So you are on a tight wedding budget, and wondering where you can cut a few corners. Unfortunately, many couples have been wrongly advised to skimp on the reception entertainment.
In recent years, there have been several articles about how the technology of the day will allow you to "self-serve" your reception music via the iPod, as opposed to hiring a DJ. While the concept is interesting, and is initially attractive from a purely economic standpoint, there are several aspects of doing this that are unrealistic, inconvenient, inefficient, and cost far more than you think. Let's look at the facts of most receptions and see why this idea has no legs.
RECEPTION VENUE HOUSE SOUND
The typical reception venue's house sound system will consist of ceiling mount speakers. While these speakers are adequate for speeches and dinner music, they lack the frequency range, power, and low-end response for a party. Would you dance to an overhead speaker with less frequency response than a good car stereo? To overcome this issue, the option would be to rent a professional sound system at a cost of $400-$500. Keep in mind that this price range typically does not include delivery, set up, break down, or return of the equipment to the rental facility. Of course, you could do all that yourself, or get Uncle John to do it, but isn't this supposed to be a celebration for you and your guests to enjoy?
DJ VERSUS iPod... The rest of the story.
Aside from the sound system, there is dance lighting, emcee duties, planning assistance, music library, and the rarely understood talent of "reading a crowd". None of these things can be provided by an iPod.
Leaving the emcee duties to a family member may sound like a good idea, but do you want Uncle John working at the reception? Your family members and friends are there to celebrate with you. This also applies to the music flow. Will you simply create a playlist and let it go for 4-5 hours? What about timing? Will you spend hours calculating the timing of the music? If not, will Uncle John have double duty? What about requests? Will the iPod look at your dance floor, see that it is empty, and do something to fill it?
Good Disc Jockeys will spend ample time consulting with you on the flow and musical choices for your reception, and use his or her professional experience to properly announce your grand entrance, and the events of your timeline. They will also read your crowd, co-ordinate with the venue staff, photographers, and other vendors to make sure that everyone is in their proper place at the proper time.
Do yourself a favor the next time you read an article that says you should do it yourself... Hire a professional DJ within your budget. Expect to spend at least $700 on a quality wedding DJ service, and avoid DJ brokerage services. Statistics show that nearly 80% of people remember the entertainment more than any other aspect of the reception. Save the iPod for personal use.