Monday, February 2, 2009

#513: torn.

happy monday y'alls.

i'm curious.

1) how important is / was the music portion of your event?
2) how much did / are you willing to spend for a DJ (or live music or equivalent)?
3) if you had an ipod wedding, what were the pros and cons? and would you do it again without a doubt?
4) i've only reached out to 1 dj so far and he's going to put me out over $1000. eH?! i definitely don't wanna. thoughts?

please feel free to answer one or any or all of the above.



{amy lynn} said...

i wanted to do the ipod thing..but fh wanted to be sure no one at the party would have to worry about the music in case it messed up, or whatever. so we went with a dj..who is actually a friend of ours... we are expecting to pay him around $300. seriously..a grand? please. what a joke. i would try craigslist, or some local college kids that need some extra dough.
we also thought about the live band thing...but listening to the same voice for 3 hours makes me want to throw up a little...we like variety.

just my $.02

Jess and Frankie said...

i had the same problem. The first DJ i contacted wanted $1200. I kinda said "f*** that, its too much money" and then considered an ipod wedding. I still contacted another DJ company and got a $700 quote. It's all about how persistent you are and what you care about most.

EBM said...

alot of my friends paid about 600 for their DJs. We are going to go over that, but I think that is the ballpark figure. We have to use a fixed list, so the cheapest on that list was 700 for 8 hrs of work. I am sure u can get that for less if you need less, hit me up if you need names.

Sweet T said...

Music was *very* important to us, and we had a great wedding with an iPod reception! The Boy made playlists ahead of time (had did a lot of things using free software to make sure it flowed properly). We had our friend "MC" for the few 'things' we did (cake cutting, first dance, money dance). It worked out perfectly! Let me know if you need any advice on doing an iPod reception, I think ours went really well!

amy said...

we used an ipod at our wedding, and i wouldn't change a thing. music is very important to us both, and we didn't want a dj playing anything we didn't want to hear. we had our coordinator (a family friend) mc the toasts, cake cutting, dances, etc, but it was very minimal. we had to rent some equipment because our venue didn't provide any so we rented a microphone also. in the end it cost about 350 for the equipment rental, but i knew each song that would be played had been chosen by us and was special to us.

Linda said...

We went the iPod route. Some music was important to us. We had a groomsman who had all the equipment so he did everything. We were really lucky. What we did suited our outdoor wedding perfectly.

Lynsey T said...

1. Music was vey important to me. In my opinion, if the DJ isn't good, people wont dance and that is not the type of reception I wanted to have. My dad's only request was for me not to cut back when it came to music.

2. We spend $850 for 6 hours not including tip

3. Wouldn't rely on a non-pro to be in charge of music. I didn't want to skimp in this area.

4. Do you research and put a spreadsheet together so you can break down exactly what you're paying per hour. I think you can definitely find someone cheaper than $1,000.

Good luck!

Christy said...

Music is SO important to us. Probably because we are both music majors so that's what we do with our lives!

That being said - we have two friends who are getting into DJing, and they are going to charge us $100 an hour. so for our 5 hour reception, we'll be giving them $500.

That said: check out local schools and see who they use for their dances/proms, etc. You might find that they know of someone who does it out of their home who will do it much cheaper (we have quite a few of those here).

Good luck whatever you decide!

Ruthie said...

We are planning on having mostly an iPod wedding, however one of my very close friends has been a professional wedding DJ for awhile, he'd still be doing it now, but his boss, who owned the equipment, moved out of state. It's something he'd like to do again in the future when he can afford to get the speakers and stuff he needs. So we are planning on asking him to sort of keep an eye on the music, though it will be our play list and laptop, and we will probably rent speakers and a mike. Personally I think DJs are over rated, but for some it can totally make or break the wedding. We will be having live music (a harper friend) for our ceremony. Music is pretty important to me too, I am a musician and have played a lot of weddings...

Becky said...

1) at first it was really important to me and I just wanted to party the afternoon/evening away but I eventually took a really hard reality look at our guests and realized, no matter how much I wanted to party, our guests weren't the type - but I still wanted music of some kind

2) in my area the average DJ is around $800, we are paying for the wedding ourselves and only could budget around $550. I was able to find someone with good reviews from vendors and brides for $650. We made it work by adjusting other things in our budget.

