Band or DJ for Your Wedding? An Expert’s Advice

Many couples wrestle with the decision of whether to hire a band or a DJ for their wedding entertainment (some lucky folks have the budget to hire both, which is always fun!). This classic article from our site still contains some useful information to keep in mind as you weigh the options.

Bands vs. DJs for Weddings

Bands are often considered the most traditional choice for a wedding reception. Some brides appreciate the look of a live band’s expansive setup, or feel their guests will expect the “showiness” of a band’s performance. There are many factors, however, that make a DJ a more attractive and flexible option:

  • Versatility: A DJ is able to appeal to a more diverse range of music tastes and can accommodate a much more eclectic request list. Whether you want to incorporate indie music, international styles, or your aunt and uncle’s first dance song from 30 years ago, a DJ can make this happen on a moment’s notice. A DJ is also accessible to you, your guests, and your vendors in a way that a performing bandleader is not.

  • Familiarity and Popularity of Songs: With a DJ, you and your guests are able to hear the versions of your favorite songs that you enjoy most. If vocal timbre and instrumentation weren’t important, you’d be equally pleased with any version of a song you like — that usually isn’t the case. A DJ can also provide much more contemporary music, something many couples appreciate during the latter part of their reception. From current radio hits to unusual remixes, a DJ can maintain the energy of your younger crowd even after your older guests have departed.

  • Quality of Emcee Work: A professional DJ is an expert at providing impeccable announcements, something at which few bandleaders excel.

  • Consistency: A DJ does not require breaks, thereby keeping the music and atmosphere consistent. Nothing is more jarring than a festive band suddenly putting on a CD and leaving the room.

  • Space, Power and Acoustics: A band can easily overpower a small room or one with low ceilings, and in a more expansive room, increased volume isn’t always the best option — sometimes multiple smaller speakers placed throughout the space is necessary for optimal sound quality.

  • Subtlety: A band is certainly a flashy option, but some couples know their guests won’t appreciate being singled out by an overzealous bandleader that jumps into the crowd. There is no question who will be the center of attention when a large band, often costumed or utilizing lights and props, is dominating the room.

  • Cost: Even the best DJs cost less than the least-known bands, something that is becoming increasingly important to many couples as they develop their wedding budget. The cost of some of the largest bands could pay for your honeymoon or for the catering for 100 guests. Utilizing a band can also require you to pay for five to 15 additional meals, staging rental, or supplemental audio equipment.