MrsBobcat: I’ve spent a lot of time agonizing over this same decision. In my city, DJs start at around 800-1000 for a 4 hour reception, so I don’t want to pay for it if it’s not necessary. Here’s a few points we’ve come across in our research and discussions with others – not all of these may apply to her, but they are the questions we’ve been asking ourselves and others:
– for DIY, does her venue have a sound system? If so, is it strong/loud enough to project “dance music” (if that’s what she wants)? If they do have a system, is it named in her contract that she has access to it? (if not, then they may not be obligated to fix it if it breaks the week before, etc)
– if they don’t have a system, how much is it to rent one and what’s the cost of DJs in the area (i.e. Is there a big difference in the cost between the two if she has to rent anyway). Who would set up the equipment? Would you be able to test it in advance to make sure your device is compatible? What happens if it doesn’t work? Will the rental company have a back up available?
– for either venue provided or rented sound system – is it compatible for the device you want to play? What happens if there are technical difficulties? Do you have someone there competent to troubleshoot? Does the venue? Do you need someone to “watch” the music player to make sure people dont start choosing songs and messing with the playlist?
– I’ve ultimately been told if a dance party is important to you then you should go with a DJ. If you DIY you may get a lot of people dancing, certainly not impossible by any means, but the pre-made list may not hit the right cord with the crowd and people may not get really into it. A DJ presumably has experience reading a crowd and can change music according to the mood and make announcements to encourage people to get on the floor. Is that important or are you happy with people just having an enjoyable time with good music but maybe not dancing?
– If the DIY list isn’t well received, who will be in charge of tweaking it during the event or are you ok with just letting it play out?
– Where are you going to get the songs? Do you need wifi/internet for the list? What if the internet goes out? Are you ok with it skipping or pausing if the connection gets weak?
– If you use a pandora station, will it stress you out if people are dancing and in the party mood and it all of a sudden plays a slow song? Are you ok with letting however it plays play?
– DJs can be super cheesy 🙂
These are just some of the back and forths I’m having. I’ve done tons of research and have found many instances where DIY blew it out of the water and everyone had a fantastic time – I’ve also found about as many for which it kind of bombed. I’ve also found DJ horror stories as well as success stories.
Im still undecided if you can’t tell 😉