DJ playing music

Is it better to have a band or DJ at a wedding?

Music, whether it's the score to your favourite film or the song in that commercial that always makes you weep, is a universal force for good and will play a significant role in your big day. It sets the tone and encourages everyone to break out into wild dancing.

You want the music at your wedding to be a wonderful reflection of who you are as a couple and a fantastic mix of songs that your guests will enjoy and dance to all night long. However, you may be at a loss as to whether to hire a wedding band or a DJ, despite the fact that your favourite songs are likely already bursting out of your ears. We've collected a list of advantages and disadvantages, so you can kick back with some tunes and make your choice.

The mood of your wedding reception is mostly determined by the entertainment you choose, therefore, it's crucial that you find the perfect provider. Contrast the benefits of wedding bands with those of wedding DJs to make the best decision.

Table of Contents

FAQs About Weddings

Although a band's music can tailor more to you and your partner's specific interests, bands have less overall variety than DJs. While guests can request songs from DJs or bands, a DJ can play more songs, which may get more guests on the dance floor at your wedding reception.

A live band filled with professional musicians will be better able to tailor the volume, tempo, and tone of the music to suit the needs of the host. They can provide light background music—often with vocals or just instrumental to keep the level sound just right for dinner or conversation.

A mobile DJ should wear professional attire that is appropriate for the event. Dress as a guest would for a wedding, bar mitzvah, or charity event.

Budget: In the price war, DJs generally cost less, and prices vary depending on equipment requests and whether it's a weekday or weekend. A 12-piece band, for example, will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay.

A live band is almost always more expensive than a wedding DJ (there are more people and more equipment involved) so take a good look at your budget and decide how much you can spend on your music.

 

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Choosing between a live band and a DJ for your wedding's entertainment is an important step in the preparation process. One of the most important parts of planning a successful wedding is deciding what kind of entertainment you'd like to have there.

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Researching Your Entertainment Options

If you've done any legwork into whether or not to employ a DJ or band, you're undoubtedly already aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each. But if you are starting the process and wish to know what some of the perks and disadvantages as to one over the other, we're delighted you're starting here. With over 20 years of experience, we know the benefits and drawbacks of using DJs instead of bands. However, apart from that, to show we were trying to be objective, we have also decided to search around the Internet to see what others have thought about the matter.

What you will find in this piece is years' worth of our experiences as well as what we found when we looked around the web based on others' experiences. Ultimately, we landed on a lengthy piece that had a lot to give in terms of real-world reasons why people opted for one over the other. We hope it assists you in your decision-making process so you can get back to the important things like picking on chocolate or vanilla.

live band playing

What Kind of Event Are You Hosting?

The question, "What type of event are you having?" can be useful in narrowing down your options. Is there a wedding happening? Is it a birthday bash, perhaps? Is this a company outing? The music, the person or individuals delivering the music, and the general atmosphere you want at your event may all be determined by thinking about the mood of the event you will be throwing. Having a real live band perform cover versions of your favourite songs at your private birthday party can be a great way to make it feel more like a public event. Also, maybe you'd prefer to listen to a solo performer rather than a band of five. Making this kind of judgment can help you zero in on a more manageable set of options.

Not all DJs only play music; some also offer other party amenities like fog machines and dance floors to enhance your event. Our DJs have been a hit at countless weddings because they play the music the guests want to hear. A DJ might not be the best choice if you want your event to have a more subdued, private, and formal atmosphere and are instead thinking of hiring a string quartet.

Whatever you're up to, or whatever kind of party you're planning, think about the vibe you want to create for your guests and the size of the venue to figure out if a DJ or a live band would be better.

How Big Is Your Budget?

First and foremost, if you don't have a very large entertainment budget, hiring a wedding band is probably out of the question. In many cases, a live band costs substantially more than a DJ for a wedding reception.

However, the investment in a high-quality live band will be well worth it if your goal is to provide your guests with an unforgettable experience. The energy level of an audience can be greatly increased by having a live band play.

Different wedding bands offer a wide range of music, from punk to country to more traditional selections. A professional DJ will often cost you between $100 and $300 per hour, while a live band for your wedding may cost you upwards of $20,000.

What Kind of Music Do You Want to Have at Your Wedding?

