When I was planning my wedding, the thought of hiring a DJ never entered my mind. And bands? I take ’em or leave ’em, depending. I love big band, swingy stuff, but renting a full-on ensemble for the day can get kind of pricey.
At a wedding I attended in September, the bride and groom set up a laptop, hooked it up to some pumpin’ speakers, and had the best man work the playlist for all he was worth. I liked it…it was unobtrusive. There was no worrying about whether the DJ would have the songs the couple wanted. There were no sombreros or novelty sunglasses. In short, it was a great way to get people on the dance floor without running the risk of having someone hijack your sound. Don’t smirk — it actually happened to some friends of mine whose ‘no play’ list went completely unregarded by a bad, bad DJ!
One reason I think a lot of couples don’t explore the laptop/mp3 player option is that they don’t want to have to designate someone to stop and start the music, find the various dance songs, and make sure the aforementioned tunes don’t play before it’s time. The Beard and I overcame these issues by making mini playlists on iTunes. Our playlists (here YMMV) looked a little something like this:
1. Pre first dance
2. First dance
6. Pre cake cut slow songs
7. Upbeat post cake songs
Sections one, five, six, and seven were quite long because we wanted to make sure the music only stopped when someone stopped it. All told, we had more wedding-appropriate music at our disposal than we would ever actually use. When necessary, the best man would fade out whatever was playing using some sort of audio thingamajig The Beard brought along so that a toast could be made or a dance could be announced over the mic. When cued, this same individual announced the scheduled dances, queued up the appropriate one-song playlist, and hit play.
No music-free interludes. No Cotton Eyed Joe. No Free Bird. It all went off smashingly with the exception of the fact that some songs were repeated on multiple playlists, so people got to listen to certain Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros numbers more than once. But that was the fault of yours truly, not the music and sound setup itself.