We decided to use a Spotify offline playlist, played from an iPod, hooked up to some decent computer speakers. I wasn't sure how that was going to go over, so I spent many days beforehand Googling suggestions, many of which were that it would be much easier just to pay a DJ to come do the music. I disagreed. Not everyone has money to do that - we certainly didn't.
Bottom line, I'm writing this post about our very positive experience in case anyone is thinking of doing the same thing. I wish I could have found something to this effect - it would have eased my nerves a bit.
- A Spotify premium subscription. It costs $9.99 per month and you can use the same account on multiple mobile devices.
- An iPod Touch. You could probably use a phone, but if someone calls you during the ceremony, even a telemarketer, it could ruin everything.
- Speakers or access to a sound system. We used a small sub with two peripheral computer speakers - a setup easily connected to an iPod via auxiliary cord
- A playlist. We'll get to that.
- A responsible person to control the tunes. Someone you trust, who understands how to use an iPod.
- If you're creating your own ceremony, figure out where you'll need music and have fun with it! If you're more restricted, ask your officiant where music might be appropriate.
- Download the Spotify app (for an iPod, from the iTunes Store).
- At a computer, make a playlist using your Spotify premium account OR make one from any account and subscribe to it later using a mobile device that's logged into the premium account.
- Set the playlist so that it's available offline on the mobile device of your choosing. If you're using a iPod Touch, you need Wi-Fi long enough to "download" the playlist. Spotify lets you download temporary files to your iPod which last 30 days, at which point you'll lose access and have to log back in and re-download.
- Test your setup wherever you plan to have the ceremony, preferably with some of the same songs you'll be using to see how they sound and how loud they should be.
- Designate a responsible person to control the music. Give them a script for the ceremony with cues for where they should play each song.
- Don't make people sit there and listen to entire five-minute-long songs. Choose music that can be faded in and out as the ceremony moves along. I stressed about this, worrying about cutting off lyrics, but the transitions will sound better than you might think.
- Keep the playlist in order for easy use.
- Give your person a script and a copy of the playlist in advance so they have time to study their cues and familiarize themselves with the music. I had my brother (who was also an usher) do it, and he and his girlfriend knocked it out of the park - but by giving him his cues the night of the rehearsal rather than earlier, we inadvertently caused him more stress than was necessary. If I could do it all over again, I would have been more prepared for his sake and mine.
- Practice with the music the night of the rehearsal.
- Use the music to cue actions in the ceremony (look at my list to see what I mean).
- Use an iPod rather than a phone to avoid interruptions.
- Download and check your playlist a few days before so you know it's good to go.
- Make sure your device is charged before the ceremony. (In this case it doesn't hurt to have a second mobile device, even if it is a phone, as a backup.)
- Make sure the music is not too loud, but that it can be heard from any seat.
- Relax. You'll have so much to pay attention to during the ceremony, you won't be as worried about the music as you might think.
Now for the fun part - Our Playlist!
These songs played on a loop starting half an hour before the ceremony start:
I don't want to brag, but we got a lot of compliments about the music ;) We enjoyed it anyway, and that's all that really matters. Brides, it can be done!