Maybe you have considered this as an option for evening entertainment at your wedding reception.  It’s understandable if you are trying to keep a close eye on costs.  It might also be a way to avoid the stereotypical cheesy wedding DJ.

An iPod is very good for playing back tracks in a particular order, but that’s not the only skilled part of the DJ’s job…

Reading an audience

A professional DJ will be keen to make a good impression to your guests and play music that the majority of guests will like.  This will probably mean variation in the music during the evening to keep different people happy.

One of the most important skills for a DJ is to observe how people are reacting to certain types of music.  It’s very difficult to predict how people will react in advance, so a DJ can change adapt the music accordingly.

Steering people in the right direction

You may well have certain songs that you want to hear.  A good DJ can steer the audience in the direction of your favourite songs and keep things flowing.

Stop, start, stop, start…

Our clients are often seeking a DJ who can make a set flow.  You definitely won’t get this with an iPod!  Most songs end with a fade and a couple of seconds of ‘dead air’.  A good DJ will play songs in sequence and some (not all) will beat-mix the tracks.  This is one of our areas of expertise!

How many songs

On average a DJ might play 16 individual tracks in an hour.  So a four hour set may consist of around 64 songs.  Based on a cost of 79p per track, this costs around £50.56 if you are starting from scratch.

Requests

A good DJ will interact with your guests and depending on your viewpoint might take requests.  Requests are a bit like market research – they give your DJ a good idea of what an audience might respond to.  The downside of this is that guests sometimes make requests for a bit of a laugh… ‘we all really love The Macarena’.

Hiring sound and lighting equipment – and heavy lifting!

Do you really want to hire sound and lighting equipment for the night?  You might also need to hire a van to transport it all…  A good DJ will have a self-contained set up (with backup equipment) that he or she is used to operating.  The skill is in setting the sound and lighting up quickly but carefully so that you get the most time dancing.  The equipment should also be PAT tested for safety.

Insurance

A professional entertainer, whether it’s a band or a DJ should have public liability insurance in the rare case of a mishap.  If you’re self managing the entertainment the responsibility will fall on your shoulders.

Who is in charge?

If you go for the iPod option, then it’s really important to know who is in charge of the iPod.  There’s nothing more annoying for an audience if someone plays ten seconds of a tune and then skips it to the next.  And then someone else gets involved.  Before you know it the flow has gone and you have an empty dance floor.

An iPod won’t talk like Peter Kay all night

This is true, but neither will a good DJ.  There’s nothing worse than embarrassing chit-chat over the microphone.  We’ve all seen the sketch and we understand it is something that you might be worried about.  We promise that we won’t talk a lot.

But… it is very useful to have a professional to make important announcements during the evening.  Your best man will probably be relaxing after the formalities of the ceremony and wedding breakfast.

It’s a skilled job

An iPod is a good solution for background music or other occasions when it’s unimportant that the music flows.  A small gap between songs can seem like an eternity when people are dancing.  A good DJ can build tension and make decisions about the order of the songs.  The right tune played at the right time makes a big impact!

A good DJ can be compared with a good chef.  If the individual songs are the ingredients and the iPod is the oven, the end result can either be ‘cooked to perfection’, ‘burned to a crisp’ or ‘just OK’…   Maybe the iPod DJ set is the equivalent of the microwave meal?