Your taste in music is another factor to consider when deciding between a band and a DJ. A DJ can play any song you choose from any genre, and there are no limits on the number of songs they can play at once. Wedding bands can cover any style of music, but each group will have its own distinct sound.

How Big Is the Reception Hall?

Another thing to think about is how big the reception hall is. The wedding band shouldn't have to squeeze into a tight space; they'll need room for multiple people and their instruments and amplifiers.

Bands, especially those with several members, will require more space for equipment than a DJ would. Only a small area is needed for a DJ's table, sound system, and lighting.

Benefits of Hiring a Band

Having a live wedding band perform at your event will add certain energy that will set it apart from any other similar function. The atmosphere is set by live music, which also serves to enliven the partygoers and get the dance floor packed.

The band can also host the party and get the guests engaged in the festivities. The charisma and chemistry of a live band performance is hard to match by a DJ.

Drawbacks of Hiring a Band

One potential downside of hiring a band is that members may specialise in one particular style of music and struggle to switch gears when required. As the band is the party's main attraction, hiring one with a solid reputation is important.

Keep in mind that the bands will need to take breaks at various points throughout the evening. Discotheques will save on drug tests.

Hiring a band requires extra preparation on your part. Before you hire them, make sure you get to watch them in action. See to it that a professional band is hired. Avoid having to deal with a bunch of slackers or no-shows by getting the word out early!

Benefits of Hiring a DJ

Every song that you or your guests request from a professional DJ. A professional DJ will have access to hundreds upon thousands of tracks in their library; if they don't have it, they can just purchase it.

If the band you want to hire doesn't already know the song you want them to play, it could take a long time for them to learn it. Hiring a DJ is more affordable than hiring a live band, and he or she can play continuously for the full four to four and a half hours of your receptions.

They make announcements and serve as the event's emcee as well. If this is something you want your DJ to do, you should talk to them ahead of time and get their consent.

Drawbacks of Hiring a DJ

Some disc jockeys get repetitive after a while since they always play the same music at weddings. You can play whatever you want at your wedding if you hire a DJ, but the excitement of a live band can't be beaten.

If you don't take the time to interview multiple DJs, you can end up with someone who isn't reliable or skilled.

Keep in mind that first-rate entertainment is the make-or-break factor for a well-attended and talked-about Forget about saving money by cutting back on entertainment, no matter who you're travelling with. You should select a high-quality performer for your wedding, whether a band or a DJ better meets your demands.

Wedding Band or Wedding DJ?

Here is a quick review of the primary advantages and downsides of wedding bands and DJs to help you sort through your conflicted ideas and make an informed decision.

Check out some of Melbourne’s best Wedding Bands to help you celebrate on your special day.

Pros and Cons of a Live Wedding Band

  • Unique and memorable. Hearing a band perform live is very unforgettable. The ability for musicians to improvise (lyric changes, solos, mash-ups) can make their performance at your wedding that much more memorable for you and your guests.
  • Using it for themes is a plus. Incorporating a live band into your wedding reception is a great way to show off your personal flair and give your guests a taste of the celebration's atmosphere.
  • Live performers have the ability to read an audience and respond appropriately, which is a major pro for this medium.
  • Disadvantage: There would be less to choose from. Cover bands and bands who play only one particular style of music tend to have the smallest song lists (jazz band).
  • Negative: They need more room. There are a lot of workers and tools involved.
  • Cons: It's more costly. To reiterate, this requires a large workforce and sophisticated machinery.
  • Negative: longer breaks are needed for bands. There may be lulls in your receiving power as a result of this.
  • Dj'ing a wedding: the good and the bad
  • DJs have a number of advantages. They can easily switch between genres and have access to a wider variety of music.
  • Reduces unnecessary wasted space. The space needed for a single DJ and booth is much smaller than that needed for an entire band's worth of instruments.
  • Advantage: you'll need less breaks. Keep the momentum going even if the DJ has to take a break by preplanning some dance floor fillers.
  • Benefit: It's cheaper. There is less gear and fewer people needed for a wedding DJ, thus they naturally cost less than a band.
  • A disadvantage of DJs is that they may not be as exciting and fun for people who aren't like dancing.
  • Negative: It's not as individual. The DJ has no other means of customising the music for the pair besides chatting over the microphone.

