One of our ongoing debates during the last year has been whether to get a DJ or just manage the music ourselves with an iPod (OK, a multitude of redundant iPods strategically stashed in different cars and with various groomsmen). When I came home from Cincinnati for the weekend a few weeks back, we spent several hours side by side at the kitchen counter with dueling YouTube playlists on our laptops as we tried to flesh out a must-play list. It was a fun exercise, but we started to realize that there was a lot of time to fill. We also tried to figure out who we could ask to take on the job of managing the iPod, not to mention MC the reception - and couldn't think of anyone we were comfortable asking to do it. Finally (once I was back at my hotel), we looked into the cost of renting a speaker system and found varying rates, the lowest being $175 from High Society Music - the quote they gave me over the phone didn't match the price on the web site. However, then we'd need to get someone not only to run the system, but also to collect it (in a van or SUV) and set it up.
When we looked at all of these factors together, and got a few quotes from DJs which were well below our budget price of $1000, we found it easy to agree that a DJ was something we weren't willing to skimp on. (I may also have been somewhat swayed by sites like this one even though they're clearly far from unbiased.) We haven't booked one yet - so far Ellie's had one interview with someone who didn't impress her - but at least we know we need one (and our families are all relieved that we aren't taking this on ourselves). I put in a request with the Baltimore Area DJ Ass'n via their web site, and got about five contacts back from it within the next 24 hours; our next step is to start following up with those and with others our friends have used that we liked.
Are you hiring a DJ? Any recommendations for specific vendors/companies or tips for choosing one? Or suggestions for affordable speaker rental sources so we can obsessively revisit our mini-decision?