an IPOD as a backup. I don't used the IPOD except in emergencies or when there is a need to fade one tune into another.

True, a DJ doesn't need to keep busy during the reception flipping CDs any more. Now the DJ has time for other things. In my case, I'm not playing solitare, but walking around checking the reaction of guests, perhaps interviewing the grandfather, who will likely win the prize for being married the longest. Or I may be getting ready to play the piano or to teach a dance lesson at the reception.

Digital music devices like IPODs are just making it possible for the DJ to provide better quality service to the bride and groom. They won't replace Wedding DJs!

Phil Seyer
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.LoveMusicLoveDance.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.LoveMusicLoveDance.com</a>
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nice Day for an IPOD Wedding
It is ridiculous to think about IPODs putting a dent in the need for a DJ. The IPOD, if used, is just one small part of the job. Other important aspects of the DJs work include:

Pre-event planning--helping the bride and groom plan the reception and timeline.

Selecting appropriate music for guests as well as bride and groom.

Responding to requests.

Providing a professional sound system appropriate to the location of the wedding and reception. (That's not as easy as renting a sound system for $150. A lot of things can go wrong if you are not familiar with the sound system. Is that something the bride and groom want to risk at their wedding? )

Setting up and breaking down the sound system. (That can be a more work than one might think. Most DJs arrive 1 1/2 hours *before* the music is scheduled to start.)

Dealing with last minute changes.

Making announcements to keep the reception flowing smoothly.

Quickly switching music to enhance various events at the reception: cake cutting, bouquet toos, garter toss, money dance, generations dance, children's dances and so on.

In my case, as a musician and dance teacher, I also provide other related services to the bride and groom: optional live music and private dance lessons. I use Itunes myself on a laptop and have a duplicate copy of the entire play list on an IPOD as a backup. I don't used the IPOD except in emergencies or when there is a need to fade one tune into another.

True, a DJ doesn't need to keep busy during the reception flipping CDs any more. Now the DJ has time for other things. In my case, I'm not playing solitare, but walking around checking the reaction of guests, perhaps interviewing the grandfather, who will likely win the prize for being married the longest. Or I may be getting ready to play the piano or to teach a dance lesson at the reception.

Digital music devices like IPODs are just making it possible for the DJ to provide better quality service to the bride and groom. They won't replace Wedding DJs!

Phil Seyer
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.LoveMusicLoveDance.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.LoveMusicLoveDance.com</a>
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh Please....
How ridiculous is this? So you want to save a few hundred dollars and use an iPod at the most important day of your life?

So you spend the time programming your iPod, get all your favorite songs lined up in the order you want them played.

Now what?

OK, spend a few hours calling around trying to find RENTED PA speakers, cables, amplifier, mixer, microphones, dance lighting. The article suggests this would be in excess of $100. Boy are they right...WAY inexcess of $100 and more like $300.

OK, you have arranged your rental equipment, but if you want it delivered, and if they even offer to deliver it, it's another $50 bucks or so. Now you are going to set it all up right?

Let's assume you have the technical knowledge to patch into your amplifier and set the mixer and microphone gain properly, and you know about speaker placement and feedback issues and sound checks. You are going to do all this when? You have the facility for about 5 hours. Not to mention you're getting married that day. Hmmm.

So you have a friend who volunteers to miss out on the wedding and do all this for you during the ceremony. He has also volunteered to run your iPod all night long for you and deal with the dozens of song requests that will come in. He will also deal with all the disgruntled guests who are unhappy because you don't have the song they want to hear. It's played at every other wedding in the world but the person with the iPod didn't think about that particular song so sorry, out of luck. People start leaving.

Now you have fumbled your way through the Grand Entrance, dinner and First Dance. Your schedule has gone to hell in a handbasket because no one is paying attention to the timeline which allows you to get everything done in the amount of time you have the facility for. You rush through the last few formalities and get ready to leave on your honeymoon...but wait..oh yeah, you have to return the rental gear and the facility wants it out now. You think the guy who rented to you is gong to show up at midnight to pick it up? Try again.