Why You Should Hire a Wedding Band:

  • The music of epic bands. Having a group of people start rocking out on their instruments is an exciting and dramatic way to start the celebration.
  • Whenever possible, nothing beats the sound of live music.
  • A live band will give any love song you pick a more genuine, emotional quality.
  • When things need to be livened up, a band can improvise and change the tempo of the songs.
  • A live band is entertaining for everyone, even those who don't want to get up and dance.
  • Members of the band usually have contagious personalities that entice everyone on the dance floor. Bonus!

Limitations to Wedding Bands:

  • While many bands may happily learn a song for your first dance, they may have a limited repertoire beyond that. Whatever band you choose, make sure they play music that appeals to you. Seeing a live performance (before making a reservation) is a good idea.
  • It's certain that there will be a pause in the music when the band members take a breather between sets. However, this void can be temporarily filled with a playlist.
  • Due to the fact that individual band members must be compensated, hiring one might be quite pricey.
  • Don't book a band without first figuring out whether or not you have enough room and enough outlets for them to play.

Why You Should Hire a Wedding DJ:

  • A DJ can instantaneously access an enormous music library and play any tunes the crowd wants to hear, no matter the mood. The day before the event, you can also send them a list of your prefered songs.
  • In other words, a DJ can take bathroom breaks without worrying about disrupting the party.
  • A custom volume level can be quickly and simply set.
  • Disc jockeys typically need more compact areas in which to perform.
  • A reliable DJ service will have a backup DJ on hand in case the first one gets sick or has to leave early. Phew.
  • In most cases, a DJ may be booked for far less than a band (but not necessarily David Guetta...!).

Limitations to Wedding DJs:

  • The excitement of listening to a song that was recorded instead being performed live is not guaranteed. Unless, of course, they're playing your music.
  • A DJ who lacks enthusiasm could dampen the excitement at the couple's big day. Thus, it is prudent to meet them beforehand for verification purposes.
  • Despite your repeated requests, the DJ can slip into autopilot and play some undesirable tunes. If you want to make sure your DJ is fantastic for your wedding, you should talk to folks who have used him before.

Check out our post on What is good wedding entertainment?

Other Things to Consider When Choosing Bands vs. DJs

If you're trying to decide between hiring a live band or a DJ for your party, there are a few factors to consider beyond the nature of the event itself.

  • Budget. Be mindful of your financial constraints. A DJ can be a good alternative to a live band if you don't have a large budget for entertainment.
    style of music. The music you plan to play at your event is another factor to think about. A DJ is a better option than a blues band if you want to play some Lady Gaga and other more modern songs.
  • Guests. Maybe Aunt Merna would like hearing a song from back in her day. Maybe Georgia, your niece, enjoys listening to Baby Shark.
  • The ambience of your party could be dampened if the band doesn't play music that many of your attendees enjoy.
  • Location. Does your venue have enough room for the band? Do you permit live performances? When first starting to sign contracts, you may not take into account the amount of space that live music might take up. DJs don't take up much room, but they should still be able to survey the area to let you know if any adjustments need to be made.
  • Recommendations. If you're trying to hire some entertainment, it's important to take evaluations and recommendations into consideration. It's possible that not all personalities are compatible with yours. Don't let your reception get marred by the band or DJ trying to make awkward jokes. Nope, not cool.
  • Experience. This is a major consideration that may be overlooked in the midst of making other preparations. Professional performers have been through it all and can handle anything that comes their way. Amateurs in the entertainment industry may still be in training.
  • Find out how long the company you're considering has been operating.melbourne's most affordable wedding venue

The choice of reception activities is ultimately yours to make. If you can, try to see some live performances while you look into different options. Check out a band's live set or a DJ's discography before hiring them. The addition of real-life activities can greatly improve productivity. The decision between a band and a DJ for your next event is personal, but given the many advantages of hiring a DJ, we strongly recommend doing so.

Conclusion

Making the decision between a live band and a DJ to provide the music at your wedding is a major milestone in the planning process. We have compiled a list of pros and cons so you can kick back with some tunes and make a decision. Having worked in the industry for over two decades, we are well-versed in the pros and cons of hiring DJs instead of bands. Tell me about the party you're throwing. Make a choice regarding the vibe and ambience you wish to create for your gathering.

