10 Essential Reasons: Wedding DJ Vs. iPod For Wedding Music


Over the past decade, the ability to acquire & play music has skyrocketed. First came the Peer-to-Peer sharing sites (remember Napster?). Next came the portable devices most everyone has (iPod, cell phone, etc.). More recently, online music streaming services have become extremely popular (Spotify, Google Play, Pandora, etc.).

So, with all of these options readily available to you, why wouldn’t you DJ your own wedding?

The “iPod Wedding” concept has become popular in recent years because of this. Scour any online wedding forum and you’ll find plenty of posts about this concept. People talking about their plans to DJ their own wedding music to save money. More people thinking a DJ is an “extra” cost that can be cut from the budget. You get the idea.

There certainly are situations where you can handle the music yourself. (Check out this in-depth post I wrote last month – reviewing the pros and cons of the iPod wedding, as well as using a wedding DJ).


Ironically, I found very few comments from guests, or wedding couples, about their happiness with choosing the DIY approach.


Why would that be? It’s just not as easy to do as you’d expect. Additionally, there are lots of mistakes and failures that can happen, leading to a less-than-impressive wedding reception and/or ceremony.

So, I’d like to share my 10 essential reasons… for using a wedding DJ instead of the DIY iPod wedding approach.


Reason #1 – Selection of Music


A professional DJ will have a huge selection of music at their fingertips, spanning all genres and time frames (We have over 80,000 songs in our database, updated each week).

Obviously, all of those songs aren’t played at a wedding, but that’s not the point.

A professional DJ’s job is to read your crows, and keep them dancing and/or enjoying the atmosphere of your wedding. When you plan out 2 hours of classic rock, and find out your guests are more of a Katy Perry crowd, you come to appreciate this. By having a large selection of music available, the wedding DJ can shift gears as needed. That’s something an iPod doesn’t do so well.


Reason #2 – Experience

In many of the local weddings in this area, your wedding DJ ends up becoming your wedding planner as well.(around 75% of weddings do not utilize a planning service.). Why does it fall into the lap of the DJ? They have experience. They’re involved with most every aspect of your wedding reception. This includes keeping a “timeline of events” flowing, lighting, and (of course) sound.

Many local couples rely on their wedding DJ to give advice on the flow of music and events, to ensure the reception is a hit with everyone in attendance.

From another angle, the wedding DJ’s experience is crucial when trouble arises. Imagine this scenario. Midway through your reception, the music cuts out. Complete silence.

Will your brother (or whoever is manning your iPod) know what’s wrong? Will they be able to determine if it’s a power issue, a broken cord, broken equipment, a breaker that flipped, etc.? With a professional wedding DJ, you rely on them for this expertise, should any issues arise. That’s part of their job.


Reason #3 – Coordination

Continue from the notes above, coordinating the night is crucial, if you expect your wedding reception to run smoothly. An iPod/laptop doesn’t know your “schedule”. It doesn’t know that your dinner took longer than expected and you need more music than planned.

It doesn’t know to lower/stop music when you want to make an announcement… so that your guests can hear you clearly.

You get the idea.

You certainly can build playlists for different parts of your evening. That can help a bit. However, the flexibility factor simply isn’t there when you’re doing the music yourself. The wedding DJ is used to these types of adjustments that need to be made “on the fly”. That, again, is part of what they do.


Reason #4 – Hassle

When you consider the DIY wedding music approach, you must consider the upfront work involved to deliver the music at your reception and/or ceremony.

First, the time (and monetary) investment to put your playlists together. That alone can be enough to deter you.

Second, is the process of renting, pickup, setup, operation, breakdown, and returning of the sound system. Hopefully, you’ve got someone that knows how to set everything up.

There are rental companies that will set the equipment up and show you how to use it. However, the price difference between renting equipment and using a wedding DJ likely isn’t drastically different.

Here’s one you may not be aware of. If you need to call the rental company to help you with setup or operation, expect to be hit with a “service call” fee. Many rental companies make a nice portion of their revenue from this.


