Saying iDo: Weddings, the iPod, and You | iLounge Article

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Saying iDo: Weddings, the iPod, and You

Like you, I knew long ago that iPods were becoming popular. But after I recently became engaged and started to plan my wedding, I was shocked to find that the iPod has become one of the hottest wedding accessories today - iPods are now being used at every stage from initial planning to your eventual honeymoon on a beach.

Preparing for your wedding can be overwhelming: in the past, a busy bride-to-be had to set aside different times for reading wedding books and magazines, planning, and keeping herself in shape for the big day. Today, she can work herself into shape and listen to a wedding podcast at the same time. Sharon Naylor, a wedding expert and author of 30 wedding books, including 1000 Best Wedding Bargains, told iLounge just how popular the iPod has become as a wedding tool. “It’s given brides and grooms a whole new world of information, accessible at times they didn’t have before,” explained Naylor, “during commutes, while working out, while doing housework. They can tune in at any time, which is a big change from the days when brides and grooms sought information on their work computers, or when they come home exhausted from work.”

What options are available for iPod-toting brides? Here are just some of the great things we’ve come across in recent weeks:

Wedding Planning Podcasts: Thanks to the iTunes Store, you can bypass the bookstore entirely with a few quick clicks of your mouse: a quick search for “Wedding” yields a massive variety of books, suggested music and Podcasts, covering wedding planning, reception ideas and honeymoon guides. Podcasts are the best free options, with over 30 downloadable options out there: New York’s Wedding Planning Talk Radio has eight free episodes, Queer Eye has a nine-episode wedding series, and Brides Magazine even has a four-episode podcast. Not surprisingly, many of the other options are little more than promotions - there’s a video podcast from BrideAccess, “brought to you by some of the most respected vendors in the wedding industry,” and lots of podcasts from local wedding photographers.

Wedding-Themed Audiobooks and Videos: If you’re willing to spend some money, the iTunes Store offers lots of other options. Besides individual wedding-themed episodes of your favorite TV shows, you can download an entire season of the reality TV show Whose Wedding is it Anyway?, with season 4 and season 5 now available for $18 each. There are also many fictional wedding-themed audiobooks, ranging from $2 to $26, including everything from a children’s book to a Danielle Steel novel. We wish there were better non-fiction options.

 

Wedding Music: Because of the iPod, today’s wedding receptions can have an entirely different look and feel from the ones held just a few years ago. According to Naylor, “many couples are shelling out thousands to pay for professional musicians and singers, or experienced DJs who can play the right music for every stage of the wedding. If you look at Costofwedding.com, and plug in your zip code, you’ll see what couples are spending on entertainment.” With one iPod, she said, “take that figure and make it a great big $0.”

Freed from the shackles of carrying around turntables and records, or CD players with dozens of different discs, modern couples can obviously use their iPods to ditch DJs - and even bands. “When you hire a DJ or band, that’s a lot of people that you have to feed,” said Naylor. “With an iPod, that’s a few hundred more dollars saved.” Instead, “you pre-program the soundtrack of your wedding. Together, you choose the original artists’ renditions of the songs from your love story, or the perfect songs for the dinner hour, the perfect songs for the dance hour.”

If you don’t have the music you want already, a good starting place is Apple’s iTunes Essentials section, which currently has three different 70-plus wedding song collections for under $75 a piece, with each collection broken into three $25 purchases. There’s the 80’s-infused modern collection, the soulful R&B collection, and a more traditional classical collection.

Of course, there are other things to consider when you’re your own DJ. “I think iPods are great for music. I use them during my gigs,” explained Jeremy Buchanan, an Orange County, California DJ. “But I don’t rely on them too much cause the response time is still horrible on them,” he said, referring to the time it takes for the user to switch between songs, and the lack of soft fading from one song into another. Unless you’ve fully pre-programmed your playlist, and don’t want to deviate from it, expect to need an iPod operator, and to hear some rough song-to-song transitions. As Buchanan puts it, despite the iPod’s functional utility as a music playback device, “I think people still are looking for that one on one communication.”

Gifting: Music’s not just important to the bride and groom; members of the wedding party most likely love it, too. That’s why newlyweds are gifting iPods to their wedding attendants, which means that volunteering to be a groomsman in your buddy’s wedding could score you a new shuffle or nano. “iPods themselves may be the gifts,” noted Sharon Naylor. “From carrying cases to iTunes cards, sound systems, and other accessories, these are becoming the hot gift for bridal parties.” Just being related to an iPod-loving couple can help, too: “Many couples are giving these to their parents, to keep them up to speed if they don’t already have their own.”

