Wedding DJ vs. Band: How To Choose What’s Best For You

Like many wedding planning decisions, the kind of entertainment you choose will have a lasting effect on you and your guests. Maybe even more of an impact than what food you serve or how your venue is decorated. You want to have the time of your life. You want your guests to dance and sing into the midnight hours and walk away with some epic memories.

We want that for you too, and we understand that you need a DJ or band who takes the time to understand the vibe, the music, and the atmosphere you want to create. You need someone who can bring it all to life.

But who does it better? A live band or a DJ? And how do you choose between the two?

To start uncovering the answer, let’s dig into some questions!

How much do you want to spend?

First and foremost, take a look at your wedding budget and decide how much of it you want to allocate to your musical entertainment. A live band will almost always be more expensive than a DJ because of the number of people and equipment involved.

What vibe do you want to create?

Think about the kind of wedding you’re having and which form of entertainment will suit the vibe best. If you’re planning an intimate garden wedding with lots of romantic touches, a string quartet might fit nicely within the context. On the other hand, if you’re having a big bash and want to create some party vibes with your favorite tunes, a professional wedding DJ may be a better fit.

Are there any venue restrictions?

It’s important to get a sense of what’s possible at your wedding venue. Is there limited space? Noise restrictions? Electricity concerns? Talk with your venue’s management to determine what the space can accommodate before deciding on a DJ or live band.

What would your guests enjoy?

Don’t forget about your beloved guests! What kind of people are they? Dancers? Talkers? What are the age ranges and their tastes in music? Answering these questions will help you decide what kind of entertainment your guests will enjoy the most. 

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Live Band

Pro: You’ll receive a concert-type experience.

Pro: Certain kinds of music sound better live, so depending on the songs you want to be played, a live band might be able to execute them better.

Pro: A live band provides entertainment for people on and off the dance floor (gives the non-dancers something to watch).

Pro: Band members can play to the room and interact with the crowd.

Con: Live bands typically cost more. Factors like the number of band members and the day/season/time can affect the band’s charges.

Con: Live bands take up more space, so you will need to consider your venue size.

Con: Bands are louder than DJs, so you need to consider what your venue’s noise restrictions are (if any) and whether the majority of your guests are okay with yelling over a band.

Con: You may not get to hear all of your requested songs because bands have set repertoires and can only play what they know. And the songs you do request and get to hear won’t sound like the original version (obviously).

Pros and Cons of Hiring a DJ

Pro: DJs have versatility in music choice, so the chances of hearing your requested songs are high.

Pro: A DJ takes up less space and is more mobile and flexible than a full band. They can quickly transfer from cocktail hour to reception and can switch up the music with ease.

Pro: A DJ will need fewer breaks than a live band and can take care of the music for the entire day.

Con: Not all DJs are created equally, and some have a better skill set than others. So you want to make sure you’re hiring someone with experience and the know-how to entertain the wedding crowd.

Before You Sign the Contract

Once you have a good sense of what kind of entertainment you want at your wedding, it’s time to start the search. But before you sign on any dotted line, keep these things in mind:

Make sure the DJ or band can play your requested songs. Especially for special moments, like the first dance.

Talk with your DJ or band about the songs you absolutely do not want and ensure they are on board with your requests.

Watch recordings of the band or DJ to see how they interact and engage with the crowd and what their level of professionalism and experience is. Read reviews. And, of course, meet in person to gauge whether they will be a good fit for your event.

Still feeling torn? Think about how you want your wedding to feel. What energy do you want to create? If you want a classic, timeless feel, then hire a band. But if you want a high-energy party filled with multiple types of genres, hire a DJ!

And nothing is stopping you from hiring both! Fusion entertainment, where a DJ performs alongside a band, is totally doable. You could also split time between a live band and a DJ.

For example, have a band play during the cocktail hour and transition to a DJ during the reception.

In the end, the choice is yours to make, and there is no right or wrong answer. Consider the things we’ve mentioned above, and you’ll know which option is best for you in no time.

If that choice happens to be a DJ or you would like to chat about the possibilities, contact us.

We’re ready to get the party started!

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