Reason #5 – Backup Equipment

Most sound system you rent do not come with any type of backup gear. If one cable in the system stops working, you’ll be left with dead silence at your reception. Is it worth it? Is it worth renting extra cables and equipment to make sure this problem doesn’t happen at your reception?

A professional DJ will have backups for ALL of their equipment, cables, and hardware. You’re paying the DJ to provide you with a service, and they are responsible to deliver that service. Even if a technical issue arises.


Reason #6 – Sound Quality Of Music Files

MP3/AAC are common formats for music stored on your iPod or other device. When listening through ear buds or desktop speakers, they sound fairly good.

When played through a larger sound system (like you would use at a wedding venue), you’ll notice an extreme difference. The music will sound very flat. Not as flat as listening to an AM radio station, but you’ll notice a big difference.

The reason being, these file formats aren’t designed to be played through higher-end sound systems. These systems typically play a larger frequency of sound… that has been removed in an MP3 or AAC file. That’s why you can fit so many songs on an iPod – they’re slimmed-down version of the original song file.

For example, one minute of a decent-sounding MP3 file typically takes up 2 MB of space. For a CD quality song file (which your wedding DJ would use) – it’s around 10 MB of storage space. The extra file size comes from the parts of music that were removed in an MP3.

Have headphones or speakers? Take a look at this YouTube video, to see a side-by-side comparison of the difference.


Reason #7 – Empty Dance Floors

One common complaint I’ve read on various wedding forums is this. People spent more time hovering over an iPod/laptop trying to figure out what song they wanted to play next, than they did on the dance floor!

There are so many things wrong with that statement above…

First, I would STRONGLY recommend that you do not let your guest pick the music freely. Your cousin may love Pantera, but your grandparents likely wont.

Secondly, expect songs to be cut off before they have ended. Why? Guests tend to “skip” to the song they want played, instead of waiting until a song ends.

All of this leads to an empty dance floor. Nothing is worse than getting a crowd dancing to music, and having them sit down because of a pause in music, or the wrong next song playing.


Reason #8 – Announcements

Your device cannot act as your Master of Ceremonies, making any of the required announcements for your reception. Does that really matter?

Well, if you want any type of flow or organization to your reception, it certainly does!

Here’s an example. Before the bridal party arrives to the reception, your guests will be up and about mingling, talking, etc. Your wedding DJ typically gets your guests seated, and preps them on the planned entrances. How bad would it be to walk into your reception as a newly married couple, and not be recognized because guests were caught up in conversation?

Before I entered the DJ business, I had been to 2 weddings where I missed the cake cutting ceremony. Why? No one announced it! Or, if they did, I didn’t hear it. Using a wedding DJ to make your announcements will ensure all of your guests are aware of what’s going on, and can hear what is being said.

Oh, by the way, you’ll also need to rent a microphone to do announcements. Add that cost into your budget. It’s something that most any DJ includes with their service.


Reason #9 – Guest Appreciation

This may be one you haven’t thought about…

The purpose of a reception is, in part, to show appreciation to your guests. To show gratitude to the ones that have traveled to see your wedding. For giving up their time. For bringing you a gift.

Considering these things, do you think your guests will be pleased, or possibly disappointed, in your choice of entertainment? I’m sure most will be OK with the DIY wedding music approach, but some likely will be let down…

… and guess which of these two ends up talking about the reception more?


Reason #10 – You Might Not Be Allowed To

Believe it or not, you need to check with your venue to confirm they’ll allow you to do an iPod wedding.

An unsuccessful reception reflects on the venue as well. With the less-than-stellar approach that many iPod weddings turn into, many venues no longer allow them.

Here’s a great quote I found online, from a venue manager. He enacted the “No iPod Wedding” rule after having 3 different couples try to do it themselves:

“I had more fun at the last 3 memorial services I attended than the guests had at those weddings. At the last one, people started leaving two hours early.”


So, there’s my take on the topic. Have you ever been to a wedding reception where an iPod or laptop was used for music? What were your thoughts on it? Share them below!


Posted by DJ Salty D

DJ and co-owner of Fired Up! Entertainment

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