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Wedding Band or DJ? Consider a Combo!

Blog post by DJ Cam Reeve




 

Planning a wedding involves a lot of “this or that” decisions. Indoor or outdoor? Cake or cupcakes? One of those seemingly black-and-white decisions is “Should we go with a band or a DJ?” The truth is that the answer to this question doesn’t have to be so binary. Both bands and DJs can enhance a wedding in different ways, and when they’re both involved in a wedding truly amazing things can happen.


Wedding Band or DJ - Why Bands Rock

A band is a classic choice for your wedding. Live music has a certain energy that is tough to match. Seeing talented people wield their instrument in a way that makes you want to move is undoubtedly exciting. Bands can bring a wide variety of feelings to a wedding, from sophisticated and classy to loud and rowdy. They know their setlists forward and backward, meaning their music is tuned to perfection, with a flow that has been tested at many events. They can appeal to all ages, from the youngest guests to the grandparents.


So is a Wedding Party Band the Answer?

There are a lot of reasons to choose a band for your celebration, but let’s cover a few things that are worth keeping in mind. No wedding band can have every single track in their catalog, meaning might be limited based on the band’s experience and repertoire. Some songs also don’t lend themselves to being covered by a band - we’re looking at you hip-hop and EDM. Live Bands often take some breaks between sets, leading to potential quiet downtime (although they may have another music source for these moments).

When it comes to instruments, keep in mind that they can be pretty loud for guests with, say, more sensitive ears. A band may also have certain time allotments for how long they can play in a night, and the cost may go up if you go over this time slot. You potentially had people traveling from faraway states and countries to attend your wedding – you don’t want it to end early! So is there a definitive answer to the wedding band or DJ question?


Adding a DJ to Your Wedding Cover Band

We may be biased, but we think there are quite a few benefits to hiring a DJ. Whether it’s cost, music library, or something else, a DJ can easily help to elevate the energy at your wedding reception. Hold on, though; we aren’t advocating you ditch the band for a DJ! In fact, when it comes to the "band or DJ" question, we’ve found that combining the two leads to an even more successful reception than one alone.

Remember how we mentioned that live bands occasionally need to take breaks between sets? Having a DJ at your wedding reception can keep the energy up even when the band is off stage. These two can tag team the dancing portion of the night so that the energy never dips. They can also play guest requests that aren’t on the band’s setlist. And of course, if your DJ is also an experienced master of ceremonies (MC), they can guide the flow of the night in ways some live bands may not enjoy or have experience with.


Have a DJ? Consider Throwing an Afterparty

A growing trend at wedding receptions across the country is the wedding afterparty. Yes, even here in Utah! After the main wedding dining, formalities, and dancing ends many couples opt to transform the night to a more “after-hours” feel. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to physically move your guests anywhere! Often, the afterparty takes place in the exact same spot as the reception, perhaps in a lounge area adjacent to the main room.


While the party band focuses on playing many of the wedding music staples, your afterparty DJ can dig deeper into the more obscure or heavy music selections. You know as well as we do that the older guests start to lose steam as the evening progresses and the children tuck in for the night. It’s at this point that you can easily start to cater to your younger friends’ musical preferences. Want to play some deep house, festival-type music, or even just squeeze in some explicit lyrics? The afterparty is where you make it happen. Because the number of guests has likely slimmed late in the evening, you can enjoy the music in a more personal setting. The most common "vibes" we get asked for at afterparties are house, early 2010s tracks, and alternative rock.


Wedding Band or DJ – Final Thoughts

Let’s finish things off by highlighting some of our main points. Live party bands bring concert energy and a luxury feel to your wedding reception that’s undeniable. They may even use choreographed lighting to really up the energy of their performance.


DJs, on the other hand, often provide a wider variety of music and have a greater ability to take requests, all with less setup/takedown time required. They don’t need breaks during long dance sets and may even be more cost-effective in the long run. However, in our opinion, we think that the band-DJ combination is the best choice by far! By taking advantage of the benefits of both a live wedding band and a DJ, you can bring an energy and atmosphere to your wedding that’s unlike any other.


 

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