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Vandekerklove31717
Super March 2017

Has anyone been to a reception without a DJ that went well? Do you have any tips?

Vandekerklove31717, on October 5, 2016 at 7:53 AM Posted in Do It Yourself 2 39

Hi, so I know there have been lots of threads about using a DJ instead of DIY(IPOD) weddings. I agreen with getting a DJ for a large reception. However, has anyone experience IPOD weddings or had one that went well. I am having a DW and am expecting less than 30 guests, all of which are close family and friends. I originally was going to get the huge sound system they offer at the resort but it is $200/hr and I feel like that is ridiculous. So, then I was thinking of taking a nice portable speaker (Bose or Beats) and doing the music on that. Now I am worried about the announcements and everything for the first dances. The DJ is over $1000 for the reception and that seems like a huge expense for 30 people who probably don't care. I think my friends will dance with me regardless of having a DJ. I would really appreciate tips or experiences with IPOD weddings. Thanks!

39 Comments

Latest activity by Zina, on October 22, 2022 at 12:33 PM
  • B
    Beginner June 2017
    Brooke ·
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    I am having a fairly large wedding. The guest list is up to 240 now. I do not plan on having a dj. I am going to have an iPod playing with our favorite songs. But there also won't be any dancing since it's in a church. This is what I have to keep telling myself, it's my wedding. Whatever I choose will be fine. If I don't want something I am not going to have it just for the sake of the guests. Especially if it means shelling out a ridiculous amount of cash!

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  • Emster
    Super September 2016
    Emster ·
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    We had an "iPod" wedding and honestly it went really well. BUT I wouldn't do it again. So yes it can be done, but I'd think carefully about whether it's actually what you want to do.

    Here's what we did

    We used Spotify premium to make all of our playlists. With a premium account, you can download all the music onto your computer/phone to play offline. There's also a great cross fade feature under settings that allows you to flow songs into each other. My parents own an awesome Bose system (Soundtouch 3) so we used Bluetooth to play Spotify through our laptop onto that. We had 75 guests in a comfortable room and the sound quality was great. We created different playlists for cocktail hour/dinner and then dancing later. We asked for song requests in our invitation and people were up dancing all night. It was also all songs we loved and were excited about.

    From a guest perspective, I think it went really well. Here's the behind the scenes of why it's also rather hard and stressful.

    Making the playlists, especially the dancing one, took forever. We read a bunch of blog posts about how to create flow and worked really hard to follow that (i.e. how to build up energy and bring it back done). However, it's so hard to predict when people will want breaks so our pacing felt awkward at times. Better than randomly shuffling through songs, but this is where a DJ really comes in. We also had some technical difficulties for our first dance. Luckily my husband played around with everything during set up and encountered a bunch of issues so he knew how to fix it. But it was still really stressful.

    We made a point to minimize our announcements knowing that we weren't going to have a DJ. We realized a few weeks beforehand that a mic wouldn't work with the Bose system we had (it doesn't amplify that connection jack). Luckily we know someone who works at Bose who was able to lend us the incredible PA system. It was really useful having separate things for music and announcements. My SIL made the few announcements we had and our DOC started music. We did things like have my dad announce the first dance after his speech, and we had our general dancing start directly after the father daughter dance for simplicity.

    So in summary, it worked out well for us but we also worked really hard and got very lucky. I think it's absolutely a good idea for background music, but flow can get awkward for dance music. As you said, our crowd was smaller and mostly our young friends so I think they were more forgiving and willing to dance in general.

    Happy to talk more if you want more specifics.

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  • Vandekerklove31717
    Super March 2017
    Vandekerklove31717 ·
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    @Emster, thanks for all of the info! So you had and extra PA system for making announcments/speeches? @Lynsey, we will probably have a similar guest count as you, so you guys didn't actually make announcements, but more moved into dances/cake cutting naturally? Did you have any speeches?

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  • LosForTheWin
    VIP July 2017
    LosForTheWin ·
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    I know a girl who wasn't really into dancing and neither was her crowd of guests, so instead of dancing they did a talk show type thing as entertainment. I heard it went really well. Lots of people in attendance raved about it. I'm not sure of the particulars, but I think it was based on Jimmy Fallon's show.

