DJ vs. Live Band for Wedding Reception: How to Choose
Wedding planning, as we’re sure you know, is chocked full of decision-making, long days, and sleepless nights. But what makes the months of planning and the hours of stressing the tiniest of details worth it? Having a stellar wedding reception! Seeing all your loved ones enjoying themselves in you and your significant other’s love is the goal each reception strives for; but how do you create the dreamlike setting that will stick with everyone for decades on end?
Answer: the music.
While you have many tough decisions to make for your big day, we’ve got just the thing to make your ‘DJ vs. live band’ decision easy. We’ve taken the liberty of weighing your options for you to help you find the perfect music for your perfect day!
Reasons to Choose a DJ
A significant factor to consider when deciding between a DJ vs. live band is cost. The reality is that most weddings have budgets and this typically dictates many of the decisions made during the process of planning. If price is a large factor for you, a DJ may be better suited for your needs as they tend to cost less than wedding bands.
Cross-Genre Music Selection
One of the advantages of hiring a DJ is the wide selection of music they have available at their fingertips. You’re almost guaranteed the ability to request any song or genre available on any digital platform. This way, you can cater to all your guests’ music tastes to ensure everyone makes it out on the dance floor to whatever song makes their feet move. All of our artists at Mole Street are excited to share their unique tastes and variety of music at your event!
Forget the huge setup that a band may require with multiple people, instruments, and amps. Your DJ’s sound system, equipment and table are adaptable to any sort of venue big or small. Wherever your special day may be taking place (massive party tent, medium-sized banquet hall or intimate backyard) you don’t have to worry about your DJ’s setup fitting into the space. All of our DJs are experienced professionals who know exactly how to curate the perfect sound for your specific venue.
Things to Consider When Hiring a DJ
If you need to interrupt dancing for a quick announcement, pause the music for a tear-jerking speech, or slow the tempo for your dad’s two left feet during your father-daughter dance, a DJ may not be able to make these musical transitions feel smooth. Transitioning between the different portions of the reception should be well-planned in order to make the night feel cohesive while a wedding band may be more adaptable to these moments.
Do They Have a Stellar Personality?
A DJ with a so-so personality or energy can really dampen an evening. DJs often times have their routine down-packed and practiced which may make their performances flat. At Mole Street Artists, our DJs are always the life of the party! Whether it be DJ Redasko or DJ Sabeel Chohan, they always bring their outstanding energy to every event to keep a crowd on their feet all night long.
Familiarity vs Uniqueness
While wedding bands deliver different renditions and styles of songs, DJs typically play the original versions. This makes for a less personalized and unique sound at your event as compared to live music. Disk jockeys can give your event a feeling of familiarity but won’t necessarily bring a different musical style to the table to wow your guests.
Reasons a Live Band May Be a Good Fit for Your Wedding
Bring that Energy
Have you ever been to a concert? Then you know the energized sound that live vocals and instruments can bring into a space. Our live bands perform, and perform well at every event they play. There’s something about watching someone kill a guitar solo, breathe life into a saxophone, hit that high note, and leave it all onstage that beats any digital recording out there. Are we right or are we right?
Dancers OR Watchers
Dancer or watcher, a wedding band caters to both! The beauty of a band is they not only provide music, but they also put on a performance that all guests can enjoy within their respective comfort zones; whether that be getting funky on the center of the dance floor or seated at their tables where all the good eats are.
Catered to You
A distinction between having a DJ vs. live band at your wedding is the human touch in the music. DJs, as we’ve mentioned before, play the original music by the original artist. Wedding bands, on the other hand, each have a unique playing style. The band you choose can reflect your tastes and play a song that every guest might know, but in a style they’ve never heard before. Each of our wedding bands at Mole Street Artists bring a unique style whether it be the York Street Hustle with their 1960s inspired-sound or Blues Junior who blend funk, rock, soul, blues, and R&B with an enthusiasm that’s all their own.
Things to Consider When Hiring a Live Band
Limited Selection of Music
As you might imagine, the music selections available to a DJ who has access to downloadable content is much greater than that of a wedding band who must practice and master songs before playing them. This is definitely a factor to consider, especially if you’re looking to play an eclectic mix of music. Maybe you want to play some selections from a beloved 60’s album from your childhood and your favorite EDM track from that music festival you went to last summer. In that case, a DJ might be the better route.
Along with human-generated sound comes a human need to take a break. Your wedding band will typically need to take a breather in-between sets which may make this period of your reception feel a bit choppy. Typically this is the time to play a quick playlist to fill the silence while your band takes five.
A five-person band with musical instruments, mics, and amps may hit a few more roadblocks than a one-person DJ with a digital equipment setup. Naturally, it’s only professional to come prepared, setup early, and bring the best sound possible; but as we know, life happens and one of your band members may be stuck in traffic fifteen minutes into your reception. This is something to consider as you make your decision.
A Quick Tip
A great way to feel out a DJ vs. live band is to get familiar with each of their sounds. Be sure to see your prospective wedding DJ or band live at different events prior to your wedding to get a feel for their sound and performance style and decide if they would be a good fit for you. Check out our Mole Street Artists page to watch videos and read backgrounds about some of our bands and DJs. We’ve got dozens of artists to choose from which makes us confident we’ll find the right one for your wedding reception.
Click around to learn about some of our dance bands like Blues Junior, the York Street Hustle, the Hoppin’ John Orchestra, the Sermon!, and more! We’ve also got some of the area’s hottest DJs like DJ Oluwafemi, DJ Ben Arsenal, DJ Serop, DJ Hurricane LaRue and more! Get in touch with our booking agent, Sean, to find the perfect match!
Originally published September 30, 2019, updated July 21, 2021.