So you’re considering an iPod Wedding?
The inside on iPod weddings and the diy family dj.
Why not just use an iPod to play those tracks for your special day. The the addition of the iPhone, everyone has access to thousands of tracks on a device that is very dependable. Some DJ’s might tell you they never use them, but the reality is, there are times where they work and many occasions where they don’t. So you’re thinking about renting the equipment you need and using an iPod or iPhone? Maybe you have a friend or relative who appears excited about helping you out and offered to make those musical changes for you. There are many sites that give you excellent instructions on how to engage in this option. Before your run to the rental store, here are a few things to consider.
We’ll acknowledge our bias up front. We are wedding DJ’s and we love what we do. Of course we want you to book with us and support our business. Are iPhones or iPods a threat? No, not at all. We fully understand the intricacies of event planning and timing. We are not threatened by amateurs or kids with laptops.
Just last night, I went to a lake front wedding for a wonderful couple from Massachusetts. This couple clearly had a limited budget, but wanted a beautiful wedding. They made the decision to use a professional DJ because timing and announcements were very important to them. When I arrived, the venue coordinator came to me and wanted to talk. She said, “I want to talk to you about making announcements.” Apparently, the week prior a young DJ was announcing, “Everyone please go to the tent to eat.” This was an amateur DJ, not a family friend or iPod.
Making announcements appears easy when done by a professional or experienced EmCee. It’s just words. In most cases words are everything to a moment. You carefully select words for your vows, or speech. To keep the intimacy of your day, those thoughtful words should carry throughout the evening. Hiring an experienced DJ to help with announcements and introductions, makes your event transition in a more natural way. Think about the last time you heard announcements by someone who was nervous. Ask yourself, will my family friend feel at ease to make clear and eloquent announcements?
My friend has a lot of music, we don’t need to buy any.
If you’re family friend “has a lot of music” and little or no experience playing music for a live dancing crowd, you should be concerned. With over 100 events under my belt, I still get a little nervous about what song to play next. The experience of performing live, comes with practice and experience. Understanding what songs work best in given situations is an art, not a process. The stress that comes from performing will make even the best artist sick to their stomach.
To date, I’ve performed at five different events where I was booked within 72 hours of the beginning of the event. Not because the couple did not plan for music, but because they entrusted a close friend or relative to handing the music portion. In each case, the reasoning for the fiend or family backing out was slightly different, but all appear to be nerves. As the event progressed, they realized that what appears easy by a professional, is actually difficult to do as an amateur. There is a reason why we entrust the title of professional to so very few. It’s because they make something that is difficult, look easy and effortless.
The reality is, if you have a 6 hour event, you’ll only hear 100 songs.
Yes, you’ll hear about 100 songs at your day. With an average of twenty per hour and minus speeches and vows, you’ll hear roughly 100 songs. The careful selection of these tracks makes a huge difference in your day. We always let our clients choose music for various moments, but the careful selection of music to transition between moments is not as simple as picking a couple hits or worse, your favorite songs. In our experience, couples music selections seldom get guest dancing. In fact, they have the opposite effect. Your DJ will help you to find music that you appreciate and they know from experience they will work.
Can an iPod wedding work?
In few cases, yes. Especially if you’re looking for a wedding barbecue without dancing. I’ve personally attended a lot of parties over the last twenty years. I can’t remember the last time I went to a party that had an iPod and people dancing. iPods don’t create energy, they just play music. This might work with a few close friends, but not a venue filled with various generations of family and friends. Not all guest have the same musical taste. If you iPod is not programmed precisely, you’re in for disaster. Do you remember a time when the music stopped or abruptly changed? I’m sure the dance floor stopped and everyone turned to the DJ to see what’s wrong. In most cases, it cleared the dance floor. When you use an iPod, you need to expect this to happen. It’s my experience, if this happens more than twice, then you’re dancing portion of your event will die. People do not like to dance and stop, then start again.
For most couples, the idea of DJ’ing your own wedding is almost impossible. On your wedding day, you’ll find that you’re saddled with countless demands. From preparations, photos, being a host and enjoying your day, you will not have time to run and change the music. If the musical programming is not on cue, you’re guest will feel awkward and confused. Obviously, you can’t expect guest to dance when you don’t have dancing music playing. Your job is to enjoy your day. You’re spending thousands of dollars on your day, you deserve to enjoy it.
The major reasons for hiring a professional wedding DJ and MC for your once-in-a-lifetime event:
1. Planning and Organization
The fist major reason is to help you organize your event. You’ll want to be sure that your DJ will make announcements in a style that matches your event. Keeping you and your guest organized and making articulate announcements is a job for an experienced DJ. This is one of major unforeseen needs of couples. This is also a major difference between a cheap DJ and a professional experienced DJ.
The biggest complaint by couples and vendors is that some DJ’s talk too much. Clearly communicate this to your DJ to ensure they stick with crowd motivation for open dancing and not disturbing the show. Our philosophy includes embellishing the event, not stealing the show. In most cases, you’re asking your DJ to act as a coordinator, MC and DJ. This person will make your introductions. They’ll help your guest transition between moments and will coordinate with vendors.
2. Read Your Guest
We often hear from couples, “We don’t want that cheesy wedding music.” First you should communicate what you consider cheesy; opinions vary greatly between couples. This does’t mean you need to take the music programming into your own hands. Discuss this with your DJ and make sure they will stay away from tracks you don’t like.
Most DJ’s will give you a Must Play and a Do Not Play list. This is an opportunity to create a playlist that reflects your style and preferences. The professional DJ’s will honor these list. Amateurs and moonlighting DJ’s will often not care. Real professionals strive to perfect events to your liking. They will respect your musical preferences will be carried into the crowd reading. Often, the mood on a dance floor changes and moments need to be moved up or pushed back. Changing from fast to slow music doesn’t need to happen with odd pauses of silence while you change the playlist. The experience of a professional DJ will know the exact time to change a song to create a special moment.
3. The Back-Up Plan
IF you’re thinking about an iPod or family friend with a computer, you’ll need to consider a back-up plan in the case of failure. Rental equipment like speakers and mixers do not come with a backup plan nor troubleshooting or setup help. Most equipment companies are closed on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re event is in the evening or on a weekend and the equipment is not working, you’ll be without music. The DJ will not only have backup gear, they also understand how to solve problems that might arise like electrical hum, microphone feedback or non-responsive equipment.
Most clients significantly under-estimate the sound needs. Two 1000 watt speakers sounds like a lot of sound power. Depending the venue size and the number of guest, this might be significantly inadequate. At M.R.K.Entertainment, we have a policy that “we will not take events without proper equipment and services.” A professional DJ should know exactly how much equipment you need and the correct placement for even distribution of sound. The DJ will even know when speakers could be simply moved or turned to change the volumes in a given area.
It might seem natural to ask a family member or friend to help you with a DIY iPod event. That offer or request could cost you thousands or worse, ruin your once in a lifetime event. The cost of the rental equipment will cost you hundreds of dollars. For a few hundred more, you could get a DJ. By hiring a professional DJ, you’ll have insurance that the music will play. They’ll develop list based on your personalities and honor your playlist request. This list will become the guiding selections for you day. This DJ will help you in keeping a nice balance of ceremony, food, photos, dancing and moments to remember; allowing you to enjoy the wedding day you’re dreaming about. Do you really want to trust an iPod with all of this responsibility?