No DJ or band at the reception

Home Forums Ceremony & reception details No DJ or band at the reception

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Liesel 2 years, 8 months ago.

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    Has anyone done or planning on no DJ/Band at their reception. I’m thinking of just taking my laptop and plugging it into the system and people can pick what they want when they want. any thoughts?
    Or anyone with ideas on how much a super cheap DJ would cost



    Most of the weddings I’ve been to have just plugged an ipod into the sound-system with a pre-approved playlist, and they’ve simply put someone in charge (usually in the bridal party) to make sure no one touches it and they pause it for speeches etc.
    If this is the way you want to go I would suggest asking for song requests from the guests in your RSVPs so that you know what your guests may want to hear (and so that you can make sure it is appropriate,  and prevent requests on the day).
    I don’t really know many people who go for DJs these days, most people are pretty tech savvy and a lot of venues are already set up with a sound system (and some will do all the checks for you, so make sure you enquire about what services are included in your package and have a look at what is provided). The reason you would want a professional is that they have great technical knowledge, they know how to troubleshoot any issues, and it takes the stress off; but it is an additional cost, and you really do pay for quality. 
    A professional sound engineer who has formal training and experience will set you back money-wise, but you need to remember that this is a trained professional and not your sister’s cousin who fancies making remixes on his laptop. A professional will often bring his or her own equipment,  will scout out the venue and inspect the facilities and ensure your venue performs acoustically so that you get the best out of your space. So if you are getting a DJ, ask for a resuumè as you would for a formal job interview and check out their credentials and prior work.
    The same goes for a band, you pay more for quality or well known bands, and bands that specialise in weddings will charge significantly more but will have much more experience. A lot of people who want the experience of live music will save cost by having a friend or family member perform (which can be disastrous depending on talent and attitude,  so watch out for those pitfalls) or they will choose an alternative genre that you wouldn’t normally see at a wedding (but that suits the style of the couple) or a lesser known performer. Looking for students or people who perform as a hobby (I.e. not professionally) are also a great way to find less expensive option.
    It’s really important to remember that the people who supply these services are not just vendors, what may seem like an inflated price to you may be their main source of income (and in this industry paychecks can be infrequent and unreliable). Don’t book someone unless you’re 100% sure your budget will allow because these people will often cancel other jobs to cater to you and it can really impact them. So although these services often seem like the price tag is inflated, you have to remember that many people in the music industry are freelancers and don’t have the same protections against loss of income.
    If you can afford it, having a live band really adds atmosphere, and many couples nowadays will compromise by having the band for a few hours and swapping to the mp3 player later in the night when everyone has had a few drinks; some will just have the band for the ceremony (or the walk down the aisle as my friend did) or just for the first dance. Discuss your options and choose a plan that is most cost effective for you.



    Thanks, it’s great to know its been done before. I really like the idea of asking guests for requests prior to the event. I was a bit worried that it would be a burden to manage.
    I’m work in theatre so I understand the costs and skills asociated with sound. I do agree that people often undervalue the skills that DJs and bands provide. I will certainly consider a band for a reduced time. Good idea again.



    You can get DJs for under $500. Back when I worked in weddings the general rule of thumb was $500 per person in a band for the night, so a two piece band $1000, three piece $1500 etc… But that was about 5 years ago now so chances are it’s different!! If you work in theatre you could see what contacts you can use to maximise you savings. Eg. You do know some musically talented people who could play or maybe a lighting/sound technician might be able to DJ (they often start out as DJs or know of DJs). The best way to save costs on your wedding is use every contact you have from dress makers to cake makers to musicians! Pull in all the favours your owed :-)


    Most of the wedding’s I’ve been to recently haven’t had a band or a hired DJ – just a laptop or iPod with a playlist planned ahead of time. I don’t think it’s an issue not to have a professional — plus you can spend the money elsewhere. Just make sure you plan the music in advance though!



    Thanks All,
    Yes I’m certainly using my contacts, but blast the decision to have a destination wedding. I think that was my fiances way of stopping me from doing it all DIY.
    He has said to me “You only do this once, so enjoy it and dont spend the night making it happen. Let someone else do it fo once”

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