How to Choose Between a Wedding Band or DJ: The Pros vs Cons of Both


Choosing entertainment for your wedding reception will have a big influence over the mood and vibe of your event. Obviously, you want your guests to dance the night away and enjoy themselves – so with this in mind, should you hire a wedding band or a DJ?

While you can’t really go wrong with either option, there are a few key considerations that may sway your decision! Keep reading as we share our top tips for choosing between a wedding band or DJ, including the pros and cons of both options.

Photo via Anna Hinojosa

Hiring a Wedding Band: The Pros

There are several benefits to hiring a wedding band for your reception. Live music is extremely entertaining and interactive – so you can engage all of your loved ones, even those who might not be dancing. Live bands also have a unique energy about them that can’t necessarily be replicated by a DJ – so if you want to treat your guests to something extra special, this could be a winning decision.

Hiring a wedding band could also be a great option if you have a specific taste in music. Most bands will specialize in a certain genre, so you can hire a band that will play a repertoire of music you love – whether that’s jazz, pop or rock and roll!

There may also be an opportunity to utilize the band throughout the other elements of your day. For example, having the guitarist play acoustic music for your ceremony and cocktail hour.

Photo via Jamiee Morse

Hiring a Wedding Band: The Cons

Keep in mind that wedding bands can be significantly more expensive than DJs. The average cost of a wedding band ranges anywhere from $3000 to $10,000, so this can definitely be seen as a “splurge” item.

Depending on the size of your band, space constraints are something else you’ll need to think about. Be sure to check that there’s enough room at your venue to accommodate all of the band members and their equipment.

A live band may need to take frequent breaks throughout the night, which could cause a lull in the energy of your reception. To combat this, have a playlist of background music handy, or time your band’s breaks with your speeches, cake cutting, and bouquet toss.

Finally, consider that a live band will have their own repertoire of music and may not be able to take individual requests. If you have any specific songs you’d like them to play, be sure to let your band know beforehand so they can prepare accordingly.

Photo via KT Merry

Hiring a Wedding DJ: The Pros

Now let’s explore some of the reasons to hire a wedding DJ for your reception! First and foremost, wedding DJs are typically a more affordable alternative, with average costs ranging from $800 to $2000. If you’re working on a tight budget for your wedding entertainment, this could be a better option for you.

DJs also have the ability to play a wider variety of music – from nostalgic 80s hits to modern dance anthems. With a huge range of songs at their fingertips, they may also be able to take requests from your guests and keep the crowd happy.

A wedding DJ will require fewer breaks, and if they do take a break they can use an automated playlist to keep the party going. Some wedding DJs also offer MC services which can be an added benefit for many couples.

Photo via Ama by Aisha

Hiring a Wedding DJ: The Cons

Before hiring a wedding DJ, consider that the experience may be slightly less personal. A DJ will typically have a pre-prepared list of songs and won’t be able to tweak or alter the music in the same way a live band can. Despite this, a good DJ will be able to read the room and be sensitive to what the crowd is enjoying.

Unlike a wedding band, a wedding DJ may also be less engaging for those guests who aren’t as interested in dancing. Your DJ will also have a huge influence over the mood of your reception – so if you don’t do your research properly, you could end up with a cheesy or boring playlist that doesn’t match the vibe of your day.

Photo via Jenny Quicksall

Wedding Band Vs DJ: Which One is Right For You?

Choosing between a wedding band or DJ will ultimately come down to a few things – your budget, venue space and personal preferences.

If you want a lively, high-energy experience that engages your guests, splurge on a wedding band. Or, if you want a wide variety of music at a lower price point, opt for a DJ!

The most important thing is to do your research before making a decision. Be sure to read reviews, watch videos of previous performances, and share your must-play (and must-not-play!) songs to avoid any disappointment.

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