Should I Hire A Wedding DJ Or A Live Band? Making The Right Choice For Your Big Day

Mar 26, 2023 | Wedding

A classic wedding debate: do you get a wedding DJ or a live band? It’s such a tough decision because not only is your wedding day one of the most important days of your life, but you also want everything to be perfect. And one of the key elements of a successful wedding reception is the music and entertainment. So, how do you choose? We got your back. In this article, we’ll weigh up the pros and cons of both to help you make the best decision.


The advantages and disadvantages of hiring a wedding DJ

Hiring a DJ for your wedding has several pros and cons, which we’ve laid out for you below. 

Pro: Wide range of music

A DJ can play a wide range of music, from oldies to Top 100 hits, ensuring that there is something for everyone. This means that your guests, regardless of their music choices, will be able to enjoy the music and dance the night away.


Pro: Portability

DJ equipment is typically portable and doesn’t require much setup time, making it a great option for venues with limited space. The result? You can likely have a DJ at your wedding, even if your venue has very little room for a live band to perform.


Pro: Atmosphere control

A DJ can control the volume and tone of the music, creating the perfect atmosphere for your reception. This means that the DJ can adjust the music to match the mood of your guests, ensuring that everyone is having a great time.


Pro: Control over the playlist

With a DJ, you can have more control over the playlist, ensuring that your favorite songs are played. Was the song “All of me” by John Legend your song with your Ex? Great, you can make sure that it is NEVER played. Do you absolutely need to hear “Marry Me” by Train? Awesome, the DJ has got your back!


Pro: Affordability

It all boils down to money, sometimes, doesn’t it? DJ services are typically more affordable than hiring a live band. This makes a DJ a great option for couples who want to have great music at their wedding without breaking the bank.


Con: Lack of live performance

One of the biggest drawbacks of hiring a DJ is that you won’t have the excitement and energy of a live performance. A DJ will not be able to interact with the crowd in the same way that a live band can, which can make the atmosphere less inviting for your guests.


Con: Technical difficulties

DJ equipment can be complicated, and there is always the chance of technical difficulties. This can lead to interruptions or even complete failures in the music, which can be frustrating for you and your guests. It’s rare, sure, but it’s a possibility! 


Con: Interactivity

A DJ may not be able to engage with your guests in the same way that a live band can. When there is a live person, actually up there singing, it’s hard to deny or ignore. When there’s a DJ up there, it’s more elusive. This means that your guests may not feel as connected to the performer and may not be as likely to get up and dance.


The advantages and disadvantages of hiring a live band

A live band can bring an extra level of excitement and energy to your wedding reception. As with every good thing in life, there are pros and cons to it, as well. 

Pro: Live performance

One of the greatest benefits of hiring a live band is the excitement and energy of a live performance. A live band can interact with the crowd, creating a more engaging atmosphere for your wedding attendees. 


Pro: Personalized music

A live band can play music that is tailored to your specific tastes and preferences. This means that you can have a wedding reception that is truly special to you and your spouse. Instead of singing a little diddy about Jack and Diane… maybe it’s a little diddy about [insert your name] and [insert your spouse’s name]! 


Pro: Interactivity

A live band can interact with your guests, encouraging them to get up and dance. (Unless they’re having a bad day, like Adam Sandler in the Wedding Singer). Jokes aside, a live band’s interaction with guests can help create a lively and fun atmosphere, making your wedding reception that much more exciting.

people dancing at a wedding

Pro: Unforgettable experience

A live band can provide an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. Who doesn’t like live music? It’s truly incredible to witness the raw talent in such a personal atmosphere! 


Con: Cost

One of the biggest downsides of hiring a live band is the cost, of course. Live bands can be significantly more expensive than a DJ, which can make them less accessible to some couples.


Con: Logistics

Hiring a live band requires more logistics than hiring a DJ. This includes securing a space and/or stage for the band to perform, as well as providing them with the necessary equipment and sound systems. This can add to the overall cost and can also be more complicated to deal with. You may even have to deal with the band’s tight schedule or other human issues that come along with hiring people.


Con: Limited repertoire

A live band may not be able to play all of the songs that you want for your wedding. For example, if you hire an alternative rock band, they probably won’t be whipping out any rap music (but you never know!). This means that you may need to make some compromises or choose a different option.


Con: Technical difficulties

Just like DJ equipment, live music equipment can also experience technical difficulties. This can result in interruptions in the music or even complete failures, which can be frustrating for you and your guests.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about DJs and live bands

You asked, and we answered. There are a few questions that frequently come up as it pertains to choosing between a wedding DJ or a live band. See our answers below.

Q: What is the average cost of a wedding DJ?

A: The average cost of a wedding DJ varies depending on your location and the level of experience of the DJ. On average, you can expect to fork up between $500 and $1500 for a wedding DJ.


Q: What is the average cost of a live band for a wedding?

A: The average cost of a live band for a wedding ranges from $1500 to $5000, depending on the band’s experience and reputation.


Q: Can I choose the songs played by a DJ or a live band?

A: Yes, you can choose the songs played by both a DJ and a live band. With a DJ, you can provide a playlist of your favorite songs and/or make live requests as they are DJing. With a live band, you can make requests during their performance or beforehand, as well.


We still can’t choose; help us! 

If you’re still having trouble deciding between a wedding DJ and a live band, there are a few things you can consider. We’ve gathered some tips and tricks below:


Abba said it first: Money, money, money. One of the first things to think about is your budget. If you have a limited budget, a DJ may be a more affordable option. On the other side of the fence, if you have a larger budget and want to make a big impact, a live band may be a better choice.


Musical preferences

Think about what type of music you and your partner like and what will get your guests up and dancing (if that’s what you’re into). If you prefer a wider range of music, a DJ may be a better option. If you prefer a specific style of music, say alternative rock, then a live band may be best.


Technical difficulties

Consider the possibility of technical difficulties. While both DJs and live bands can experience technical difficulties, live bands may be more susceptible to them due to the type of equipment they use. Not to mention, the live band’s stage, sound system, and human issues like getting sick or not showing up.

Ultimately, the decision between a wedding DJ and a live band comes down to your personal preferences and what will make your wedding reception the most memorable for you and your guests. 


Can we do both? 

Yes, you can definitely do both! Hiring both a DJ and a live band can provide you with the best of both worlds and create a best-of-both-worlds setup. 

By having a DJ play music in between live performances, you can keep the energy up, and the dance floor packed. This way, you can have a wider range of music available, as well as the excitement of live performances.

Additionally, you can also choose to have the DJ and live band perform together, creating an awesome musical experience. This can be especially effective if you choose a DJ who specializes in working with live bands.


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