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Should You Have a Live Band or a DJ for Your Wedding?

  • Bridal Basics • Last updated April 24, 2018
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Are you or somebody you know about to get married soon? Putting together a wedding is expensive, and is a lot of hard work, but you want to be sure that you have memories that will last a lifetime.

A wedding reception needs to be thrown wonderfully. You need to have a great venue booked for the reception to take place, with great lighting and a clean atmosphere. You also want to consider a capable chef or cook that will provide amazing, hot food. Then of course, no party is complete without having music that guests can listen and dance to.

A wedding reception needs to have music for a number of reasons. Having music playing that is upbeat and lively sets a positive mood for the duration of the party. Getting married is supposed to be a feel-good situation, and of course, you would like to have music that reflects this special occasion.

Music also provides guests with an activity of dancing. People dance at wedding receptions to celebrate, of course. While it is possible to dance without music, you need music to get you in rhythm and dance with the rest of your family.

Furthermore, music simply makes a party sound lively. With no music, you have a dull, dry atmosphere and a venue that is without energy. Music is absolutely necessary for a wedding reception, or else you will have many unhappy guests that you will have to answer to.

There are two ways that you can get amazing music for your wedding reception: From a live band, or from a DJ.

Band

As you already know, a band is a group of musicians that perform songs in front of live crowds. Bands come in many different genres, and you can hire one that best suits your theme of wedding.

A band performs at your wedding reception live. They play music in their own style and can effectively set the mood for your reception. Their music is usually more enjoyed over pre-recorded music that is played over a speaker.

Bands can range anywhere from just two members to more than ten members. The more members a band has, the more space they need to occupy in order to perform. This is something to consider if you are booking your reception at a location that is rather small and quaint.

The downsides to hiring a band is that they are expensive to book. When hiring a band, you have to pay for labor costs for each member, equipment fees, transportation fees, and a rate depending on how long you want them to play or how many songs you want them to perform. Depending on where this band is from, you might be required to pay even more, the longer a distance they have to travel. Many bands are willing to negotiate pay with you, but there is no real need to compromise if their price is a way’s out of reach from your budget.

It is possible that the band may ask you to see videos of them performing, or hear them perform live. They may have you show up to be at another wedding or concert so that you can get of good idea of what kind of music you will have at your wedding. They will use this as their sales pitch to you, and they will likely have another potential client come to your wedding to listen to them as well.

Popular bands in your area get booked often. To get the band you want to play on your wedding day, you will need to book them at least six months in advance. Rather than just wedding receptions, bands can be paid to perform at concerts, parties, and other occasions, so there a quite a lot of entities interested in booking a certain band. If you wait until the last minute to book a band, you might not manage to book any band at all for your reception.

Six months would also give the band plenty of time to learn new songs to play just for your reception. Chances are, they may not know many of the songs that you want to hear, so it is necessary that the band that you want to hire is interested in learning new songs. They won’t be able to play any song you want them to, as they will have a group of songs that they will perform at every event they are booked at.

Because they’re a band that specializes in one genre or style of music, you cannot ask a band to learn a new style. If you want a rock band to play swing jazz at your reception, it wouldn’t be possible, unless you hired a second band to play a different genre, which you may not be able to afford. Bands that play at weddings, however, should be well prepared to play different kinds of songs to cater to guests of all ages.

Keep in mind, though, that there is little that a band can do to play a certain song exactly the way that it is performed by the original artist. For you to be content with how a band plays a certain song, rehearsals for the band may be necessary.

With this in mind, it will help to know if any of your friends who are going to your wedding are part of a band, so that you are guaranteed live music at your reception. They may possibly give you a discount on their services if they have been formally invited to your wedding.

Pros:
● Music is performed live.
● Play songs in their own unique way.

Cons:
● More expensive
● Booked very often.
● Limited in song selection and style of music.

DJ

DJs are the more popular choice, as nearly 9 out of 10 weddings employ the services of a DJ. The big plus over hiring a band is that a DJ costs much less. You’re not hiring multiple members, but you are likely going to pay equipment and travel costs. Regardless it doesn’t require a lot of effort for a DJ to perform at a wedding reception over a live band.

A DJ doesn’t need to play music or learn new music. They are responsible for playing pre-recorded music from a collection of CDs or MP3 files on a computer. These songs are performed by their original artists, and a DJ has many more songs in a collection than any band is capable of playing. If you want certain songs to play at your reception, the DJ you hire can play them for you by putting them all in a playlist, and they play one after another.

Other equipment that DJs might provide are colorful lights, lasers, and other special effects to give flare to the dance area. As guests can dance to live bands, there may not be enough to provide them of any visual grandeur or excitement like a DJ with special lighting.

The most important aspect in choosing a DJ is his or her personality. They will have a special taste in songs, but it is also important for them to understand what your taste in music is, too. It’s not possible for the bride and groom to pick every single song that plays during the reception, but you also don’t want to end up listening to songs or genres that just feel out of place.

Like with a band, you would want to see a DJ performing before you hire him or her, so make sure that he plays music that you have a liking to and is dressed appropriately.

The downside to having a DJ is that you are not getting a real-life quality performance from every song that is played. As stated previously, you are only getting music that is played through speakers. If you are looking for original and unique music to play at your wedding, you will not find it in any DJ.

Pros:
● Are affordable.
● Have special lights for dance areas.
● Can play a wide variety of music.

Cons:
● Music is not live.

Bottom Line

Bands and DJ are both great to have for wedding receptions, and one is not really considered to be better than the other. You would like to hire a DJ or musicians that are punctual, professional, and friendly, so that you know that you are going to have a nice experience by going with them. Be sure that the band or DJ in question is available for a consultation so that they can discuss this reception with you in great detail. It is important to know and understand everything about what they offer before you agree to terms with them to come and play at your wedding.

When you have found the right band or DJ, you will want to confirm other important details with them. They should tell you how long they need to set up the stage, how long they take breaks during performances, and other aspects about how they handle wedding receptions that you should know.

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