Q – the great debate, DJ or a Band?

let’s get this party started…right!

When contemplating between a DJ or a band, you have to consider the advantages of each.  Here’s my insight coming from one Wedding Planner who has seen many, many bands and djs.

Consider the advantages to choosing a deejay…

  • tend to be more budget friendly – approximately $650 for four hours
  • do not require a lot of space (typically need a 6ft or 8ft table)
  • does not require a lot of power/electricity – a live band usually requires a lot of power for their lights and equipment
  • a flexible playlist – from current hits to the classics
  • can play continueous music without a lull or “break”
  • comfortable with emceeing the event from the introduction of the wedding party, toasts to the special dances

What sets a live band apart…

  • gives the event a dramatic tone with their presentation of vocalists and instruments
  • provides entertainment – energy for those dancing and importantly, for those who don’t
  • impressive sound quality (I love a live trumpet)

When meeting with various entertainment groups, I suggest asking the following questions:

1. A Toast!  Are they providing a wireless (because a long cord is just unsightly and sometimes a trip hazard) microphone for the toasts/speeches?  Do they bring extra batteries?  Live bands typically do not have a wireless microphone so logistically plan on the speeches to be given by the band.

2. Lead the way.  Are they experienced with and willing to emceeing the event?  Preferrably, you will want them to introduce the wedding party, invite the bride and groom to cut the cake, ask for the toasts, etc.  Make sure they are comfortable with making announcements – it would just be uncomfortable for everyone for them to be stumbling or nervous.

3. Meals and Breaks.  Ask if they require any breaks and how many?  This schedule will need to be coordinated with your evening: the toasts, cake cutting and special dances.

Double check if they require a meal since this will affect your final guarantee due to your caterer.  If they do require a meal, consider where will they dine?  Are you providing a table for the band within the reception or is there room for a seperate space for them to break/eat?  Don’t forget to coordinate a time for them to eat with your reception/catering staff to ensure they are not forgotten.  I understand that some vendors do not like to leave the area out of fear of missing something, therefore, as the Wedding Coordinator, I always reassured my fellow professionals that nothing will happen without their presence.

4. Miscellaneous Needs: Power/Electricity, Setup, Staging  Most bands I’ve worked with have power needs that may incurs additional fees to the bride and groom.  Read the band contract carefully and refer to your reception venue before signing.  I have seen additional fees up to $500 from venues to accommodate the band’s equipment.

Most bands also require longer setup times than a deejay (usually need an hour).  So again, make sure your reception site can accommodate their setup needs and sound check.

Staging…some bands love them while others hate them.  Read their contract to find out their preference and again, discuss it with your reception venue.  Some reception sites are willing to set staging at no additional charge, where others may add labor fees and/or rental.


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