Wedding Band vs Disc Jockey: Which is Right for You?


Wedding Band vs. Disc Jockey: Which is Right for You?Music is an essential part of your wedding reception. These days, the big musical decision is whether to hire a wedding band or a DJ. A DJ will generally be less expensive than a band, because you are paying for one person’s time rather than five to ten band member’s time. If you want live music, keep in mind that the smaller the band, the less expensive their fee- usually. Whether you select a DJ or a band, finalize arrangements at least six months prior to your wedding.

Live Bands

Assuming you can find a charismatic, smooth voiced singer backed by talented, enthusiastic musicians, a live band is great. If you’re lucky enough to find live musicians who can work within your budget, book them immediately. Good, affordable live wedding bands are few and far between, and if you don’t schedule them, you can be sure some other bride will.

Once you find your magic musical combo, give the band a list of songs you absolutely want played at your reception. If they don’t know the songs, ask if they will consider learning them. Ask about their sound system and equipment needs. If your reception site is too small, or doesn’t have the proper electrical power, know this before you hire your wedding band.

At most weddings, the bandleader doubles as the master of ceremonies. If you want your bandleader to perform this duty, find out whether he or she will be willing and if any extra cost is involved. Be prepared to provide a schedule of events and a list of names of your bridal party.

Disc Jockeys

Some people insist that a live wedding band is classier than a DJ,  but not if they’re bad musicians or fail to connect with the guests. Because it can be so difficult to find a really good band, disc jockeys are fast becoming the option of choice. They’re considerably less expensive than a band. But they have other benefits too. They give you the original version of a song, so you have no worries about sketchy renditions of your favorites, and they’re less of a logistical headache. They can also provide more song variety than a band. These days, really sharp DJs come equipped with a laptop and software that allows them to instantly download virtually any song a guest can request at your reception.

It’s just as important to carefully choose a disc jockey as it is a wedding band. When interviewing DJs, look for some basic things: balance, variety, a good mix of fast and slow songs, a good personality, and first rate equipment. Experienced DJs will work better with your guests and maintain the rhythm of the party. Pay attention to the DJ’s mannerisms, if he talks way too much or far too little, that’s likely to be the same during the show. The best DJs excel as master of ceremonies, flawlessly flowing dinner music into dancing, and parent’s dances into cake cutting, without a jarring change in tempo.

Find out how big his or her music collection is; your disc jockey should be able to accommodate the majority of your guests’ requests. Provide a list of what you want played at the reception, and be sure to give him a list of the songs that you absolutely, positively do not want played. If the DJ doesn’t own some of the music you want, find out if he’s willing to purchase it, and if that will affect his fee.

As a rule, beware of cheesy DJs and wedding band emcees who make themselves the center of attention. Make sure the person acting as emcee has the poise and charisma to handle the responsibility. You don’t want to turn the microphone over to someone who will insult your guests, make bad jokes as you cut the cake, or mumble your names unintelligibly. Your DJ or band leader should be a highlight of your wedding, now a low point.


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