DIY Weddings

DJ my own wedding?

My fiancé and I are getting married this spring. We are on a ridiculously tight budget and are trying to decided whether or not to hire a DJ. They are so expensive! We are DIYing everything in our wedding, cutting every corner already. No favors, no programs, DIYing flowers, family/friends making some of the desserts, etc.  I am very type A and know I can plan and create playlists. I just worry that the flow of my wedding will suffer without someone helping it along. I want my friends and family to be present at my wedding and not have to ask one of them to work during it. So my question is, have you ever been to a wedding where they didn't hire a DJ? And if so, did people dance and enjoy themselves or were there lulls and not a lot of activity? My friend recently got married and didn't hire a DJ and honestly no one knew when things were happening, the sound was also totally off. We couldn't hear the speeches and they didn't announce when anything was happening. Thanks for the advice. 

Re: DJ my own wedding?

  • My fiancé and I are getting married this spring. We are on a ridiculously tight budget and are trying to decided whether or not to hire a DJ. They are so expensive! We are DIYing everything in our wedding, cutting every corner already. No favors, no programs, DIYing flowers, family/friends making some of the desserts, etc.  I am very type A and know I can plan and create playlists. I just worry that the flow of my wedding will suffer without someone helping it along. I want my friends and family to be present at my wedding and not have to ask one of them to work during it. So my question is, have you ever been to a wedding where they didn't hire a DJ? And if so, did people dance and enjoy themselves or were there lulls and not a lot of activity? My friend recently got married and didn't hire a DJ and honestly no one knew when things were happening, the sound was also totally off. We couldn't hear the speeches and they didn't announce when anything was happening. Thanks for the advice. 

    If you are on a budget, having a DJ is one of the last things you should be thinking about.  How big a wedding are we talking about?  How many guests?

    When you plan a wedding, there are somethings that are absolutely necessary!  They are a couple who wants to get married and is of legal age, a license, an officiant, and legal witnesses.  This is called a private ceremony.

    Now, do you want to invite guests?  Then you must have a reception.  The simplest receptions are held in the middle of the afternoon.  They have cake, punch, coffee, tea, and often trays of veggies and little sandwiches.  Options you might want are a traditional wedding dress, flowers, printed invitations.  You may have a small wedding party.

    The next tier is a morning ceremony with a brunch/luncheon reception.  You serve a full meal, but it costs much less than a dinner reception.  Typical drinks would be mimosas.  Dancing is fine, but the DJ is optional.  Many brides use an Ipod set up with pre-selected songs.  No tuxedos!   This describes my daughter's wedding.

    The most expensive option is an evening ceremony followed by a full dinner reception.  If you are planning this, you should rethink it if budget is an issue for you.  Tuxedos are OK for an evening wedding.  Options are DJs, limousines, alcohol, favors, large wedding parties.

    The easiest way to control your budget is to tightly control your guest list.  My daughter was not OK with this, so she controlled costs by having a late morning church ceremony followed by a brunch reception.  She used an Ipod.  Not everyone is into dancing.  You know your crowd best.  Personally, I dislike most of the wedding DJs I have seen.  Sleezy, with suggestive jokes that fell flat.

    I do object to using family members to cook desserts for your reception.  They shouldn't be doing anything except enjoying the party.  You do not need to have an expensive cake.  Sam's Club makes delicious cakes for much less than fancy bakeries, and will decorate them, too.  A sheet cake is perfectly acceptable.

    You really didn't give us a lot of information about your wedding, but focusing on a DJ seems irrelevant, at least to me.  Most guest care about food, seating, and general comfort more than anything else.
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    MesmrEwe
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    member
    OP, I think you mentioned the struggle with not having a DJ. If you can control for those issues as Ironring suggests, go for it. But, depending on how far along you are in your planning, think about CMG's suggestions. Brunch weddings are lovely. If you're thinking about not having a DJ at all, why not shoot for a different time of day entirely so you're not worried about getting a party vibe? Daytime and brunch weddings tend to be a lot less expensive than dinner/dancing weddings. 

    I did go to one evening reception that didn't have a DJ. It was small; a few people danced only because they were that drunk. The speakers were good, there was dance floor space. But, most people didn't dance and just stood around, getting drunk and socializing. LOL. Know your crowd! 