A live band could cost you upwards of $20,000, while a skilled DJ will often cost you between $100 and $300 per hour. If you want your guests to have a fantastic time, hiring a professional live band is money well spent. A DJ is able to play an unlimited number of songs from any genre, and they can start and stop playing songs at will. The addition of a live wedding band will give your event a level of excitement that will set it apart from others of its kind. The group can act as hosts for the party and help get everyone involved.

Compared to a live band, a DJ may play nonstop for the full four to four and a half hours of your receptions for a lower cost. Since wedding DJs often play the same songs over and again, boredom can set in after a while. One distinct advantage of live performances is that the performers can adapt their performance based on the reactions of the audience. Any love song you choose will have a more authentic, emotional tone when played live by a band. DJ equipment and booths take up significantly less room than a full band's worth of instruments.

Having a group of folks start rocking out on their instruments is a thrilling and dramatic way to start the celebration. DJs may not be as engaging and fun for folks who aren't like dancing. Any song, at any time, from any genre, can be played by a DJ thanks to immediate access to a massive music library. If your primary DJ gets sick or has to leave early, a reputable business will have a replacement ready to go. In order to play Lady Gaga and other current hits, a DJ is preferable to a blues band.

We can't tell you whether or not you should hire a band or a DJ for your next event. Is there adequate space for the band at your venue? Do you allow live shows? Don't let the band or DJ at your reception ruin the party with bad jokes. If you're looking to hire a band or a DJ, it's a good idea to see them perform live.