The couple may be hoping for a little Apple love, themselves. Major retailers’ bridal registries today are not only filled with requests for flatware and china, but also shuffles, nanos and full-sized iPods. According to Naylor, “We’re seeing more couples registering for iPods and other technology, since they might already live together, or they each own their own homes and have all the linens and blenders they could ever need. Couples love registering for ‘toys,’ but the truth is that they’ll use their iPods every day. Not the blender or the fondue maker. So it’s a smart add-on to any registry, as are the accessories.”

 

Wedding Photography: For those without iPods in their wedding registries, there’s another option. Photographers like Jeff LaPlante are offering clients iPod-ready photography packages. LaPlante sells the “I Do iPod” package, which for $1000 includes brand new his-and-her 30GB fifth-generation video iPods, loaded with complete wedding and reception proofs.

LaPlante’s Seattle-based photo business is surprisingly progressive in an industry that thrives on four- to six-week delivery times for wedding photos. He not only creates a slideshow of the couple’s wedding images that can play during the reception, but he also has the images ready for the couple to take home with them at the end of the evening. 

Using both his Nikon D2x and D200 cameras, LaPlante shoots both RAW (minimally processed data) and JPG files. “The RAW files are used for final printing of albums and portraits, while the small JPGs are used to create the reception slideshows, website slideshows, iPod proofs and other low resolution uses,” he explained. “I’m able to download all of the small JPGs onto an external FireWire disk very quickly the night of the wedding…A few more actions and a batch process later and I have an entire set of proofs ready to load onto the iPods.” The result is instant gratification for the newly married couple. “I can have the couple’s slideshow ready on their wedding night so they can take them with them on their honeymoon.”

LaPlante believes that iPods will evolve into a larger role in wedding photography. “Another application I’m developing is PodProofer,” he said. “It’s currently in beta and allows customers who already own their iPods to download a small Java application to their iPod. This application will automatically connect to my website and download their proofs to their hard drive. This alleviates me from having to do it the night of the wedding.”

While some photographers are promoting iPods as part of their services, other photographers are using iPods as a tool for promoting their work. “Of course, the iPod becomes the perfect promotional tool,” said Lamar Smith, a wedding photographer in Louisiana. “I carry wedding samples on my iPod, to show prospective clients. The uniqueness of the iPod wedding album presentation (is that it) grabs their attention and gives me an ‘instant in’ to presenting more about my wedding photography services.”

 

Wedding Videography: Still photographs are the “classic” way weddings are captured, but wedding videos have become increasingly popular over the last 15 years. So it’s no surprise that professional videographers are also using the iPod to sell their services. “Podcasts, or iPod videos, are becoming more & more popular,” noted Darcie King of E Video Productions. “We are also starting to sell an option to wedding clients where they can have their recap online as a downloadable iPod video.”

 

Wedding Cakes: iPod wedding cakes? Seriously? Yes. Some brides and grooms go beyond just having an iPod involved in every facet of their weddings - they want to eat it, too! A talented baker can create a memorable wedding cake, such as the one shown here, or delicious cookies in the shape of your favorite shuffle, nano or iPod. With an unlimited imagination (and budget) the possibilities are endless. Numerous images of iPod-themed cakes can be found on Flickr, including this one of a mini-wedding cake based on the iPod silhouette theme.

 

As a bride-to-be, I went into my planning thinking that the worlds of weddings and the iPod would rarely intersect, but the array of options is staggering. With Apple having sold over 90 million iPods worldwide, perhaps it’s not totally surprising that the iPod has infiltrated the wedding industry, and if the examples above are any indication, it’s only going to become more important over time. Have you seen the iPod used at weddings in a new and interesting way? We look forward to reading about your experiences below.

[Editor’s Note: Comments for this article have been closed based on a massive amount of attempted advertising by mobile DJs looking for free promotion for their wedding entertainment services. iLounge does not permit advertising in comments, but appreciates the comments we received from users regarding iPods and their weddings.]

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Comments

1

Pretty sure my wedding won’t be iPod themed, but whatever floats ur boat I guess.. but honestly the cake is tacky.

Posted by Andrew H on February 7, 2007 at 4:43 PM (CST)

2

I think this is one of the greatest ideas ever. The iPod is a huge success and a big part of everyday life for many Americans. Why not theme a wedding around it? My wife and I love our iPods. Hm…that’s an idea for when we renew our vows.