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  • MrsOtoBe
    VIP October 2017
    MrsOtoBe ·
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    A friend of mine did this, however she also had a live musician playing for about two hours and he did all of their announcements. I think that's what made it work. They also had a professional speaker system / microphone that her FIL set up and knew like the back of his hand (her H's brothers are in a band). I was a BM and was in charge of putting their playlist on when the musician was done playing. Towards the end of the night, they realized they had too much music so she had me scoot over and jump ahead in the playlist.

    We had a blast at this wedding, but I think it would have been very stressful A) not having someone be able to do the announcements / not having a microphone for them and B) not having someone who knew the equipment very, very well.

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  • Emster
    Super September 2016
    Emster ·
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    @Vandekerklove31717 Yeah so our original plan was the connect a mic to our Bose system. We bought one off Amazon and got all the cables to connect it, and then it totally didn't work when we went to test it. It's weird because the speakers themselves were really quite loud, but they didn't amplify the microphone at all so it really just sounded like your normal speaking voice. Our family friend ended up getting us this separate PA system that we used for speeches/announcements. That worked out really well.

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  • Caitlin
    Master July 2017
    Caitlin ·
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    FH's cousin did this for his wedding. No one danced. I'm not sure if this was their intention or not, but a bunch of guests commented afterwards that they missed the dancing since it turned into just people standing around talking. It was still fun, just not a lot different than any other family get together.

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  • StokedToBeASaucier
    Master September 2017
    StokedToBeASaucier ·
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    Nope. I went to one and it was awful and boring. We literally watched their first dance, dance with mother's and father's and that was it. The "party" was over. I don't recommend.

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  • Ms. Tee
    Super April 2017
    Ms. Tee ·
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    I've been to a backyard wedding where they set up speakers and an iPod. Nobody really paid much attention to it. We all was up on the dance floor and enjoyed it. It does take a lot of work to put together playlists.

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  • Chuck Johnson
    Chuck Johnson ·
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    It's about the amount of time, not so much about the amount of guests.

    For example, if you are have just a lunch/dinner, then sure, why not? But if it's a four hour reception... will people leave early?

    Here's a great article on this very subject:

    https://theweddingcoach.ca/itsjustmusic/

    Hope this helps!

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  • RJmargo
    Master May 2016
    RJmargo ·
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    I've been to a wedding without a DJ, but it was similar to Lynsey's wedding. It was 20 guests (2/3s family) in a backyard with no dancing, no announcements and no speeches. The BM turned the music on for the bride to walk down the aisle. The couple then put on their playlist for background music. We had dinner and conversation. There was no dancing and the only traditional thing they did was the bouquet toss. The bride just said time to do the toss and that was it. It was a wonderful low key and intimate wedding.

    If you plan to do a first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, cake cutting, entrance, general dancing, etc, then I would recommend a DJ or at least hiring an MC.

    What was great about our DJ (had around 100 guests) was that he could read the room and played the right songs to get the crowd going. It's hard for you to predict what will get the crowd going when making a playlist ahead of time.

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  • Possum
    Master December 2015
    Possum ·
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    DJ's don't just play music. They read the room, keep the wedding going and bring attention when needed. Like announcing the bride and groom or cake cutting etc. a good DJ is priceless.

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  • FutureMrsDjTimmy
    Super April 2017
    FutureMrsDjTimmy ·
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    I am a huge fan of having a professional dj your event.

    A good dj will help set the mood, and keep your evening flowing well.

    I am most certainly a little biased as my fh is a dj. Lol

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  • Mrs_Marsh16
    Devoted October 2016
    Mrs_Marsh16 ·
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    I'm doing a iPod ceremony for my music. I do however have DJ for my reception because I know my crowd and everyone likes to dance

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  • Vandekerklove31717
    Super March 2017
    Vandekerklove31717 ·
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    I definitely agree that the DJ helps with flow and to keep the party going. I am all for them, but the cost at the resort is a little more than I have in the budget and knowing that the only guests will be my closest friends who we have never had a problem partying/dancing with playlists we created ourselves played on a good speaker. Since we will all be at an all inclusive resort I am not as worried about people leaving early.

