DIY Wedding DJ

iSpud

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2004
92
0
Minnesota
Hi all,

I am getting married in May, and I have a few questions regarding music and software and the like.

We were thinking of just doing the reception/dance without a DJ or Band. My dad is an audio systems contractor, so getting the right equipment is not a problem. I would then hook up my iBook to the system and play tunes from there (with a backup on CD and on my iPod just in case). Is there any program out there besides itunes that is good with mixing (i.e. crossfading, ect.). Otherwise I would use the party shuffle mode.

Also, if any of you have done this or have gone to receptions with a DIY music mix, how did it go? If it went well, why? If not, why not? Any suggestions from Apple fans out there would be appreciated!

Thanks!
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,182
1,192
East Coast
iSpud said:
Hi all,

I am getting married in May, and I have a few questions regarding music and software and the like.

We were thinking of just doing the reception/dance without a DJ or Band. My dad is an audio systems contractor, so getting the right equipment is not a problem. I would then hook up my iBook to the system and play tunes from there (with a backup on CD and on my iPod just in case). Is there any program out there besides itunes that is good with mixing (i.e. crossfading, ect.). Otherwise I would use the party shuffle mode.

Also, if any of you have done this or have gone to receptions with a DIY music mix, how did it go? If it went well, why? If not, why not? Any suggestions from Apple fans out there would be appreciated!

Thanks!
Spud,

I can understand the desire to save money and DIY jobs, but this is your wedding. I would suggest finding a good DJ instead of going down the path that you're thinking. There's a lot more to a DJ's job than just spinning records. A DJ will normally serve as the MC, he takes requests, he can adjust to the mood of the reception (i.e. play more dancing music if that's how the party is going...), etc.

We had a great DJ for our reception and he charged $800. I just heard on TV that the average wedding in the US costs $17k. That's only 5% of the bill. There are other places where you can save money (although you may already be doing those). Making your own party favors can save $$$. Re-using flowers from the ceremony can save $$$.

I think that your guests will remember how much fun they had at the reception and will specifically point out the DJ. No one remembers the food, unless it's terrible.

These are just my opinions.

BTW, I was in a wedding where my buddy hired a DJ that used a laptop. He wasn't nearly as good at adapting to changes as our DJ was. In your set-up, there would be no adapting, unless you want to be messing with the iBook during your own wedding.
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,072
28
Washington, DC
To each their own. I would advise the opposite, mainly because the only DJ'ed weddings I've been to had annoying, cheesy DJs. DJs will play crappy pop songs, make annoying, innapropriate jokes... But it depends on the kind of wedding you want. Mine was a (big, garden) backyard affair with about 110 guests. We had friends and family perform the ceremony. A DJ would have been very out of place. We set up 4 playlists and just had them play. On the other hand, there was very little dancing.

My brother-in-law's wedding the next weekend was a massive, 350 person indoor event. At something like that, you need entertainment because it's too large for people to mainly entertain themselves by interacting with each other. They kind of needed a DJ. Unfortunately, the one they got was pretty snotty and seemed to enjoy playing innapropriate songs (but who listens to the lyrics anyway, I guess).


And congratulations and have fun!
 

Veldek

macrumors 68000
Mar 29, 2003
1,789
1
Germany
I don't like DJs because you never know what kind of jokes he makes and what kind of mood he creates unless you know him and saw him in action.

When I married we hired a two-man group and they were really great. They always made the right music (live) and could also react to the guests in a way a laptop could never do. They also didn't feel like they had to make jokes or anything and this was a big plus. All the guests told us how great they were.

And, the menu IS important. Our guests reassured us several times that it was great and indeed, it was. So, when they're asked, they always talk about the food and the music.
 

SilentPanda

Moderator emeritus
Oct 8, 2002
9,993
30
The Bamboo Forest
Get one of your buddies that doesn't like to dance to DJ the wedding. Plus if he does want to dance it's not that hard to queue up 3 or 4 songs and let them run.
 

nbs2

macrumors 68030
Mar 31, 2004
2,715
489
A geographical oddity
do you know a dj?

