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iPod WeddingContemplating an iPod wedding? It’s the latest DIY trend for brides on a budget and it might seem like a smart idea.

Unfortunately, almost every wedding DJ on the planet will tell you an iPod wedding is a very risky proposition and – despite the blatant self-promotion – they’re kinda right. Human DJs have their jobs for a reason: they can take requests and respond in real time to the flow of your party, which is very important in keeping a dance floor packed with happy guests.

Good DJs will also act as MCs, crowd-controllers, and equipment getters, setter-uppers, and taker-backers. They will also save you stress in any kind of tech emergency (slideshow projector malfunctions, dead mic batteries, skipping CDs, sudden power outages, etc.) that may arise.

As much as you love your trusty little iPod, it just can’t replace a real human.

That said, budgetary realities might mean you’re doing an iPod wedding anyway. If that’s the boat you’re in (just like it was for me; YES, I personally did a radical iPod wedding!), follow these cardinal rules to make sure your special day still goes as seamlessly as possible:

Rule #1: You still need a “DJ.”

Yup. Just because you and your fiance have come up with a killer iPod wedding playlist doesn’t mean you can press “play” and walk away. Put a trustworthy person in charge to stop and start the music and play special songs for your first dance, father/daughter dance, etc. Make sure he/she is familiar with how you want your party to go and what songs you want played.

Rule #2: Have the proper equipment.

An iPod and a docking station are not going to cut it. To fill the room with sound, you need a professional-grade speaker system. Tell the rental company about the spaces you’re using and get them to recommend a setup. Also make sure they explain very clearly how to use it all before you leave the shop.

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Rule #3: Make multiple playlists.

You’ll need to sit down with your hubby-to-be and do a major brainstorming session. Solicit help from your friends too and, of course, the Internet. Come up with playlists that have the right mix of fast, well-known party songs and slow songs. A good frame of reference is about 6 – 10 songs per iPod wedding playlist that slowly build in intensity and then slow it down with two popular, danceable slow songs. Remember, order is important. Try to think of what you’d want to hear next and when you’d be ready for a couple of slow songs to refill your drink and/or dance with your man.

Make several such playlists so your “DJ” has options throughout the night. Do separate playlists for special events, like the bouquet and garter tosses and your first dances. Label them appropriately so they’re easily found.

Rule #4: Use your laptop.

Okay, this one is more of a suggestion than a rule. As handy as iPods are, they aren’t super-quick to navigate. Save your designated “DJ” some headaches by using your laptop and iTunes, not an iPod. That way he/she can see all of your playlists at a glance and simply click on whichever one’s up next.

If you still plan to use your iPod, bring your laptop and/or CDs as backup. iPods are notoriously finicky, very breakable, and easily lost. You’d be devastated without music at your wedding – don’t leave anything to chance.

Rule #5: Do a dry-run.

Absolutely do NOT leave everything till the day of when the rental place is closed and you aren’t 100% sure if it’s all going to work. Rent the equipment ahead of time and do a dress rehearsal of every aspect of the day that will include “iPodded” music. Make sure you have all the cords and batteries you need and that you are positively sure how to work everything.

Have you had your own iPod wedding? How did it go? What pitfalls did you avoid (or fall into)?

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