Digital DJ'ing with a laptop allows the DJ to fill your requests faster, bring alot more music because he doesn't have to haul hundreds of pounds of CD cases, setup and teardown quicker which cuts down on the facility time, and the freedon to setup up short mixes so he can go about doing his business like coordinating with the photographer and caterer to make sure everyone is where they need to be and the glasses are filled for the toasts and take care of all the little details that no one gives them an ounce of credit for.

You get top notch professional equipment, not beatup rental gear that looks like it came from a school auditorium, and you get someone to handle the details of getting the equipment where it needs to be, when it needs to be there.

You get someone who has a vested interest in making your guests happy, and providing an enjoyable, hassle free experience on your most important day.

Do you want to trust all this to iPod?

Ken Wilson
San Diego DJ
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Oh please to you pro-DJ's
We did this at our wedding last month and it was a SMASHING success. The dooms-day scenarios the professional DJ's have posted here are nauseating and far from the reality that my husband and I experienced. I understand they have a vested interest in bride and groom's not doing this but they are trying to scare people out of even considering it! This isn't for everyone, they're right, but DJ's aren't for everyone either. Some people don't care what music is played, or they just don't want to worry about it. Great, let 'em hire a DJ. Others of us do care, a lot. We love music, and have a huge music collection that we were able to draw from. What we didn't own we bought from second hand CD shops and we will forever have our wedding playlist at our fingertips. So here was our reality: finding the equipment was not difficult. We have a friend who hosts karaoke and they put us in touch with a shop that rents high quality equipment. It certainly didn't take any more time or effort than interviewing 10 DJ's would have been. Setting up the eqipment was REALLY not difficult, puh-lease everyone knows at least one techy-type who can help them out. Our best man spent about 20 minutes on set-up total which was done before the wedding so no one missed the ceremony or any photos. Our laptop did not require being "run" all evening long--it's capable of running itself amazingly enough. Our playlists were great, and flexible so the four or five times during the evening when one of our friends wanted to change it up they did. No one had to stand there all night and stare at the playlist. None of our guests were disapointed that we didn't play the chicken dance or any other song for that matter, and if they were I'm sure they can hear it at the next pro-DJ'd wedding they go to. Only wedding DJ's think people like tacky music still, and no one left our dance early because they didn't get to hear the song they wanted. We had over 50% of our guests still going strong when we shut down the bar and the music at midnight. Our dance floor was packed from start to finish. Our best man did a terrific job as emcee, he was funny and told anecdotes about us all night, which was natural for him to do since he's known us for over 10 years. Oh, and he was able to emcee AND have a good time because there are really a limited number of announcements that needed to be made: dinner being served, first dance, anniversary dance, and last dance. Not too difficult, and he added a personal note to the evening that a stranger could not have. It took another 30 minutes to take down the equipment and put it away, which was handled by one of our groomsmen before we even realized it. We didn't want or need a fancy light display or cheesy fog machine. We had a site coordinator and two personal attendant's to make sure that the day was running smoothly, we didn't need to pay a DJ $800 to do that. Our playlist was flexible because it was on the laptop and our groomsmen were able to move things around and add in songs when they wanted to. We played lots of oldies, motown, and beatles, and our guests loved it!! And that is the story of my real life DIY DJ experience, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I hope that I get to go to more weddings like it too, because I love weddings that reflect who the couple is and I don't think the Electric Slide really accomplishes that.
Posted by jlh33 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Umm...
You gotta be kidding me, i've hooked up many a laptop to pa using the free version of musicmatch jukebox before... And how long have laptops been around.
Posted by advs89 (68 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yeah ummmm
yeah and your friends all huddled around a tiny speaker just to hear at a wedding from a laptop
- no thanks I would rather hire a Dj (With a laptop) that knows what he is doing...

have a nice day
Posted by icemanx (8 comments )
Link Flag
We did it.
We used an iPod at our wedding instead of hiring a DJ and we're
VERY glad we did!

At every wedding we have been to the DJ was crap, they're
anoying, they don't play good music, and in general seemed like
a total waste of money to us.

