Wedding DJs VS Live Wedding Bands. Which One To Choose?

You’ve pronounced your vows. You’ve cut the cake. Now, you have left one thing to do. You know what it is- it’s time to party! Music is the heart and soul of your wedding celebration. Hiring a talented band or DJ (or both) is a big choice. But how do you find what you want? You can start with basic details like how many guests you have to entertain, space allowances, budget, and preparing your dance moves. 

It’s best to choose an entertainer that puts your event into the limelight. Do it right, and your guests will never forget it. Doit wrong… well, you know the consequences; But you don’t need to think about that Picking a live wedding band is a wedding DJ has pros and cons. It’s about finding the wedding entertainment that suits your theme and desires. Wedding Realm suggests you start it wholeheartedly with your partner and other close ones like friends and family. After all, these are the people with whom you can have an honest and open discussion about wedding planning. 

For now, stop stressing yourself and make it happen! Pushing yourself into planning. Let’s slide into how you should choose between a live wedding band and a wedding DJ. 

What type of wedding vibe do you want to create? 

Think about the type of wedding you’re having. Will it be a small wedding reception or a blockbuster gathering? Are you inviting proper dance and music professionals, or is it just your family or friends? These questions will help you to choose the right wedding entertainer. Your ultimate goal is to create a romantic atmosphere at your wedding ceremony, whereas a music professional will ensure the party atmosphere starts on the dance floor during your reception. One way or another, you want entertainment for your guests. 

A professional wedding DJ can mix the music of your taste, like funk, hip-hop, pop, or whatever you want. The variety of musical genres played by a wedding DJ can sink you into a lively, beautiful, or festive wedding environment. A DJ can cater to your favorite music taste, unlike a band with a defined set of songs.

Wedding DJ or Wedding Band: Few Things To Consider 

From the first moment you plan your wedding, you must make some tough decisions. What dress will you wear? Who will be your bridesmaids? What about flower arrangements? And, of course, should you hire a DJ or a live band? It’s enough to think about. If you haven’t a clue what type of entertainment you want for your big day, there are a couple of essential factors you can start with. 

Your Wedding Theme 

Your wedding theme not only involves your favorite flowers, cake, or decorations but also your type of music. There are always some songs near to your heart that reminds you of your better half, even from before you were engaged. The music could be classic, pop-rock, jazz, or any. If you and your partner feel like having candlelight dinner-type music, you can choose that!. Or, if you are more of a jazz band couple, you may go for a full band. Live music, either a band or a DJ, can match your wedding theme. 

A wedding DJ is a better option if you want a variety of songs played during the reception. They will specifically play a song you request and provide a much more comprehensive range of music genre options. As for bands, the requests aren’t always available on the table. Planning songs ahead of your wedding are important, you and your spouse will work with a DJ or wedding band to find out if they can accommodate your must-play song list and a do-not play list. Some DJs also welcome the song requests of guests, but some don’t. Be sure to ask this before a final booking. 

While a live wedding band can improvise, a wedding DJ can play songs that your guests will know. A band can work with changing lyrics, add funny twists, and perform standout instruments solo they see fit. This could be fun for your guests, right? 

Your Wedding Budget 

You know best of all where to start your budget. How much have you allocated for your perfect wedding? A budget will tell you where you are standing right now, and how much you can set aside for music. A band or musician will cost more than a DJ. On average, you can expect to pay $5,000-$10,000 for a band. Thanks to a few factors like equipment, logistics, or food. The bigger the wedding band, the more money. The cost will also cover additional equipment (lightning, projector, etc.) and actual performance time for songs you request. Some musical bands charge an extra fee for playing an additional or new instrument. 

On the other hand, wedding DJs cost around $1,000-$3,000. The more experienced the DJ is, the more they will charge. Or, if you choose a hobbyist DJ (doing it as a part-time job), you will likely pay less. DJs are less expensive because they perform as a one-person show. They also require fewer instruments and equipment as compared to a wedding band. So, if you’re low on budget, a DJ seems your perfect choice. 

Your Wedding Venue Space 

Let’s talk about space. Depending on your wedding venue space, rules and regulations and restrictions may apply. Think about it from all dimensions like electricity limitations, actual physical space, and even noise conditions. These all pointers can impact your decision to hire a wedding band or a DJ.

Wedding bands or musicians require more people to perform, equipment, and thus more space. A small table with large speakers will be enough in the case of a DJ. Call your wedding venue ahead of booking your wedding reception entertainment. Don’t set your heart on something that your space can’t accommodate. 

Your Wedding Guests 

A couple enjoys their big day because that day is exclusively for them. But, don’t forget you are also hosting a party where you have to take care of a lot of guests; there are big expectations to throw the best party of your life! Consider your guest list before choosing your music professional. Think about the basic demographics of your guests like age, preference, etc. 

A wedding DJ can help sort out a setlist for you, including a variety of songs from all genres and all groups. Live music provides a great atmosphere for those who do like to dance as well as the guests who do not prefer to dance. It's also important to consider depending on the type of band you consider might not connect with your younger guests.