3) with our budget we were definitely thinking iPod at first but I was constantly haunted by the fact that there was no one right for the job of MC'ing from either sides of our family

4) keep looking!! there is someone out there

AmyJean said...

TTO. I've got a great laid back dj who's in Orange county... and it'll be almost half of what your other DJ offered. Let me know if you want his info!


Kiana said...

We got our DJ for $1,ooo for the reception AND ceremony. Music is important to us and we wanted a band, but there was just no way because of $$. If that price quote you got is for the reception only, I'd look some more and don't be afraid to negotiate - we're in a freaking recession! lol

Anonymous said...

I found a DJ in my area for $500, total, for 4 hours. He was recommended by a friend, so that might have brought the price down a bit. Music was very important to me, and even though an ipod wedding is really alluring, when it came down to it, I didn't want to ask a guest to manage the ipod. Hence the DJ. I would look around different clubs in the area, even ask teenagers (if you know any) who is good in your area. Also, going through a service is not cheap.

Lee said...

We had an ipod wedding reception and it worked out just fine. My husband put a lot of time in on creating playlists, and we worked together on narrowing it down and arranging the songs into an order for the reception. We asked a friend to watch over the music in the beginning of the reception while we did a first dance and danced with our mom and dad, then she started the party playlist and that was it!
The best part of arranging the music ourselves is that we are still enjoying listening to our wedding playlist.

Anonymous said...

I Just started following your blog... I am not married *yet* but I did want to pass on a good idea if you plan to go the ipod route. A friend of mine had people write a favorite song they would like to hear played at the reception. That way everyone gets a say. You would have to weed out the songs that are just bad dance songs.... Just an idea!

Elizabeth said...

We're kind of doing the ipod route...but we're going with mix CDs instead. My partner has this great software that lets you set the exact transition time between each track, so it works out well for us.

We also got to splurge on the ceremony musicians, which was very important to us.

Getting a DJ at all would have been $1200 in our area, and then the extras (like, oh, I don't know, getting them to our venue) made the grand total nearly $2000! Our whole budget is barely bigger than that! Yeesh!

Sweet Tea and Peonies said...

I read an article that was written by a DJ that wasn't totally biased and after reading that I was pretty sold. There's a lot to the DJ thing, but if you're just looking for something for background noise during dinner I think an iPod is the way to go. Basically, a DJ can keep everything moving along. The DJ can easily change up the music is no one is dancing, and you don't have to force one of your guests to man your iPod playlists (cause you'll need 5 or 6 -or more- of them to have everything go smoothly). Since you don't want to have to bother anyone to light candles I'm guessing you won't want anyone to have to fuss over the music either. I'll try and find that article if you're interested.

Bree said...

Luckily for our budget, the best man was a DJ in college so he's going to make sure everything is running smoothly. It will be a laptop/sound system reception. (The wedding is inside the temple, no music planning necessary.) FH and I will load all our favorite songs on the laptop and BestMan/DJ will keep things flowing.

Anonymous said...

We had an iPod wedding and I would do it again without a doubt and music was incredibly important to us. We had three different lists, one for the ceremony, one for dinner and one for the dancing. We asked for song requests on the RSVP card and everyone who requested something had their song played at some point during the wedding. If you are going to rent, I'd recommend renting from a music instrument rental store, we got all of our equipment, for the entire weekend for $55.

JD said...

I still have no idea what we're going to be doing. My cousin's Fiance was a Dj in college, so we've though about that, but we're also thinking about not having any dancing at all- so possibly no music, or maybe an Ipod? I'm in love with a few songs from Yo Yo Ma's Appalachian Suite for the ceremony- it would be great to have a live trio or quartet for that, but I'm not sure if that will be in our budget either.
I have friends who got married this past summer and they used an Ipod for their entire ceremony, including lots of dancing. It sounded great and as the night went on friends started taking it over and picking out different songs depending on the mood of the moment. Its certainly waayy cheaper that way.

Alison said...

