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Band vs DJ

There are two main types of entertainers available for your wedding reception.

These include those offering some form of live entertainment, such as a band that plays either its own songs, covers of popular music or more classical offerings, and disc jockeys who should be able to play a fantastic mix of tunes that fit together in a way that gets the party started, keeps it going and then allows it to wind down towards the end of the night.

The first thing you must consider is your personal situation. What type of entertainment suits your personal taste, budget, space allowances, guest demographics, and killer dance moves best? Keep an open mind, and consider these issues to start your search.

 

THE BAND

 

There's nothing like a live wedding band to get a crowd excited and create a sense of sophistication. A band is often regarded as the more traditional choice for a wedding reception and as a consequence may be more popular among the older members of your guest list. A group of musicians who can pull songs from a library of both timeless classics and newer songs can be a hit at any wedding. This is especially true if they perform with a great deal of enthusiasm, a lot will rest on the band leader to get your crowd going. There is a certain atmosphere that a band and live music creates that cannot be replaced by someone playing recorded tracks.

Pros: Live music is, well, live. You and your guests will experience the pleasure of a performance. Anything can happen to raise the excitement level, from an infectious horn-section interlude to a moving solo.

Cons: Bands can be more expensive than DJs. Also, no matter how great the band, they can't have the repertoire of a standard DJ, who can keep a huge variety of music on hand.

 

THE DJ

 

Don't fear the DJ: The days of disco fever and flashing lights are gone. Todays disc jockeys are artists in their own right, offering balanced and eclectic mixes of musical styles for all ages. Plus, the songs played will sound exactly as you remember them, encouraging sing-alongs and improvisation. Depending on the amount of equipment a DJ's brings, they will take up less dance floor real estate and can be relocated with relative ease. A DJ is often regarded as a more modern alternative to live performers. A major benefit of a DJ is that he or she won't need a rest after every bracket of songs they play which may be the case with musicians, and as a result there won't be any major breaks in your wedding reception unless you want them. A DJ can provide continuous music and true replications of classic tunes, and do it for a fraction of the cost of a band. Volume level and variety of music selection are also reasons people choose the DJ.

Pros: If there are a dozen songs you're dying to hear at your wedding, it likely won't be a problem for your DJ to find each track. Also, DJs are generally less expensive than bands.

Cons: On the opposite end of the spectrum, a DJ with a less-than stellar personality can be a party-killer. Also, improvisation is tough if, say, your dad is dragging behind tempo on the father-daughter dance or your nieces and nephews decide to crash the chicken dance

 

FACTORS TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION

 

Variety

Are you a little bit pop, while he's a little bit rock and roll? Regardless of whether you choose a band or DJ, be sure your entertainment can cater for more than one demographic or type of person to try and encourage different sets of guests to hit the dance floor.

Budget

In the price war, DJs generally cost less, prices will vary depending on equipment requests and whether it's a weekday or a weekend. A 5 piece band, for example, will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay. Band prices vary by the number of musicians, the amount of time you want them to play for, day of the week, and what time of year it is.

Space

Don't get your heart set on an 8-piece salsa band before you check whether the reception centre has any restrictions on the number of musicians and pieces of equipment you may bring in, and whether there are any electrical power supply or noise limitations. For example, a registered landmark reception site may not allow you to use large speakers. Ask these questions before you start scouting bands.

You Must Remember This...

Ideally, you will want to see a band in action before you commit so that you can gauge first hand the way they dress, deadpan, and work the crowd. You should always try and attend a show or a dress rehearsal.  If that's not a possibility, ask for a playlist, and look for songs you know and love. If a band gives you a CD or video, be sure that the musicians you hear or see are the same musicians who will play at your reception.

Before You Sign

Know that all professionals should be open to your likes and dislikes. Give them an idea of your personal taste of music and the types of songs you would like to hear on the night.  Also don't hesitate to give your entertainment a do-not-play list.

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