So, don't tell any of the DJs in your life, but you can totally do what they do. Now, I won't say that there aren't advantages to hiring a professional in any situation - they take the stress of the day away from you and have skills and equipment most of us don't. But if you're trying to save some money on your wedding, I might suggest doing your own music. That's what Lee and I did at our wedding back in 2014 and I couldn't have been happier.
Now, I'm incredibly particular about the music in my life. At all times, not just my wedding. I create playlists on Spotify like it's my job - driving to the beach, cooking, singing in the shower, dance music, oldies, club remixes, Disney bedtime tunes… The list goes on and on (and on and on). So I obviously took the music for my wedding day incredibly seriously. You can listen to a sampler here.
Knowing how annoyed I would be with me if I were a DJ ("Here's a list of 400 songs for the pre-ceremony, ceremony, dinner, and dancing. Don't play anything that's not on the list"), I did a little research and came upon the Wedding DJ app. It. Is. AMAZING!
The app allows you to select songs for crucial moments in the ceremony, like the bridal processional and leaving the ceremony, with an excellent fade feature that makes the music sound professional. You can create or import playlists from your phone and re-order them. For example, I had about 20 songs to play while guests were being seated and a particular song that the bridal party took as their "cue". The playlist faded out and "Ave Maria" faded in, and the show had begun. I'm a theatrical person, can you tell?
I had specific music I wanted to play while we all ate dinner which was pleasant but not too energetic, and then another playlist for dancing. There were songs for the garter toss, the bouquet toss, the cake cutting, and even a particular song I wanted to start the dancing that I knew would get my friends up and moving. And, of course, our first dance.
Now, I lucked out because I have a friend who is in a band and has some sound equipment that we used for the reception - excellent speakers and even a soundboard. But for the ceremony, the only thing we needed was a little bitty bluetooth speaker I bought at Verizon, but is available other places.
This little speaker is freaking awesome! I still use it all the time - it has amazing sound quality and projects music so well. Don't be fooled by its size - this little guy packs a wallop. It was all we needed for an outdoor ceremony with about 75 people.
I also got lucky because I have another friend who shares my sense of musical timing who was willing to operate the music all day. With my phone connected wirelessly to the speaker, Derek could sit in the crowd and control the music without anyone noticing. He did an excellent job, but he also came to the rehearsal. This is crucial. Our wedding would not have felt nearly as magical without Derek - he understood exactly where I was coming from (wanting my wedding to feel like a movie) and liked my musical choices, and was such a good sport to be invited to a wedding as a guest and become the DJ.
For the reception, the only thing we needed was an AUX cord for the big speakers and we were off and running. Since our wedding in 2014, I've used this app to DJ two other weddings myself. Both were family members and asked me for my input on their musical selections, so obviously I took over. That's what control freaks do, okay?
I can't tell enough people about this app. It was a huge money-saver on our big day and I felt in control of the whole feeling and atmosphere of the wedding. For $1.99 - TWO DOLLARS! - it was more than worth the money.