Posted by jcrabapple on February 8, 2007 at 9:43 AM (CST)

3

My wife and I used an iPod to replace the DJ at our wedding reception. Granted we had a fairly low-key wedding, but it was still pretty traditional overall.

Part of the motivation was that we didn’t want the personality of the DJ to take over the reception. I’d seen guys with, let’s say, an “excess” of personality at other weddings.

We had one glitch. I thought we’d need a fancy sound system, so I borrowed part of a friend’s set up he uses for his band and didn’t test it first. Oops. Thankfully, the hall had a regular stereo system so I went out to the car, got my cassette adapter and hooked it up. Should have done that in the first place.

We’d carefully selected all our songs for the whole event, with three playlists: Pre-dinner, dinner, and post-dinner. We personally selected each song together and moved from light jazz to oldies (Sinatra, etc.) to dance, rock, and our favorite bands like the Pogues and U2. I also set aside our special dance song and manually started that myself, although I could have asked someone else to do it.

Overall, despite the glitches, I was glad we went with the iPod.

Posted by dombett on February 9, 2007 at 3:41 PM (CST)

4

I think this article is incredible.  iSay iDo!!!  If you can believe it, I proposed, in October 2006 to my fiance, with a 4GB iPod Nano(RED).  On the back was engraving that said beautifully and eloquently “Will you Marry Me?” 

I used the iPod Nano(RED) as my fiance is a HUGE APPLE FAN.  This way to propose, instead of an engagement ring, was the most touching and meaningful to him.  I loaded the iPod Nano(RED) with all of “our” songs and “our” photos, before proposing.  Plus…..who wants to mess up the engagement ring, when the proposal is a complete surprise.

As I expected, my Mister K absolutely said “YES”.  No wedding date set yet, but working on it.  Legally getting married in California and pretty much the rest of the US is not allowable for a Gay couple, today.  Hoping that changes one of these days soon.  If we all stand up and voice our concern that we all should have the same rights….maybe it will happen.

Thanks Apple and all your beautiful product wisdom for helping me create the beginnings of a wonderful iSay iDo with iPod Wedding.  xoxoxoxo

Posted by celticcub on February 14, 2007 at 2:12 AM (CST)

5

The first paragraph on wedding music was severely misleading in my opinion.

A backyard wedding or a relaxed cocktail reception can both be served well by an iPod plugged into a “boom box”…but a wedding that was intended to be fun, enjoyable and entertaining with a smooth flowing agenda and dancing will fall flat on its face without quality, talented entertainment. With the national average at over $25,000 for a wedding reception celebration…how much should it be worth to keep the guests entertained so they won’t leave early when the iPod keeps pausing between songs?…and shuffles from one genre to another when the guests are trying to dance?...and isn’t loud enough to fill the room because Sharon Naylor failed to advise them that a sound system (which costs money) would be necessary? Her advice is great for brides who can’t afford any other options…but it could be downright misleading if one of your readers wanted the fun and dancing…and had to learn the hard way that you have failed to accurately report the downside of using an iPod at a wedding reception.

Respectfully,
Peter Merry

Posted by Peter Merry on February 15, 2007 at 4:02 AM (CST)

6

Having just been married a month ago, (Jan 13th, 2007), I can tell you this; We have not received as much feedback from our guests about any part of the ceremony or reception as we have about our DJ’s!

The food was adequate, the room looked nice, we didn’t even bother to waste money on chair covers, the flowers were made by my Bride and myself…but we had a pair of DJ’s who performed so flawlessly in keeping the entire room engaged that people are still raving about how they haven’t had that much fun at a wedding EVER!

If you want a reception that gets remembered and becomes the benchmark for all other events, the right entertainment is crucial…ask around, I’ll bet you’ll find that the majority of wedding guests don’t recall anything besides whether or not they enjoyed themselves dancing.

Food, Flowers, and Frills don’t keep the masses entertained for very long; Why would you spend all that money to throw an appreciation party for everyone who came to witness your wedding only to let them wander out early due to disinterest and boredom?

Posted by Ken Heath on February 15, 2007 at 7:57 AM (CST)

7

I totally agree with lat two postings that the I-pod would only work for a wedding where you want just background music. Ever look into the cost of a sound system rental for the I-pod? A must and very costly if you are play to more that 50 guest at a wedding. Take a moment and sit back and ask yourself these questions. Can I-pod take song request from my guest? Make key announcements at the wedding? Will I-pod mix my music for a good flow? Play the right song at the key moment? I could go on but really think about all these questions, and more.

