Many couples struggle with the question of choosing live music or a DJ for their reception. That answer really depends upon personal preference, but here are some considerations to make when deciding which is best for you.
Quality live musicians bring energy, enthusiasm and ambience to any wedding reception. A jazz trio, for example, adds elegance and class to the cocktail and/or dinner hour. A great dance band can adapt to most any situation and adjust their music and energy accordingly, making for a fun and memorable evening.
On the other hand, live music is almost always more expensive. Bands take breaks, risking an energy loss while they are offstage. Musicians generally have styles of music they can and cannot play, making them less flexible than a DJ.
DJs can bring thousands upon thousands of songs to your reception, far more than any band or musician can play and the music sounds just like the original recording. A DJ should be extremely flexible, able to play most any song at your request and at an easily controlled volume. DJs generally do not take breaks, so there is no dead air or loss of energy and DJs are almost always much more affordable than live music.
If there is a downside, while a great DJ can really get a crowd going, they don’t really have the ability to alter songs on the fly (lengthening them, adding solos, bringing guests on stage to sing, etc.); DJs have what has been pre-recorded as their only option.
How about Both?
One request we are seeing more and more often is for a band/DJ combination. With this package, you eliminate any negatives associated with either, while enjoying the best of both worlds. A soloist or trio can start off the event, with a DJ onsite to play during breaks and to help with announcements. During dancing, the DJ can play during the band breaks, offering the availability of songs that the band may not know or be able to perform. Many clients then have the DJ play the last hour or so of their event, again offering perhaps newer music that most variety bands don’t play.
Regardless of which option you choose, understand that no one is necessarily better than the other; it really comes down to your personal preferences, budget and style. A great wedding reception can result from a DJ, live music or both, as long as you are careful to select quality professionals.