Picture of figurines dancing with an ipod

Why Professionals Never Recommend DJ -ing Your Own Wedding

The Consequences of DIY

Ever since the iPod was released, blogs and wedding magazines  have posted DIY, money saving wedding tips. They are 100% correct that creating an iTunes playlist is less expensive than paying for a professional DJ. However, they really miss the point of why experienced wedding DJ’s are hired in the first place. If all you want is background sounds, articles like this one are correct. Just borrow equipment from generous friends (if you’re that lucky to have ones with speakers and wiring), queue up your playlist, press play and walk away. We are not disparaging that option.

We always want to do our due diligence when it comes to educating couples on the consequences of certain decisions. As long as your are armed with information, you can decide where your priorities are for each aspect of your wedding.  With that said, it’s hard for us to choke back the passion we have for wedding entertainment! We work hard to provide a lot of value for what we do and believe entertainment is a significant part of a wedding reception. To help us educate more objectively, we’ve asked a few of our favorite Cleveland wedding professionals to weigh in on this topic.

Covesa Gragg, Owner

Covesa Kelly Events 

Hire an experienced Cleveland DJ

An experienced wedding DJ is worth every penny

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: Timing. Do they have enough music for the duration? Is the music family friendly? Do they have all AV and technical components necessary to play the music?

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: No

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: They help keep the energy high. They keep guests informed of what’s going on. They can help bridge the gaps if things are off track (catering, waiting for bridal party etc)

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: You’ve spent all this money, just hire the DJ. It’s just not worth the risk.


Sara Fouts, Staff Photographer

Making the Moment

Be sure your Cleveland DJ is experienced with weddings

There is a difference between a DJ and an experienced wedding DJ

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: While I would understand why someone would choose to try to DJ their own wedding, my biggest concern would be the extra stress the couple would experience with someone who isn’t familiar with DJing weddings. I would also be concerned that the DJ wouldn’t be experienced in communicating with the photographer. There have been multiple occasions where we told the DJ (who was a friend helping out the couple) we were leaving the room to use the restroom. Because they were inexperienced, they initiated events anyways and we weren’t present to capture them.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: No

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: DJs allow us as photographers to set-up for reception events at appropriate times. They ensure we are present and ready to capture events before they begin. To me, ensuring that the photographer is present and ready to capture before an event begins is a factor that separates professional DJs from non-professional DJs. DJs also help us have more fun! They do so much more than play music.  They read the crowd’s energy and direct it through an entertaining flow that enhances everyone’s experience at your event. We love working with DJs who love their job!


Riki Schmigel, Catering Sales Manager

A Taste of Excellence

Your Cleveland DJ plays the key role of timing during the wedding reception

The DJ plays the key role of timing during the reception

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: Technical malfunctions that disrupt the flow/schedule of the evening. There also wouldn’t be a master of ceremonies to help keep things moving. i.e. transition from cocktails to dinner, speeches, cake cutting.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: I have catered very casual weddings that DIY their music and it has been a beautiful occasion. Typically the more traditional things like The Grand Introduction and Dances do not take place at these events.

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: DJs help to keep the timing of the event for us. This is important because we cook our food on-site and rely heavily on a timeline to time our meals.

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: DJs help inspire guests to dance and be involved with the important activities of a wedding – for example cutting the cake. Sometimes without some energetic encouragement you won’t have people dancing at the wedding.


Robert Drago, Photographer

RAD  (Photography)

Wedding DJ's produce the feel of the reception

The DJ can make the reception exciting or drab; make sure they are experienced!

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: As a photographer, I look forward to the reception because I know it’s taken care of and I can sit back and do my job. A large percentage of my job is coordinating and organizing throughout the day. However, when the reception starts, it’s the DJ’s show. So if I were to photograph a wedding without a trained DJ I would be very nervous and anxious about how the evening will go.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: Fortunately, in the last 15 years, I can only think of two occasions that a couple decided not to have a DJ. Both very small events. In both occasions, the timeline for the reception did not go smoothly and there were things missed throughout the night.

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: DJ’s are the wedding coordinators of receptions. The amount of time that is put into a reception schedule should never be overlooked. The entire feel of the reception is produced by the DJ. Every event is elevated when you have someone with experience. It can really bring the party to the next level.

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: Do you like having a party with dead air and awkward silence? If so, fire up that iPod and enjoy your evening.


Diana Elizabeth, Floral Designer

Diana Elizabeth Designs 

Cleveland wedding professionals highly recommend using a DJ

Wedding professionals highly recommend using a DJ

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: It would not be as smooth as they planned.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: Yes I have and it was confusing. The dinner music was not right and then their laptop shut down mid reception. They had to reboot and there was dead silence for a few minutes. TRUE STORY!

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: Vibe

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: I just wouldn’t recommend it.


So there you have it. Five experienced wedding professionals who have seen it all with very similar answers. In short, you CAN DJ your own wedding with an ipod or iPhone. It is possible. You can also act as your own plumber, electrician, or even doctor but…you probably don’t. The reason is that when a professional is hired, you get the results you want without regret. As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, the decision is all yours!

If DJing your own wedding sounds stressful, then perhaps an Emcee is the way to go. We have an Emcee who will make sure your event runs smoothly. Skip the stress…email an experienced DJ who will ensure you get the wedding of your dreams!

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