Should I Choose a DJ or a Band for My Wedding Reception?
As a New Jersey wedding venue that’s hosted countless wedding receptions, we’ve heard the full spectrum of performers, from the smallest wedding DJ to some of the most talented wedding singers, wedding bands and orchestras. We’ve seen first-hand that even similar weddings in size, location, theme, décor, etc. can have an entirely different feel and energy depending on the type of wedding entertainment. It’s an integral part of setting the mood, whether it’s serene and refined or upbeat and a footloose free-for-all. The wedding music helps your guests to let go and enjoy the celebration; whether that’s due to the music itself, or the encouragement of the DJ or band leader acting as the MC.
Choosing between a wedding DJ or a live wedding band is often first a matter of budget. In general, DJs typically cost less. Of course this doesn’t mean that wedding DJs are any less skilled at what they do. But a live wedding band has more people to pay, more equipment, and of course there’s the added consideration for the talent of incorporating instruments and vocals. Costs will typically increase on the size, experience, and breadth of the skill set of the band as well as the time of year and how long you want them to perform.
Once you’ve factored budget into your wedding planning decisions, the next consideration is the overall vibe and feel you’d like to achieve. The type of music you’re shooting for, for example, may affect what works best. Big band and swing music often are more impressive when performed live. And if you’re having a Great Gatsby wedding theme, live performers, especially if they’re playing jazz-age music (and dressed accordingly) can really add to the authentic feel of your wedding theme. DJs, on the other hand, can much more easily keep up the pace and rhythm of the night without stop or a dip in energy. Live performers can sometimes have an off night, but recorded music is nothing if not consistent.
The decision to select a wedding DJ or a wedding band also comes down to the amount of variety you’re looking for in the music for your wedding reception. Do you and your fiancé have different tastes in music? Do you want to include a mix of traditional wedding music, classic favorites, a little something for the older generations, and some pop music from today? The more varied your wish list of wedding songs, the more difficult it will be for a live band to span the wide variety of genres well. A DJ with a vast collection of songs can much more easily switch from country to classic, and even fulfill the unexpected requests on the day.
Depending on your preference, each has its own pros and cons. A wedding band can certainly be much more unique and distinctive; and live music always has a more authentic feel and plays a larger role in the overall aesthetic of the night. But a DJ will deliver the songs, whether slow and romantic or upbeat and fun, just as you and your guests remember them, making it all that much more easy to connect with and enjoy.
Whether you opt for a DJ or a band, be sure you get a true sense of the quality of how they perform, their level of professionalism, how their personalities in person might dictate their personas when performing, and how well they can work a crowd. At the end of the day, good music, well performed, will get your guests on the dance floor and leave them all with happy, lasting memories of celebrating your special day with you.