Grab a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. This is a long one.
A million years ago, I commented on a post about iPod weddings on the Broke Ass Bride. Dana, the blogger, understands what it’s like to be a broke bride and gave some tips on how to pull off the iPod wedding. I was thankful for the info since I’m a little worried about this whole endeavor.
Last week, someone replied to my comment.
Where the heck do you live that you are looking at a $1500 DJ? Seriously… We DJ on a regular basis and have NEVER asked for that much. And yes, we are professionals! Go to youtube and type in “Ipod wedding nightmare”. Then go to ADJA.com and type in the same thing. Good luck is all that I can say to anyone that attempts it! You will need to hire someone (or appoint someone and pray they are trustworthy) to lead your wedding regardless of the music. No umms or ahhhhhhhhs. How unprofessional! Good luck…
I tried to be polite as to not incite a riot on Dana’s blog, but I did make clear that on Long Island, these are typical DJ costs. I’ve defended the iPod wedding on a number of occasions. I’d say 99 percent of the time I’m defending the iPod wedding against someone in the wedding entertainment industry. Ya know, the same people who are losing business because broke people like myself are DIY-ing our music. These people who trash the iPod wedding have a HUGE stake in making you feel like you’re making a giant mistake.
And honestly, I’m getting a little sick of it.
In general, I don’t believe that an iPod can replace a DJ. I believe that DJ’s provide a very valuable service, one that is better left to a professional. Most people don’t have the equipment, talent or software to handle the music at their own wedding. I wouldn’t encourage the iPod wedding to those that are completely clueless. But, I also wouldn’t encourage putting yourself into debt JUST to have a DJ. If you can’t afford it, then do as much research as you can, talk to people and have a blast putting together your wedding playlist.
Let me preface my rant by telling you why we decided to iPod our wedding.
We have the equipment and software. As a musician, Chuck has most of the PA equipment necessary to play music for large crowds. He has the software and the skill needed to mix a set of songs into a playable set. We – well, not we, but my friends – have the talent necessary to make announcements, pump people up and force them on to the dance floor. Because of all of these factors, we can comfortably iPod our wedding.
Do I want to iPod my wedding? No. Let’s be realistic, I’d much rather leave this up to a professional than go through the hassle of downloading five hours worth of music and hope to the Powers That Be that my wedding music doesn’t suck. Thankfully, I have very wonderful friends who are amazing behind a mic, but I’m a bit concerned that I won’t have anyone to really be in charge of my music. My attempts to find some random person to pay $100 to essentially sit and do nothing, haven’t been successful. This is the ONLY thing that I’m stressing out about.
But the alternative is paying some guy $1,500 to handle it. We don’t have $1,500. And if we had a spare $1,500 laying around, we’d spend it on rent or a few months of health insurance. That’s what broke people do with their money.
So, now for my rant, based on what I’ve seen from the weddings I’ve been to:
Many of these DJs sat behind a computer that had a program with all of their music (Like iTunes. Yes, I’ve seen plenty of DJs use iTunes) and they hit play. Sure, they MIGHT beat match one song into another instead of just fading it. They had those fancy lights, too. Sometimes there was some guy running around taking pictures who then loads them into another computer program so a slideshow of pictures that were taking 10 minutes ago can be played on giant TV screens. They made some announcements and played requests. Sometimes they had a personality and sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they had too much personality and they needed to shut the hell up. I hear a lot of talk about “reading the crowd.” Seriously? This takes a professional? No one is dancing, PLAY A BETTER SONG! That’s what I’m paying over $1,500 for?
Chuck worked in pro audio at Guitar Center for two years and knows every single piece of equipment and computer program DJ’s use. Every event we go to, he swings by the DJ booth to check out the setup. And more times than not, the most expensive thing they have, are the lights and the Mac they play their music on. Otherwise, the rest is cheap crap. And honestly, I would have caved on the DJ, but Chuck is the one that is standing strong. In his own words, “Unless you have some kind of turntable setup, you’re not worth me paying $1,500.”
And not for nothing, I’ve heard plenty of DJ horror stories. DJ’s who played everything on the Do Not Play list, DJ’s who pronounced names wrong, DJ’s who didn’t play any of the music the couple requested, DJ’s who played the music too loud in the middle of dinner, etc. DJ’s aren’t infallible. I have yet to encounter a wedding DJ that is worth $1,500.
If I had the money, I’d hire a band. I’d love a band, I really would.
I’ve tried to keep most of this ranty stuff to myself, because I hate putting ALL DJ’s in the same category. I’m sure DJ’s in Raleigh and other minor cities or rural areas don’t charge this much. These are the kinds of costs that you’d find near a major city, like DC, Manhattan and LA. Bride Tide once posted that the national average cost for a DJ was about $750. I’d pay $750. I wouldn’t be writing this post if I could find a DJ for that little money.
Now, I do understand that on Long Island, the cost of living is astronomical. It’s the whole reason why I moved to Raleigh. So of course, in order to make a living, you have to charge more. I get that. I really do. I mean, you have to do two parties at $1,500 just to pay your mortgage. But, just because I get it doesn’t mean I can pay it.
So wedding entertainment industry, please, just shut the F up.
Making me feel like I’m making a huge mistake and that my wedding will be a disaster isn’t going to make me want to hire you so you can come to my musical rescue. In fact, it makes me feel worse for not having the money to afford a DJ. Because, I’ll say it again, if a couple chooses to iPod their wedding, it is most likely because they can’t afford otherwise. I find that most of the time your comments are rude and demeaning. The one up there wasn’t bad, but I’ve seen DJ’s write terrible things about iPod weddings and the people that have them. There is a way to disagree without being insulting (that’s a general rule of thumb for everyone). If you have tips, share them, but I find it incredibly unprofessional when you say that ALL iPod weddings are disasters and then link your DJ company.
And to be honest, you are the only industry I ever see do this. I rarely see photographers or videographers make comments on posts about DIY-ing photo or video. It has really put a bad taste in my mouth regarding the entire industry.
Despite all of the “iPod wedding disasters” people are still doing it. Prominent and influential bloggers, like Dana, and Meg at A Practical Wedding, are supporting it and encouraging it. Maybe you should take the hint. At the very least, be a professional and stop smack talking people who are too broke to hire one.