As technology has improved over the course of the last ten years, we’ve seen a trend emerge; couples deciding to use an iPod instead of a DJ at the wedding reception. Now, as a wedding planner who deals with a lot of different budgets and financial scenarios I can certainly appreciate the need to cut costs but entertainment is 100% the worst place to look for that cut. Your reception entertainment can either make or break your party, it sets the mood for the entire event and if not done well can result in an empty dance floor.
Here are my 5 reasons why you should always hire a professional DJ and not try to substitute with your uncle and an iPod.
1. A professional DJ has the proper equipment for your event. While I know that speakers look huge and look like they can carry sound throughout a room properly, there is a delicate balance between filling a reception venue with sound and not blasting your guests away with blaring music. A professional DJ will have professional equipment to properly fill a venue of any size with the music. They will also have mics for speeches and backups if something fails. Nothing could be worse than dancing away to a killer playlist and all of a sudden having a screeching halt to the music when a speaker blows or watching your guests go outside to get away from the blaring sound.
2. A professional DJ will come with experience in acting as the MC for the evening and he will be able to make professional announcements for things like the Maid of Honor speech and cake cutting. He isn’t intimidated to speak in front of a large crowd so having someone who is already comfortable (and not a few drinks in) is important.
3. Playlist selection and pacing is so incredibly important. Some brides argue that with an iPod they have complete control over the music selection but in my opinion, why would you want that? I personally have no idea how to pace music throughout the course of an evening to ensure that all of your guests are enjoying the night. I also don’t have a library of music in my head that I can reference at a moment’s notice. Why wouldn’t you instead want to make a selection of must play songs for your DJ and then allow him/her to pick the right songs at the right time to ensure your dance floor is packed all night long? They have a much better knowledge base of music and understanding of how to pace a party than all of us do.
4. Insurance is something I recommend to most of my clients regardless of their entertainment selection but it’s even more important if you’re deciding to use an iPod setup as opposed to a professional DJ. DJ companies carry liability insurance that will cover them in the event that their equipment injures someone (imagine Aunt Margie tripping over wires), or should their equipment cause an electrical fire and burns down the property but if you’re the one putting a speaker in the space you are ultimately responsible for anything that would happen as a result.
5. In the end, you’re not really saving that much by using an iPod. In order to get a proper playlist of music for your event you’ll have to purchase between $60-$70 worth of music, you’ll need an iPod ($200), a reasonable sound system ($250), a backup in case the other quits on you ($150), microphones for toasts ($75), and insurance ($200). Right there, you’re $925 in on the iPod idea. On top of it, you’re going to have to ask a friend or an uncle to man the iPod all night to make sure that it doesn’t stop suddenly and to make announcements to your guests. So in the end, I have to ask, is that really worth it?
At the end of the night, your guests aren’t going to remember if you decided to use the reception chairs instead of chiavari chairs, they aren’t going to remember if you decided to use a backup sheet cake and faux layers in your wedding cake, or that you decided not to give out favors.
What they will remember is how much their feet hurt the next day because they danced the night away to all of their favorite music played by a professional and trusted DJ.