The entertainment at your wedding is your “thank you” to your guests. The people at your wedding have likely invested time and money to share in your special day, and they’ve probably been a support system for your relationship as well.
That’s why it’s so important to host a celebration that you can all enjoy together. One of the essential components of any celebration is the music, and there are many decisions to be made when it comes to the music at your wedding. You can opt to do it yourself, to have live music, or to hire a DJ.
Deciding whether to hire a DJ, a band, or neither comes with many considerations. In this blog, we discuss some important aspects you should consider when deciding whether you need a DJ at your wedding and look into all your entertainment options. Continue reading for all you need to know when making your decision.
What Are My Entertainment Options?
When it comes to music at your wedding, you have three primary options: Provide the music yourself, hire a DJ, or hire a live musician/band. Each of these options provides some advantages and some disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each in more depth and detail:
DJ Pros and Cons
Pros of DJs
- They can help facilitate the evening: In addition to playing music, many DJs are also talented MCs (Master of Ceremonies). This means that they can make announcements to keep the entire wedding organized and ensure that everything goes smoothly. They can also “read the room” and adjust their music selections accordingly to ensure that everyone is having a great time.
- They can play a variety of songs: Another great benefit of a wedding DJ is that they can play a variety of music. This means that they can cater their selections to suit your taste, and they can also play songs that you might not have thought of when attempting to do it yourself. They can also play music that they know will help get people engaged and dancing. They’re the experts, of course.
- They need less space and breaks than a band: Wedding DJs typically don’t require much space. They will need a table and a power source, and, of course, they should have adequate shelter if your wedding is being held outdoors. However, they don’t need a large area in the same way that a wedding band does.
Additionally, DJs will likely take fewer breaks than a band. Because there is only one DJ, you don’t need to worry about people needing breaks at different times. Additionally, if they need a break, they can easily keep the music going while they’re away.
- They are less expensive than a band: Finally, a huge perk of a wedding DJ is that they are affordable. They can provide you with many benefits, such as facilitating the evening and playing a variety of music, and they do it all without breaking the bank.
Cons of DJs
- They are slightly less personalized: Wedding DJs are very skilled at engaging guests and keeping the night moving. In this way, they are very personalized and can change their musical selections to suit your tastes. However, because they’re playing pre-recorded songs rather than live music, they are necessarily slightly less personal than a wedding band who can adjust things in real-time.
- They don’t have the same live appeal as a band: While a DJ can be very interactive, they can’t exactly match the captivating quality of live music. Having live music provides a special touch that can’t be rivaled.
Wedding Band Pros and Cons
Pros of Wedding Bands
- Wedding bands are memorable: The biggest pro of having a live band at your wedding is that they can truly create a one-of-a-kind experience for you and your guests. Even when others hire the same band, they never get a duplicate performance. Every performance is unique and personalized when it comes to a live band, and this can make your wedding one to remember.
- They can add style to your wedding: Additionally, wedding bands are somewhat rare these days, providing an elevated touch. This can serve to enhance the style and class of your wedding. If you’re looking to impress and money is not an issue, hiring a band might be an excellent option for you.
- They can engage your guests: While DJs are also very talented at engaging your guests and getting them on the dance floor, there is something special about live music. A live band is fun to watch, even for people who don’t enjoy dancing.
Cons of Wedding Bands
- Bands require more space and breaks: If you’re going to use a full band, you must make sure that your venue can accommodate them and their equipment. Wedding bands typically need a lot of equipment to perform, so it’s important to speak with the owners/managers of your venue to ensure that your band will be able to play comfortably.
Additionally, bands will necessarily need more breaks than a DJ or DIY music option. Because they have multiple members to consider and because playing live is more challenging than simply playing music from a device, you should expect that they will need a break or two. However, they can often coordinate these during slower moments and can usually have music played over the speakers while taking a quick break.
