This is not about whether a band or a DJ is better. When it comes to this topic, there is not one that’s better than the other. It’s about making the best choice for you, your wedding and your guests.
The entertainment portion is extremely important to the success of your event. If your reception is one where music and dancing central, you will find that this will be the most important decision that you will make. It is clearly apparent when your guests are not being entertained because it becomes awkward if your band or DJ cannot get people on the dance floor. You will soon see that your guests become bored and begin leaving – en mass. Not good. So, I want to address some of the items you need to think about when you are debating between hiring a band or a DJ.
1. You need to think about you and your fiancé’s musical tastes. Are both you and your fiancé similar? Do you like one musical genre over the other, or do you like music from all across the board? Do you like hearing the music in its pure form (from the artist)? If you enjoy the music and are inspired to dance, your guests will follow suit - even if it’s not exactly their taste. It’s amazing how your guests will follow your lead. If you are not on the dance floor, it’s more difficult to motivate them to dance. If you are not motivated y the music, you will not dance.
2. What are the ages of your guests (average) or is your crowd mixed? If they are older, perhaps music from an older era would work better than the new stuff. Younger people might enjoy 90’s music, while an older crowed might not have as much appreciation. Depending upon your crowd, 80’s music might work for everyone.
3. Ethnicity – is our crowed mixed or largely one ethnic group over another? For instance, at a Korean wedding, one might have a higher percentage of Korean guests. Therefore, you might need someone who knows Korean music and is familiar with Korean customs.
4. What is your budget? Do you have an entertainment budget of $1,500.00 or $6,000.00+? Bands are significantly more expensive than DJ’s. It’s just not the outright fee. It’s more expensive to feed 7 people than it is to feed 1 or 2. Band contracts often require that beer/alcohol be available to band members, which is unheard of for a DJ (make sure you read those contracts closely). In the Washington DC and New England areas, you should expect to pay at least $5,000.00 for a good 5-6 person band. The cost goes up as you add pieces and also the popularity of the band.
5. There are pros and cons to both set-ups. There is something totally cool about live music. A band really puts people in the partying mood. I have never had an unsuccessful reception when there was a great band. A band lights up the room.
But bands are also less versatile than DJ’s. You have to find the band that best fits you and your guests. They come with playlists, and you must choose songs off the playlist. If you have a special song that’s not on the list, be prepared to pay the band (above and beyond their fee) to learn it. If you want an obscure version of a song played, you might have a hard time. Bands can always play CD’s, and do during their breaks between sets. Bands have finite time for playing. If you are extending – be prepared for pricey extension fees.
DJ’s are wonderful too. I love a great DJ who knows how to read a crowed and therefore, knows what to play! With a DJ, your possibilities are only limited by your imagination – and iTunes. If you have a special song, it can be downloaded. Not to worry about obscure versions of your first dance song. A good DJ will know how to find it! With a DJ, you can also go across the board with music. You can play a little rap, a little light rock, R&B, and big band – whatever. You are not limited to defined playlists.
In my humble opinion, the best of all is to have both. The band plays and the DJ plays during the band breaks and after the band ends (if you are extending late into the evening). They work together beautifully!