I didn't take the time to read through any of the other comments so sorry if there are any doubles here.. but here are my answers:

1) VERY - we both LOVE music and it plays a huge roll in our relationship - Friday nights are often spent listening to records in a dim room! This is actually one of the main reasons that we DON'T want a DJ. We don't trust our music in the hands of anyone else. Plus a lot of what we like probably isn't in most DJs' repertoire (not to sound like a snob haha)

2) Never considered a DJ so never budgeted for one. We're paying $300 to use the sound system in our venue that's been calibrated perfectly for the room.. not sure if that's a rip off or not.. but that's the cost

3) Haven't got married yet, but (I think) I've thought of the pros/cons..
PROS: You have ultimate control over what you play and you get to hear YOUR music. And, save save save!!
CONS: We need an MC now to announce things the DJ normally would (we're just going to ask a friend - i.e. cheap!). Controlling the music - we've solved this one with an iPod Touch/iPhone app called "remote" which lets you control the iTunes on your computer from the iPod/Phone, plus the MOH or someone else (MC?) can help out too. Not having "popular songs" - don't know if we're going to worry about this, but if you are, apparently you can get "wedding mixes" etc off iTunes!

4) As long as you can find someone to take the mic for announcements etc and you're comfortable making a playlist, I say go for the iPod!

Anonymous said...

i'm in the process of early planning and my mother and several others have said that besides the ceremony lovliness, the music for dancing is most important to a good wedding. whatever that might mean, i also don't want to spend gahzillions on a dj. we, fortunately, live in an area with lots of musicians. SO, we're going to the music school and posting a "want" add for student musicians willing to be paid by the hour, for a less expensive fee.

Vilija said...

I have heard of the ipod route going smoothly, as many people are attesting to here. This is a word of caution - I've been to several weddings where the ipod playlist went awfully.

Those weddings had no one in charge of the ipod, the play lists did not flow and guests tried to make it better by getting hands on. The dancing is usually the most fun for guests, this was not the case. If you go this route make sure to have someone in charge of the ipod who you trust to keep the party going.

I'm all in for starting DJs, friends of friends and anything else that saves money. (It is because of these weddings that my fiance insists we have a live-person DJ).

Annika said...

My sister's wedding this past summer had an ipod playlist that she and her husband had SO much fun putting together.

To keep the stress down at the wedding, they had a groomsman in charge of the music. The groomsman set up and tested everything the day before, and handled the playlist through the reception, for the few times when a different song was needed. The main problem was that my sister had forgotten to put in some "background" songs for things like cake cutting and bouquet tossing.

If you do a playlist, make sure to put in songs for those awkward pauses, and mix up the fast and slow songs. Having another person to switch it up if music isn't matching the mood can be easy, especially if you have a music-loving friend.

Skeeta said...

Im totally going the ipod route. My girlfriends dont mind changing the playlist- it takes like 1 minute. Im going to rent speakers. But if anyone can hook me up with some free software links\


to make it flow I would SO appreciate it! rikkita at gmail dot com.

Mandy Sue said...

we are *hopefully* doing both. We plan on having live music (accoustic guitar) for the ceremony and then an iPod reception.

Alison said...

I forgot to mention one other PRO to my list!

We were going to have the guests all request a song with their RSVP. I'm not sure if we're going to end up doing it anymore because the Mr doesn't trust everyone else's taste. But I definitely think it's a great idea to have all of your guests involved in your wedding if you're cool with opening up the playlist like that.

Depending on the size of your guest list, each person can have their own song played at some point in the night. You could even have a list to show requested what, and maybe even use their requests on place cards? Sorry just thinking aloud a little there haha.

Tracy said...

My fiance and many of our guests are rock musicians, so I think we have a bit of a different attitude toward music than most. We won't be heartbroken if no one dances, we just want everyone to be able to hang out and talk while having some good music on in the background (like you might at a house party).

Our DJ is $100/hour and we are having him for four hours. We are actually thinking of just making a big list of all the stuff we like and having him choose from that list based on what suits the mood at the time. [My fiance is the opposite of a control freak except when it comes to music--his single request for the entire wedding was that there would be no chicken dance or electric slide]

The DJs I researched ranged anywhere from $100/hour to $2000 for package deals including lights and fog machines. I think it's really a question (like anything else) of your priorities -- will you be happy if someone just plays music, or do you want the big nightclub-style show?

Crafty Beaver said...

We found a DJ for $540 for 5 hours - but we're in a relatively inexpensive area (Iowa).

This is still a big part of our budget. I thought about doing the iPod thing (partly because a lot of DJs annoy me) - but music is just not in my DIY comfort zone. I'll print my own invitations, arrange my own flowers - but music just freaks me out. So it's worth it to pay somebody else to think about it.

