One way to save money on a wedding reception is do-it-yourself music using a laptop, iPod or mp3 player. This can save significant amount on the wedding budget, and also guarantee that the music played truly represents the couple.
However, eliminating the band or DJ and simply cuing up a playlist does not guarantee things will go smoothly. After considering if an iPod Wedding Reception will work for you, follow these steps to it pull off.
Using the Right Equipment
The first step is to secure the right equipment. The easiest source of music is a laptop with iTunes. It can be tricky to try to quickly switch between songs or playlists on an iPod or mp3 player; but far easier on a laptop.
In addition, two large speakers, a mixing board and microphone are also needed to make sure the music will fill the large space of a reception venue, and also to allow for introductions and announcements. This equipment can either be borrowed from a friend or family member, or rented. If borrowing, make sure someone can come early to set up the equipment and stay late to take everything down.
Selecting the Wedding Reception Music
Prepare enough music to fill the entire time of the reception, downloading songs for the different parts of the reception, like cocktail and dinner hours, and slow and fast dancing. Also make sure to download special songs for the spotlight dances.
Keep in mind that music played throughout the evening should appeal to most of the guests. Pick songs for the wedding reception from a variety of decades and genres, from slow to fast songs. It’s better to have too much than too little music prepared.
Setting up Playlists
Once downloaded, arrange the music into playlists, and listen to make sure they flow well. In iTunes, go to “Preferences,” select “Playback” and adjust “Crossfade” to make sure one song will seamlessly fade into the next.
Depending on what is planned, playlists for the following are needed:
- Cocktail hour
- Introduction of the wedding party
- Dinner hour
- Spotlight dances: first dance, bride and father, groom and mother, wedding party, anniversary dance
- General dance music that appeals to everyone – more slow songs, oldies and classics
- Upbeat dance music for later in the evening
- The last song
Introductions and Announcements
Ask a friend or family member in advance to fill the role of the “emcee.” Make sure this is someone who can be trusted. Depending on the formality and size of the wedding reception, this person’s duties would include any or all of the following:
- Introducing the wedding party and anyone giving a toast
- Announcing when it is time for dinner
- Announcing the spotlight dances
- Announcing the last song so guests are not caught off guard when the lights go up
Be sure to give the emcee a script for the introductions, listing in order of introduction each person’s role in the wedding, name and relations to the couple of each person.
In advance of the wedding day, create a timeline for the reception, and share this with the emcee, the wedding party and anyone giving a toast. During the reception, let these guests know at least a few minutes in advance when they need to line up for introductions, make their toast, gather for the wedding party dance, etc.
During the Reception
Select someone in advance to help keep an eye on the dance floor and rearrange songs if necessary to keep guests dancing. Having a designated person to do this should discourage other guests from tampering with the music.
Additionally, if any of the equipment belongs to the bride and groom, they either need to stay until the end of the reception, or ask a trusted friend or family member to take the equipment home at the end of the evening.
Other Notes About Doing an iPod Wedding Reception
If possible, test out the equipment in advance, and consider a back-up plan. One option could be to bring an mp3 player with the same music, or burning CDs and bringing a CD player.
When asking friends or family members to have a “job” at the wedding reception, offer a small payment or token gift as a gesture of gratitude. If these are guests at the wedding, they should be recognized for their help. If they aren’t guests, they need to be paid in some way for their time.
Preparing for DIY wedding reception music can take a lot of time, effort and careful planning. However, if pulled off successfully, it can not only save a significant amount of money but also create many memories for the bride, groom and their guests.