Best Regards,
Tom Hawkins

Posted by hawk32 on February 15, 2007 at 8:45 AM (CST)

8

Readers should note that all of the three preceding comments, which all came within several hours of each other, were made by professional DJs - people with personal financial stakes in this subject. While we appreciate any reader’s interest in stating his or her view on articles, accusations of “misleading” content should be taken with a grain of salt from such financially motivated individuals.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 15, 2007 at 10:02 AM (CST)

9

Jeremy,

Yes, I am a DJ and I am very proud of the services I offer…but my reply was from a Groom’s point of view of his recent and successful reception and should be taken as such.

I specifically and purposefully stayed away from mentioning DJ-Specifics and concentrated instead on the feedback from family and friends who have attended many, many weddings over the years.

Cheers!

Posted by Ken Heath on February 15, 2007 at 10:15 AM (CST)

10

My wife and I are going to be celebrating our 10 year anniversary Sept. 9, 2007. To this day, we can both still remember how much fun we had at our reception thanks to our DJ. WE DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING! He took care of all the detais! Told us what to do, where to go, and when to go there. He made sure our photographer was ready before our special dances. He even delt with a few things that came up to keep a smooth flowing party. (We didn’t find out about it till after the event, nice touch if you ask me.)

Now for our 10 year anniversary, we are doing it all again. Renewing our vows & reception. My wife & I are both pretty big fans of technology & computers, but couldn’t imagine a fun day without a confident, experienced person to hold our hand and take the stress out of the party, again:)

My opinion, if you want “just music”, sure an Ipod is the way to go. If you want someone to insure you have a fun, memorable, stress free party, go with a pro!

Posted by Brian Fligg on February 15, 2007 at 11:01 AM (CST)

11

One of the things the iPod can not do is plan and manage the timing of your wedding. Nor can it provide creative tools to keep your guests enthused and feeling enrolled in the celebration during cocktails, dinners and dancing.

The common misconception is that a DJ is only about music, but music is just one tool in the DJ’s arsenal. A great wedding-focused DJ can really enliven the reception without ever being the center of attention.

While many brides think the iPod is going to save them money over a professional DJ, what actually happens is that the guests leave early because nobody can take their request and the music reflects only the bride and groom’s taste (and not the guests’) and so the room clears out an hour or two early. Considering that the average wedding in LA is $32,000 according to costofwedding.com, that plays out to S00 per hour. If your reception lasts an hour less, that is a huge waste of money.

BTW I am a wedding DJ, so my opinion is biased on this but it’s something to think about.

http://www.soundslikefundj.com

Posted by SoundsLikeFUNDJ on February 15, 2007 at 11:28 AM (CST)

12

Jeremy Horowitz is correct…I am a wedding entertainer. Does that mean my statements were somehow incorrect or biased? Possibly.

If someone can show me an iPod that can create non-stop dancing, make announcements, and create a fun reception without a sound system or an MC…I’d like to read about it.

Posted by Peter Merry on February 15, 2007 at 11:34 AM (CST)

13

I understand why some may choose the route of an iPod at their wedding.  Some weddings don’t warrant a DJ, nor does every wedding require a DJ.  The problem lies in the fact that many couples hire inexperienced, lack-luster talented DJs who don’t deliver what they expected!  Most often their DJ was chosen by running through the phone book, asking one question - “How much do you charge?”  Did you call the mail-order dress shop and say “send over a size 7” without looking at the style, color, material, etc?

I have seen brides state, on bridal chat sites, “we don’t want a cheesy DJ”.  The problem lies in the fact that many book their DJ without meeting and interviewing them to discuss what they want and what services the DJ offers.  It is more than “just music”.  If you haven’t seen an experienced Master of Ceremonies at a wedding, it is most often because the DJ was one chosen at random from dialing down the list.

There are many Professional Wedding DJs who invest an increasing amount of time and energy into creating fun, personalized, and memorable receptions.  These DJs usually take additional training, join Toastmasters, recruit mentors, and attend conventions to learn more ways to offer their clients an unforgettable entertainment experience (without being cheesy or ordinary).  Many potential brides and grooms overlook these DJs because they figure “all DJs are the same” and more talented DJs charge higher than average prices.  These couples haven’t met those of us who offer much more than “just music”!

If you want to “do it yourself” to remain under a strict budget or have absolute control, a professional Wedding DJ may not fit your bill.  If you want an entertaining event to match your style, invest the time into meeting and interviewing several DJs to discover which one will fulfill your desires and shares the enthusiasm for creating a memorable wedding day for you!  Expect to pay more, as these entertainers will provide much more than music.  A polished presentation by your Master of Ceremonies will offer peace of mind and structure to your day to make it truly unforgettable.