We set up our iPod with different play lists for each part of the
wedding, we had a wireless mic hooked up as well for toasts
and what not. we never had a problem, and everyone
complemented us on the music and many thought it was a great
idea and wished they had been able to use one at their
weddings.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
one in 10,000 went good
then what about many of the thousands of weddings that went well using a dj

even when a corporate group tried to use a idud (as most call it) they keep going back to using a Dj as thats how a Dj can get the crowd motivated better than an idud

have a nice day
Posted by icemanx (8 comments )
Link Flag
Historically flawed
If the idea of skimping on a real, live, human entertainer was as viable as Apple and others would have us believe, it would simply have happened 23+ years ago, in the 80's when Sony Walkmen cassette decks first appeared - and of course, Walkman weddings didnt catch on.

Of course, with a walkman you'd have been limited to a 90 minute or 120 minute playback depending on the length of cassette tape you chose, so, you'd need to task the best man with changing the 3 tapes over during a 6 hour event. With an i-pod of course, it'll play for hours, unattended.

Also, its a known factor that no matter how close the bride and groom are to their friends and family, the playlist which the happy couple compile will never match their guests tastes as well as a live DJ taking live requests can.

Even a consciencious bride &#38; groom to be, sitting around a table with many of their friends asking, in the cold light of day, what tunes everyone would like wont match what those same people would dance to, on an exciting day, especially after a few beverages.

Add in the costs, already mentioned above, for hiring in the other items which are needed to turn a personal music player into a disco (the speakers, the amplifiers, the lights, the wires, and not to mention -BACKUP- items for each piece of equipment, and you'll easily be over halfway the cost of a proper DJ.

Your wedding is (I sincerely hope) your ONE big day - there's no option of "come back tomorrow".

Whatever next? A Wal-mart wedding cake? Radio shack catalog for the gift list? Bride &#38; Groom to the Photo-Me Booth...Bridesmaids squeeze in next to them please...??? Theres a limit to where costs can be cut, and the single longest part of the day shouldnt be where the axe falls.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Excellent Post
Now that is Very true and well said United Dj

oh thats right a person that has only ONE time wedding knows what to do
so a Dj/wedding organiser knows nothing about what happens at a wedding

lol I seen it too many times they come crying when they goofed it up - I just say sorry its done not a thing can be done now its all over
unless you redo your WHOLE wedding reception

have a nice day
Posted by icemanx (8 comments )
Link Flag
Well said
Did everyone get that part about a backup system? What happens if your iPod get knocked over and stepped on by Cousin Eddie? Can you say - GAME OVER - ?
Posted by jwh704 (8 comments )
Link Flag
Warning! Train Wreck approaching...
I think what's missing in this discussion is the reason why Brides &#38; Grooms have chosen a DJ's, to this point, over any possible mechanical replacement. When done right DJ's do it all, they take the stress off the bride &#38; groom that day, not put more on. If a bride &#38; groom elects to "go it alone" there are MUCH more chances for something to go wrong (i.e. no MC for formal introductions or to maintain some kind of order to the event, unprofessional sound gear or things not hooked up properly, etc) not to mention a cheesy, "home-made" look &#38; sound when everything else is top-notch. Compare this to a properly configured DJ sound/lighting package that includes MC skills, which most professionals have spent years refining. Remember, when there's no order, there's chaos and by the way, don't look to the venue to give you any help with an iPod set-up, formal procedures or any of that. Most are much too busy that day trying to make your event as perfect as possible to even consider it, let alone wanting to be responsible for it. But the main point that I believe brides &#38; grooms may be missing (when considering using an iPod in place of a DJ) are the serious "programming skills" that it takes to keep the dance floor jamming all night long, with one song complementing the other. Remember, it's not just about the music, rather it's really about how the music is assembled, which drives the event. It's especially important to consider this when adding "non-traditional" or "eclectic" tunes to your agenda. These can alienate a crowd, killing the dance floor, if not placed in the right spot. These are things that your paying an experienced DJ professional to do, so that the FEELING you get from great dance music transcends the dance floor (almost seeming to be greater than the sum of it's parts) with dancing that is non-stop throughout your event.
Posted by CrestlineDJ (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
No Cheese Please
As a DJ I place emphasis on what my clients want. If they don't want the cheese (YMCA, line dances, games, etc.) they don't get it. It is that simple.

I am a computer DJ but I don't use a laptop. I use a rackmounted system that I custom built for music playback. Additionally, I maintain subscriptios to CD services that cater only to DJs and radio stations. I personally encode every CD that comes into my possession.

