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DJ or Band For Your Wedding?

Planning Tips

October 25, 2021

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 Welcome to the Soiree 99 blog, a journal about all things hosting, design, wedding planning and anything else that makes my heart flutter.

Hi, I'm BRITTANY.

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Shake It Out With The Best Wedding Music Options

One of the most common questions that I get as a wedding planner is whether a dj or band is a better choice for your wedding. 

The answer?  Either. Both. It all depends…

Basically, the short answer is that there is no ‘right’ answer. Having either a DJ or band for your wedding can make for an excellent, memorable experience for yourself or your guests. There are, however, several considerations you can take into account when making your decision. 

Photography By: Orange Photographie

The Case For a DJ

Having a DJ emcee your wedding is one of the most popular options for throwing an epic wedding party. Let’s talk about the reasons why hiring a DJ is a good idea and some considerations to take into account when hiring one. 

Pros of Hiring a DJ

1 – DJs are less expensive –  Whether we like to admit it or not, budget is almost always a factor when determining which route to go in planning the music for your wedding. So, it definitely must be stated that hiring a DJ can be much easier on your budget than a full band will be. You can get a good dj for a fraction of what a full band would be. 

2 – DJs are more flexible. –  A DJ is generally easier to work into a timeline. DJs are usually one-man shows who can play music constantly. Bands typically have sets that we have to arrange into the timeline, whereas dj just plays music!

3 – DJs (should) have an unlimited playlist. – One of the biggest advantages of a DJ is the seemingly unending playlist opportunities. In theory, a prepared DJ (and one with wifi) can play any song at any time. Of course, there may be limitations if you don’t have internet or reception at your venue but they should still have a very extensive playlist on hand regardless. 

A DJ will also be able to move between genres with ease, crossing the lines of rock, rap, country, etc with ease.  

Photography By: Jeremiah & Rachel Photography

Considerations for Hiring a DJ

There are several considerations to make when deciding on if a DJ is right for you and for hiring one: 

1 – Do you like their personality?  There are certain vendors for your wedding that are behind the scene with little to no interaction with you or your guests. And if they vibe with your personality isn’t really important.  A DJ is NOT that vendor. You want to make sure you DJ has a personality that will work for your wedding, for you, and your guests. The worse thing is when you have an emcee that you find obnoxious and annoying—so make sure you vet properly and that you think their personalities will work well with yours. 

 2- Are they knowledgeable in the type of music that want played?  Most wedding DJs will be well-versed in the popular music that is played at weddings—classics, popular country, and top 40. However, if you have a more eclectic taste in music and know your guests are going to be requesting some lesser-known tunes, just make sure your DJ is aware and willing to work with everyone to get the music you want played! Generally, DJs will have the ability to download any music requested at a wedding, but it is always a good idea to verify this. 

3 – Are they experienced and do they come with great reviews? And finally, and most importantly, make sure your DJ is experienced. Do they have a professional setup?  And do they have great reviews from prior clients? You definitely want to make sure you have an experienced DJ because they will be what keeps the party going! 

As for negatives for hiring a DJ, there really aren’t any true negatives.  DJs are a lot more common than bands so if you are looking to make a bold statement with your wedding, a live band is more likely to do that. 

The Case For a Live Band

Pros of Hiring a Live Band

1 – They can be a major part of your guest experience!  Since they aren’t nearly as common as DJs, having a live band is a great way to make your wedding memorable and exciting for guests.

2 – They know how to bring the party!  A band is a great way to bring the party to the reception. Nothing gets guests more excited than live music. 

3 – Most likely, the music will be really, really good!  With a bit of research, you can find bands that are off-the-charts talented, bringing amazing interpretations of your favorite songs. 

Live bands are FUN and a little different as you don’t get to experience them as often. They take a lot more planning on the logistical side as they require sets that are in line with your overall timeline. It is an experience that can;’t be beat if you find the right one that fits in your budget. Bands can still play music during their breaks. Bands can do amazing covers on 

Considerations for Hiring a Live Band

1 – You need to be clear on if you want originals or covers.  Most wedding bands automatically do covers but you do need to have the conversation and make sure you are both on the same page with what you want played and what they can offer. You also need to make sure you are ok with your band not necessarily knowing every song that is requested since bands won’t know all of the music that is out there. 

2 – Does your venue have the space? Before even considering hiring a band, talk to your planner or venue and make sure there is space. A band takes a lot of space.

3 – Is there room in your budget for a live band?  Bands are substantially pricier than DJs so make sure you have the budget and that you won’t need to allocate those funds to other places before contracting out a band. 

4 – The biggest consideration for having a live band is the timeline. Bands take considerably more effort to work into a timeline as all bands play in sets (which are usually 45 minutes with a 15-minute break). If your timeline is running behind, you can very easily miss an entire set of music.

Photography By: Jeremiah & Rachel

Alternatives to Deciding Between the Two

Some couples that can’t decide simply try to do a little bit of both.  For instance, consider having a live musician (or duo or trio) for your guests during cocktail hour and into dinner.  Then have your DJ take over for the party. Or maybe have a band for your welcome dinner and then a DJ the day of your wedding.  The possibilities are endless and your wedding planner is bound to have some great ideas to help you make the best possible decision.

Time the music with the musicians or djs
Photography: Orange Photographie

DJ or Band For Your Wedding

Your decision will basically come down to your budget, your personal preference, and the overall experience you are wanting to give your guests. 

In my honest opinion, you can’t go wrong with either a  DJ or a band for your wedding. Both emcee and both will keep the party going as long as you want! 

So tell me, are you having a DJ or a band for your wedding?

Can’t wait for your next newsletter? You’re in luck—there is so much wedding planning goodness already on the blog. Check out this post about creating the perfect wedding timeline.

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I'm Brittany and I'm so happy you're here. This blog is a journal about all things hosting, design, wedding planning and anything else that makes my heart flutter.

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