Professional DJs are costly, but so are most elements of a typical wedding. The entertainment at your wedding reception may make or break the entire event, so it’s not to be taken lightly.
A skilled DJ, for instance, will be able to gauge the crowd’s mood and select songs accordingly. In addition to making announcements, they may also bring their light and smoke displays.
Unfortunately, I’ve heard so many DJ horror stories that even a “cheap” DJ (one who charges $300) would not be worth it. A lot of married people nowadays choose to play their music for a variety of reasons:
- 10% of the entire wedding cost is reasonable for a skilled DJ.
- Because of the venue’s size, a full-scale DJ booth might be too much for the room.
- They prefer being able to pick every song on the radio instead of just picking whatever is currently popular.
While there are many benefits to working with a professional DJ, there are also ways to get the job done without one. If you want to know how to accomplish this, keep reading!
Equipment Necessary to Serve as Your Wedding DJ
Even though you don’t need expensive professional audiovisual gear to DJ your wedding, you shouldn’t assume that you can put your phone into a speaker and start playing music.
If you choose to do some or all of your wedding planning, remember that the outcomes will be much more excellent if you put in some time and effort beforehand. Visit or speak with your wedding venue to learn more about their music setup once you’ve decided to self-DJ:
- Does the venue have its music playing and amplification equipment, or would you need to bring your own?
- Can you be shown a diagram or given specific instructions so that you know where everything is and how to set it up without assistance?
Consider hiring professional-grade amplification if you’re providing your gear. One of the most common mistakes made by amateur DJs is underestimating the amount of amplification required to project sound over hundreds of persons, their chatter, and the overall party cacophony.
In addition, nothing discourages an entire dance floor more than music that is too soft. A pair of speakers and an amplifier to rent will run you $75–$100, with a mixer and wireless microphone adding another $100–$200.
To DJ your wedding, you will need to acquire (or make do with borrowed or rented) the following:
- A digital music player, such as a laptop computer or an iPod
- Loudspeakers ranging from 12 to 15 inches in size, including two speaker stands
- Subwoofer (optional)
- Mixing Console
- Connecting the player to the mixer via a cable (most likely a mini-stereo to a male dual RCA)
- The use of a microphone, either cordless or connected via a highly lengthy cable.
How to Dj Your Wedding
1) Talk to a Professional Wedding Planner
If you are planning on doing most of the work for your wedding yourself, it is still recommended that you consult with a Wedding Pro Consultant to help put everything into perspective.
If you’re planning on handling a lot of the wedding planning, you must have a conversation with a pro to set realistic expectations. Discuss the ins and outs of playing your wedding.
Learn from your consultant’s experience what you should watch out for and where you might be vulnerable. Any backup plan you can implement in case your original one fails.
It’s crucial to be prepared for every eventuality, and a wedding has many moving elements, so be sure to plan.
2) Check With Your Venue
You need to clear these details with the venue before deciding how to DJ your wedding. Find out what kind of sound system they have installed and ask to plug into it.
You may be subject to a plugin cost when you don’t use the venue’s in-house or recommended DJ.
Be sure to double-check the location where you intend to set up your booth or table. What kind of table are you looking for? Please tell me the length of the extensions I need to plug into your DJ table.
If you want to use your sound system, will there be room for it? Do you have access to adequate ventilation for the tools you plan to use? Can we run a trial run of the setup the evening before the wedding?
It would help if you talked to the venue coordinator about these details. Make careful to include any additional terms the venue has agreed to in your contract so that there are no unpleasant surprises when you arrive with your gear.
3) Create a Checklist
There is no room for error on your big day, so use the information provided by the venue to compile a list of everything you will need to set up a DJ booth, table, area, or space.
Make a list if you want to perform your duties like a pro. Create a detailed inventory of everything needed for the event, including DJ turntables (both vinyl and CD), mixers, controllers, software, speakers, headphones, DJ accessories, extra cords, a mic, and so on.
On the Whole, You’ll Need: You can get by with just an iPod, laptop, or another music player (in most cases), a few 12-15″ speakers on stands, a subwoofer, a mixing console (which can be rented), a cable to connect the music player to the mixer (likely a mini-stereo to a male dual RCA), and a microphone (wireless or with a very long cable) if announcements are required.
You can even rent some of these items! Explore the options available from the local entertainment rental businesses.