What can a DJ do for your wedding that your IPOD can't?

1. Beatmatch
2. Select the correct music
3. Play the correct music for the situation
4. Make appropriate announcements and introductions.
5. Take requests (if you want them)
6. Line up your bridal party for their introductions

And I am sure the list is even longer than this.

Now, I do plan to offer an IPOD Sound Reenforcement Package for the DIYers.
Posted by goodknightdj (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I would say thats a great Comment
You can see who knows what a real professional can do
keep up the great work and do what you been doing...
Posted by icemanx (8 comments )
Link Flag
Replacing your wedding dj with an iPod? Consider this:
Whether its true or not, most everyone agrees that wedding DJs are expensive. A popular tip circulating the net is to replace your wedding DJ with an iPod and DJ your reception yourself. While this may sound like a great idea, there are some things to consider. Just as with any do-it-yourself project, you must be aware of all facets before you start.

The first most important job for a good DJ is to play music that the crowd enjoys. A simple shuffle has no way of knowing who is dancing to what. A person does need to run things, but not just any person will do. Putting your 12 year old nephew in charge won't do you any good. The person in charge of the music needs a large amount of music knowledge. A good DJ should have this knowledge. A good DJ should be able to identify a song based on a few bars hummed out of tune or a snippet of lyrics that are slightly incorrect. Your DJ must not have a fear of speaking in front of a crowd, and this is not as easy as it sounds. One simply has to think of all the Best men who have hemmed and hawed their way through a wedding toast with the microphone held at waist level. Also, does he/she know how to auction off a garter or any of the other traditional reception activities? If not, will the bride and groom want to do these things while they should be enjoying their guests? Oh, and just like you would give your wedding singer or officiant a tip for performing your ceremony, don't forget a gratuity for your impromptu DJ.

Unless you're a music collector, chances are you don't have a music library with waltzes, polkas, old country, new country, oldies, classic rock, new rock, soft rock, hard rock, hip hop, dance, etc. And, unless you want to subject your guests to your musical tastes, you should probably buy a selection of these songs. If you're not up on popular waltzes and polkas, or don't know which songs are currently topping the country Top 40, search the web. $25 dollars should buy you enough music on iTunes to cover enough various musical tastes that most guests will enjoy themselves.

Another task for a good wedding DJ is one who is covered by insurance. Sure, your homeowners policy *might* cover it, but I'd hate to see your premiums next year if an accident does occur. Don't think accidents will happen to you? Are you serving alcohol at your reception? If you're telling yourself, "All the drunk people I know never act like fools!", stop and think about that again. Besides, many venues require proof of insurance because they don't want to see their premiums raised because your grandma tripped on a speaker cable and broke her hip. Searching the web for "wedding event insurance" will yield a whole crop of insurers who will give you a $1 million dollar policy for around $200.

Equipment is of course another important factor a good DJ brings to your reception. Do you know where to get speakers? Or mics? Or Mixer?? Larger cities will have rental companies that can provide these things. You can even find many such companies by searching the web for "dj equipment rental". Most wedding sized systems rent for anywhere from $250 to $500 dollars per day. In most cases, you must provide a truck or van to transport the equipment. Now, do you know how to set these things up? If not, will the rental company give you a tutorial? Some rental companies will give you a tutorial when you pick the equipment up, but make sure to take notes, because if you have to call them later they will likely charge you for a service call. Some equipment rental companies will deliver, setup, and test their equipment as well as pick up later, but this is extra.

That being said, if you KNOW your group will interact without being prompted (or just don't care if they interact or not), and if you've got a person with an encyclopedic knowledge of music that will run your iPod (instead of enjoying your reception), and you have adequate insurance to cover any accidents that occur due to your iPod setup, and you have a large enough music library to make sure everyone gets to hear the music they want, and you're able to get your hands on adequate dance lights and speakers, and will be saving money by spending $550 to $700 then by all means use an iPod. You honestly have no need for a DJ.