Most people I know have relied on one DJ. we all know him and he does a good job. If you know how a DJ is going to perform, I'd say it is totally worth it. We're spending $1300 for the DJ - but he'll be working for about 10 hours, so it isn't a bad deal (wedding, cocktail, reception).
 

zim

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2002
1,332
0
Congratulations on your wedding!

I would advise you not to try a DIY DJ arrangement. My wife and I originally discussed doing our own music but we came to realize that the DJ does more then just play tunes and that we also did not need the added stress. The DJ does play a big role, they coordinate events, gets people to dance, etc... You should interview a few DJ's and know that they are performing a service and will do what you want, I highly recommend spending the money.

Also, please don't ask a family member to DJ or Photograph etc.. my wife and I have photographed 3 family weddings and even though we were very happy to do so, we regretted doing so because it did not allow us to be in the wedding or able to enjoy ourselves.
 

jeremy.king

macrumors 603
Jul 23, 2002
5,479
1
Fuquay Varina, NC
Do you really want to be taking song requests? And announcing your own first dance/dance with mother/dance with father/bouquet toss/etc... ? Seems cheesy to me.

For those who have had/experienced crappy DJs, I only offer the suggestion that you research and interview several DJs. Also, review references and even check them out in action, if possible. Finally, if you think some are overpriced, its doesn't hurt to try to negotiate.

Bottom line, if you want music - take the least stressful route - pay the $1000 (plus or minus) and get a professional DJ or live band/performer. This is your day - you shouldn't ahve to work...
 

zim

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2002
1,332
0
kingjr3 said:
Do you really want to be taking song requests? And announcing your own first dance/dance with mother/dance with father/bouquet toss/etc... ? Seems cheesy to me.

For those who have had/experienced crappy DJs, I only offer the suggestion that you research and interview several DJs. Also, review references and even check them out in action, if possible. Finally, if you think some are overpriced, its doesn't hurt to try to negotiate.

Bottom line, if you want music - take the least stressful route - pay the $1000 (plus or minus) and get a professional DJ or live band/performer. This is your day - you shouldn't ahve to work...
I 100% agree. Interviewing DJs is the key, we interviewed 4 before we picked one. Interviewing means having them show you a tape or even having them play some music and discuss their style. Also, and I stress, please don't ask friends or family to do this sort of stuff, it is no fun at all.
 

Rod Rod

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2003
2,175
2
Las Vegas, NV
I've attended a reception where the music was served up on an iBook. It worked. The atmosphere of the reception didn't call for an emcee or for a standup comedian. It was all close friends and family. There were short speeches, and each speaker was introduced by one of the family members.

They had a photographer but no videographer. The bride and groom decided against having video. However, the bride's mother was disappointed with that decision, and she wanted a video to be made. The bride permitted me to shoot the wedding ceremony and reception.
 

iSpud

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2004
92
0
Minnesota
Thank you all for your input. I will be discussing this with my fiance and family to make a decision. Points that others make concerning my stress level at my wedding is well taken. I have been wondering how much work we want to put into DJing if we do it ourselves.

I think a big part of DJing is the part of entertainer and making sure people stay excited and entertained. I'll keep you all posted. Keep the dialogue coming as well.
 

MemphisSoulStew

macrumors regular
May 10, 2004
174
0
UK
I did all the music for my wedding, because me, my wife and (most of) our friends all had similar music tastes, and we couldn't find a DJ that would play our kind of music. This was 21 years ago, so DJ'ing off a computer was not something anyone could even imagine.

I spent a couple of weeks compiling tapes, 2xC90 for the wedding lunch to which we only invited 30 closest friends and relatives; then 5xC90 for a big party for everyone we knew.

