We interviewed deejays last month. With one or two exceptions, We were seriously unimpressed. We have a somewhat complicated setup at our venue. Outdoor ceremony location (no power nearby), outdoor but covered reception location (power is available), and then probably move to an indoor location as the evening progresses and it gets darker and colder outside. While some deejays knew right away the type of equipment we would need, others just speculated, and one even said he wouldn’t talk about the type of equipment he would provide until we had provided him a deposit? WTF? A top-rated wedding wire vendor? Shady!
Sidenote: Oh, and just throwing this out there, just like most other vendor websites, deejays websites also blow, but they have the added annoyance of playing freakin techno music on their homepage. Can we all just make some sort of wedding pact that people NOT HAVE MUSIC ON THEIR WEBSITES? Photographers are often guilty of this as well.
Alas, I digress.
As part of our April Action Plan, I had been compiling songs for our wedding “playlist.” Most of these songs came from my fiancé’s massive iTunes library. I was going to provide a list of these songs to whatever deejay we selected. Then, one evening as I continued to identify songs, my fiancé said, “What are you thinking about this whole deejay thing anyway?” I knew right where he was going with it. We already have all the music we want to play at our wedding. My fiancé set up our entire tech-savvy house (our house e-mails us every time a door opens and shuts, we have security cameras, we can watch a movie on the DVD player on any TV in the house, etc.)
We didn’t need a deejay.
We already don’t want this to have the normal look of a wedding. And a deejay is only going to make things more structured and rigid, which is exactly what we want to avoid.
As I started to write this post, I stopped for a little while. I panicked. What if everything breaks and we can’t get it working? We’ve been taking dance lessons! It would be devastating if we couldn’t show off our new moves because we couldn’t get the audio equipment working! I had already considered whether to have a Deejay or not a few months ago. I decided that the only real downside is cost. Is it really worth it to do all of this ourselves?
However, when I mentioned my concerns to my fiancé, he assured me that it’s a low risk project. We have the venue for two days before the wedding, so he’ll have plenty of time to set things up. I do worry though that if he does run into some trouble with it, that he’ll be frustrated or get in a bad mood over it, which is something I’m sure I won’t want to deal with in the days leading up to the wedding, but I’ll just do my own thing. Plus, I figure a lot of his other tech-savvy friends will be in attendance at the wedding and will be able to troubleshoot things easily.
For those of you who had an iPod wedding, I’d love to hear specifics about how it went. Like the type of equipment you rented, how long it took to set up, and how the wedding flowed without a dedicated person to emcee the event.
[…] few weeks ago, I discussed how we decided not to have a deejay. I was a little worried that it could be a disaster, but, my fiancé assured me that it would be […]
First off. I cannot stand “Deejay” sites with tacky, annoying music.
So with you on that. Indeed 9 DJ’s out of 10 BECOME deejays becoause they ARE corny and need to be constant validation.
That said, there ARE weddingDJ’s who are sincerely nice, normal, classy, musically eclectic, witty people- who have great kids that need their dads income.
So I hope you might post this:
Ipod or DJ??
Depends – If you’re talking a cheesy DJ, or a Good DJ?
I assume you’re smart enough to steer clear of Cheesy DJs. Yet, IÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½m constantly surprised at how many brides KEEP hiring these amoles! Amazing, when, if you just asked your facility manager, planner, or photographers WHO are the good ones, there are so many NON cheesy DJ’s. Most of all, don’t get adrenalin-bamboozled at bridal shows by flashy lights and “Emcee/Deejays” with tacky sequin vests and outdated euro-tacky collar-studs.
The overarching moral of the “ipod / DIY/Laptop/ Ipad wedding” story is that couples honesty “don’t know what they don’t know” – and then its too late.
I will share just some of the “make or break” nuances that no one discovers until itÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s too late, and they could have had a MUCH better wedding day.
So to your point – no – a Non Cheesy, Classy, Professional DJ is not a “must”,
if you don’t want:
1) correctly done introductions,
with no muffled sound/mic levels,
and with crucial volume-riding between couples
2) photographs of people with their eyes open, smiling, not looking away.
(guess what the DJ has to do with this??) Same goes for video moments capturedÃ¢ï¿½Â¦or MISSED forever – what could the DJ possibly have to do with this?