If planning and organizing all this sounds like just one more hassle, you'd probably do better to hire a professional so that you can enjoy your reception and spend your first day as husband and wife doing something besides returning rental equipment. For a few dollars more you'll get professional equipment, professional knowledge from someone who has planned and performed at hundreds of weddings, peace of mind that any glitches will be resolved quickly, no hassles about tearing down equipment when the reception is over, and no worries about getting it back before you owe another day's worth of rental fees.
Posted by tim_myth (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I like the odds
I would agree that there are no mechanical replacements for an experienced, professional entertainer to host your wedding. That being said, how do you know you're getting an experience professional and not some arrogant, obnoxious grease ball? I've seen many a wedding ruined by a horrendous DJ. Granted, the bride and groom probably didn't research their choice of DJ as well as they should have but when you sit down to interview you, they're going to tell you what you want to hear and come reception time they get up on their high horse and think that because they're the DJ, they know that everyone loves the electric slide, YMCA, and all that other crap.

The way I see it, it's a crap shoot. The odds of the iPod/Laptop approach not going smoothly are about the same as landing a lousy DJ. Only with the iPod/Laptop, you don't incur the costs. I'd like to hear of someone OTHER than a DJ that has had, or been to, a wedding where the iPod/Laptop approach was a disaster.

I'm about 7 months away from getting married and my fiance and I are considering doing this. Mostly, b/c we are getting married in a small town about 4 hours from where we live. We know nothing of the local DJ's except that there aren't many of them. We have a few things going on our side that can help us avoid the pitfalls and the costs (family member the owns an equipment rental company, friend who works in radio and has encyclopedic knowledge of music, varied personal tastes, and large music libraries). The biggest advantage we have is that the venue where we are having the wedding has wireless internet access...making our music library limitless. Given that all of these things are covered can any DJ's give me a good reason to spend the money and roll the dice on a "professional"?
Posted by kylometers (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I would be interested...
I would be interested to hear how your iPod wedding reception goes. A am seeing a few success stories in this forum and that is great. This DJ does not wish anyone to have a bad wedding day regardless of what entertainment they go with. I would like to hear a few stories about those iPod weddings that did not go so well. I realize it is tougher to admit failure, but it would be nice to hear both sides of the story. Just like there are good and bad DJs, I am sure there are good and bad "iPod Program Directors".
Posted by jwh704 (8 comments )
Link Flag
Good point Andrew...
DJs are not always good. But in most cases, a less-than-perfect DJ is still going to be much better than an amateur loading up his or her iPod with selections from a limited personal music collection.
Posted by jwh704 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you kidding?
I have been a live musician for 25 years, and have owned a DJ company for 8 years, and we also do photography and video.
I think both sides here need to keep things in perspective. If you are having a small backyard wedding, or maybe things are tight and you're not all into impressing everyone, sure, the DIY ipod thing will probably work.
However, if you are at a place paying $40 - $50 a plate, are spending $3000 on photography, have a $700 cake, limo, and 150 or more guests, SHAME ON YOU for even entertaining the idea.
Yes, there are always a few exceptions, but I will guarantee the vast majority of these endeavors are among a persons most embarrassing moments.
For all the reasons everyone else already mentioned, why would you do that? I compare it to forgetting the photographer, and putting disposables on the table. Somewhere along the line, someone thought that was a smart idea. That is until they took the 15 or so cameras to get stuff developed, and found each camera had a half dozen useless photos in them. Is that how important your wedding is?
Take a palmcorder and put it on a tripod in the corner, and just let it roll. There will be an exciting video.
Your friends, relatives, wedding party - should be enjoying themselves, not helping with the ridiculous idea of saving a few bucks.
Have Aunt Martha bring a bowl of potato salad, and stop at the grocery store for a tray of cold cuts. Pick up a few kegs, and have a ball. There's something to be proud of.
What most brides and grooms don't know, is that the ceremony, the honeymoon, is all about you. The reception is all about the guests. It is not your private party. You may love sushi, but don't think it will be a hit at your wedding. Your personal taste music doesn't work well either. You may love Ozzie, 50 cent, or DePeche Mode, but you can't possibly have enough variety to keep everyone from taking up a collection and calling for emergency DJ service.
As far as an opinion that most DJs are bad, and not worth it, leads me to believe that since you did an ipod wedding, you looked at cheap bargain DJs who are yes, mostly bad. That's what happens when you bargain yourself into embarrassment.
Everyone complimented you? 5 year old kids get complimented for staying in the line with their crayons. Should we have them draw a portrait of the happy couple?
If you need to save, do it elsewhere. Smaller cake, rent a towncar instead of the limo, forget the ice sculpture, and can the veggie platter.
DON'T SKIMP ON THE ENTERTAINMENT!!!!!!!!
Posted by weebledude (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I didn't use an iPod...
... but I did invite my brother's band to play (pro bono), I didn't hire a professional photographer (opting, instead, to ask some friends) and "Aunt Martha", along with many other of our friends and family, brought potato salad and a slew of other things, rather than suffering through overpriced, tasteless "catered" food. Not to mention the fact that we did the decorating ourselves (red carpet and all) wrote our own vows, printed our own invitations and programs.

