I am planning my husband's 50th birthday party with about 25 - 35 people. It will be held at our home, poolside with a tropical theme. Do you think hiring a DJ for a party with so few people is silly?
I don't think it's silly, because I think music is important, but a DJ may not be necessary, especially if you are not planning on dancing. The last couple of parties like this we have had, we just asked our son to do the music. He used an iPod and speakers. If you don't know how to do it yourselves, find a teen/young adult! Our son did work as a DJ in college, but I think most kids know how to do this.
I take it you know you can do music another way, but you're really wondering if a DJ is over the top. Generally, yes I think it would be over the top for an audience that size. I'm not sure what you're after... hoping the DJ would make people dance, tell some jokes, just add a special something to the event??? I'm just not sure a DJ would fit in with the size and intimacy of your crowd. Of course, if you really want to use one, I doubt it would ruin your party or anything. I mean, it's really your call; is your husband asking for one?
I think the purpose of a DJ, in addition to playing music, is to entertain, engage people in activities, and encourage dancing. I'm not sure you would need those kinds of functions at a party with only 30 people. Remember that when the DJ is leading activities, he monopolizes the attention so there's little opportunity for side conversations at those times.
The last party we went to that had a DJ was our company holiday party. It was at a hotel, approximately 200 in attendance. There was a bar, then dinner, and then the DJ activities started. He did a cute men vs women game and then started playing the music, loud, in order to get people to dance. The dancing is fun but once that music gets loud, there's almost no chance for conversation anymore because you have to yell to make yourself heard.
I'm not knocking this, DJs serve their purpose for these kinds of parties. I'm just not sure it's the best kind of activity for a home pool party with 30 guests.
If you're just looking for music, you might take some time to organize it in advance using an ipod or burning some CDs which have the particular songs you want in the order you like. Takes a little work but easy enough to do. And unless the majority of the guests don't know anyone else at the party, they'll be perfectly happy to entertain themselves with conversation and won't need cute DJ type mixers & activities.
Personally, I'd rather spend the money on food and have the party catered so that I could enjoy the food & fun with little worries.
Anything you do to make this a special occasion for your DH could never be thought of as silly.
A traditional DJ for 25-30 people is a bit much only because they tend to become such a focus. All that equipment and stuff.....
Perhaps you can hire a "DJ" to simply manage the music so you don't have to fuss about it. It could be a professional or a savvy teen. Just tell them the type of music you want and have them keep it coming all night without the "in your face" stuff DJ's do.
Or you could go the other way -- if what you wanted was for the DJ to entertain and provide a focused activity, not to be unobtrusive.
A couple of times we hired a dance instructor to come for a small party (only about 16, but I think it would work with 30). This was during the mambo (?) craze -- the movie "Dirty Dancing" had just come out. Anyway, she brought a tape and did a very entertaining hour of teaching dances, making people change partners periodically (avoids awkwardness for singles and anyway funnier). Then she left the tape when she left so we could continue with what we'd learned. Those were really fun parties. But you have to have a pro do it; they aren't just teaching the dances (that's the least of it), they keep everyone laughing.
It just depends on what the birthday boy would enjoy.
Thank you everyone for responding. I have been teetering over this for a while. My husband didn't really care to have one, I was actually the one pushing for it. I actually talked to a guy who was just kinda breaking into the business and said he would charge me $100 for the whole time I wanted him. I couldn't even buy the music for that cheap! I am hoping to get some dancing (and it is a "drinking" crowd). But maybe I just have a vision of this perfect party in my head, that is a little unrealistic :)
Something a friend did for her husband's 50th was to hire a jukebox loaded up with music that fit the theme of the party. It was a lot of fun and people were lining up to choose which songs to punch in. I don't know if they have such a service where you live but it might be worth looking into.
Or you could have someone make a CD of your husband's favorite songs (or party theme music) and then hand out copies to everyone.
I may be late in getting this to you. I own an entertainment company and book DJs and other live entertainment daily. I will tell you that I would take a different approach since this is a small, personal event. See if anyone in your area rents juke boxes. Part of the fun there is programming in the music you want to hear. They rent for $200-$300 for the day.
If someone called asking about a DJ for 25-30 people, I'd recommend the Jukebox. A DJ is not worth the money when the event is that small. Trust me, I've been doing this a long time, and will not take people's $$ just to make a buck. However, if they are insistant, that's another thing.