6 Ways to Make Your MP3 Player Wedding Not Suck

  • By Derek Hoffman
  • 24 Aug, 2017

First things first, we’re the realists. We know that a lot of couples try to save a buck by DJing their own wedding with an MP3 player. While we respectfully(ish) disagree with brides and grooms playing the role of DJ on their special day, we’re willing to go along with it for a moment. We visited with our friend Taylor Wallace from  Audio Rent KC  and surveyed guests who attended MP3 player weddings. According to these accounts, it’s likely that,

6. You're Gonna Need Bigger Speakers

KC Mobile DJ How to make your mp3 player wedding not suck Need Bigger Speakers
Yeah... We just said that.

Jennifer, a guest we spoke to who attended an MP3 player wedding, spent about 2 hours getting ready for her sorority sister’s celebration at a well known venue in Overland Park, KS in the Fall of 2016. She donned her favorite pair of heels (those kind of heels that make your legs look fantastic and are known to attract boyfriend material). She sat through a very lovely (and long) ceremony at the couple’s church before heading to the reception for a night full of cocktails and dancing.

Spoiler alert. Jennifer had plenty of cocktails and zero dancing.

Jennifer’s BFF (who apparently wasn’t BFF enough to ask Jennifer to be a bridesmaid) didn’t have a powerful enough sound system. Instead of a sound system large enough to accommodate her 250+ person wedding, Jennifer discovered speakers akin to the ones you had in your bedroom as a kid.

KC Mobile DJ How to make your mp3 player wedding not suck old stereo cd tape player classic radio
“Hi! Remember me!? I still have TLC loaded up if you don’t want no scrubs!”

How to avoid Disaster

Taylor from  Audio Rent KC  makes a living by renting equipment to DIY couples and says the number one mistake he sees couples make is underestimating the quality and capacity of equipment they’re using. Low quality sound equipment at your wedding can lead to sound distortion or insufficient volume. It’s important to use high-quality industry standard brands.

There are many factors to consider when selecting a sound system for your mp3 player wedding reception.

  • How many people will be attending? 
  • Will the mp3 player wedding reception be indoor or outdoor? 
  • If indoor, how large is the room?
  • Does it have carpeted floors, hardwood or concrete? Are the walls sound absorbent or conducive to better acoustics?
  • How is the area laid out for sound coverage? Will you require more than two speakers to provide ample coverage?
  • How much power will be required to operate the sound system?

If you’re still not sure what you’ll need, ask your venue coordinator what type of equipment they typically see in the space you're celebrating and where the equipment is usually set up. 

Still not sure? The good news is that not all DJs are dicks. A few phone calls or emails and you should be able to find someone who is willing to drop some knowledge for your specific situation. An even better resource would be a company like Audio Rent KC who specializes in renting equipment just for the occasion.

Once you’ve ensured that your guests and grandmothers will actually be able to HEAR the music, now it’s time to,

5. Create The Right Types of Playlists

Yeah - you read that right. Playlist S . Plural.

Most DJs will have curated “crates” that group together genres as specifically as “Early 60’s Female Country Singer - Cocktail Hour” so we can grab songs from there if we get a bunch of Patsy Cline requests.

For a DIY wedding it can get almost as specific. For a wedding reception, you’ll want to build a minimum of 3 separate playlists or a minimum of 5 playlists if you’re doing your own ceremony too. Check it out;

  1. Pre-ceremony music
  2. Ceremony specific songs (processional, bridal march, recessional, etc) We recommend instrumentals for these.
  3. Cocktail/dinner (slower) music
  4. Reception specific songs (grand entrance, first dance, parent dances, bouquet/garter, etc)
  5. Upbeat/Fast dance songs from various genres.

Having playlist number 3 can serve a dual purpose. Having it for low-key dinner/cocktail music and for an opportunity to slow the dance floor down for your guests who can’t or don’t want to shake their tail-feather all night long.

You know what type of playlists to build, now it’s time to,

4. Stock Those Playlists With Some Fire Hits

Sit down and put some thought into typical wedding songs, dance songs, songs that will engage everyone (Sweet Caroline, Don’t Stop Believin’) and songs that are meaningful to you and yours. If you’re not sure where to start, there  are literally   thousands  of articles  on selecting  the perfect   wedding   music . Heck, Spotify and iTunes have pretty great curated playlists you can search for inspiration too.

Even with all those wonderful resources, it can still be hard to sit and just list these songs out. Your brain will fart so hard you may end up playing nothing but J beebs.

KC Mobile DJ How to make your mp3 player wedding not suck justin bieber brain shart
A brain “shart” if you will.

Something that might help? Shazam is one of our favorites, but if you don’t have enough space on your phone for yet another application, keep a running note somewhere in your phone and jot down songs when you hear them on the radio/in the club/other weddings. Also we have a pretty baller list of popular wedding songs and playlists on our  pinterest board .

