DIY Wedding Music
With all the expenses and costs of a wedding and reception, you may be considering DIY options like you never thought you would. Are you ready for a do-it-yourself job on your reception music, otherwise known as an “iPod wedding”?
Like any DIY wedding option, handling your own reception music has a big list of pros and cons. The biggest benefit is of course the hefty savings once you cut out hiring a DJ or wedding band to provide your reception music. Others like it because you get complete control over the song selection. Being your own wedding DJ is actually a real possibility now that everyone and their grandmother has an iPod and a computer.
But what about the cons? Choosing and organizing your complete wedding reception playlist is labor intensive, and of course you are ultimately responsible for any technical glitches that crop up during the reception. Worrying about the music could dull your happy memories of your wedding day. If you do your own music, you’ll also be unable to take guest requests. And if you’re having dancing, you’ll be unable to respond to the mood of the dancers; switching from slow to fast songs will have been pre-determined.
DIY reception music is most popular and practical for casual, non-dancing open houses. These types of receptions only require an hours’ worth of music (about 20-25 songs) that you can play in a continuous loop. You and your wedding party may hear the same song more than once, but most guests will not stay to hear it repeated an hour later.
For 99¢ a song, you can download an hour of your favorite music for less than $30 onto your iPod or computer and patch into the sound system at the church for sound like the professionals. (Watch the video here on WeddingLDS.com to see how to patch into the sound system at the building and to find out which cables are needed.) Each cultural hall has a built-in sound system with over head speakers. Your wedding music will be able to be adjusted for the whole room, much preferred over a CD player or boom box on one side of the room blasting the ears of some and not being able to be heard by others.
When your reception includes dancing, DIY music is a little more complicated. Your songs are no longer just background. Instead of pushing “play” and letting your iPod run its course, you’ll need special songs (the first dance, the daddy/daughter dance, the mother/son dance, and so on) to play at specific times. Sometimes a reluctant crowd might not be moved by your playlist – this is where a good DJ who can “read” the crowd comes in handy.
Regardless of the structure of your reception, if you are set on doing your own music there are a few essential items you need to take care of.
First is equipment. You’ll need speakers capable of transmitting sound for your size of venue and to your number of guests. You’ll also need a microphone to make announcements and toasts. If your reception is not in a cultural hall, and if you don’t own your own equipment, sound equipment is for rent. Just make sure you have someone assigned to the equipment who knows how to use it.
Second is an assigned “music helper.” Even if it seems straightforward, don’t make the mistake of pushing play and leaving it alone. What if someone trips on the cord or there is some other technical problem? The bride shouldn’t have to run over to fix a faulty sound system, or to switch tracks to play her first dance. Make sure to give a big thank you to whoever volunteers to supervise the music.
Third is your playlist. Choosing a playlist is more time consuming than you think. You will need to sift through numerous songs, perusing the lyrics, and burning them onto CDs or downloading them. Some couples let their songs play randomly, but that takes away the control you have over the flow of the music – fast songs should be balanced with slower ballads, and vice versa. Songs from different genres and time periods should be well mixed to please all your guests.
Budget constraints are the biggest and most compelling reason for choosing DIY music on your wedding day. It won’t be easy, but if you plan carefully you can have beautiful music at your reception without the price tag of a professional.
♥ Jenny Evans
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