Band or DJ at Your Wedding? The Debate Continues

Get Ready to Dance the Night Away



Photo by Wedding Wire

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If you’re a spouse-to-be, you’ve probably been thinking nonstop about colors, venues, outfits, flowers, food, invitations, dates, and the silverware on your registry. Wedding planning sometimes seems like it’s nothing more than a series of endless choices, choices that you have to run by multiple people, then go back and change all over again. If you’re in this position, I congratulate you, and I’m sorry for all of the choices you have to make. 

One thing you’re probably stressing over is the mind-tangling choice of a new-fangled DJ versus a traditional band. So let me help you in a small way, spouse-to-be (or whoever you are, no matter your current participation in wedding planning). I’ve put together some advice to guide you on which entertainment to choose.

The Advantages of a DJ:

Note that eighty-five percent of all modern-day weddings use a DJ. So if you always like to go with the crowd, this fact should be a deal maker. DJs tend to cost under $2,000 for the night, which is (comparitively) affordable.

You can direct your DJ to cast just the mood you’re looking for--they’ll have a wide array songs to pull from. It’s also much easier for a DJ to play specific songs you might want to hear; they can load pretty much anything on their laptop and simply press play. This seems even easier when you consider the alternative, which would involve a band spending hours learning and rehearsing new songs. With a DJ’s ease of song selection, you can even ask your guests to send over their favorite party songs for playtime at the reception. In fact, you can tell the DJ to not play “Cha Cha Slide,” if you’ve heard that song at one reception too many.

Because they have to set up less equipment and don’t have to move their bodies around as much as a band, a DJ can keep the party going for around six hours. Even better, a wedding reception with a DJ tends to revolve around the couple, socializing, and some cheerful dancing, rather than everyone turning their heads toward a live wedding act. 

Many DJs come with fancy lighting setups. For example, some of DJ Danny Aon‘s more expensive packages include custom monogrammed lights. Danny is not only experienced with weddings, but he’s a master turntablist, so you can ask him for a vinyl set and hear your guests talk about your wax-only reception for years.

The Disadvantages of a DJ

In my opinion, there are no specific pitfalls of a DJ, just the absence of any “pro” a band might offer.

DJ vs Band for a wedding

The Advantages of a Band:

There’s nothing like the transcendental atmosphere of live music. A good wedding act will have an elegant style and diverse repertoire, making for a sense-invigorating performance. They’ll sense the tone of the room and provide a dynamic charm. Plus, a band is a show. Whether you’ll like this or not is a very subjective thing. But it’s clear that a band is good for couples that want a focal point at their reception, rather than a more ambient atmosphere.

Don’t let the reason “DJs can take breaks, bands can’t” excuse get in the way of hiring an ensemble! A lot of bands put on masterfully curated “break playlists.”

Many bands let your guests perform wildly fun sing-alongs. DJs do this too, but this is a good opportunity to mention one wedding band that offers a live karaoke show: Republic of Music. Receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews online, ROM offers Las Vegas extravagance in all the best ways. Aside from live band karaoke, they offer a variety of theme shows to please everyone such as Top 40, ‘80s music, big band, Latin, and acoustic ambience.

You can also hire any niche genre band to accompany your specific tastes: string quartet, funk, salsa, zydeco, gamelan--they’re all out there.

Another band idea: Daring Greatly. DG has been playing the San Diego bar and the event circuit as of late, including Fine’s “Art, Rhythm and Wine” event. They play a passionate embodiment of ‘70s southern rock, updated with a post-grunge vocal flair.