Should You Hire a Wedding DJ or Have a Spotify Playlist?

Stylus S.E. Hire a Wedding DJ or Spotify Playlist

The debate: Should I have a Spotify Playlist and rent a sound system or should I hire a professional Raleigh wedding DJ/MC?
While there’s no right or wrong per se, your own best solution probably leans more toward one or the other. We’ll examing your options and see if it can help you figure out what’s best for your wedding in Raleigh, Durham, Apex, Chapel Hill, or anywhere else for your North Carolina reception.
Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of both:

Hiring a Wedding DJ


Having an On-Site entertainment coordinator

  • One of the harsh downsides of any event can be downtime. It can make events feel stacatto or choppy. DJs are the best solution for this because they focus on FLOW. They know the order of events and are mindful of the room’s vibe.
  • The wedding DJ communicates with all your other vendors to have a reliable event cohesion, even if you have a wedding coordinator, which helps you have a smoother event. The vendors work together to set up and enhance the moments in your wedding to make it more memorable for you and your guests.
  • The wedding DJ helps moments seamlessly transition from one to the next. If that seems simple, just imagine what your wedding might be like with no one making it seem like the event is running organically and correctly.

Knowing What Songs to Play

  • For the best outcomes, this only comes from experience
  • Experienced DJs know that the time from when the guests arrive until the end of dinner is a great time to explore your guests musical tastes. Experienced DJs can also do this without ‘working the room’ by reading body language and reactions to songs as they’re testing them throughout the social hour and dinner music. You’ll see guests bobbing their heads, tapping their feet and lightly singing along and that helps inform the DJ’s approach to the party itself.
  • Thinking ahead is one of the DJs greatest strengths. I’ve often compared DJing to playing chess – you have to think 3 moves ahead while simultaneously responding to what’s happening out on the floor and making changes to accommodate their needs.
  • One of the scariest ‘failures’ during a wedding reception, or any party for that matter,  is emptying the dancefloor. While some events accidentally build this into themselves (like by putting the bar in completely different area) it can happen with almost any event unless steps are taken to address it. There’s a strong benefit to having a professional paying attention to this all night – and doing it right is a coveted talent! 
  • Thinking ahead is one of the DJs greatest strengths. I’ve often compared DJing to playing chess – you have to think 3 moves ahead while simultaneously responding to what’s happening out on the floor and making changes to accommodate their needs.

Knowing What To Say & How To Say It

  • An amazing party is more than just great music – it can also be enhanced by the narrative threads the MC weaves. No one likes it when DJ talks too much and makes the party about them instead of the couple, but not talking enough can hurt an event just as much. 
  • Making announcements appropriately to elevate the event experience is a coveted skill too. Not everyone is great at this, and the very best can do it with style, class, and verve – fitting the vibe you’re going for with your event.
  • Informing your guests about upcoming moments & events is a crucial part of that ‘organic flow’ we were talking about earlier. 

 Having Someone Handle Your Planning & Execution

  • This could be a huge benefit to you if you’ve never planned a wedding before. A professional DJ is going to be able to help you navigate the planning much more easily and distill your converstations into a responsive plan of execution on the night of the event.

 Monitoring the Sound & Microphone Volume

  • If you’ve ever been at an event where the volume was too soft, too loud, too shrill, or too bassy, then you probably know what having someone keep an eye on this can mean. 


  • You need to have trust in your DJ to create your desired event dynamics
  • Whether or not the guests have a good time is in the hands of your DJ
  • Increased budget costs
  • Potentially additional planning time (although it could save you planning time too)

Playing a Spotify Playlist


Lower Budget

  • Renting a sound system and getting it delivered can be less than half the cost of getting a DJ. Most sound system rentals are going to average around $300-600, and you’ll probably get a $75-$150 delivery/set-up fee, putting your total costs around $350-$800 depending on your needs. 

Play Your Songs in An Exact Order

  • While DJs could do this, Many will think it’s a wasted opportunity because you can’t perfectly predict exactly what mood your guests are going to be in days or weeks in advance, they prefer to be responsive to the guests mood. It’s kind of the same problem with getting a wedding band for your Raleigh reception. They’re usually planning their set-list weeks or months in advance because the band members have to practice.  However, if you’ve got an exact playlist you’d like to see – this might be a great choice.

Internet not necessary

  • If you choose Offline Mode in Spotify, your songs will be downloaded and you won’t need WiFi. Some DJs are trying to cheap out as well by using the internet to stream their music, so you’re nipping a potential problem in the bud.

Less Risk than Hiring an Unprofessional DJ

  • Cheap or unprofessional DJs can be more risky than a Spotify playlist or professional DJ.  You won’t have to worry that they won’t show up, won’t play the kind of music you want, or don’t care about the success of the event.


  • Guests might not be as engaged
  • Someone needs to prepare the playlist
  • Have to get guest requests
  • No ability to adjust to the guests’ mood, the playlist is set in stone
  • A guests will have to cue the music for specific moments of your wedding day, like first dances 
  • Renting a Sound System
  • More of the planning and execution is on you both before and during the event

 How Should You Decide?

For your North Carolina Wedding, your best bet for helping to determine which option is right for you depends on a couple of basic factors:

1. Budget

  • Your budget may seem like the first place to start, and for some couples it’s absolutely the single most important thing. While DJ costs can often run between $1000 and $3000, some events might require a tighter budget and in this case a spotify playlist might be the way to go. Since DJ costs are usually a small faction of the overall budget, it might be more worthwhile to get a professional DJ you’re comfortable and confident in and, if you’re trying to trim your budget, maybe trim back other elements you’re not prioritizing for most of your event.

2. Knowledge

  • Preparing a playlist can take a specialized knowledge about how songs are going to affect certain groups. If you’re very insightful about your friends and family, it will be much easier for you, but for many couples this can be a process that takes more time than it should. Factor in how easy you think this will be for you or if you’ll want to let someone else handle it for you.

3. Time 

  • The amount of time it will take to get the rental, prepare the playlist, get guests requests, secure a helper or two to run the music, and, equally important, the amount of time you’ll have to dedicate to the music and volume control during the event, are just some of the elements you need to take into account. What is your time worth? Will you have the time to spare? If the answer is yes, then choose the Spotify playlist, if you don’t then you might want to hire a professional north carolina wedding DJ.

4. Risk Tolerance 

  • There are a few key elements here. First, when you get your sound system, you’re assuming all the responsibility for checking the equipment and troubleshooting it if something goes wrong. Having a professional DJ is the least risky proposition, but getting an unprofessional DJ can be even worse than just having a Spotify playlist. Take a look at your risk tolerance and get a sense of where you’re the most comfortable. 

Hope fully this helped you explore your options about whether you wanted to have a spotify playlist and rent a sound system or if you wanted to hire a professional wedding DJ for your event. If you have any questions or want some additional help – feel free to contact us and talk with a professional to help you get everything figured out!