At a recent wedding, the couple thought they would save money and ask a friend to “man” their iPod for ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner /dancing.   Let me save you time from reading the entire article below and fast forward to the summary right here:  a professional special event DJ is not only worth their weight in gold, you are actually maximizing your investment if on a limited spending plan.  For one service provider, you have peace of mind from ceremony through the end of the evening and they are almost always more cost-effective than a band if you have super limited funds.

However, if you are the type of person who needs actual, real examples of “why” because you think wedding service providers are out to take advantage of you financially, below is a real-life example from a recent wedding where they insisted on using an iPod and having “friends” man it for the wedding.

Non-Professional Equipment and Performance:     A friend of the client was responsible for setting up the “sound system” — with only one speaker (so sound was unbalanced and because it was not pro-level sound equipment, the music vibrated and gave feedback more than once).  Also, this single sound system had to be set up and transferred from ceremony to the reception.   Because of this, there was no music for cocktail hour for a good half hour, providing a very weak vibe while the friends in charge of the sound system missed part of cocktail hour,  broke down the ceremony sound system and transferred it to the reception area, looking for outlets for the equipment and more.  Once there, the friend had to look up the playlist and get it started.  The music style was very draggy,  low-energy, and out of date (and we are not talking good old vintage classics).  So unfortunate, since cocktail hour should leave everyone feeling “up” after a happy vow exchange with the newlyweds.  Additionally, while we tried to get the preferred songs for our client for all of the ceremony and key reception items, and they did not respond, the designated friend was left to “guess” and filled in the spots as best as they could.

Strained Friendships:  The spouse of the friend responsible for sound system was asked three days before the wedding to put together a play list for the entire event.  Because of this, they were asked to come early to the rehearsal to try out the sound system and had to stay in town a day earlier and incur additional hotel costs, something they had not planned on originally.  We are also presuming they may have had to purchase all the songs for the playlist.  This friend was very candid with our team that while they loved the couple, they felt a lot was being demanded of them. They had originally just wanted to come as guests and enjoy the wedding, now they were paying to do so and work the wedding.  In addition to all these duties, this individual  also had to man the wireless mic and continually get up from their seat when announcements were needed  or to “stop” the iPod from music in order to make announcements.

A third friend was roped in to be the “MC” very last minute.  He had never done it in his life, and while he did a great job and had a great attitude – he was continually being interrupted from his meal and other festivities to come make announcements for key wedding events taking place. He, too, had been expecting to come as a guest to the wedding and did not get to be one and enjoy.   And everytime we needed something related to music or announcements, we had to approach all three people to make it happen (audio, mic, music manager and MC).

Lost Vibe & Guests Leaving Early:  Lastly, and most importantly, was the dancing portion of the evening.  The evening flopped the moment the dance floor was “open”. Why?  Because the person who built the playlist started it off with a Neil Diamond song (we have nothing against Neil Diamond, in fact we adore Neil, but not for an opening energetic song to get folks out of their seats dancing);  the playlist created played every “do not play” song request from every client we’ve ever had (all of the stereotypical “cheezey” do-not-play-at-all-costs-songs).  But even if these songs were the bride and groom’s choice (we respect all tastes), there were long gaps of silence between songs while the friend went and tried to skip forward, go back, or locate songs the guests or bride/groom were requesting.  And lastly, they ran out of songs after about an hour and the same songs were repeated all night.

Some of the fabulous DJs we work with continually….

Many guests left early,  the vibe was lost, friendships were strained, and needless to say , this was a “memorable” wedding, but for all the wrong reasons.

What To Do When On A Budget:  Everyone is on various spending plans for their wedding.  Not all my clientele have enormous, more flexible budgets and I actually love the challenge.  There are many ways to maximize your money when using professional service providers.  But if you are on a tight spending plan, have a ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing, an iPod for music does not work. Asking friends to “man” the iPod does not work, because it’s so much more than this.   The best way to extend a limited spending plan is to invest in a professional DJ service.  From the proper sound equipment, knowing how and where to install properly, do sound checks, how to dress and behave consistently with the vibe of your event, and more, this is one wedding service provider who is invaluable to carrying the entire flow of your wedding day from start to finish.  A professional DJ is also skilled at reading the crowd musically, shifting the music as necessary,  blending songs (no gaps), making timely announcements working with the Coordinator and contrary to some old myths, they do not steal the show with their own side show.  Their contribution to the energy and guest experience is one of the main reasons guests walk away talking so positively about a wedding.  And it is a wedding – a celebration.  No matter how “casual”, it deserves to have the flow and feel of a happy and energized experience.

While we work with many top-notch DJ pros, here are a few of our favorites:   Bouquet Sound  |  Music By Bonnie & Co  | DJ Darla BeaScott Topper Productions |   Gavin Roy Presents  |VOX DJs |  AMS Entertainment