A wedding reception IS a private party -- and the only other people in attendence are those the couple WANTS there.

Everyone complimented us, too. It was a gorgeous outdoor ceremony, the food was great, and the music was wonderful. And I don't think my wife and I are alone when we say that we think the occasion was a heck of a lot MORE special because we did it OUR way, instead of following a bunch of ridiculous, expensive "standards" whose only real proponents are people like you poor "live musicians" who get shafted by common sense. I'm VERY proud of the way my wedding turned out, as is my wife... And I be even prouder of the fact that we didn't have to take out a $10k loan to have the wedding of our dreams.

So why don't you drop the attitude, go back to trying to color inside the lines, and leave us backward couples to plan our own parties?
Posted by Sculptor of Rhythm (40 comments )
Link Flag
Amen!!!!
I've been a dj for 15 years and STILL can't believe that there are brides and grooms that are clueless that the entertainment is what MAKES the party. It amazes me how much they will spend on everything else and then look for the cheapest dj. I want to meet anyone that can say "I had so much fun at ______'s wedding because that fish/steak/chicken was to die for" or "Can you believe how much fun it was at _______'s wedding with that choice of flowers?" Oh, how about "I remember _______'s wedding 5 years ago and that cake was AMAZING!" I could go on, but being a smart-ass is too easy. The saddest thing about these brides who go the cheapest/easiest route for entertainment, is that I meet too many of them at an event that I am dj'ing and they tell me how their dj called them by the wrong name, mispronounced their name, didn't have a special song, got drunk, didn't have professional equipment, and many other things. "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR" and "BUYER BEWARE" have been sayings for how long now?
Posted by WildmanMW (2 comments )
Link Flag
right on, sculptor and lilsissy. the best wedding i've been to was my cousin's back yard wedding, where my aunt made the dinner (my fiance still raves about it), my grandma grew the flowers, and they played the groom's band on a boom box for the processional. they didn't shell out thousands of dollars, and their wedding was fun, relaxed, memorable, and beautiful. i bet yours were, too, and i bet the $100,000 freakshows these deejays want everyone to have can be real bores.
Posted by jamidwyer (6 comments )
Link Flag
I used my iBook
I used my iBook doing the same thing with a playlist in iTunes I
created on the way to the reception. We weren't even going to have
music, but then we found out the reception hall had a small PA
system that was perfect for background music.

We didn't have much money, but at least we had some music. Four
months later, I bought at iPod (with a blessing from the Mrs., of
course).
Posted by (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Powerbook + iTunes + slide show
We had a powerbook on my head table (to the side), with a pre-dinner, dinner, and post-dinner playlist setup by me and my best man (approved by my wife of course). we also used a iphoto to play a photo slid show on a wall during dinner. We did not need to buy anything as we just brought a home sterio.
Posted by (27 comments )
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Was at an iPod reception as a guest...
...and it was wonderful. Really. There was a fun variety of
music, everyone danced, and the songs were ones that were
personal to the bride and groom. And believe it or not, no one
had to play "We are Family!" to get the crowd going. I think
people fall into the trap of thinking, "But what will happen if we
DON'T have the Chicken Dance?" The answer: nothing. You'll
plat something people like instead.

Music wise, it was the best reception I'd ever been to. It was
obvious that the couple spent a lot of time choosing music and
planning the playlists.