    My sister's reception was even smaller and it was a private dinner in one of those private rooms at an upscale restaurant. There was no dance floor but with the regular music that was piped in, she and my BIL did take a song to just sway together. But again, people stood/sat and just got drunk. It was an excellent reception, by the way. 
    ________________________________


    CMGragainSP29
  • Fine to have an ipod playlist. You will have to put some thought into planning out the play list to keep the flow going. Try to avoid too many things that will require you to stop the music (i.e. cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss). I would do the cake cutting before the dancing starts and forgo the tosses.

    Have good speakers! If you can get into the venue prior (either to rehearse or set up), try out the speakers and figure out where the best place is to set them up so the sound can be heard throughout.
    OurWildKingdom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    member
    edited September 2016
    @SP29 has great suggestions, and I want to add that you can rent speakers rather than buying them or find Bluetooth speakers for under $25 on Amazon.

    ETA: Make sure you have a backup power supply, and having your playlist on multiple devices might be a good idea.
  • First - this isn't about being a "Type A" it's about having bought into a system of ideas that makes you believe you "can't afford it" when the reality is you've never thought outside the box on how to pull it off on a shoestring.  I've seen $100,000 events look cheap and I've seen $5000 weddings for 200 that were incredibly lavish with full buffets and no one lifting a finger, it's all in budgeting.  DIY only saves you money if you already own everything you're making, otherwise a little time invested into shopping around usually pays off in the end with less stress and more time for you. 

    I own my own professional stage sound system for my work - and our DJ was worth every penny.  DIY on the sound will produce exactly what you experienced at the other wedding unless you make a living doing work with sound systems.  Do some more looking around.  There's a "local guy" who doesn't do a lot of advertising other than word of mouth who will do your event on a budget.  You won't get the fancy lighting, and add-ons, but you'll have someone who knows their rear from a hole in the ground.  You also won't have to rent a system which isn't cheap by the time you not only add the cost of that, but also the cost of purchasing all the music for people to DANCE - key word here -.  A DJ will also be able to "read" your crowd and adjust accordingly.  Do you NEED a DJ - no, but there are DJ's out there who can do a wedding on a budget.  Whatever you do - DO NOT use the "House System" - they SUCK - they are meant for the boring speaker at a workshop of the local nasal twang society and notoriously give mic feedback. 

    You can call up a florist and ask for five bouquets and seven bout's and you have a budget of $$$.  Be flexible on the blooms and you don't have to lift a finger or deal with the overall mess that DIY flowers is.  Unless you own a flower shop, you're going to have to purchase supplies, and it's going to add up.  Or, go on to Sam's/BJ's/Costco's/FTD website and order a wedding flower kit that is delivered the day before your wedding that all you need to do is chop off the ends of the bouquets and put them in water (or order the centerpiece flowers and add a bow and call them bouquets!).  This is still a mess, but you'll save money because you won't have the odds and ends budget busters (it's not just the roses, it's the clippers to take off the thorns, the add-on flowers/greens, ribbons, bows, buckets, and most of all - TIME!

    Desserts - It's called your local big-box store, grocery store, or you caterer.  Most caterers will include a basic dessert with their meal if you ask!  They don't publicize this when it comes to weddings because most people use the wedding cake as the dessert.  NO ONE on your guest list should be asked to make desserts - PERIOD!  Also, many venues do not allow them in anyway.  You can also order the desserts by the box from your local grocery store bakery or big box store reasonably. 


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    Gabria13
  • I personally hate DJs.  They rarely play a lot of music I like and I hate all the cheesy games and speeches and "extra stuff" that DJ's tend to do like intros and announcements and bull-shit like that.  (i know it's popular, I just really really hate it and think it's super unnecessary).  

    We DJd our own wedding.  We made a playlist on iTunes and had it on multiple computers with the same one on Spotify as a backup.  We used the fade function to fade in and out of songs.  The venue did provide a simple hookup to a professional speaker system though we would have rented one if that was not available.  We didn't do announcements of wedding party or crap like that.  My sister made an announcement for dinner (it was a buffet), at the end of dinner when we noticed people were finishing my husband and i spoke briefly to our guests, then the MOH and BM spoke, then we told everyone to feel free to grab dessert (in the back of the room).  Then we started the music.  People (180) danced all night and honestly, most people didnt even notice we didn't have a DJ.  Totally can be done, especially if you're picky about music. 

