How ridiculous is this? You want to save a few hundred dollars and use an iPod on the most important day of your life? Entertainment is one of the most important things that will “make” or “break” your wedding reception. If your iPod stops working – the party is over!
The iPod is a stroke of genius. . . however it is not a reliable substitute for the music at your reception compared to a disc jockey who is an entertainer. Entertainer – meaning: someone who does more than just play music at your wedding. Using an iPod at your wedding is risky business!
I had one wedding where the iPod was planned for the reception music and the connections, etc., were not compatible with the venue’s sound system and they were without music at the reception for over an hour before someone went home to bring a boom box.
Great entertainment isn’t cheap and cheap entertainment isn’t good. If you want to save a few hundred dollars I would cut out something else certainly not the disc jockey. If you want to get a dance floor moving and keep it groovin’, you need a professional wedding disc jockey.
I contacted several of the top wedding disc jockeys/entertainers in the Greater Phoenix area to get their take on iPods. Your comments about their comments and comments of your own are always welcome and encouraged!
Curtis Whipple, President of the American DJ Association – Phoenix Chapter had this to say: There is a reason that “i” is included in the name of an iPod. “I” love my iPod! “I” can have my songs my way.
The iPod is a brilliant piece of technology that even after 30 years in the DJ business, my iPod re-ignited my personal love for music and reminded me of well-loved but oft-forgotten songs.
When considering an iPod over a live, professional DJ/entertainer for a social occasion, several weaknesses of the iPod are revealed. A sound system will have to be rented. You’ll need microphones for the minister, readers, musicians or singers at the ceremony and someone who knows how to connect them and place them as needed. Perhaps some microphone stands will be in order?
After the ceremony, the equipment may need to be moved to the patio for cocktails and then again to the banquet hall for dinner and dancing. Will there be any theatrical or dance floor lighting needs? The microphone will need to be set up again for the toasts at dinner.
Does the iPod user have songs that may appeal to the 3 generations of family and friends that may be in attendance? Will there be songs that represent the ethnic traditions and the heritage of the families in attendance? If not, those songs need to be purchased and loaded. In any case, the play list created in advance on your iPod won’t address the mood and energy and flow of the room at any given time and it won’t react and respond to dancing guests.
Someone will still need to make announcements to keep the event moving along- toasts, cake cutting, garter and bouquet toss etc. That someone should have spent some time learning the order of events and some basic wedding traditions and etiquette and certainly he or she will have to learn all the names of family and honored guests to make formal introductions. Unfortunately, it may be a family member who knows those names and will now be burdened with several chores at the wedding instead of enjoying the celebration.
After renting equipment and acquiring the needed songs and burdening a guest with DJ duties, all of the intended savings may be lost.
A professional DJ has the sound and lighting equipment, training, personality, music expertise and desire to really outshine even the brilliant technology that IS the iPod. A professional DJ will turn a wedding from a good social occasion to a GREAT social occasion.
James Mennes, Exceptional Event Productions, had this to say: As a DJ for 12+ years or so, I can say that there really are occasions where and iPod is okay. I had a friend who held her reception in a restaurant and didn’t need anything more than a nice long play list of music. In fact I told her to save the money and use an iPod. However, those situations are few and far between.
My 8 year old daughter had been able to operate my equipment since she was 3 and fade between songs but I don’t know anyone who would want her to DJ their wedding. We are Hosts and Masters of Ceremonies just like you see at the Oscars or Academy Awards. Our primary function is to make announcements and keep people informed of what is happening next with both the guests and the other vendors working the reception. Next, we are DJs and our job is to play the right music at the right time. Just like in a movie, DJs provide the soundtrack to a wedding.
For those considering an iPod over a DJ:
• Who will make your announcements and will they even have a microphone?
• Who will run your wedding reception and let people know what is coming up?
• But most simply, who will press “play” for your key and most important songs like a first dance or a bride’s entrance?
Then there are the horror stories of cheesy DJs that become the center of attention, or DJs that just don’t show up at all. But I guarantee you that at the bottom of every one of those stories is a couple that just wanted to save money on their entertainment. In the DJ industry you pretty much get what you pay for. You wouldn’t feed your guests a fast-food combo meal as the main course of their night. Don’t expect much more in terms of quality from a bargain-rate DJ.
But if you take the time to interview quality people and get to know who they are and what they stand for, I’m sure you will find that the service, piece of mind, and entertainment provided by a professional wedding DJ can never be compared to the play list on your iPod.
Contact James Mennes, Entertainer, Master Of Ceremonies, Professional Disc Jockey at www.ExceptionalEventsAZ.com.
Mark Sanchez, Owner of Professional Mobile Entertainment had this to say: An iPod is a great device created for a personal use only, not professional use. In the long run, an iPod will cost you more money than hiring a professional DJ and make your wedding look cheap. To use an iPod for a large group, you will also need an amplifier, speakers, a microphone, cords, and a diverse music library.
Who will run the iPod or even know how to set up all the equipment the correct way, make announcements, direct the guests, take requests, and program the music. Also remember, someone needs to break it down, then return the equipment. Even if you found a friend to make announcements, what will this person know what to say when to say it, or how to say it?
Weddings are unique events that require planning, coordination, and direction. If that doesn’t happen, guests are lost, formal events will be in vain. The director of a wedding should be the master of ceremonies, a professional MC and disc jockey needs to know about the details of a reception, and will help you plan the agenda, if not how will he know what to say. The right kind of music needs to be played at the right times, with the right volume levels. A professional DJ can read a crowd to play the right music and transition a dance floor smoothly. A pro DJ can build energy in a room just by programming the right music at the right time.
An iPod cannot do this.
Entertainment is so important for a wedding. If entertainment is bad people leave early. Brides need to do their homework and choose the right DJ. My advice would be to seek not only a full time trained experienced professional – not an iPod – but someone that specializes in weddings.
Contact Mark Sanchez, Entertainer, Master Of Ceremonies, Professional Disc Jockey at www.ProfessionalMobileEnt.com.
Tony Laub, www.SoundProEntertainment.com had this to say: Hey, what’s the difference between tater tots and chicken fingers and filet mignon w/ garlic mashed potatoes? It’s all food, right? Some say, “iPod or disc jockey, it’s all music!” Sorry, they just don’t get it.
If you place no value on the quality of your reception, use an iPod. Otherwise hire an entertainer – a professional disc jockey – someone who can add class to your wedding and really get the party started at the reception! iPod = “I Predict Omnipotent Disaster!” 😉
Larry’s advice: “Save the iPods for the back yard keg parties and barbeques. Hire an experienced, professional wedding disc jockey/entertainer, one with a great reputation. Leave it to the pros!”
P.S. The four wedding disc jockeys/entertainers who contributed to this article are highly recommended and get 5 stars from Larry James!
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (95 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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