Our musical tastes ran from 40's and 50's jump blues, swing, rock & roll, rockabilly and doo-wop, through 50's and 60's jazz, and on to obscure 60's and 70's soul and funk. The chances of finding a DJ that could play all that was non-existent, and I'd still be hard pressed to find one DJ that could play it all. Everyone that came heard something they could dance to, and we all had a great time. One tape was even rewound and played again by my best man because of the dance-floor reaction.

Bottom line - it's your wedding and you have to have music that you and your future spouse enjoy. If you can find a DJ that will play the sort of music you listen to then book that DJ. If you think you'll have problems finding someone who will reflect your tastes, then do it yourself. Ultimately, it's your day, and you don't want it spoiled by the wrong music. Do you really want your first dance to be to Lady In Red?

If you're going to DIY you should consider ripping your playlists as AIFF - there was an article in MacAddict about 18 months ago about DJ'ing off a pair of iPods and they recommend using AIFF files. I typed it out for a friend who couldn't find the mag and I've just found the email I sent him, so here's what MacAddict had to say:

"Nothing gets a party going like a DJ spinning fat beats on a fat sound system. But getting those boxes of vinyl records and CDs to your event can be a heavy-lifting nightmare. Being averse to hard manual labor, we ditched that tonnage for the portability of two iPods. Similar to a DJ spinning vinyl would mix tracks from records spinning on two turntables through a mixer, our digital DJ mixed tacks from his two iPods using the same type of multichannel stereo-input mixer a vinyl DJ would use - we used an Allen and Heath Xone 32 ($1,099, www.topdjgear.com/alandhexoscm.html). We then fed the music through a Peavey Qw 118P ($1,599, www.peavey.com) 18-inch powered subwoofer and two Peavey Impulse 1015P powered speaker enclosures ($949.99 each) to produce a mammoth, club-style sound. if you don't have a sound system as sick as this, fret not - this setup will work on whatever system you plug your four-channel (or two stereo-channel) mixer into.
"How much music you bring is up to you. While a 40GB iPod can hold up to 8,000 5MB MP3 files, standard 128-Kbps encoded MP3 sounds like crap on a pro sound system. You're better off using CD-quality AIFF files - they consume about 25MB each but sound much better.
"Another tip from the pros: Organise your tunes into Playlists and practice before your Bacchanalia - when mixing tracks on iPods you can't control pitch or match beats the way you can with CDs and vinyl. plus a word to the wise from DJ Ritchie Hawtin, aka Plastikman: Use your thumbs, not your fingers, to scroll through songs - it's easier."
They also had an app called Disco on one of their cover CDs which can be found here - it looks like it might allow you to create playlists with decent crossfades, but I haven't used it myself so I can't comment on how useful it would be to you. There's also DJ1800 which might be worth looking at.

Whatever you decide, have fun.
 

Rod Rod

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2003
2,175
2
Las Vegas, NV
This has to do with DIY extras at your wedding. If your wedding reception is indoors and you're going to sit on a sweetheart table on a stage, I highly recommend getting pipes and drape (their term for a velour curtain backdrop) from an A/V rental company. The reason is most banquet halls have ugly or gaudy walls in not very flattering patterns and colors. With pipes and drape you can hang black velour to cover the ugly wall, put the focus on you and your new bride, AND all your photos and video will turn out much better.
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,168
354
The Cool Part of CA, USA
MemphisSoulStew said:
If you're going to DIY you should consider ripping your playlists as AIFF - there was an article in MacAddict about 18 months ago about DJ'ing off a pair of iPods and they recommend using AIFF files.
This is good advice; I'm not an audio snob, but on a big beefy system the limitations of 128K MP3 do start to become noticable. Full-quality AIFF may not be necessary, but at least stick to 160K AAC, or Apple Lossless if you want to go all out.

Personally, I had a small, mostly DIY wedding, where I tapped family friends for most functions (one friend and an uncle both offered to video as their wedding gifts, several musicians I know offered to play music in lieu of a DJ or hired band, my brother MCed) and it all worked out very well.

