Band vs DJ

Few things set the tone for a wedding ceremony and reception better than music. Music establishes ambience and serves to transition guests through the various components of the day. While the wedding itself is usually accompanied by music, it's the reception when guests and the wedding party can let their hair down and celebrate.

Music plays a vital role. While a single musician may provide music for the service, tunes at the reception usually come from a band or DJ and features a variety of genres. Not only does this person provide the beat for a night of dancing, but they're also responsible for the playing the music for those special moments, including the father/daughter dance and first dance.

The decision to hire a band or DJ often comes down to personal preference, space and the budget. The following are some things couples can consider as they decide which is right for them.

Band

Live musicians spend years honing their crafts, and watching a band play at a wedding reception can be akin to attending a concert.

A live band can bring with it a sense of sophistication. Performers can tone the music to the crowd and improvise if necessary to meet the needs of the room. A good bandleader also will serve as a master of ceremonies at the reception. Many wedding bands can competently play songs from various genres of music, while some are especially skilled at recreating the sound of a particular group.

Bands do tend to be more expensive than DJs, and that's something couples must factor into their budgets if they prefer a band to a DJ. If taking this route, be careful not to be swayed by amateurs who offer up a live show at a reduced rate. Everyone has a friend or a family member that knows someone with a garage band. That might be great for a backyard barbecue, but on your wedding you want to make sure you are hiring a professional who is well versed in the numerous needs during a reception. Be sure to listen to a sample of the band's work before committing. It is also a good idea to make sure the band is open to learning the songs you would like to use for any special dances.

DJ

The DJ is one of the first vendors people think of when they envision a wedding reception. Perhaps because they are less expensive, DJs tend to be more popular than bands among today's couples.

DJs are advantageous for various reasons. Thanks to the accessibility of digital music, DJs can often procure just about any song a couple desires for the reception. That's a significant benefit for couples who want to hear the original versions of their favorite songs, and not a band's take on those songs.

DJs can also read the crowd and make adjustments to the music at any time. If a particular genre is not working, DJs can easily transition to another type of music to get guests back on their feet. That's not always possible for bands whose repertoire is exclusive to a particular genre. In addition, many DJs can blend songs seamlessly and may incorporate lights and other effects into their performances, which can encourage guests to loosen up and hit the dance floor.

No matter which road a couple chooses to travel, it's a good idea to listen to a DJ or band perform in a live situation if time allows. Couples also should confirm that the performers they meet or audition will be the ones who will perform at their weddings. Make sure this is written into your contract. Couples will be expected to provide a list of songs they want to hear well in advance of their wedding day. This affords a DJ ample time to find each song and gives bands the necessary time to learn the songs before the big day arrives.

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