Music is the heartbeat of a wedding celebration.
The songs played on your special day will set the tone of your wedding, keep you and your guests entertained and have everyone's spirits uplifted. That is, if you choose the correct music for your special event.
Live band or DJ - How do you know which one is right for you?
There are several key factors that come into play with regards to the perfect wedding entertainment.
Before we get into the details of both live bands and DJs, let’s first discuss your wedding plans to see which of the two may be a natural fit.
Your Wedding Theme
What is your wedding theme? This may be the easiest way to determine whether to hire a wedding band or a DJ.
Are you going for something elegant and grand? Or is it more of a fun, family-friendly vibe? The music will act as the soundtrack for your day, so be sure that whatever act you choose, it compliments your theme.
Your personal music choices naturally play a huge part of your final decision. If you’re more into country and pop rock, live bands lend themselves to this genre and would be a great choice. Alternately if you prefer upbeat dance songs and RnB, a DJ would be more suitable for your playlist.
Generally speaking, DJs tend to be more affordable than a live band as there is only one person to pay. That being said, a celebrity or high-profile DJ will definitely set you back. Set your budget early on so that you don’t end up in unnecessary debt post-wedding!
Keep in mind that prices will vary depending on your specific requests, as well as the date and time of your special day.
Check with your wedding planner or the venue personnel to see what the place has to offer in terms of sound equipment. Would your music act have to bring their own speakers and mics or does the venue already provide these services?
Ask about noise restrictions. Some hotels have specific limitations to the amount of noise an event makes as to not disturb their guests.
Take note of the space that is available. There’s a vast difference in having an outdoor wedding and an indoor one. If you choose to have live music, is there enough space for a 12-piece band? If you want them on the main stage, is there adequate power supply? Would you need to relocate your band to another portion of the hall? And if you did, would that incur further costs to your venue booking?
Now that we’ve taken these three points into consideration, it’s time to go into the details of live bands vs DJs.
Live bands are great if you like impromptu performances, sudden solo breakouts and the general sound and feel of having real instruments played in the room. However, as with anything, there are pros and cons to having a live band:
· Live performances, when executed well, are a joy to watch and listen to
· Experienced bands can play into the audiences emotions and get people excited very quickly by simply changing the tempo of a song if they see the crowd needs it
· Impromptu guitar solos and changing the lyrics to a song to mention the bride’s name are a great way to make the night memorable
· A live band allows for audience performances for example, the groom may decide he wants to sing a special song for his beloved. How romantic would that be with a full professional band backing him up?
· Live bands serve a dual entertainment purpose: for guests who want to dance, they can take to the floor; for those who would rather sit and chat, they can enjoy watching the performance
· Live bands tend to be more expensive than DJs
· Most bands will have a set list of their own, as well as their own distinct style, an might not be able to deviate from it
· If you or a guest has a song request, the band may simply not know how to play it
· Band equipment takes up a lot of space, so you’ll have to make sure your venue is suited to having a large band
· If the venue is small and indoor, the noise of a band may be too loud and uncomfortable to listen to
· Bands will have to take breaks so there will be times when there is no music being played
The best thing about DJs is they don’t do cover versions of your favorite songs. Instead, they play you the originals by the actual artists. But here are some of the benefits, as well as the flaws, of hiring a wedding DJ:
· You don’t have to compromise on your playlist, if you have special song requests bring it on the day
· All the music played will be performed by the original artist
· You can mix and match different musical genres rather than sticking to a specific one
· DJs tend to be much more affordable than live bands
· Professional wedding/party DJs usually have their own lighting which can add to the fun
· Their equipment doesn’t take much space so a smaller venue would be suitable
· They can keep music playing all night long
· The volume of the music is easily adjustable
· For guests that don’t want to dance, a DJ doesn’t provide much viewing entertainment
· There’s little to no improvisation on the part of the DJ, making it less special and catered to your reception
· A DJ may have a mood-killer personality that’s cheesy and may put-off your guests
The most important thing to remember when you hire the entertainment for your wedding is that you get along with the artist or artists. Get to know the people you are planning to have at your special day. If you feel there’s a personality clash or they simply aren’t listening to your specific requests, don’t hire them. They could very well ruin your night.
If there are songs you absolutely do NOT want played, let them know. Likewise if there are songs that have a special meaning between you and your fiancé, let them know. If a live band is unable to play that song, don’t compromise by leaving it out!
It’s your once-in-a-lifetime event and it should be everything you want it to be.
Remember to do your research and speak to other people who have worked with both bands and DJs. Get recommendations from friends and family. An absolute MUST is taking the time to listen to a demo performance before hiring them.
Now that we’ve covered the details of hiring your wedding entertainment, I hope you are fully equipped to deciding whether to hire a live band or DJ.