CHOOSING BETWEEN A LIVE BAND OR DJ FOR YOUR RECEPTION

When choosing between a band or DJ for your wedding it’s likely your decision will be heavily influenced by your personal preferences and overall budget.

It’s no secret DJs tend to be more affordable, have large music repertoires, and can get the party going. But the energy and overall presentation of a live band can add excitement and a great ambiance to your reception for dancers and non-dancers alike.

Some couples will find their natural inclination to one style or the other is strong enough to make the decision for them. Or, if a live band is a top priority for a couple and plays a large role in their desired guest experience, then the decision is easy. But if that isn’t the case for you then how do you choose between the two? I’m laying out some key points to consider below.

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SPACE

Does your venue have an appropriate amount of space to host a band? Bands do require more room and power than a DJ booth and are best placed right in front of the dance floor. Make sure you consider the placement for your entertainment when thinking through your reception layout.

REFEARRALS & REVIEWS

The entertainment portion of your wedding day is definitely something you don’t want to skimp on, especially if getting guests on the dance floor is a top priority of yours. Think back to weddings you’ve attended before. Did you like their band or DJ? Did you have a good time during the reception? Consider reaching out to that person and asking for their Band/DJ's name, or ask friends and family members for referrals and do some research on them. If you’ve booked your venue already ask them who they like working with and follow-up by reading reviews of them online. I think it is always best to find referrals for this particular vendor category before simply searching online.

AESTHETICS

If you can’t find any photos online, ask your prospective DJs and Bands for photos of their set-up during an actual event. Is their space clean and minimal? A true professional will ensure their area looks good and doesn’t distract their performance but rather enhances it. 

MC CAPABILITIES

You will need a master of ceremonies during your reception in order for events to flow naturally from one to the next. DJs provide this service alongside the music, but if you are considering a band that doesn't specialize in weddings it won't hurt to ask if they are experienced in this role as well.

If your budget doesn’t allow you to splurge for the 9-piece live band then consider this option - hire a DJ for just your reception but hire a live musician for your ceremony and cocktail hour. You still get the beautiful ambiance for the beginning of your wedding but transition to more of a dance party atmosphere later in the evening, win-win!

I spoke with a professional musician in a previous blog post who can give you some pointers on this type of scenario for your wedding day.

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Cover Image by: Amy & Jordan Photography