    *This is just my opinion, i dont' mean to hate on anyone who had a DJ or likes them, I personally just find them very unnecessary and frankly somewhat irritating at weddings.  



    OurWildKingdomredwoodoriginal
  • Casadena said:
    I personally hate DJs.  They rarely play a lot of music I like and I hate all the cheesy games and speeches and "extra stuff" that DJ's tend to do like intros and announcements and bull-shit like that.  (i know it's popular, I just really really hate it and think it's super unnecessary).  

    We DJd our own wedding.  We made a playlist on iTunes and had it on multiple computers with the same one on Spotify as a backup.  We used the fade function to fade in and out of songs.  The venue did provide a simple hookup to a professional speaker system though we would have rented one if that was not available.  We didn't do announcements of wedding party or crap like that.  My sister made an announcement for dinner (it was a buffet), at the end of dinner when we noticed people were finishing my husband and i spoke briefly to our guests, then the MOH and BM spoke, then we told everyone to feel free to grab dessert (in the back of the room).  Then we started the music.  People (180) danced all night and honestly, most people didnt even notice we didn't have a DJ.  Totally can be done, especially if you're picky about music. 

    *This is just my opinion, i dont' mean to hate on anyone who had a DJ or likes them, I personally just find them very unnecessary and frankly somewhat irritating at weddings.  


    You do realize you can ask/tell a DJ not to do these things, right? We only met with people who shared our feel for the day and it didn't involve games or intro.

    I think your suggestions about how to have good music and flow without a DJ are great, just wanted to point out that not all DJs do these. 
    MesmrEwe
  • Casadena said:
    I personally hate DJs.  They rarely play a lot of music I like and I hate all the cheesy games and speeches and "extra stuff" that DJ's tend to do like intros and announcements and bull-shit like that.  (i know it's popular, I just really really hate it and think it's super unnecessary).  

    We DJd our own wedding.  We made a playlist on iTunes and had it on multiple computers with the same one on Spotify as a backup.  We used the fade function to fade in and out of songs.  The venue did provide a simple hookup to a professional speaker system though we would have rented one if that was not available.  We didn't do announcements of wedding party or crap like that.  My sister made an announcement for dinner (it was a buffet), at the end of dinner when we noticed people were finishing my husband and i spoke briefly to our guests, then the MOH and BM spoke, then we told everyone to feel free to grab dessert (in the back of the room).  Then we started the music.  People (180) danced all night and honestly, most people didnt even notice we didn't have a DJ.  Totally can be done, especially if you're picky about music. 

    *This is just my opinion, i dont' mean to hate on anyone who had a DJ or likes them, I personally just find them very unnecessary and frankly somewhat irritating at weddings.  


    You do realize you can ask/tell a DJ not to do these things, right? We only met with people who shared our feel for the day and it didn't involve games or intro.

    I think your suggestions about how to have good music and flow without a DJ are great, just wanted to point out that not all DJs do these. 

    Ours certainly didn't do any of those games or other ****.  Ours was told ahead of time "no dance remixes, and most of all we want to be able to talk anywhere in the room at any time using a normal tone of voice and not having to yell"...
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    charlotte989875OurWildKingdomSTARMOON44
  • I was originally going this route, we had a groomsmen who dropped out of our wedding due to some issues that arose in our friendship, who was going to do this for us. Long story short we tried the iPod thing at my parents vow renewal in March and it was a disaster. The music was awkward for the ceremony and the device had to be restarted for the first dance because it crashed. We had to move the iPod and speakers after the reception. It got to be so annoying that we turned a radio on instead. It basically flopped so badly​ I went home and REARRANGED my entire wedding budget to pay for a DJ. I posted my budget ($500) on a Budget bride Facebook group and got like 7 or 8 offers. We ended up picking a DJ and day of coordinator wedding service who lowered their price for us. I would rather have the security of knowing the music and announcements are taken care of then try and have a friend manage  that and be worried about it during my wedding.

    If you really can't make it happen I would try and put a family member or trusted friend in charge of it and test it out WAY in advance with them to make sure it will work, that way you still have time to tweak things, find the right equipment because it might be worth investing a little money into the sound equipment depending on how big your venue is.

    My best advice is to try to find some Budget bride groups and shop around for inexpensive services.
  • @Christmasbride2017, this post was from last September, and the OP is probably already married by now.  Please check the dates on older posts before commenting on them, or feel free to start a new post on your own.
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    MesmrEwe
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