I am planning to do this for my wedding, but not to save money,
because realistically you don't save that much once you rent a
good sound system, purchase all the appropriate music you
might not already have, and toss a thank you check in your MC's
direction.

Frankly, I'd just rather be introduced for the first time as a
couple by a friend, not a stranger. I'd prefer to have my guests
jumping around to the dance music that I love, not just whatever
is on the top 40 for dance tunes.

I highly recommend giving this a shot, provided you a) realize
you NEED to play a variety, and even if you love Metallica and
indie rock, it's not exactly dinner or dance friendly and b) have
someone close to you who can MC and who knows their way
around a mixing board well enough to work it properly and
handle any minor technical difficulties you might have. If you
think about it, you probably do. (Especially if you were once a
drama nerd with a bunch of friends from sound crew.)
Posted by (1 comment )
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iPod weddings not for everyone
Truth Seeker, you said it all right here --

&gt; I'd prefer to have my guests jumping around to
&gt; the dance music that I love ...

So the 50% or more of dads, moms, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who usually make up the wedding guest list (and are age 45+) are going to love all the music that YOU love, right? Can't you just see Granny enjoying your reception listening to Metallica and indie rock?

&gt; ... have someone close to you who can MC and who
&gt; knows their way around a mixing board well
&gt; enough to work it properly and handle any minor
&gt; technical difficulties you might have. If you
&gt; think about it, you probably do.

No, they probably don't. What many people DO have is a "friend of a friend" who might know how to plug in their laptop with their latest Limewire acquisitions. Neither iPods nor most computer music software can seamlessly blend music either. So you have trainwreck mixes of genres and beats or 4 seconds of silence between songs. Way to keep that party mood flowing!

No professional DJ will automatically play the Chicken Dance or YMCA - or ANY song you don't want to hear - if you communicate to them the mood you want to create. Note that I use the word "professional" ... there are a lot of people who think a DJ is a DJ is a DJ, so why not get the cheapest one? They end up getting a clueless hobbyist who probably knows as much as your friend of a friend. Maybe that's why people are seeking out the DIY channels; they haven't seen or patronized a DJ who has the chops to LISTEN to their clients and create the event that the client wants.

That doesn't come cheap, but consider this. If you've spent $20K on your hall, food, flowers, drinks, etc. and your guests bail right after the cake is cut because the music is lousy, haven't you wasted a lot of that money? Hiring a professional DJ (usually $800-$1200) is cheap insurance to make sure YOU don't have to worry about renting gear, downloading music, reading the crowd and playing the right music at the right time. (What about backup gear if the substandard equipment usually used for rentals gives out or is hooked up wrong?)

As for being introduced by an MC with whom you have a personal relationship, I have worked with many friends/relatives of the bride and groom who do just that. It's very unusual that out of the box they will know how to command the attention of several hundred people let alone know to hold a microphone properly. So giving them those type of tips is part of my job.

The mistake is that that public perception is that all wedding DJ's are cheesy, play the same music for every wedding and only has the "skill" of pushing "play". Nothing can be further from the truth.
Posted by DJTalkCom (1 comment )
Link Flag
ipod to help when needed
I don't think it is fair to tell people you get what you pay for when it comes to a DJ for their wedding. I have a sever illness and I am truely lucky to even get to see my wedding day, however that aside with my medical bills we don't have the money for a DJ or any kind; at least not in our budget. This is my point, I would hire a DJ even if all he did was push play and know when to play the right songs if they didn't charge you so much money to do so. The cheapest quote I got was for 4 hours ( my wedding is only 3 no option of making it a later night) and it was for $675. Are you kidding me? He asked me what my budget is... my budget is $200 (high end). Then I learned I could take my brother's amp and plug in my ipod I just got for Christmas. It may not be a fancy but some peopel don't have the money to spend on their wedding. We don't even have a caterer, we are having a picnic/ BBQ outside (rain or shine doesn't matter we don't have the money) I don't have the family nor does he that other people might have to help them. Not to mention why should we have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for something that only lasts a couple of hours that no one but you is stressing over. As long as everyone is having fun who cares if it isn't the very best they have been too, at least they came and saw you get married.
Posted by lilsissy57 (2 comments )
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