Post # 1
From past experience attending weddings, my fiancé and I have noticed that couples who hire a DJ typically have specific song requests for first dance, groom/mom dance, bride/father dance, etc., and then they leave the rest of the music up to the DJ. This often results in the DJ playing songs that have been heard a million times at practically every wedding. Ya know, stuff like the Hokey Pokey, Chicken Dance, Cha Cha Slide, and other music that has been run into the ground. My fiancé and I are into indie and alternative rock, and the typical wedding reception DJ music doesn’t really fit our taste, which is why we initially weren’t thinking of having a DJ. Instead, we thought of picking all of the music ahead of time (including requests from guests so they would be familiar with some of the music and look forward to listening to a favorite song) and having the owner of our venue play it since he has DJing experience.
More recently, I found out that the owner hasn’t been in good health, and I’d hate to ask him to go out of his way to do anything for our wedding other than let us use his venue, so my fiancé and I have thrown the idea around of having a DJ. The thing is, a lot of DJs aren’t exactly cheap, and the only reason we’d be hiring one is for their nice sound system, ability to play a premade playlist of songs (that would consist of music they most likely wouldn’t have in their catalog), and possibly make announcements throughout the evening. We don’t care about smoke effects or special lighting because our decorations will probably already include lights.
My fiancé has a friend who has DJ’d numerous weddings and even offered to DJ ours. The thing is, he doesn’t have any footage of his work, and I’d be afraid of hiring him and risking him ruining the reception. I’ve looked into one particular DJing service that has great reviews and uses a wonderful sound system (the latter is what my fiancé and I are most concerned about). The thing is, their services are over 800-some dollars. Is it really that worth it to shell out several hundreds of dollars for someone who wouldn’t be doing nearly as much work as they would for an average couple’s wedding? This particular DJing service does go out of their way throughout the night to ask the couple how the sound is and if they’re satisfied with the services, which is nice, but is there another option out there besides the standard wedding DJ who offers the same services we want?
Post # 2
Our DJ just played a most premade set of songs, annouced our entrance and that’s it. We paid $750. The dance floor was packed, I never noticed the DJ and everything was fine. We didn’t do smoke machines/lighting, etc. Most DJs I talked to didn’t offer anything like that.
Post # 3
Hey, we are month twins! I am renewing my vows with many wedding elements because I eloped.
How many guests will you have at your wedding? Is it a crowd who dances a lot?
We are having less than forty guests and no DJ.
We are just hooking up our computer to the sound system and playing songs from preset Itunes playlists.
Post # 4
BritniRobots: We hired a DJ, made our own play lists (dinner, 1st dance, all the typical songs) but we also had the chance to choose songs throughout the night, make a Do not play list however I was pissed off because my husbands grandmother went up to the Dj and said “I’m the grandmother I don’t care you will play this song and the Bride and Groom will just have to be ok with it” and he played it which was a song that was on the “Do not play list” even though he promised he would not so I walked outta the room at that time and used it as an excuse to go to the bathroom haha. But other than that our DJ was amazing (he’s also a family friend). I think if you are gonna hire someone, either hire a DJ and spell it out as to what you want or put a ton of music for the night on an iPod and have someone switch the songs.
Post # 5
For my own wedding we hired a DJ and he was absolutely amazing. I would actually recommend him to you if you’re in Toronto. We definitely lean more towards indie music, and would be absolutely appalled if our DJ played the chicken dance or whatnot. He was really open to any music suggestions or requests that we had, and even bought the tracks that he didn’t own. We requested more of a New Wave/80’s feel towards the end of the night because we knew most people would be in their 30s & 40s and would love it, and we were right. We danced til the lights came on at 1:30am! He also provided a basic set of dance floor lights.
Personally, if you can afford the $800, then I say do it. I think it would put your mind at ease knowing that someone is in charge of the music, and they really can ‘feel the room’ and know what to play to get people going.
You can find the right DJ out there for your needs, you just need to ask around. But you won’t regret it.
