The Charlottesville Wedding Blog

Wedding Planning

Bands v. DJs: Which is Right for Your Wedding?

When planning her wedding day, every bride will eventually come to this inevitable question: "Live band or DJ?" The way you answer this question when it comes to your own special day is far more important than many realize and is key to determining the overall tone of your reception.

Sure, there's one thing you know without a doubt — you want music that will keep the dance floor busy and spirits high all night long, and you know the way to do that is not with your iPod on shuffle. But how do you determine if a band or a DJ is right for your Charlottesville wedding? The answer is different for every kind of bride & every kind of wedding. If you find yourself puzzled about how to answer this question and how to go about making the right decision between hiring a band or DJ for your day, then you've come to the right place. Today we break down the best things about each option as well as a few things you'll need to consider in order to determine which is right for your wedding day.

Wedding Bands

Few things can energize a crowd quite like live music — there's just something about the beat of the drum and the energy of the musicians that puts everyone in a good mood and gets feet tapping! Undoubtedly, this type of joy-producing fun is what makes having a band at your wedding reception such a good decision. However, hiring a wedding band for your soiree isn't all pros and no cons. Read on to see if live music is the best choice for your music needs.

The best things about live wedding bands...

  • A great live performance can energize a crowd like almost nothing else.
  • Great for themed music, like 1930s jazz or salsa.
  • Can easily accommodate a tempo change if the crowd seems to need it.
  • Great for guests who want to dance or just watch the show.
  • With a live band, you can almost guarantee that your reception music will be one of a kind. The thought that no one will have danced to the exact same first dance song is utterly romantic...

You'll need to consider that...

  • The equipment usually takes up a lot of space.
  • There tends to be a smaller variety of music - many bands will have their own sound/genre and will stick to it all night long.
  • Live music can be overbearingly loud in a small, enclosed venue.
  • There will be times when there's a lull in music due to break times.
  • Wedding bands are, on average, significantly more expensive, typically running from $3,000 - $10,000+.

Wedding DJ

A wedding band may create lots of excitement with live covers, but wedding DJs can play all your favorite songs from your all favorite artists. We don't know about you, but nothing is as good as the original you fell in love with, and nothing can put a smile on your face quite so quickly. This and the variety of genres that he or she can bring to your wedding reception are just a few of the great reasons why hiring a wedding DJ could be a great choice for you. However, there are some cons too. Read on to see what you should expect.

The best things about wedding DJs...

  • Enjoy your favorite songs sung by their original artists.
  • DJs have a huge repertoire of music, which makes for tons of musical variety.
  • The music can be played non-stop without breaks.
  • Wedding DJs are often significantly cheaper than their live counterparts, costing on average between $500 to $2,f00+ (not including other services they might provide, like lighting).
  • The equipment requires very little space.

You'll need to consider that...

  • A DJ with a cheesy personality can kill the mood. Thoroughly vet your DJ & make sure you love their personality! (As with every vendor!)
  • Improvising when the crowd isn't feeling it is harder, because tempo changes are more difficult and ending a song early without awkwardness is tough.
  • Can be boring for guests who don't want to dance, whereas non-dancers would still probably enjoy the performance of a live band.

So what exactly should you take into consideration when making the choice between a wedding band or DJ? Well, as the pros and cons point out, there are many different aspects — like available space, musical variety, and price — that you should consider before you hire. To help you figure out which kind of wedding is right for your day, ask yourself the following questions and see how your answers line up with each wedding music vendor's considerations:

  • Will my wedding venue be able to accommodate a lot or only a little equipment?
  • What's more important — an energized crowd or a wide variety of music?
  • What am I willing to spend on the musical entertainment? Who works better with my budget?
  • Do I want themed music or many genres played at my wedding?
  • Would I rather have original recordings or unique covers?

As always, it's of paramount importance that whichever you choose, you love the personality of the folks behind the mic. Nothing is worse than a cheesy DJ or bandleader, especially when they're acting as emcee, so make sure you get to know their style well. There are tons of incredible wedding bands & DJs in Charlottesville, and with a little research, you will definitely find the right one for you.

Decisions, decisions! Of course, if the budget isn't an object & you want the best of both worlds, you could always start the night with a wedding band and then bring a DJ to keep the party going into the wee hours! If only the budget was never an object...

Present brides-to-be and former brides, which did you end up choosing for your wedding day — a band or DJ? We'd love hear what type of musical entertainment you chose and why!

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Ready to get started? Check out all our favorite wedding bands & DJs in Charlottesville on Borrowed & Blue!

Still thinking about music? Click here to listen to our top ten favorite first dance songs.

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