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Small wedding- DIY playlist or DJ?

(36 Posts)
StrongInside Tue 21-Jan-20 08:49:48


We are having around 30 guests, including kids, and apart from saving up to £500 by doing the music ourselves, I can’t help but think that it’s silly to hire a DJ for such a small group, especially since around a quarter are older family members who are very unlikely to dance to Calvin Harris etc.

I’m also struggling with the idea of someone else picking our music. We aren’t into 80s music, for example, which usually gets a lot of our friends singing along at parties, but it’s our special day, we are paying for it, so I actually want the music that we like.

On the other hand, making up our playlist is proving very time consuming and tedious, it might not get everyone dancing, and then there is a question of who will be responsible for it. Can anyone who has chosen this route please share their experience? The same goes for those with small weddings and DJs- did it work? What did you do for cocktail hour/meal music?

OP’s posts: |
Dinosauraddict Tue 21-Jan-20 08:53:39

We had 30 guests and still hired a DJ. (We had put together a playlist as a back up just in case DJ didn't turn up or something.) I considered this at the time but was sensibly told the DJ does a lot more than just the music - they provide lighting, help boost atmosphere (particularly with less guests) and also did some MCing. We met them in advance and told them the sort of music we did/didn't like, as well as particular songs we wanted. Before the DJ (over food etc) we had a string quartet - both served very different purposes and I don't regret either choice.

StrongInside Tue 21-Jan-20 09:19:31

Thanks for sharing your experience. We aren’t into live music, so I guess we could just put a chillout/lounge album on or something. I don’t want anything too loud because of small children attending (even though I’ve been to evening receptions with very loud music and tiny babies whose hearing would have been no doubt affected) and I still want to be able to talk without shouting in people’s ears half the night. Is that possible with a DJ? I sound like I’m getting old🙈

Would the DJ announce certain activities, like guest book signing, magician arriving, stuff like Mr&Mrs quiz etc. Or would this be down to the hotel coordinator?

OP’s posts: |
Dinosauraddict Tue 21-Jan-20 10:03:33

Most DJs would happily announce that sort of thing for you, if you don't have a separate MC, but you'd need to check with them. They can also control music volume (yes you do sound old lol) so tell them if you don't want it too loud and they can oblige!

StrongInside Tue 21-Jan-20 10:12:49

I’ve just been to weddings where I was bored out of my mind- the band weren’t playing anything my partner or I would know or dance to, and it was too loud to be able to chat with anyone. So several tables of guests just sat watching others dance, and I was glad to get away.

Anyone who went with a playlist?

OP’s posts: |
DeeCeeCherry Tue 21-Jan-20 10:22:32

the DJ does a lot more than just the music - they provide lighting, help boost atmosphere (particularly with less guests) and also did some MCing


& you don't want to be messing about on the day with setting up DJ equipment, changing over CDs throughout event etc. Do you not know anyone who can play a set for you & you can always let him know discreetly whenever you think music needs changing? That shouldn't cost £500. Let him know music genres you like, tell him/her some of your favourite songs, and that's it.

If you do decide on DIY that's fine, especially if you have lively friends who will sing out over tunes etc. But really, don't over-think the music, just list what you like and don't worry about it.

I guarantee you won't play all the songs anyway

2monstermash Tue 21-Jan-20 10:27:34

Having a playlist that you can plug in is fine, as long as you have somebody committed to 'owning' this, e.g. bringing the phone or ipad, and the charger, having everything set up, with the right player (e.g. if spotify, needs to have a premium account), and to watch it during the night in case it stops or something happens. They should also have a backup ready to go.

I've seen this work very well, but you really need someone to own this, and they shouldn't be part of the bridal party/central family

2monstermash Tue 21-Jan-20 10:28:24

The coordinator should be able to do the MCing - ask them!

Bluntness100 Tue 21-Jan-20 10:31:33

Having a play list is fine, but I'd caution against only having music you like, unless everyone has the same taste in music as you. You need to appeal to the wider audience with a variety,

A decent dj should be able to do this for you if you explain the age ranges and tastes,

funmummy48 Tue 21-Jan-20 10:49:23

We've been to two weddings where there was a playlist, set up by one of the ushers and it was great. People started queuing up with their phones to play their own contributions and there were a few plug-in disco balls on the go. It was fine. I think for a small wedding it would be perfect. DJs can be great but they can also be dreadful so if you do decide to book one, go for someone who's been recommended to you, or that you've heard. I went to a work Christmas "do" this year, where the DJ only spoke once, at the end of the evening, to tell everyone that the bar was closing. 😐

crustycrab Tue 21-Jan-20 11:00:59

I really wouldn't bother for such a small wedding, a playlist through the venues speakers will be fine.

30 people including babies so young their hearing might be affected? Not sure I'd bother with a magician either! There were 20 people in my house Christmas Day, it's more of a gathering, people will just chat, eat and drink.

WarriorsComeOutToPlayay Tue 21-Jan-20 11:10:28

I think a playlist is possibly a little bit dull but a DJ seems a bit much for 30 people.

Why don't you hire a wedding jukebox? It's great for a smaller crowd and because people are participating in it they are more likely to dance.

WarriorsComeOutToPlayay Tue 21-Jan-20 11:14:03

Also don't be talked out of the magician I had one at my wedding and he was brilliant, got everyone talking and people are still trying to work out how he did the tricks.