Content Summary

  • It's important that the music at your wedding is both a perfect reflection of the two of you as a couple and a beautiful blend of tunes that your guests will love and want to dance to all night long.
  • Even if your favourite songs are probably ringing in your ears, you may be at a loss as to whether to hire a wedding band or a DJ.
  • We've compiled a list of pros and cons, so you can put on some tunes and relax while making your decision.
  • You need to pick the right source of wedding entertainment because that will set the tone for the entire event.
  • Compare and contrast the services provided by wedding bands with those of wedding DJs in order to make the most informed choice.
  • Making the decision between a live band and a DJ to provide the music at your wedding is a major milestone in the planning process.
  • What kind of entertainment you want at your wedding is crucial to preparing a great wedding.
  • Researching the pros and cons of hiring a DJ versus a band will help you make an informed decision.
  • We're glad you've come this far if you're just starting out and curious about the advantages and downsides of each option.
  • Having worked in the industry for over two decades, we are well-versed in the pros and cons of hiring DJs instead of bands.
  • However, separate from that, to demonstrate our impartiality, we have also decided to conduct an online search to see what other people's perspectives on the topic are.
  • This article is the result of both our own personal experiences over the years and the results of our own research based on the experiences of others.
  • We settled on a lengthy post that provided numerous concrete examples of how and why individuals have chosen one over the other.
  • Hopefully, it will help you decide whether to have chocolate or vanilla ice cream and get back to the more pressing matters.
  • When trying to decide between several potential solutions, the question "What kind of event are you having?" can help.
  • Thinking about the event's mood can help you decide on the music, the person or people delivering the music, and the general environment you desire at your event.
  • Determine if a DJ or a live band would be more appropriate for your event based on the atmosphere you hope to create for your guests and the size of the venue.
  • First of all, hiring a wedding band is certainly out of the question if you don't have a very substantial entertainment budget.
  • A live band for a wedding reception will typically cost much more than a DJ.
  • If you want to give your guests an experience they won't soon forget, spending the money on a professional live band is a must.
  • To help you choose between a band and a DJ, your personal musical preferences should be taken into account.
  • Could you please tell me the dimensions of the banquet hall?
  • The size of the reception hall is another factor to consider.
  • Compared to a DJ, a band, especially one with multiple members, will need more room in which to set up their gear.
  • A DJ only needs a tiny space for their table, equipment, and lights.
  • The addition of a live wedding band will give your event a level of excitement that will set it apart from others of its kind.
  • The group can act as hosts for the party and help get everyone involved.
  • It's difficult for a DJ to replicate the energy and excitement of a live band performance.
  • The members of the band you hire could only know how to play one particular type of music and have trouble switching styles when needed.
  • The band is the event's main draw, therefore, it's crucial to find one with a good reputation.
  • If you want to hire a band, you'll need to work more.
  • Make sure a real band is recruited.
  • Your search for a band to hire could be prolonged if its members need time to study the tune you want them to play.
  • Compared to a live band, a DJ may play nonstop for the full four to four and a half hours of your receptions for a lower cost.
  • Your DJ should be consulted in advance if this is something you'd like them to do.
  • A wedding DJ gives you complete creative control over the music played, but nothing beats the energy of a live band.
  • Whether you decide to go with a band or a DJ, make sure to choose a professional.
  • To help you make sense of all the conflicting information, we've compiled a brief list of the main benefits and drawbacks of both wedding bands and DJs.
  • The experience of seeing a band perform live leaves an indelible mark on one's memory.
  • The use of it as a theme tool is beneficial.
  • You can show your guests that you've put thought into the event by having a live band perform at your wedding reception.
  • On the negative side, bands really need to take longer pauses.
  • Wedding DJing, the good and the bad
  • DJs benefit from a wide variety of perks.
  • The range of music available to them is greater, and they can easily move between genres.
  • Saves room by eliminating unused areas.
  • DJ equipment and booths take up significantly less room than a full band's worth of instruments.
  • Keep the energy continuing even if the DJ has to take a break by preplanning some dance floor fillers.
  • A wedding DJ will typically cost less than a band because they require less expensive equipment and fewer people.
  • It's possible that folks who don't enjoy dancing won't have as much enjoyment listening to a DJ as those who do.
  • Bands with a reputation for creating music of epic proportions.
  • If you get the chance to hear music in a live setting, do so.
  • When the mood calls for it, a band can pick up the pace by improvising new arrangements.
  • A live band is entertaining for everyone, even those who don't want to get up and dance.
  • Ensure that the band you pick plays music that you enjoy.
  • It's recommended that you check out a live show before you book a reservation.
  • Undoubtedly, there will be a break in the action when the musicians regroup in between numbers.
  • Any song, at any time, from any genre, can be played by a DJ thanks to immediate access to a massive music library.
  • You may even email them a playlist of your favourite tunes the day before the party begins.
  • In other words, a DJ can take restroom breaks without worrying about disrupting the party.
  • Unless, of course, they're playing your song.
  • Injecting a lack of energy into the couple's special day, a lacklustre DJ could be a disaster.
  • Finding out from previous clients whether or not a DJ is any good is essential if you want your wedding to go off without a hitch.
  • More than only the event itself should go into your decision between a live band and a DJ.
  • Recognize your monetary limitations.
  • Hiring a DJ can be a great substitute for a real band if your entertainment budget is tight.
  • musical genre.
  • One last thing to consider is the playlist you've put together for the party.
  • The ambience of your party could be damaged if the band doesn't play the music that many of your attendees appreciate.
  • You might not think about how much room is needed for live music when you initially start signing contracts.
  • Consider ratings and testimonials before deciding on a performer to hire for an event.
  • Don't let the band or DJ at your reception ruin the party with bad jokes.
  • Beginners in the performing arts may still be in the learning stages of their careers.
  • Investigate the company's longevity by asking how long they've been in business.
  • The choice of reception activities is ultimately yours to determine.
  • If you're looking to hire a band or a DJ, it's a good idea to see them perform live.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding DJs and Bands

In the price war, DJs generally cost less, and prices vary depending on equipment requests and whether it's a weekday or weekend. A 12-piece band, for example, will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay.

To answer your question, no, it's not tacky. And as long as your DJ isn't making cheesy announcements during the ceremony, your guests won't think anything of it. Tacky must be the most overused word on these boards.

Bands are significantly more expensive than DJs, so when it comes down to it, many couples choose a more affordable option. Despite the price of a big band, other couples still hire one because of the many benefits. Bands also take up more space than a DJ.

The energy you'll get from a band can't be replicated by a DJ. There really is no comparison to live people playing instruments on stage. But for a client with a wide range of musical preferences, sometimes a DJ is the way to go.

The average wedding DJ's cost per hour is around $150. However, a DJ may charge less if they are performing at an event that is not a wedding. Most DJs charge around $100 per hour for “non-wedding” events.

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