We also recently attended a wedding where the couple did their own playlist. It was great, it was unique - but since the guests didn't know/recognize the music, there was very little dancing, and I think the couple was disappointed and surprised by that.

Scuba Princess said...

I wanted to use the ipod originally but I decided I needed someone who would make the announcements (toasts, entrance, cake cutting). I read somewhere that the DJ really is the one in charge of keeping the wedding schedule on track. Now that mine is over, I would have to agree! I went with someone who was referred to me- and I LOVED HIM. I think we paid $700 and we just got the basics- which was plenty. I got tons of compliments on his music selection. He was really professional, young and fun. I went to a wedding recently where the DJ was some slimy old man- totally not cool. I also didnt want one who was too "hip hoppy" or "trendy" as not all my guests are into that. Anyway, my DJ was and I HIGHLY recommend Tom!

Call Me Loretta said...

Hey TKO,
Let me tell you the story of my music:
- I started out really wanting live music. Why? because I believe in supporting musicians. But then I realized I couldn't afford live music.
- My then-fiance and I were really, really against DJs. Why? Because we'd seen enough DJs disregard the careful, careful instructions the bride/groom left for them.
- So we decided to have an iPod reception (we had organ music during the wedding, because she was really affordable and plays so nicely), and I carefully (with then-fiance's blessing) created a play list.
- Then I forgot the iPod, so the bistro we had our reception in just played their own music. Which is so nice -- not muzak and so tasteful and hip and sweet.
- We were having such a good time that we didn't mind this one tiny bit.
- A caveat or so: My sweet husband is petrified of dancing, so we didn't have a first dance. My parents are no longer alive, so there weren't any parental dances to keep in mind. We wanted to seat more friends rather than take up room with a dance area.

Anonymous said...

I am all for the ipod, I really dont like the idea of a dj at my wedding. The guys we interviewed had less than 70% of the music we wanted.
My friend put the dj ipod thing in perspective for me, she said, there is nothing wrong with the ipod route, but you need to know that there is a difference (not bad difference)it's not like people think you have a dj that's hidden.
I want my reception to feel like a dinner party at my house, and I certainly wouldnt hire a dj at my house.
If you want a dj but dont want to pay that much, put an ad on craigslist and indicate that you are willing to hire someone who is experienced but just getting into weddings. Just a suggestion.

Sassy Pants said...

We're doing the ipod play lists, but we are also alternating between that and "special music" by friends who are musically inclined during the ceremony:)

During our reception, we have about 3 or 4 friends who will get their own "set" to do like 2 or 3 songs throughout the night. We are using the ipod playlist for the events-events-- i.e. cake cutting, slideshow, and even while guests are being seated, though.

DCKate said...

Music is pretty important to us, we're going with a very highly recommended DJ in our area. That said, we live in a pretty expensive area for weddings, and we're paying $850 for 4 hours. I would definitely recommend talking to other DJs in your area for quotes. We didn't want a live band because we want to be able to hear specific versions of certain songs. A DJ gives more variety and flexibility, although a good band can be a lot of fun.

iPod wasn't really an option for us, because we didn't want any of our guests to have to worry about flipping the the right song for first dance, father/daughter dance, etc. Also, with iPod playlists, you're stuck with what you've chosen ahead of time. A good DJ can read the mood of the crowd and play things that will keep everyone dancing.

Lastly, I've heard enough horror stories about iPod malfunctions that I wouldn't want to risk it. At the very least, I would put the playlists on two separate iPods, so you have a backup.

I think you can definitely find a good DJ for well less than $1000 if you do some digging.

Cara said...

We're planning to go the ipod route and we're starting to put our playlist together ... anyone have any advice for how to arrange fast/slow/old/new songs on the playlist or want to share a playlist you used that was successful??

jackiewd said...
We are planning to use a laptop (back up cds, and save the playlists on both mine and the future hub's laptops) with a rented speaker...Probably this guy, maybe borrowed speakers.

Claire Voisine said...

We did the iTunes thing. You just have to find a good friend that you trust, is computer literate, and loves you enough to want to help, and won't walk away to hit on a girl and forget about fading the music out when toasts roll around. Luckily, we have a friend like this, and it was flawless!

Mrs. Andi said...

