How to Get by Without a DJ

Skipping a DJ at your wedding is one way that couples choose to save money. But before you plug in your iPod and set of speakers, see what you could be missing.

You may be tempted to pick songs that only you and your best friend know. Hey, it's your wedding. But you don't want to alienate people and cause them to leave the dance floor. Once those people leave, it's harder to get them back.


Photo Credit: Kelley Jordan Photography

Typically, hardcore rap, heavy metal and country music can skew too far in a direction away from the mainstream (unless your audience is full of juggalos, in which case blaring Insane Clown Posse is a good move). There's a reason why genres like soul and R&B work so well. Everyone can dance to Marvin Gaye. That's a fact. Other safe picks include classic rock and Whitney Houston.

Some couples ask people to suggest songs on their invitation, which is an easy way to source crowd favorites. There are also lots of lists online about popular wedding songs that everyone will love.

If you're going to choose songs that people don't know, make sure they're danceable. I remember getting down to some indie songs with my parents. Not because they love to dance to anything, but because the beat worked for everyone. A friend of mine even commented that even when she didn't know the songs, she still felt like dancing to them.

If you're using your iPod, make sure your songs flow. There's a way to cut down how much time there is in between songs, minimizing any awkward lag. You might also want to put someone in charge of the device, so that no one tries to interrupt your set list with their own requests. Find a young cousin who wants to make a few dollars and ask him to keep an eye out.


Photo Credit: Kelley Jordan Photography

Consider skipping slow songs entirely. The last thing you want at a wedding is for people to slow down. If you do want to include an anniversary dance or couples-only dance, do those at the beginning of the reception. That way, people will be able to boogie all night long.

The biggest issue with iPod-DJ weddings is the sound. A good DJ doesn't only play music. He sets up the equipment, monitors the levels and makes sure that everyone can hear. Some also act as the MC during dinner and set up music for your ceremony.

You should find a plan for sound and lights. Can you hire them separately? Do you have a friend with a band who will set them up for you as a wedding present? Source your friends and family – maybe your uncle's best friend runs a music store and will happily lend some quipment for your big day.

Without a DJ, make sure that you've figured out other logistics. Who will announce the bridal party during dinner? Who will shepherd everyone once it's time for the first dance? Who will announce last call? It's one thing to rely on a friend, but choose someone reliable (and who won't be downing shots when he's supposed to be announcing the garter toss).

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