f7's wedding advice #7 - iPods are great for the car, but for your wedding reception?

Hi Everyone!

When we ask our clients how they envision their wedding day, they always say they want it to be fun, they want their guests to enjoy themselves, and that there is going to be lots of dancing and partying. Sound familiar? You see, any good host of a party is always concerned about whether their guests are enjoying themselves. Music is always a nice backdrop for dinner and conversation. But for wedding celebrations, music alone doesn’t make the party…it’s the DJ.

Many brides and grooms feel that an iPod connected to a speaker will be sufficient. Well, if all you want is music playing in the background that may be fine. But if you are looking for a well-run reception and party, a professional DJ is trained and experienced to ensure that your guests will have a great time and runs the schedule of all the traditional wedding reception rights of passage like toasts, cake cutting, first dances, and bouquet/garter toss.

We have photographed receptions where iPods were used and where professional wedding DJ’s were hired. There have been a few cases where an iPod has worked, but we must be honest, most experiences at an iPod wedding reception have not been totally smooth or met the expectations of the bride. Here are just a few issues that we have found at wedding receptions that only used an iPod:

-Lack of organization

-First dances miscued

-Repetitive music

-Play list not appropriate for all guests

-People leaving early

-Lack of dancing

-Volume and technical glitches

Your guests usually notice all of these issues and since the reception is the last memory of their experience at your wedding, it is what is often remembered.

When you have a wedding DJ, they can read the vibe of the guests and adjust the music style based on what is being enjoyed. They also keep the party very organized ensuring that all the important wedding reception traditions happen in a well-paced manner. They will work with you to setup the appropriate playlist, take special requests, they worry about all the sound equipment, have a huge library of music and also help with lighting to set a nice mood and accent to your reception. They make your wedding reception fun and memorable. And it is one less thing you have to worry about since at this point in the day you just want to enjoy the time with your friends and family and PARTAY!

Notice that we keep saying "wedding DJ". And that is because there is a difference to a professional DJ that works weddings as their main job vs. a "house DJ". A House DJ knows how to spin records and mix music, but your wedding isn't a disco, it's a classy event. Most House DJs do not know how to run a party (specifically a wedding) and aren't very comfortable announcing the events of the evening. They really just want to play music, so when you are looking at DJs, ensure they have wedding experience and always ask for references!

Now If you still need to plan your reception with a DIY iPod for whatever reason, here are a few things to consider that we've seen help make receptions go smoother:

-Rent or borrow AV equipment such as loud speakers, mixing board, and microphone and have a knowledgeable AV person connect and test the audio. You may also be allowed to tap into the house PA system if one exists.

-Assign a friend or family member to be responsible for making sure that the appropriate music is continuously playing. It always helps that this person is enthusiastic and has a great personality. If you know folks that have public speaking experience, that is better than not. They also need to know that this is their job for the evening so they don't disappear and you have no one manning the music.

-Setup different iPod playlists for different parts of the reception party.

-Make sure that your first dance song is easily accessible on the playlist to be played when the big moment happens.

-If you are doing a grand entrance, have a list of all the names of the bridal party and the order you want them introduced.

-Put together a schedule of events with all the times and appropriate introductions/announcements to be made.

We want your party to be a success and something that people are talking about for years to come as THE party of the year! We truly believe a professional wedding DJ can help you achieve this.

We'd love to hear from you on your own experiences about DJs vs iPods at weddings. We are here to help our brides have the best wedding ever and would love to have others provide their feedback too, so please comment away!

We look forward to seeing you on the dance floor this year!