DJ or Live Band for Your Wedding? Here are some helpful tips to help you decide (and avoid having a “blah” reception/party).

randy atown

The ceremony was beautiful, but now, it’s on… Time to party!!!

This is the moment that everyone looks forward to – the wedding reception! It’s your big party; time to cut loose and let the inhibitions fly. Of course, you want your special event to be the one that you and your guests will never forget, right? Aside from food, drink, and decor, what’s left? Music of course! You want the music to keep everyone on the floor and you also need an emcee that will keep the rhythm and cadence flowing smoothly. Now… you’ve got a decision to make; do you go with a DJ or a live band? I mean, you could bring your own music via your mp3 player but do you want to add yet another daunting task to the million other things you already have to deal with? Not only that but unless you have a sound system that can do the job right (along with other key elements), your reception is going to end up very lame (#weaksauce) and I know you don’t want that.

Tough choice, huh? Not really. There are some factors to consider, but these tips should help you to weigh your options.

Live Band

Live bands are really not hard to find, of course. There are lots and lots of talent out there – it basically comes down to three things: Style, reputation, and cost. Of course, you really don’t have time to actually audition a band, but fortunately, you can just Google “wedding bands in or near (your location) and you will more than likely have page after page of results staring back at you. And if these bands are branding themselves online properly, they’ll have links not only to their website but sites like, where you can check them out.You will also see what anyone else who has hired them before has to say about them in the reviews section.

How much does a live band charge (cost and benefits)?

Great question. The cost of hiring a wedding or party band will vary based on things like how many band members, do they have their own lighting, how long they play, and so forth. Usually, they’ll have a set minimum number of hours (be sure to ask about that) and they’ll also inform you of how many breaks thy normally take throughout the evening. Which brings us to this all-too-important question: What goes on during the breaks? Nothing destroys the mood and momentum of an awesome reception than the music coming to an abrupt halt because “the band is on a break”. So one of the things you must ask before booking a band is – do they supply “filler” music (ex: an mp3 player over the P.A. system ) or will that fall on you? Very important detail to iron out. The caliber of band you go after is really up to you. I’ve seen some bands that charge about $1,500.00 all the way up to around $10,000, depending on what they bring to the table as far as the entertainment goes. Needless to say, the old adage “You get what you pay for”  certainly applies here so make sure you iron out all details and have a clear understanding of everything before signing them on. The cool thing about live bands is that you can find one that specializes in a particular genre or even era (1940’s swing, anyone?) for that epic feel and vibe.

Deciding on how “Pro” you want to go

A well-known party band such as “The Splitz Band” (based in Georgia and is flippin’ FUN as all GET OUT) brings a higher level of professionalism. Bands like this do a phenomenal job in performing all the popular songs, past and present, and they certainly know how to work the crowd and keep them engaged for the duration of the reception/party. At the end of the day, when deciding on which live band you want to have perform at your wedding, you certainly want a band that keeps things flowing. One thing to ask when looking for a band is if they will have someone who acts as an “emcee” for announcements and such. Otherwise, you’ll need to have someone in place for announcements and managing the “flow” of the evening.


To DJ or not to DJ?

For a more affordable alternative to music and entertainment at your event is, of course, the DJ. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands available in your area if you Google it. As with a live band, you want a DJ who’s going to crank out the tunes to keep everyone on the dance floor; he/she definitely needs to be an entertainer and emcee who is organized and who works well with the wedding coordinator to ensure a smooth flow throughout the evening. Some of the DJs I’ve worked with, such as Randy Burton of Dynamite Entertainment (who is also a licensed pyro-technician, by the way) is a real pro when it comes to DJ’ing at weddings. He has an awesome personality, loves to have fun, and easily conveys his passion and energy from the start of the wedding reception until the lights come back on at the end. A good DJ (like Randy) has a music library for every taste and knows the importance of “the flow”, timing, etc to make sure that the event is flawless. DJ’s also need to be great emcees, who control the flow of the party and ensure that a good time is had by all.

Cost and benefits

Professional DJs charge anywhere starting around $500.00 on up – you just have to interview them to make sure that they’re going to be equipped and prepared to handle the evening’s entertainment according to your wishes. My advice; you definitely want a DJ who has experience with weddings so there will be less likelihood of any hiccups or awkward, lengthy pauses throughout the evening. When interviewing DJ’s, you want to see them ask you questions about what you want and offer suggestions instead of just sitting there and just “yes-ing” you to death just to earn your business.



Here are some Pros and Cons when considering hiring a band vs a DJ:

  1. Space – A band obviously would require more space for equipment, etc.
  2. A live band has a knack to energize the evening. Even guests who don’t like to dance will get to enjoy a “live concert”.
  3. There are virtually n0 limitations to the type or genre of music a DJ will have access to. Even though the band is great, they won’t know every song. If there is a special, (and maybe) rare number you want to be played at a wedding, it would be easier for a DJ to get a copy of that song, if they don’t have it already.
  4. A live band will surely provide you with a one-of-a-kind wedding reception.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Either way you go, the main goal here is that you want a fun, energetic, and exciting evening for everyone to enjoy – it’s all about making great memories! I’d love to hear from any of you who hired DJ’s and live bands for your weddings and share some of your experiences with me in the reply/comment box below. I’ll post them in a follow-up blog – it’d be interesting to see the feedback!

Until next time, be blessed!