Spend any time Googling the phrase ‘iPod Wedding’, and you’re bound to find a lot of articles outlining in general terms the steps and considerations you’ll need to make in order to supply your own music for the reception.
One thing that couples spend a lot of time thinking about is ways to squeeze every last dollar of savings from their wedding, and that’s one reason why we started this little project. At many times, you may find yourself contemplating the value versus of the cost of your various vendors, and we thought that it might be a good idea to discuss what you’re going to save (and lose) by doing the music yourself. This is meant to be a completely objective look at the financial costs and savings involved, based on our experience.
Let’s start by examining the costs of working with a Professional DJ – we’re Professional DJ’s so we’re qualified to talk about this. We charge between $175 to $200 per hour. If you’ve done some research on pricing DJ’s, you may find that a little on the higher side, but we’ve been doing this for years and have won awards for the kinds of parties that we help create. So on average, I’d guess that a normal cost for a DJ would be around $150 per hour, without taking geography into consideration.
That puts a 4-hour reception at a basic cost of $600. So let’s say that there’s going to be a range of $600 to $1000, depending on how long you need the DJ (do you need them for the ceremony, as well?). Working with a Pro gives a lot of benefits – it’s nice to have someone watching the timeline, and making the announcements and introducing the bridal party is not something that most people either want to do or are able to do.
Now let’s take a look at the iPod-Wedding / Rental option. This is going to involve renting or borrowing a sound system, connecting it to a laptop that has a music service like iTunes or Spotify installed, and then using a microphone, in most cases, to make announcements when needed. The handful of times that we’ve had to rent a DJ rig when we’ve been double-booked, we’ve rented one from a company locally for ~$150-200, and I think that’s average. If we’d needed a wireless microphone it might have been a few bucks more. Don’t forget to include your Spotify subscription if you’re going to use a laptop, too – that’s another ten bucks.
You’re definitely going to spend a lot of time working on the playlists for the wedding – that’s something that the DJ usually does. It’s hard to put a time frame to how long it takes to build the playlists from scratch, but I’d estimate that you’ll spend 8-10 hours working on getting all the music playlisted if you haven’t ever done that before. This includes researching the songs, organizing the songs into lists, and listening to the versions to make sure they’re clean, etc. If you value your time at $15/hr, that’s another $150 to keep in mind as a cost if you’re going to do the music yourself.
So the range that we’re looking at, in terms of savings, is in the $500-$800 range, depending on how much you can minimize the effort and time in creating the music playlists and preparing the sound system for the main event. That’s the big reason we think that the DIYReception Guide is such a great idea – not only are we making subscribing to proven playlists easy, but we’re also able to record your bridal party introductions and email them to you as MP3, which is one of the few things that you really do miss out on when opting to not work with a professional DJ.
Saving money is a great thing, but it’s important to know what you’re giving up. Professional DJ’s that leave comments on YouTube videos are quick to defend what they add to a reception, and we understand that. But we also understand that not every couple needs a professional, and with savings of hundreds of dollars (especially if you’re using the guide), it’s worth considering. That kind of money would have bought us another day or two on our honeymoon. That would have been really nice!