How to Choose Between a Band and DJ for your Wedding Reception

I'm currently in the process of finding and choosing entertainment for our wedding next year. I'm seriously struggling trying to decide whether a band or DJ is right for us (for those of you who don't know, I'm engaged to a wonderful man named Michael). I go back and forth on the pros and cons of each and, by no surprise to myself, I still haven't decided which to choose. Today, I'll go over the best and worst aspects of hiring a band vs. a DJ for your wedding reception. Hopefully, it will help you decide which is right for you, and that in the end, you'll make the best decision possible for you and your fiancé. 


live bands



• Bands are more expensive. Generally, hiring a band to play at your wedding reception will cost more. It just does. You're not only paying for the custom sound, but for the expertise and the wedding experience (think of it this way: the memories you will have if you hired a band over a DJ). You need to decide if hiring a band is important enough to pay the premium price.

• There is less of a variety. Most bands come prepared with a pre-selected list of songs they cover. It can be difficult if there's a specific song that you love that the band doesn't know or won't cover.

• Your favorite songs — covered. A great wedding band knows how to put on a great show. Your favorite songs will come to life, usually with a completely new sound than what you're used to hearing. This is one of my favorite things about hiring a band over a DJ.

• You get a fun, custom sound. You have so many options when it comes to finding the right band for you. Maybe you like, jazz, swing, blues, or rock and roll. Whatever it is you choose, there's likely a band that caters to that specific sound, and darn good at it! Your custom sound will set the mood for the whole party.




• The sound is equivalent to most DJs. Opposed to a band, a DJ's sound is very generic. A song played by one DJ vs. another DJ is going to sound similar no matter who you choose (also depending on the systems they use), simply because that's how the mainstream world works. For brides who are looking to make their reception experience a memorable one for their guests should look at hiring a band over a DJ.

• When it comes to equipment, you may not know exactly what you're getting. Check online first to make sure the DJ you want to hire has a great reputation and good reviews. If it's a newer DJ, meet up with them in person and ask to hear one of their songs through their stereo system (if they'll allow it). A newer DJ may need upgrades to their sound equipment. If you don't meet with your DJ first, you may end up not getting the best stereo sound in the reception hall. 



• A wide variety of songs to choose from. A DJ may choose to play whatever song(s) you want at your reception. Most don't mind downloading a new favorite to contribute to their music library if it means making their clients happy. Also, if you allowed your guests who RSVP'd to request their favorites, chances are it will get played, simply because of the DJ's solid song list. A DJ is definitely the 'safe' option when it comes to wedding entertainment.

• All songs are original songs, unless otherwise requested. The great thing about hiring a DJ is that their sound is reliable, and in the end, you know you're getting mainstream sound. If you're the type of person who craves original tracks, then a DJ is the right choice for you.

• Hiring a DJ is more affordable. It's definitely a more common choice to hire a DJ vs. a band. DJs provide a clean sound and a solid show, and unless there's a specific personality you're after, most produce around the same quality experience for the bride and groom. If you're trying to stay on a budget, consider choosing a DJ over a band.

Michelle Abernathy

Michelle Whitley Photography, 111 Teachers Way #1205, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877, United States