Music often makes or breaks any event. It fills the silence and gets people moving and talking. Dead air means a dead party and is a surefire way to kill any party, much less a wedding. Thus, it is critical to find some music for your wedding, but where to start? Most options come down to having a live band or a DJ, but what is best for your wedding?
The answer is more difficult. From jazz bands for weddings to a simple party DJ, your choice can have a significant impact on your wedding party. Fortunately, there are many options for both live bands and DJs and this guide will help you find which one best fits your occasion.
What Fits In Your Budget?
The average price difference between DJs and live bands is around $2400. On average, bands are more expensive simply because they have to pay more members. It is important to budget for your desired entertainment option and being aware of the price difference is key to this.
You should prepare to allocate more budget to live bands than you would DJs. For more budget-friendly options, DJs are usually the best option as they are more ubiquitous and cheaper, though some packages bring in more options that can greatly vary the price. Nevertheless, these packages are usually optional and can be put in or taken off as needed to fit your budget.
How Big Is The Venue?
Another thing to consider is how big your venue is. More intimate venues require more consideration of how space will be used. A five-member band will take up a lot more space than a DJ booth. As a rule of thumb, you should allocate about 100 square feet of space per band member, which can be significant in smaller venues.
Another consideration is the noise requirements of the venue. Some venues put caps on the number of band members or instruments that can be brought. Others, especially outdoor venues, have restrictions on loudspeakers. If in doubt, contact your venue about any restrictions before you plan out the musical entertainment.
Music Preference: Specific Vs. Broad
The biggest difference between live bands and DJs is the music they play. Live bands typically specialize in one genre of music or otherwise have an extremely limited selection of music. However, what they lack in music diversity they make up for in energy. Live musicians bring a presence that is lacking in DJs. Musicians dress up, play loudly, and otherwise are completely focused on providing a good time. Live bands are more unexpected but that is part of their charm. One minute they could be busting out a solo while the next they are leading a sing-along. For those that enjoy the presence of live music, few can beat a live band.
DJs on the other hand have a very broad selection of music and can create custom playlists depending on the music preferences of the bride and groom. DJs are perfect for wedding parties with varied musical interests or those who are unsure of what to play. Simply tell your DJ your interests and what not to play and let them create a playlist to suit your tastes. Most DJs are experienced MCs as well and can help direct and flow wedding party plans, such as calling for toasts or letting people know when to grab food. If you want as little hassle or maintenance as possible, DJs are the way to go.
The most important thing to consider at this stage is what you would want to listen to for your big day. Be honest with yourself. See bands live in person to feel out if the presence is something that truly matters to you. At this point it is all down to preference but, fortunately, there is one more option to consider.
Having Your Cake And Eating It Too
For those that want it all, it is perfectly possible to have both a live band and a DJ. Many DJ companies have live bands available as part of their service. However, these services are typically premium, but for those who want both it is a fantastic option.
Many wedding parties typically have a live band perform for the ceremony or first dance and then transition to a DJ for the majority of the event. This offers the best of both worlds, a live-band performance for the most critical and emotional moments, and a DJ to diversify and spice up the majority of the event.
Regardless of what you choose, the need for entertainment will always be there. While DJs and live bands both have their own merits, each fills that niche and can be equally as viable, depending on the preferences of the bride and groom. To be succinct, DJs are low-maintenance, easy, and cheap, while live bands are boisterous, loud, and offer great presence. In the end, it is up to you to decide which you’d rather have, or just do both.