3) perfectly executing your custom music-drops for each couple as they enter
4) awkward dead air.
embarrassing timing miscues
important events remembered
5) “atmosphere” – to keep people from leaving, and bring together the rest of all your hard work
6) to not have to spend literally several days collecting, assembling, going back and forth, collecting random requests, deciding about music, creating playlists upon playlists – especially when “next song timing” cant be decided until you SEE what is working to the songs that is PLAYING! Even with the most rowdy crowds (and maybe more so) — Bottom line: Song -by-song crowd reading / human decision-making is the KEY to keeping people on the floor
7) If you don’t get the right size speaker s and place them specifically, your hip hop & 80’s songs will sound like an AM radio – NO dancing vibe. If you don’t want to begin learning about standing-waves, floor coupling, and time alignment and you want sound complaints and poor audio dance impact, mid-high arrays that are steerable, backup equipment. picking up, delivering, setting up, taping down, relocating extra systems for different locations, packing up, worrying is there a tech on-call if thereÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s a failure?, worrying about people with hangovers returning it all on time before additional day charges are posted, back injuries – and then paying for all this. Proper research, rentals, time and stress are have a way of going way over budget all MONEY.
8) smooth, experience-tested, human-operated segues of YOUR custom personally chosen/playlist songs. Thats what makes the difference between keeping people on the floor, or clearing it with blind, no crowd-read-of-the moment-based, blind “next-song” choices – and annoying trainwreck dead air *& crash and burn segues.
9) to not unpleasantly surprise your best man/ Usher/”friend” –
to not only miss the fun – but by realizing that to prevent your reception from becoming a disaster, they end up stuck being the full-time music chooser, volume-correcter, playlist glitch apologizer, system rebooter, Audio system overheating failure head-scratcher, dancefloor clearer, smooth segue fail-er, red-faced mic interference causer, complaint/suggestion/request fielder, song by song graphic EQ correction engineer, event announcer MC, old people pleaser, young people pleaser – ALL WHILE being the event/timing liason between the catering staff, wedding planner, photographer/videographer and guests.
10) WARNING!! Anyone who says “the hall has speakers” is likely to have terribly distorted sound, and will be paying for a huge repair bill to fix blown speakers you caused. Talk about sounding like you know what. ONE pop song with ANY bass, and your event is HISTORY. Fair warning.
Heres a good analogy:
Youve paid through the nose for the most expensive imported ingredients for a tricky dessert recipe – to be made live on TV.
Youve got ONE shot to get in right – in front of a live audience watching.
You need a chef.
Do you put the ingredients in the hands of:
1) a cheesy, “i saved money on him” chef
2) a friend who “assures you” they can do it
3) someone who has done it thousands of times and already knows the hidden pitfalls and tricks of the trade to guarantee success.
People: Yes, there are 2 kinds of DJ:
Cheesy ones, chosen by couples who either didn’t do basic research, accepted an offer of a gift or friend of a friend “deal”, or went by “price”
(or actually liked the DJ they chose, and are cheesy people themselves!!)
And then there are: Sophisticated, elegant, “less is more” Wedding DJ’s – who actually know YOUR eclectic music, and can mix, segue and time your choices artfully, with authority, and assemble them song by song, in the moment, in way that a playlist can NEVER predict, and will amaze you and your guests.
Bottom line: There is nothing that has LESS atmosphere, makes people feel less appreciated and feel more tacky or awkward than trying to be polite by reacting to an unmanned “box” for the biggest day in your life. If they say they loved it, its because most don’t want to hurt your feelings. This isn’t a biker bar. A TASTEFUL DJ is the backbone of everything going n in front of the stage, AND of all the things you DONT see behind the scenes at a wedding,
and it is what puts a “cant afford to fail” celebration over the TOP.
After spending MONTHS to guarantee the most beautiful and fun event, and when there ARE experienced, insured, musically tasteful, upscale wedding-expert DJ’s that your guests HAVE seen and raved about, NOTHING says low rent or “cheesy” to your guests more than dancing to an inanimate box like the one in their TV room.
The DIY idea seems like a cool idea on first blush. For less important weddings or low-dancing focus, there are couples that were “fine” with it. But what are they going to say, that they blew their own wedding day? If you or I were there at weddings where the bride said it “rocked”, the GUESTS very well could have been looking at each other “these poor guys, lets get outa here”. You know what I mean.
For important weddings, with a lot on the line, the more you understand that the DJ’s role is actually the most complex of all on the wedding day, the more you see what a gamble you are taking with something that you have your heart set on being PERFECT.
Is a laptop or “friend DJ” worth trading the success of what your day “COULD” have been? A NON-Cheesy DJ is the BEST investment you will spend for your wedding day.
Without hyperbole: It is truly the glue, the backbone,
and the make-or-break vendor of all.
Jon March, VP