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  • SarahL2T
    VIP April 2017
    SarahL2T ·
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    @Vendekerklove - I am in a similar situation as you - DW, 50 guests, all-inclusive - and we are doing an iPod reception. It is a LOT of work, like Emster said. I'm already in the music weeds, 6 months out, planning the reception.

    We are utilizing the basic A/V package the resort provides, which includes speakers, an A/V tech and a microphone. For our welcome reception, rehearsal dinner, and cocktail hour, we are utilizing a few (4-5) synced UE Boom speakers for the ambient music. What type of venue is your reception in?

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  • Vandekerklove31717
    Super March 2017
    Vandekerklove31717 ·
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    @Sarah, we haven't actually picked the reception area yet, but it will probably be outdoor, since that is what we like. We have a band for the cocktail hour that came in the wedding package. I actually hadn't thought about the music at the welcome party (we are having a bonfire on the beach), but we were thinking of doing the synced speakers for the reception, so we probably will use them for the welcome party too (if we go that route). The price even for all the AV equipment at the resort is a little high in my opinion and my FH is all for just syncing nice bluetooth speakers.

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  • SarahL2T
    VIP April 2017
    SarahL2T ·
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    I think the synced bluetooth speakers work for background music, but they're not great for people to dance to. Especially with an iPod reception, the audio quality is key if you want people to dance. You need to feel like the music is encompassing you. Is the price negotiable? $200/hr is actually pretty reasonable if it comes with a tech to manage. We are paying about $1700 for 4 hours of speakers, uplighting, wireless mics, and 2 A/V technicians to set up and manage the playlist, sound, lights, etc.

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  • JoRocka
    Master September 2016
    JoRocka ·
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    So- I did something very similar to what Emster did.

    I had 32 invited- and 29 show- and 3 left early.

    I thought the music was perfect for our needs- but we didn't have a "reception" we had a really intimate family dinner after the ceremony. Dancing wasn't ever going to be a part of it with the group I had to invite. (lame- but whatever)

    1.) I had live musicians for the ceremony. I could have easily hired a lower grade DJ for what I paid. IMHO- live music trumped the DJ for the purposes of my wedding.

    2.) I did not plan- nor expect for any dancing- there were no first dances- there was no introductions - there was no nothing.

    3.) I also used Spotify Premium.

    It DOES take some time to set it up. Please account for several hours committed to putting together what you want- and listening to what you've created.

    I used mine on a Tablet I purchased the NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING. The Ipad wasn't working- and I wasn't going to give up my phone for this. I had 2 lap tops offered- but not knowing the sound system- I wanted something more portable. So I bought a tablet the night before- this was extra stress because it only works on wi-fi- and the hotel wi-fi was SUPER slow. It took 2 hrs to down load the 2.5 hr long playlist for dinner alone.

    4.) I created 3 different play lists-

    Cocktail

    Dinner

    After Dinner

    5.) I created 2 + hour long play lists- no repeats- no risk of running out of music.

    6.) You have to task someone to go switch it. I could have- but it was easier to say- can you change the music. it wasn't hard- but something you have to make sure gets done.

    We used cocktail and dinner only- after dinner was after dinner and we got through maybe 30 minutes of it as we packed up- which was useful- but there was no dancing- which was fine. A little sad- but it was realistic.

    I had some nerds in the room- so my dinner play list was heavily influenced by movie sound tracks, theme songs and big orchestral pieces.

    Cocktail hour was very "vintage" lots of sax/trumpet/blues and old school music from the 20-40's. It was awesome.

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  • JoRocka
    Master September 2016
    JoRocka ·
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    I'd also like to stress- my venue had a pre-existing fully functional sound system that piped through the whole venue.

    I did not have to do anything but bring a functional iPad/Laptop/Phone/tablet etc.

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