Once you’ve got your various playlists stocked, now it's time to

3. Find a Program or Player That Allows For Crossfading

Quick DJ schooling – Smoothly fading from one song into the next can fool the layman into thinking you’re a professional. Plus, those smooth fades will avoid guests standing in awkward silence. Because “standing in awkward silence” then becomes sitting in awkward silence which then becomes leaving your reception in awkward silence.

KC Mobile DJ How to make your mp3 player wedding not suck mustache you to leave
“Yeah… Ummm… we forgot we have an appointment to to trim our spectacular mustaches… so we have to get going.”

Spotify , Windows Media Player  and  iTunes  all offer automatic crossfading settings, Pandora however, does not offer crossfading (that we could find).

Great - your music is figured out, but we’re not done yet. Kelly, a Maid of Honor we spoke to really wishes her BFF thought to,

2. Bring a Microphone

Kelly worked for months on her toast. She practiced in front of a mirror, sought help from people she knew who were great public speakers. She wrote, edited, re-wrote and edited so many times until she was convinced her toast was perfect. She was confident when her turn on the microphone came, she’d knock it out of the park.

She anticipated tears of laughter and tears of happiness as she planned to reflect on some pivotal moments of her and the bride’s friendship.

KC Mobile DJ How to make your mp3 player wedding not suck bitch slap girls fighting
“IE: When they finally settled which Jonas Brother was the cutest”

Instead, all she had were tears of disappointment. Because Mrs. Bride-face-head-face, in her effort to save a buck, didn’t think about a microphone. Without a microphone, there’s no great way to get everyone’s attention to tell them to shut their no-good, dirty, stinking traps for 5 freaking minutes while Kelly poured her heart out.

Yelling at the top of your lungs “HEY YOU GUYS IT’S TIME FOR TOASTS!!” was a super effective way to get like, three people’s attention.

The maid of honor and best man are certainly going to want to have their moment to shine with that speech they have been practicing for months just for you. They'll need a mic (to drop) for that.

KC Mobile DJ How to make your mp3 player wedding not suck barack obama mic drop speech toast best man
“Best man Barry didn’t make any references to Robert’s previous girlfriends. Crisis avoided”

But what we found in a good portion of our research is that even when couples didn’t hire a DJ, they’d regret not

1. Putting Someone in Charge of the Music

Guess what happens when “no one” is in charge of the music? Your most inebriated guests become in charge of the music.

So pick someone who isn’t in charge of anything else. Don’t pick a bridesmaid, a groomsman or a family member who are going to want to enjoy themselves. Pick a friend who barely even "made the list" and ask them to do it. That should be their way of repaying you for feeding them banquet quality chicken breast and cardboard flavored gluten-free cake.

But this person needs to be someone you trust to be in control that MP3 player/computer/tablet/whatevs, not only for song selections and keeping the drunks at bay who want to hear Pantera at your wedding but because there will be countless times you won't want the music playing. You know, like during those aforementioned speeches we mentioned earlier.

A few additional things you need to remember:

  • More than 80% of the guests we surveyed said they  WOULD NOT LOOK FORWARD TO ATTENDING ANOTHER MP3 PLAYER WEDDING . So to make sure your guests have a great time and stick around to enjoy the celebration you invested in, put in the extra effort to  make your MP3 player wedding not suck .   (or, you know... hire a DJ)
  • Charge your mp3 player ahead of time
  • Bring your charger along just in case and don’t forget microphone batteries (usually size: AA)
  • Make sure you have the correct wires/hookups for the speakers, microphone, etc… (XLR, ¼”, RCA, 3.5mm are the most common connections you’ll need)
  • Test your equipment and set it up a few times before the wedding. You want your day to run smoother than a Tinder pick-up line
  • Create the playlist in advance and actually listen to it. You might not need that 5-minute song, or you might realize you have too much Ludacris and not enough Justin Timberlake

If all this seems like too much to handle your wedding day, throw out this list and hire a professional (IE: Us. It’s us. We are the professionals). DJs are more than happy to handle the heavy lifting so you can focus on enjoying the party, rather than running it.

Derek is the general manager/supreme leader of KC Mobile DJ and does everything possible to deter couples from using an MP3 player at their weddings. You can follow KC Mobile DJ on Instagram and Facebook or subscribe to our sweet monthly newsletter by dropping your email address below.

Taylor owns Audio Rent KC and does everything possible to encourage couples to have an MP3 player wedding. You can follow Audio Rent KC on Facebook and Pinterest .

Want in on this sweet action? We select 1 random winner from each survey for a $10 Starbucks card. Weigh in HERE on whether or not it's okay to be different from other weddings.
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