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.]