Post # 6
You don’t have to hire a dj but I wanted one so we got our for 4 hours for $500 which was a great deal. My fsil is a wedding planner so we got such a great deal. If you don’t want one you don’t have to have one. You can do an ipod wedding even though I highly suggest not doing this but it is your wedding…do whatever you want.
Post # 7
We made playlists for the various portions of the day and had a friend be our ‘master of music’, stopping and starting according to an itinerary we provided.
We rented speakers and hooked them up to a laptop, and had an iPod backup just in case. Worked great! The dance floor was full from the moment we started the music to when we stopped it.
Post # 8
I was in your boat as well, especially with not wanting the “cheesy wedding songs”, but hiring a DJ was seriously the best “splurge” we made. He was not how I imagined typical wedding DJ’s and was all about the “flow” of the event. He didn’t try to MC the event. He kept us in the loop and kept our evening on track. We also went over all the “big moment songs”, I made him playlists for dinner and dancing, and he would download songs he didn’t have. If you go the DJ route, just meet with them before signing a contract. You’ll be able to get a feel if they’re a fit for you or not.
I’m more in to indie and alternative music, but because I wanted everyone to be enjoying the songs and dancing, I played the more offbeat stuff at dinner and cocktail hour, but then picked fun songs everyone would know for dancing. I think it just comes down to knowing your guests and what they’d like best.
Post # 9
If you’re just using a DJ to play songs you’ve picked out, use an iPod. We did ano it was great.
Post # 10
If you tell them not to play the line dances, they won’t play them. They’ll play what you ask them to!
The most important function of a DJ in my opinion is the ability to read the crowd and tell when they need a faster song, a break (slower song), when to fade out a certain song if it’s not getting a good reaction, etc. But that’s mostly important if you’re having dancing. If you’re going to specify exactly which songs to play and when, then a DJ can’t really do their job. People might like certain songs in general, but that doesn’t mean that at that particular moment they will want to hear it or dance to it. That’s what a DJ does. If you just give them a list of songs you’d like played, and give them the flexibility to adjust them to the crowd, they’ll be doing just as much work as they would at other weddings. In fact, if you’re requesting music they don’t already have, they’ll be doing more work for your wedding.
Post # 11
We are also thinking about not using a DJ also, in order to save money. There are good articles on the Internet about it. I think the best strategy is probably to come up with an awesome playlist and then ask a friend to keep an eye on things and change it around a bit if necessary.
That’s what I’m hoping we can do, because honestly, anywhere I can save money, I’d like to.
Post # 12
BritniRobots: We banned all ‘instructional’ dances (chicken dance, cha cha slide, macarena etc etc) with the exception that if DH’s nephew or my brother (7 & 8) requested something it was to be played no matter what (These songs were never played).
Our DJ was amazing at reading the room, changing songs if people weren’t in to it and things. Totally worth the money.
Post # 13
Most DJs will have you make a “do not play” list.
I would recommend letting him have some freedom though, to keep people on the dance floor. I’ve been to several weddings where the couple insisted the DJ play only music THEY liked, and the crowd sat at the tables all night. If you want people to party play things they’re familiar with and can dance to.
Post # 14
BritniRobots: I’m a wedding photographer, and I can’t tell you the last time I heard the chicken dance or cha-cha slide at a wedding. This is one of those common misconceptions about wedding receptions. Either that or my clients are just really cool and awesome. 😉 The only group dances I ever see these days are the wobble and cupid shuffle – and if you don’t want them you just say so. Like anything, you get what you pay for. Good DJ’s who keep the crowd going don’t come cheap. If really depends on what kind of atmosphere you want for your wedding. If you envision your crowd dancing, and you want them to dance – get a DJ. I just shot my last wedding of the season this past weekend. The couple had a friend “DJ” – I use the term loosely because he brought in his iMac and just used his iTunes playlist. There was NO flow to the night, people kept switching songs – it was a hot mess. That being said, if you are only envisioning a playlist for background music you’d be fine to do it yourself.
Post # 15
We are not hiring a DJ. Our situation is much different though, because we are not have dancing at all. Our venue has overhead speakers, so we will just be setting them to a iPod playlist or radio station for background music.