Had I wanted prerecorded music, I think setting up a favorite playlist before hand and asking a friend to go and turn it on and off as necessary would've worked just fine--maybe not quite as adaptable to mood, but at least I know it'd be music I'm going to like. So long as everybody knows it's a small homegrown affair, it can work just fine.

(Actually, now that I think of it, a remote control unit with a display of some sort would let somebody do the playlisting on a laptop with iTunes or something similar would let you do this without even having a dedicated person--give a trusted relative the remote or even do it yourself if you're a hands-on type.)

Then again, at bigger weddings I could imagine running into issues. My brother tried this, and although the music (all live--professional musician friends and family abound) went just fine as a DIY affair and I covered MCing as the best man, several family members (myself included) ended up working way harder than was comfortable in other areas (videoing comes to mind), and it's become a serious point of friction in the family since then.

Lesson, at least that I took away: Small, relaxed affairs are ok being DIY, but when things get big and/or formal, the potential for problems grows exponentially, and hiring pros is probably a good idea.
 

precisedjs

macrumors newbie
Dec 17, 2007
1
0
I agree with all of the rest of the posts. You only get married once in your life. It makes sense to go with a Professional DJ to run the music for your wedding just so you have one less thing to worry about. Book one in advance and work with them to make sure that you have some sort of playlist of do's and do not play(s). I've seen people who try to run their own sound and equipment and it can be a disaster. Like I said, it only happens once and you want it to be special. It may cost a bit more (or a lot more in some cases depending on budget and quality of DJs) but it will be a good investment. Spend less on the little things that people might not notice and focus on the things that people WILL notice (the music). Believe it or not, it really helps the mood and fun-factor.
Hope it all works out!
Precise DJs
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,168
354
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Hope it all works out!
I assume this poster found the thread doing Google searches and registered to post as a self-promotional thing (being that this is their only post)... but the thread is nearly three years old.

I'd posted originally, which is why I noticed the new post, but it's pretty lame to not even check the date before near-spamming.
 

Aperture

macrumors 68000
Mar 19, 2006
1,877
0
PA
I assume this poster found the thread doing Google searches and registered to post as a self-promotional thing (being that this is their only post)... but the thread is nearly three years old.

I'd posted originally, which is why I noticed the new post, but it's pretty lame to not even check the date before near-spamming.
Haha, yeah it is pretty great when someone bumps up a 3 year old thread... especially considering this guy has probably already been married for a while. :)
 

johnsonM

macrumors newbie
Jan 29, 2008
1
0
Hire a Young DJ

I think the most important thing is to hire a DJ closest to your age.
In the DJ world, Experience isn't the most important thing. If you can find a Young DJ, your chances of cheeze are lower, yet, make sure you go with someone who has done Many weddings. There is a HUGE difference between a club DJ and a wedding DJ. There is a huge difference between a friend and a professional. A good DJ can make or break your wedding. With a cool DJ even the cheezy games can be fun and not so cheezy.
 

CraigCyril

macrumors newbie
Jan 18, 2012
5
0
DJ equipments

If you have equipments then hiring DJ equipments is not necessary but you will need professionals for regulating it properly.
 

SistaSuzy

macrumors newbie
Aug 16, 2013
1
0
Maybe you can have someone MC

The advice is right ... don't skimp on the DJ thing.

If you are having a backyard wedding ? they are fairly relaxed.
Now if you have the equipment and a friend or family member who is dying to be a DJ ..then you might try it.
They would have to be outspoken and you need to make a plan.

We have seen some very good DJ that were family members. One was very good and introduced all the family members at the beginning of the reception and introduced the different dances etc.

But if you are having a formal wedding and paid lots of money for the venue, I wouldn't reccomend skimping on the DJ. They run the party and believe it or not your guests get very bored.
You should check out our website and ideas on http://affordableweddingminister.com/index.html
 
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