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To band or not to band? – Live band VS DJ

And so comes a vital question all brides and grooms face, do you hire a live band or DJ for the wedding reception? There is no doubt that music can make or break the celebration. This is definitely one to spend time researching and discussing.

"Good luck in your search, remember it is your wedding and you should book what suits you and your partner best."

First of all what are the pros and cons of each?


There is nothing like live music to get your wedding guests going. Bands can bring a synergy to wedding linking your required tone or any theme. A good lead singer will play master of ceremonies and interact with all your guests, commanding the room and encouraging everyone onto the dance floor.

• It’s live music, your guests will experience a performance – they can either watch or join in on the dance floor
• The band can easily spot and accommodate a tempo change if it’s needed
• Great for a theme like 1930’s jazz or salsa

• More expensive option
• A band requires a lot of space for all their equipment
• No matter how great the band is, they only have a limited repertoire
• Live music can sometimes be overbearingly loud
• The band have to take breaks which can cause a lull


These days DJ’s are artists in their own right, offering balanced and eclectic mix of musical styles to suit everyone. There is nothing better than hearing the original that you fell in love with, encouraging sing-alongs and dashes to the dance floor. A DJ’s equipment will take up less room leaving space for everyone to rock out their favourite dance moves.

• Enjoy your favourite song, sung by the original artist
• DJs have a huge repertoire of music, offering a great variety for you and your guests
• Music can continue throughout the night with no breaks
• Often the cheaper option
• Requires less space
• A DJ with great stage presence and amazing MC skills can set the mood and keep the party going

• Cheesy DJs can be a party-killer
• Improvisation when the crowd isn’t joining in can be harder for a DJ to do, it’s really awkward to end a song early if everyone vacates the dance floor
• Not as entertaining for guests not wishing to dance

What should you keep in mind when you are attending band showcases, watching performances on Youtube or searching out the band or DJ to contact for mix tapes?

1) Your musical style

Does your wedding have a theme? What musical genres reflect your personalities? What atmosphere do you want the music to create at your wedding?
There is no doubt that a live band and DJ offer different vibes to a room. If your wedding has a theme and requires a big band or swing music a live band will be ideal. Or if you are known to love the latest Top 40 hits and love a sing-along then a DJ could be for you.

2) Budget

How much have your budgeted for evening entertainment? Can you sacrifice something else to book what you really want?
Unfortunately like every decision made about your wedding it all comes down to budget. DJs do tend to be less expensive than a band. For a live band you’re paying for time, per band member and travel of the full band to get to your venue with their equipment. While a DJ fly’s solo with fairly compact equipment.
Don’t forget, live bands require breaks and often will perform in 45-minute sets so won’t last all night. Make sure you have a plan to cover the breaks so there is no awkward silences.

3) Variety

Will your guests shout out lots of requests? Will they happily dance along to whatever is played?
Bands have a limited and fixed set of songs in their repertoire. Some more experienced bands can often easily take guests requests and effortlessly change from genre to genre however this comes with a heftier price tag.
With streaming technology DJs can easily source any requests from your guests offering amazing flexibility.

4) Space

How much space do you have for your entertainment in your venue? What equipment will your venue provide, if any?
A live band will require more space for their members, instruments, PA equipment and power and plug points than a DJ. Does your venue have this available without taking away too much of the dance floor?

Good luck in your search, remember it is your wedding and you should book what suits you and your partner best. All professionals should be open to what your likes and dislikes are, so if you say don’t play the Ketchup Song they won’t play it even if requested.

In the words of the great, late David Bowie LET’S DANCE!


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