Wedding Band or DJ? The Pros & Cons of Each Choice

Updated 06/17/14

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When you and your fiancé have the inevitable band-versus-dj discussion, you need to think about what each has to offer before signing a contract. Our take? A great DJ is better than a mediocre band any day, but a live band has wonderful energy that you can't get from recorded music. But before you decide, take a moment and consider the pros and cons of each, then choose the one that's the better fit for your party.

Booking a DJ

Pros
• A DJ is more affordable than a band (DJ rates typically start at about $500 for five hours; bands are often a minimum of $3,000)
• He or she will play any song you want
• Can work in small spaces without a lot of equipment
• Keeps music going during the entire party with no lull
• Is trained to choreograph the reception and make announcements, which means you also get an MC to help with the reception's flow

Cons
• A DJ with a less-than-stellar personality can be a dance-floor buzzkill
• Improvisation is tough if, say, you need to cut a song short on the fly

Booking a Band

Pros
• They make a more dramatic presentation, with musicians, vocalists, and all those instruments
• Have unique personalities
• Their infectious energy can get people on the dance floor
• Guests who don't dance will still enjoy watching the show
• Live music is more emotional, which is what the day is all about

Cons
• The higher rates might be prohibitive for some couples
• No matter how great the band, they can't have the repertoire of a DJ, who can keep a huge variety of music on hand and play guests' song requests

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