Brian

Posted by Brian Graham on February 15, 2007 at 1:35 PM (CST)

14

As a full-time professional DJ I am not opposed to people using an iPod for their reception - my big beef is with the over-simplification of the process by articles like this one. It’s like saying driving is easy: gas on the right, brake on the left, steering wheel in front - Happy Motoring! Ipodding a wedding can be a GREAT way to make the event feel intimate and personal - but you have to know a few things to make it work right and avoid a fate even worse than the dreaded Cheesy DJ. For instance - The iPod is actually pretty lame interface for DJ’ing. Using iTunes instead will afford you much more control over the playlist on-the-fly.

Posted by rongrandia on February 15, 2007 at 1:43 PM (CST)

15

I wanted to address the comments that were left above.

First, I wrote this article not only as a bride, but also as a consumer. I was amazed to find the iPod in almost every commercial aspect of my wedding planning from photography to gifting. I was even a little overwhelmed at what I saw, which inspired me to write this article.

Second, this article was not an attempt to undermine any particular business or industry. Every vendor a bride or groom hires contributes to a successful wedding, from photographers to DJ’s. I would never encourage anyone to skimp on any aspect of his or her wedding, especially entertainment. Weddings are about celebrating!

Thanks for all your comments. In the meanwhile, this writer still has a wedding to plan….☺

Christina Easton

Posted by Christina Easton on February 15, 2007 at 3:47 PM (CST)

16

I think it is great to read about brides that are so into planning their perfect day that they want to choose and do everything themselves. I am planning a wedding myself and my bride to be is leaving the music aspect up to me. It makes me sweat a little to think I would have to choose every single song played at my wedding if I were to plan the way these brides are doing it. I say this even as a DJ of 15 years. I WOULD NOT attempt to do this even with everything I would need to pull it off. Heck I even use two iPods as a backup with the iPod Numark mixer but would still never try and plan the entertainment on my own. I will be hiring a DJ to do my event and I know just the person that can keep everything moving along so that we get everything done that needs to be as well as just flat out having a good time. There have been a lot of DJs posting on this topic and I am not trying to be one of those guys. I just happened to see this and wanted to let you know a different point of view on it. I am not trying to “sell” you and make you hire me. I am simply saying that I would never attempt this and I believe in my abilities to perform and keep people entertained.

As I said I think it is wonderful that brides are planning this much. If a bride is doing all of this then they are probably doing the right thing for themselves. No DJ or Band or Comedian would make them happy anyway.

I wish all Brides and Grooms-to-be much luck and success in your planning, your weddings and your lives. Remember just one thing if nothing else from the chubby DJ from the iPod-wedding-website-thingy…

“Never let the sun go down on your anger”

Posted by Paul Compton on February 15, 2007 at 11:04 PM (CST)

17

What this comes down to is PRIORITIES. Where is the Bride & Groom putting their focus for their reception?

Their venue?
Their Cake?
Their Food?
Their Liquor?
Their Photography?
Their Videography?

....Or the one thing that keeps people motivated to live from day to day - ENTERTAINMENT?

Imagine if there was no form of entertainment in this world.

No ballgames.
No TV.
No movies.
No concerts.
No theater.
No internet.
ETC
ETC…

If they are willing to risk their $20,000 wedding (meaning $4000 an hour for a 5 hour reception) by using an iPod, or the cheapest DJ they can find, just to save a few hundred (or maybe thousand) dollars, then they can expect failure.

It’s been said already that an iPod cannot make announcements, change up the music at a moments notice, or keep the flow of an event moving forward (after all, in order to keep it moving you need a physical “Master of Ceremonies”).

An iPod can also NOT, at the last second, change up the song because Grandma just came onto the dance floor and her favorite song is “________”. Nope, it’s ready to play the next one in the shuffle, which might be something that will cause her to sit back down.

Beat mixing to ensure the “pulse” on the dance floor is continuous, which enables you to keep your dancers out there even longer before they are ready to take a break, CANNOT be done by an iPod.

iPod wedding = fizzle my schizzle

Professional and Eloquent DJ at the helm = successful, fun, engaging and memorable day!

Posted by Brian Harris on February 15, 2007 at 11:22 PM (CST)

18

My daughter and her now-husband solved the problem of music in a college wedding chapel without an organ, by loading the Wedding March and a recessional onto an iPod Nano, and playing the music through Bose speakers. One of the ushers played the tunes at the right times.

Posted by FloydC on February 15, 2007 at 11:24 PM (CST)

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