4) Create a Music Playlist
Putting together a playlist is an entertaining pastime. The first step in learning how to DJ at your wedding is creating a killer playlist. You can customize the playlist with your favourite songs to make it perfect for your wedding day.
Imagine tunes that make you happy, get you dancing, make you think back on good times, and make you want to share them with others. These songs about private jokes and fond recollections would be impossible for a DJ to play otherwise.
With a Spotify Premium subscription, you can listen to practically every song and record made for just $5 a month, making it an ideal entry point. You can always listen to your tunes offline if your internet connection goes off.
Your playlist should be at least two to three hours longer than the event’s duration to ensure you have enough music. Get your loved ones involved in the list-making process.
5) Make Multiple Playlists
The risk of listening to only one playlist is high. A great tip for playing the role of wedding DJ like a pro is to create separate playlists for each part of the reception.
Relax with your loved one and brainstorm meaningful songs to play at various points throughout the celebration.
Play music that you enjoy that you think the crowd will enjoy and that will get people moving on the dance floor. Play a greatest hits compilation for the after-party to get everyone up and to dance.
There are many stages at which we recommend listening to specific playlists.
- Special Dances
- Dance Party
- After Party
PRO TIP: Start by making a timeline for the ceremony and other events; next, choose the music.
You can create a custom playlist featuring anything from coffee house to jazz for a one-hour cocktail party or meet-and-greet. Then, during the opening remarks, soft music can be heard (or you can also edit a track and lower its sound for output).
When it comes to the eating area, it’s recommended that you switch to something more energetic, not too loud, but conducive to conversation. (include this on the playlist if you plan on having parent dances.)
It is customary to announce and play upbeat music when guests move from casual conversation to the celebration proper.
It would help if you edited the music in your playlist. Learning to DJ at your wedding would require you to get the audio from YouTube or another streaming source, convert it to an mp3, and edit the entire recording. Reduce the volume and make other edits as necessary to make it fit your timeframe.
6) Test Your Speakers
Remember to check the volume of your speakers; what may seem like a loud volume at home may be barely audible over the chatter of a hundred or two hundred people.
Alternatively, inquire about the speakers at your location since many of them will also have them. However, make sure it works before the big day!
If it isn’t loud enough, you can also get an amplifier. Rental amplifiers are also available for these events. Most venues have a sound technician on staff, but you may have to pay extra if you require their assistance with the plugs and jacks.
7) Have a Backup Plan
Have a contingency plan ready to implement in case unforeseen circumstances call your primary one into question. Bring extra wires, charge all your devices, and make copies of your playlist for all your gadgets.
Due to your independent nature, you must discuss your alternatives with the venue coordinator in case of any difficulties. One possibility is they have a DJ or musician on speed dial who can rescue the situation with music from their playlist.
8) Do a Trial Run
We can’t overstate how crucial this is. Playlists and equipment should be tried out and run through the wedding venue at least twice before the big day.
Avoid gambling or blindly trusting online resources. Ensure all your playlists are downloaded and stored on a different computer or iPod.
Make sure you test out all the tools and gadgets at your disposal. Be sure to double-check the cords. Get everything organized according to the schedule of your wedding.
If you want to practice with some buddies, ring them up. If you’re going to keep people entertained, play a wide range of music.
9) Assign a Music Captain
Let’s say you don’t want to do any actual work for your wedding, so you appoint a friend or your fiancé to be in charge of the music. Someone willing to help and already knows their way around a sound system could make a great “music captain.”
You’ve laid the groundwork and made sure you have a backup of everything, so now this individual can step in and become the man of the hour, leaving you free to enjoy the party and entertain your guests.
Having a music captain is beneficial because they can protect your carefully curated playlist and music from being overrun by overzealous guests.
You need to ensure that this individual is trustworthy and technologically skilled and that they are present during the setup and test runs.
Frequently Asked Question
Is it okay to DJ your wedding?
Many married people nowadays play their music for various reasons: 10% or more of the wedding budget could be allocated to the DJ. Perhaps they won’t even need an announcing team. A prominent DJ setup might be too much for the venue’s size.
How many songs does a DJ need for a wedding?
Generally speaking, a reasonable rate of play is 15 songs per hour. Once dinner and the speeches are done at a wedding reception, guests typically dance for three hours. 45 songs are all that is included there.
Who pays for the DJ at a wedding?
The groom and his family are responsible for covering all of the wedding’s expenses except those related to the couple’s meal and decorations. The bar tab and tips go to the groom’s family.