DIY wedding music or DJ? The choice is different for every couple, but may be easier to make after you’ve weighed the pros and cons.
Pro: Experienced emcee
It’s common to focus on the music when deciding between a DJ and DIY wedding music, however one of the biggest pros of a DJ is their ability as an emcee. An experienced wedding DJ keeps the dance floor packed and guests entertained! They can also draw on their past experience so they can choose the best playlist and dance floor games that fit with your wedding atmosphere. (Pro tip: don’t hesitate to ask the wedding DJ how many weddings they’ve emceed when you hire them, plus these other wedding DJ questions.)
A wedding DJ is going to cost more than a DIY wedding playlist, but the cost difference may not be as big as you think. If you’ve got the equipment and have already paid for the songs, you won’t have to make much of an investment. On the other hand, coming up with your own wedding play list is a significant investment of money and time—the latter of which you may need for wedding planning.
Pro: Comes with HUGE playlist
A quality wedding DJ comes with a huge wedding playlist, so you’re sure to hear all your favorites! (Use this wedding music checklist to help you.) Plus, a wedding DJ has the expertise to “fill in the blanks” with songs that guests love.
Con: Equipment may break down
Wedding DJs can supply the best equipment, but it is prone to breakdowns like any other equipment. To prevent a stop in the action during your wedding, always ask your wedding DJ if they have back-up equipment available. Unfortunately, any equipment you use for a DIY wedding playlist can break down too.
Pro: Quality equipment
Most DJs come with some quality sound equipment that’s sure to make your guests feel like they are part of a dance party. When searching for a wedding DJ, you should be able to ask to see the equipment if you have any concerns. (Pro tip: always be careful about hiring an amateur with dated equipment or these other warning signs of bad wedding DJ.) If you want to get the same effect with DIY wedding music, be ready to do your research so you can get good sound equipment.
Con: DJ may be sick
Hiring a wedding vendor always comes with the risk that they may not be able to be there, but there are ways to avoid this scenario. Whenever you hire a wedding vendor (including a wedding DJ), always ask about their ‘plan B’ in case they get sick or have some other emergency. In the case of a wedding DJ, do your research (i.e. check reviews on wedding sites and social media) and make sure you hiring a reputable service.
DIY Wedding Music
DIY wedding music is very affordable! It’s usually cheaper than a wedding DJ, though it does require money and time. Make sure you get speakers that adequately amplify music so everyone on the dance floor can hear and enjoy it.
Con: Need to find someone to make announcements and play music
Even if you have a fantastic playlist, you’ll still need someone to make announcements and “man” the DIY equipment. (Pro tip: always choose someone who is just dedicated to this task, and can do it well all night!) Make sure you choose someone who doesn’t have any other roles to fill—and make sure it’s not you, because you have other things to do throughout the reception.
Pro: You can make sure the list is full of your favorites
On the biggest perks of DIY wedding music is that you can make sure you play all your favorites. As you choose music, make sure you choose songs that your guests actually want to dance to. Plus, don’t forget to think about the right songs for your special moments, like your first dance, cake cutting, and parent-child dance.
Con: Takes a lot of time to customize playlist
It does take a lot of time to make a customized playlist, and wedding planning does come with a long wedding planning checklist. But if you’re up for the task, make sure you do your research and get started early.
Pro: Easy to do
If you love music, it’s fairly easy to find your favorite songs. Just make sure you make a long enough playlist; typically, you’ll need 18 songs per hour. You should also think about atmospheric music for dinner, cocktail hour, and any down time.
Con: If there is a break down, it takes time away from guests for troubleshooting
Unfortunately, even the best planned out DIY music comes with the risk of breaking down. Be aware that you may have to take time away from fun—and your guests—if any of your equipment breaks. The only way to avoid this is to have another person who can troubleshoot or have back-up equipment.