- Bands are more expensive than a DJ: Another important consideration, of course, is cost. Wedding bands are necessarily more expensive than a DJ. This is because they typically have multiple members and a lot of expensive equipment. According to The Knot, bands are typically almost 3 times more expensive than a DJ. Because of this, only about 15% of couples opt for a band over DJ services.
- They may have limitations: Additionally, bands may have limitations on the songs they can play. They may have a particular style, and there are sure to be songs they don’t know. You can remedy this by choosing a band that matches your style and preferences, and many bands can learn new songs with enough advanced notice. However, there will inevitably be more limitations on the variety of songs they can play than if you hire a DJ.
DIY Music Pros and Cons
Pros of DIY Music
- You will save money: The biggest benefit of playing your own music at your wedding is that you will save money. If your budget is particularly tight, this can be a strong consideration. Additionally, if your wedding is very small or if you have experience playing audio, providing your own music might be a viable option.
- You will have complete control over the music that is played: If you enjoy being in control and want to make sure that every song is exactly the way you want, then playing your own music might be the option for you. Though you can communicate with your wedding band or DJ to make sure they’re playing what you want when you want it, playing your own music does offer the advantage of 100% control.
Cons of DIY Music
- You may run into technical difficulties: This is one of the most prominent reasons why DJing your own wedding may not be the best choice. When you are playing music for a crowd, there are always things that can go wrong, and without experience, you may not be able to fix them. You might experience audible feedback or have some kind of connection issue that prevents the music on your device from being played out through the speakers. You’ll also be responsible for setting up any necessary equipment on your own, and if you’re not knowledgeable, this can cause issues.
- You will be busy with entertainment rather than enjoying your celebration: Another significant drawback of providing your own music is that you will be responsible for monitoring it throughout the night. While you can, of course, make a playlist ahead of time and just hit “play,” issues are going to arise. For example, you may want to make a change because someone has a request, and then you’ll find yourself “working” rather than enjoying the fun. No one wants to have to work on their special day, so this is undoubtedly a distinct disadvantage of doing it all yourself.
- You’ll miss out on the extra help a DJ or wedding band can provide: Finally, if you are responsible for the music, you’ll also be responsible for all the additional help provided by a DJ or band. DJs and bands don’t just play music, but they can also help to facilitate the flow of the evening. They can make announcements, such as when it’s time for specific tables to go to the buffet, or when it’s time to introduce the wedding party.
They can also play different music styles for select moments, such as cocktail hour, the ceremony, and when it’s time to get people on the dance floor. This means that they help control the mood of the wedding, which can be hugely beneficial for keeping things moving smoothly.
Consider a Blend
After looking at the pros and cons of your three options, you may want to consider a middle ground. Another excellent option for your wedding is to have a combination of live music and DJ services. While a wedding DJ can provide a variety of songs and can help to facilitate the evening, having a live musician for key moments throughout the day can add a special touch.
Finding a live musician who can also provide excellent DJ services is a fantastic thing. You will get the best of both worlds by having a DJ who can keep the party going all night and a live musician for when you want a special touch of magic and intimacy. Live musicians are lovely for playing music during the walk down the aisle, during cocktail hour, and during your special first dances. If your budget allows it, why not have the best of both worlds?
To learn more about our live musician/DJ services, visit our Live Music page.
Do You Need a DJ at Your Wedding?
When it comes to your special day, no one can make the decisions for you. There are many things to consider when planning your wedding music, and for some people, especially those with technical knowledge or who might be planning a smaller wedding, DIY music may be a great fit.
However, for most people, hiring someone to be responsible for entertainment makes more sense. This may mean hiring a band, a solo musician, a DJ, or even a combination live musician/DJ. Depending on your taste, the size of your venue, and the vibe you want to create at your wedding, you may opt for a different option than someone else.
There is a reason why DJs are the most popular choice for weddings. They can provide a variety of songs, help facilitate the wedding’s flow, and cater their music choices to your specific taste. For most people, a talented DJ is a perfect fit.