There was, however, some serious disagreement about *how* those tunes would be played. Neither of us really wanted a live band, but the question of DJ-vs-iPod caused friction. B's budget concerns led her to consider anything more elaborate than an iPod as too expensive. To me, that concept came across as unthinkable. A good party has a vibe that ebbs, flows, and shifts according to a number of different variables (mood, setting, formality, participants' age, energy level, and degree of intoxication, just to name a few). A "set it and forget it" playlist is fine for a gathering of friends at home, but a big event like a wedding benefits greatly from a live human monitoring the vibe and choosing the music accordingly. I understood the cost benefits of supplying our own music, but if we tried to go too DIY, I would drive myself crazy making tweaks to the playlist every 20 minutes. I attended a friend's wedding where the music was pumped from his MacBook into a stereo system...he asked me to assist with DJ duties, and I only spent about an hour total enjoying the reception because I was constantly running over to the computer to adjust the tracklist. I can't help it, it's just my nature.
I began researching DJs and was dismayed by some of my findings. Not only were all the available DJs very expensive, but I read horror stories of DJs hijacking the wedding, ignoring the bride & grooms' requests, and being extremely corny. Conscious of these pitfalls, I began to give the iPod option some serious consideration. After delving into several articles about the pros and cons of a playlist-powered reception, I started to envision a solution that would work for both me and B. I could create several playlists for the different phases of the party, like so:
- light music for cocktails (including a lot of the emotionally-resonant songs from our relationship that aren't exactlu dance-worthy)
- all-ages dance-floor classics (i.e. "Twist & Shout") to get people moving
- popular club hits (Beyonce, Justin, Lady Gaga) to keep the vibe alive
- old-school hip-hop/R&B for our twenty- and thirty-something friends to rock with
- end-of-night drunken sing-alongs like "Don't Stop Believing" for last call
I've found some DJs who are willing to make an arrangement like this -- every good DJ has an assistant on-deck and, given the poor economy, they'll take partial work over no work. I don't know exactly what this plan will cost us yet, but it's much less labor-intensive than having a premier DJ choosing tracks all night, so I'm sure we can negotiate a good deal.
This way, everybody wins. I get to geek out over song-picking but not worry about day-of monitoring. B (and I) have one less budget concern to cope with. And we both get a little peace of mind. Just like the "traditional or nontraditional" trap, the "iPod or DJ" dichotomy proves to be a false choice, and is easily resolved with a little out-of-the-box thinking. What are your thoughts on this topic? I'd love to hear from you readers if you've encountered any weddings with interesting or unusual music set-ups. Suggestions of all-time favorite reception songs are encouraged as well. Bring it on!