Sparkletastic Tue 21-Jan-20 11:16:18

Do stick it on. Can get a friend to run it or hire someone. Works brilliantly in smaller wedding groups.

onanothertrain Tue 21-Jan-20 11:21:12

I'd be wary of only playing music you like, or a lounge CD as some of your guests may be bored and desperate to get away.
I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where music was played during the meal, usually its for chatting and getting to know people.
I didn't know a wedding jukebox was a thing, sounds great.

pipnchops Tue 21-Jan-20 11:55:01

Wedding jukebox sounds awesome! We've been to weddings where the guests were asked to choose a song when they rsvp'd and then there was a play list at the wedding of songs everyone liked, but the jukebox sounds good! I don't think a DJ is necessary for that small a crowd. Have a great day!

jamaisjedors Tue 21-Jan-20 12:10:54

the guests were asked to choose a song when they rsvp'd and then there was a play list at the wedding of songs everyone liked

I went to a great party like this, everyone rsvp-ed with a favorite song (you could ask for 3) and that was the playlist.

It was fun to hear your choice come up.

StrongInside Tue 21-Jan-20 19:37:05

Thanks for all your ideas.

There won’t be any babies, just toddlers, the youngest being 2, and I still think that the usual level of DJ music like you get at a nightclub would be too loud for them. Plus I actually want to be able to chat throughout the evening.

Magician will entertain us all before and/or during a meal, so I’d still like to keep that idea. There is only so much chatting you can do for 10 hours, and not everyone invited is a drinker, so some entertainment is definitely needed.

@WarriorsComeOutToPlayay Never thought of a jukebox, how much are they on average? My only worry with it would be that the more people drink, the worse the music will get. I don’t want to be bored at my own wedding listening to ‘We Will Rock You’ or something. Or what if our guests choose something my partner or I really hate🤔

We did ask to RSVP with a song that would get them dancing, so far not a single suggestion (but most RSVPs are in!). Oh well, they had their chance😁 I totally understand about catering to everyone’s tastes, not just playing our choice of music all night. I just can’t bring myself to add songs that I hate or feel ‘meh’ about to the list, and I got to about 15 songs before running out of steam. We just aren’t into music all that much, i.e. don’t go to concerts, don’t buy albums, it’s a case of listening to the radio in the car or to a few longtime favourites while working on something. Hmmmm. We aren’t having a bridal party, so it’s not like we can get the Maid of Honour or Best Man to look after the playlist. I feel it’s a huge ask for someone to be on music watch in case equipment fails or something. Is there someone we could hire? Another thought- what does the wedding coordinator do during the reception, are they just somewhere in the hotel if you need them or in the room the whole time? Who ours not look press Play and Shuffle?😬 I feel it may be a very cheeky and stupid question since no one has mentioned this an option, so I’m asking here rather than to the coordinator’s face.

@jamaisjedors What did it feel like when the other people’s choices came up? Did most people dance to everything?

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CuteOrangeElephant Tue 21-Jan-20 19:41:41

We had a bigger wedding with a playlist and it was fine. We had loads of free booze though to distract people.

Just make sure any young aspiring DJs don't mess your stuff up grin.

The hardest thing is agreeing on the playlist. I must have removed that dreadful Toto song Africa about 10 times!

jamaisjedors Tue 21-Jan-20 20:17:10

It was cool when people's song csnt up, they usually dragged others up to dance.

Or could you just sign up to a music streaming service like spotify and let an automatic playlist run? There are different moods. Someone could be in charge of checking that occasionally?

StrongInside Tue 21-Jan-20 20:53:35

@CuteOrangeElephant How did you manage to keep budding DJs out of your hair? Did you choose songs that everyone might like or just your own favourites? Really curious to hear more, here or in PM, if you don’t mind sharing your experience.

I’ve used Apple Music before, I’m guessing Spotify would be similar. I find myself skipping through a lot of songs, is there an option to edit the playlist on Spotify or does it just play all songs? My Mum wouldn’t mind if it’s a case of checking everything is ok now and then.

OP’s posts: |
almostfreeatlast Tue 21-Jan-20 20:57:08

Our wedding is even smaller and we will definitely not have a DJ so I need to get cracking on a playlist! Urghhhhhh

BumbleBeeFlower Tue 21-Jan-20 20:59:51

I did a playlist at my wedding and nobody complained. It just seemed like an unnecessary cost to pay for someone to essentially hit 'play'. However, I did have a full set of DJ lights from a friend at work which automatically moved to the music so it was still a party set up and I had one of my best friends take charge of the kit. One of the wedding staff at the venue did the MCing and he was great so it is worth asking the venue if they have someone who is happy to do that, otherwise I would ask a friend to do that as well.

CuteOrangeElephant Tue 21-Jan-20 22:20:03

@StrongInside I didn't, hence the warning grin. My husband's cousin was quite persistent.

We hired a great set of speakers and disco lights. We choose songs that we liked with the international audience in mind. I've found 90s music to go down quite well. We alternated songs a bit, so there'd be a couple of quiet songs after dancing songs.

Blibbyblobby Wed 22-Jan-20 08:17:49

There are apps that let your guests vote for music.

We had a band but used an iPad app called Limitlist for before and after. You set up a playlist but instead of fixed songs, in each slot you can have just one song or a selection. Then on the night the app selects which one it will play next but displays the alternates and guests can vote for them. When you vote it takes a picture so you get guest snapshots as well smile it's bit of work to set the list up but it means you can still manage the flow, make sure your key songs will be played.

We used that in 2014, seems like there are more modern apps now that work with Spotify eg Festify so your guests sign up in advance and it generates a playlist based on everyone's listening activity

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