We are strongly considering the Ipod / laptop route. With the laptop, we can open Itunes & play anything we want, not just a specific schedule. We're probably going to get the Mr.'s brother to be our host & DJ.

I really liked some of the suggestions in the comments, like having background music for the active parts of the event. We're thinking of playing Irish music during the meal, because we're planning to go to Ireland for our honeymoon.

Broke-ass Bride said...

Its tres important. We want people to dance, and its not possible with an ipod, imo.
*Fades are awkward between songs
*Can't read the crowd energy
That said, a friend did a wedding I was in last weekend, and he manned the station, by using a laptop with a sound board and it worked really well.

A wedding I was at this fall used the ipod and the dance floor fell totally flat. People kept switching the songs and it became chaotic and de-energized.

Kristen C. said...

$1,000 is not unreasonable for a DJ, if he / she has solid recommendations. However, a DJ is hardly necessary if all you want is a few announcements and somebody to play songs you chose.

I have planned many an IPod wedding, and before that many a CD player wedding (and even a couple of tape player weddings..yes I'm that old!), and I can't say that I or my brides have had any regrets. Just make sure you test all your sound equipment out before the big day.

Anonymous said...

we are having a dj at the wedding, but he will really only be there to mc the course of events that transpire and play the music we want played. i have already been compiling a playlist since the HTB and i began dating almost two years ago and intend on adhering to that only. no chicken dance at our wedding, thankyouverymuch!


Kate Farley said...

Personally - we're doing an ipod. But here's the thing to really think about...what kind of party are you throwing? We're having something outdoors and rustic in the afternoon. We're also really into bluegrass, swing and old standards. With that in mind, we don't necessarily expect people to be doing tons of dancing. It's cool if they do, but that's not the kind of party that we're really aiming for. We're really into music, but not making it the focus of the day so an ipod with set playlists for cocktails, dinner and after seem fine. We will have friends playing & singing live for our first dance.

However, if you're doing something in the evening or that's more contemporary and you really want to ensure that everyone is up off their feet, it might be worth the investment. I've seen great DJ's and really really corny ones though so probably a lot of research is needed to find somebody good.

christine said...

We went with the iPod but played it off the laptop b/c the iPod doesn't have the settings that you'll have on your laptop/iTunes like cross fade, etc. You know, so there's no gap between the songs, they overlap one another.

Definitely listen to the set in it's entirety before the wedding b/c I found that some songs didn't flow together in real life like they did on a play list.

Instead of renting an amp/speakers we bought an Ion Block Rocker - it's so awesome. It has an ipod dock or you can plug in your computer or even instruments. It has different volume controls and a mic! It was like $300 which is what renting would have cost. I kinda thought I'd sell it after but we use it all the time for bbq/parties out in our yard.

Jessica said...

We're paying about a grand for a dj. It's more than we had planned, but we're seeing the dj not just as someone to play songs we want, but also to read the crowd to pick music that people seem to be responding to, and to act as MC to keep things moving along...

We just went to a wedding where the dj was SO HORRIBLE and incredibly awkward. Wildly terrible music, mispronouncing the bride and groom's name, you name it. It was like out of a movie.

So we spent a little more to get a dj who came very highly recommended. I guess it depends on your tolerance for awkwardness or whether you have friends who can step into the mc role.

Wedding_Skulls said...

For us the music was EXTREMEMLY important, and it was actually for that reason that we DIDN'T hire a DJ. We were going to have my fiance's metal band play, but changed our mind at last minute and decided to just do a laptop wedding.

We wanted very specific songs on the list, and we wanted to be able to put on something if someone came up and said 'do you have any such'n'such?' or 'we totally need a Manowar singalong'.

Yes, you can sit down with a DJ and say 'here are 400 songs from oour lists that we love and we 'might' want played at the wedding, and we want you to play things that guests request and oh, you don't have this obscure finnish folk metal band in your lists? We can give you a CD.' But tthen, what are we paying $1000 for. We just brought my husband's laptop and hooked it to the venue's soundsystem, and it worked perfectly. A DJ just wouldn't have worked the same way.

Only con we experienced was that with any of your own equipment, be aware that people may spill drinks on it. Perhaps designate someone - not a heavy drinker - to keep an eye on the people fiddling with the sounds. CDH went to pack up his laptop and found drink on the keyboard - luckily it was just water, though, and nothing was damaged.