Wedding DJ Or A Live Wedding Band: Weigh The Pros And Cons  

Before hiring a DJ or a wedding band, set some expectations to help you decide carefully. Thinking about the Pros and Cons of both live music and a DJ can help narrow down your decision. Do you want to book your favorite before anyone else does? Here are some general Pros and Cons to help you consider what to put on your list!

Pros And Cons Of Choosing a Wedding DJ 

One of the significant benefits of hiring a wedding DJ is that you’ll get a variety of songs for your wedding. DJs get it if all you want to is to dance to rock hits or disco. Many are also able to open up to requests from guests. DJs usually deal with blending songs and doing remixes, but they can go for an original song if it’s your favorite and add it to the playlist. A DJ is also likely to get shorter breaks and can engage the crowd. You can even ask them to emcee to get the crowd excited or announce the bride and groom. 

On the other hand, hiring a DJ come with drawbacks too. DJs usually don’t pay attention to a do-not playlist, they are concerned with the crowd and what popular songs get the crowds moving;  some might even play the Cha-Cha slide- even if that isn’t for you. If you really do not want certain songs, you should save yourself from any embarrassing situation by discussing firm boundaries with the DJ. Another pitfall is that they are less adaptable; they usually have less control to take over the crowds who are not responding well. 

Pros And Cons Of Choosing a Live Wedding Band 

Nothing can excite your wedding guests more than live music! A band is a better alternative to DJ who has a specific taste in fun, popular music. Maybe you and your spouse are jazzy lovers, so you should choose a jazz band! The band will still provide entertainment to those who are not dance-lovers. All band members have different music choices pleasing enough to engage everyone with their hits. A live band is highly adaptable to the needs and moods of the people. 

However, you are not going to like a live wedding band just because of one factor- and that is their cost. They are pricey compared to DJs. Still, most couples hire a band because of their uncountable benefits. Another con is they need more space because of their equipment. There is more to ask of a band than a DJ when it comes to arrangements. Lastly, they have less variety compared to DJs. 

A Wedding DJ or A Wedding Band: Questions To Ask 

A packed dance floor is an integral factor in your wedding celebration. So, always hire a music pro who can start the party. During the entertainer hunting, look out for someone whose music preferences, style, and energy align with your own. Don’t act like you are at a loss for words when you start interviewing your DJ or bandleader and their music style won’t change just for you. There is a lot you can ask, which will help you find your best goal. To help you in a better search, the following list of questions can be helpful. 

Can you accommodate my wedding date?


This is your primary concern. Make sure that they are available on your planned date. Their non-availability is a deal-breaker. You can’t discuss anything further. 

Can you work on my playlist? 

It’s important to know because you can work extensively with your DJ or band on the playlist. You can know what songs they can perform confidently or what songs should go on the list. Moreover, you can add songs they recommend because it’s their daily job. 

How much do you charge per event? What is your overtime? 

Pricing is another crucial factor that marks a clear line between you and your performer. It’s always important to know how much they’ll charge. As a rule of thumb, keep the figures in mind mentioned above. But, this is not enough. You should find out what that cost includes. How many hours will they work? How many breaks will they need? What can they provide additionally other than working on your setlist? Will they charge extra in case of any change in time? Do they provide sound equipment for toasts and speeches? Knowing these details can only add to the pro package. 

Are you open to requests from guests? 

You can’t negate that your wedding gathering has song preferences and wedding favorites too. They are a part of your celebration, so you must take care of their wishes as well. Ask your DJ or wedding band if they are open to song requests from guests. 

Can we see a tape of a recent performance? 

This question is a biggie among all the questions. A DJ or a wedding band will likely have a music collection they can perform or you can browse through. Ask them if you can have a look at any videos from live performances. You instantly understand whether they are a suitable option for your wedding or not. If something from your list is not there, ask them if they can work on it. They might not be able to, but they might surprise you and work on it for your big day.


What will you wear during the performance?

This may sound odd, but the question will set you on your wedding theme or style. You are still working hard on your wedding, from style and design to color. The outfit of the DJ or wedding band you are going to choose should highly reflect your decided wedding theme. So, make sure it’s a treat for the eyes as well as for the ears. If your event is black tie and they show up in jeans and a graphic tee shirt, they obviously won’t fit well into your event.

Are you insured? 

Don’t hesitate to ask this question. Ideally, your wedding DJ or musical band carries liability insurance. Don’t be afraid, but there could be mishaps. An insured DJ or band will likely be covered from any damage to equipment or performers. 

What is your cancellation policy? 

Wedding plans can now be altered in the blink of an eye, as you know. Back in the pre-COVID days, couples may have never asked this question, but now everything is different. Be sure to ask your band about their cancellation policy. How many days will it take to receive your deposit back? How many days before can you cancel the event? What is the policy in case of any emergency? Talking about it may be stressful today, but at least you will be prepared in an emergency. 

Do you offer any other services? 

Some music performers come with additional services like video screens, lighting, or photo booths. Try to seek out all these options from a single source. 

Enjoy Your Wedding!

Now you’re one step closer to choosing a wedding DJ or a wedding band. Whoever you choose, be sure to meet them in person before final booking. Here, you’ll meet the bandleader or DJ who will be the MC of your wedding. For now, start working on your setlist! So, when you find your musical talent, they can take care of the music, and you and your partner can happily enjoy the event while dancing the night away.