CNET's Donald Bell really breaks down how to go DJless at your own wedding in this video and corresponding article:
Interestingly, in the lead paragraph he says, "The DJ plays a
critical and often misunderstood role in any wedding ceremony. If you
can afford a professional, by no means should you use the following
tutorial to skimp out. You'll save yourself loads of hassle and be able
to enjoy your day with one less concern floating around in your head."
Unless your location provides it, you're still going to need a mixer,
amp, speakers, mic, back up system, tripods, audio cables, extension
cords, power strips and the time it takes to create your own playlists.
You will also need someone to run the system.
More from the article: "There are dozens of little things that could
throw a wrench in the works. Hopefully, practicing things ahead of time
will iron out some of the kinks.
Here are some tips and common mistakes, though.
The microphone feedback is unmanageable. As a quick fix, turn the
microphone down or switch it off. The root of this problem is usually
caused by speaker placement. If the speakers are position behind the
person using the microphone, the mic will pick up their projected sound,
the speakers will amplify it, the mic will pick it up, the speakers
will...you get the point. It's a feedback loop.
To fix the issue, make sure the speakers are facing away from the
microphone. There's a tendency to place speakers back against the wall,
but they really should be out in front of the microphone, projecting
away from the mic and towards the audience.
The music is too quiet. In the setup I've described here there are
six volume knobs, and any one of them could be turned down too low. In
order, these volume controls are: the volume slider in iTunes, the
master volume on your computer, the channel volume on the mixer
(typically located near the bottom), the channel gain (typically located
next to the audio inputs), the master volume on the mixer, and the
volume control on the powered speakers.
The music is distorted. This problem is also typically associated
with all of the various volume controls at play. When a volume control
is turned up too loud, or there's an imbalance of loud amplification
applied to a quiet signal, you can get a noisy or distorted sound.
Nothing should be set at full volume. If the volume meter on your
mixer is peaking into the red, you're doing something wrong.
Here are my suggested volume settings: iTunes at 75 percent, your
computer at 75 percent, channel volume at 50 percent, the channel gain
at 50 percent, speaker volume at 50 percent, and then slowly turn up the
mixer's master volume to the appropriate level. That conservative
setting should shake off any distortion, but if it's still too quiet
with the mixer's master volume at 75 percent, you can try edging up the
channel volume and gain to 75 percent and turn up the volume directly on
There's no sound at all. Three things need to be turned on: your computer, your mixer, and your powered PA speakers.
Next, run through all of the volume settings outlined above.
Finally, check the audio connections. Is the cable running from your
computer connected to the audio output, or did you plug it into the
audio input by accident. Is it possible that the mixer has some type of
mute button or tape output button enabled? Can you hear sound when you
plug headphones into the mixer? Does the microphone work? Try plugging
in your iPod or smartphone--does that work? Is it possible that you have
a bad cable?"
As you can see, lots of potential headaches here. Bell closes the
article by reiterating that those that can afford it should hire a pro.
Without meaning to, this article really demonstrates how much work goes
into DJing a wedding.
The Wedding DJ