DJ VS Live band

Choosing between a DJ or a Band for your Wedding

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Planning a wedding and wondering if you should hire a DJ or a live band as your entertainment? In this post we’ll review everything you should consider before making a decision.

Your wedding is a special day that marks the beginning of your lives together. It is a celebration of love and happiness, with two families coming together as one.

It’s important that you and your guests have the time of your lives as you dance the night away and celebrate.

The entertainment you choose plays a big role. It sets the tone and vibe for your wedding. Great decor and food is fantastic, but your wedding day just won’t be the same without great entertainment.

DJ for your wedding

So you’re currently considering two options: a live wedding band or a wedding DJ.

But, you’re torn between the two.

It’s either a DJ with upbeat thrill of hearing your favorite songs or the elegance and ambiance that naturally accompanies a live band.

Some choose to do both, which can be a bit pricey and may not be feasible. Most need to make a choice of one or the other.

Below we’ll provide some useful tips to help you choose the right entertainment for your big day.

A Wedding Band or DJ for Your Wedding Reception?

If you’re torn between live music and a wedding DJ for your big day, looking at the pros and cons of each will help you make your decision.

As you consider your options, don’t drive yourself too crazy. One is not “better” than the other. It’s a matter of preference. Wedding DJs and bands each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s dive right into it. 

Wedding Bands

wedding live bands

Live music brings a unique special level of entertainment to the party. It has the potential to create an unforgettable experience for you and your wedding guests!

The Pros

Here are the advantages of hiring a live band:

A Unique Experience

Bands provide extra charm to the big day. There’s something thrilling about watching musicians perform in front of you regardless of the genre of music. Live performances offer unique experience that is often reserved for special events; whereas DJs are seen much more frequently. Given that working with a live band is typically reserved for special events, your wedding day is an appropriate opportunity to do so.

Cater to The Entire Crowd

A wedding band could be a better option than a DJ when it comes to catering to a crowd with different tastes in music. There’s something about a great live performance that can be enjoyed by everyone. You can also have your playlist packed with the music everyone can enjoy because wedding bands like Rouge or 26 Orchestra extremely versatile.

Entertainment for Those Who Don’t Like to Dance

While most people expect their guests to dance at their wedding, it is possible that not everyone will dance all night, and sitting around watching other people dance isn’t always entertaining. However, when you hire a band, your guests won’t have to move to the dance floor to enjoy the music!

Interaction with the Crowd

Live bands bring a unique personality to any event. The audience will be captivated as the band plays.  A good band will interact with the crowd and adapt to their needs for a truly unique performance.

The Cons

Here are some of the drawbacks of hiring a wedding band:


The cost of hiring a band for your wedding is the most significant downside. Because bands are more expensive than wedding DJs, many couples opt for the more economical option. Despite the high cost of hiring a big band, several couples do so because of the numerous advantages associated as mentioned above.

Bands Need More Space

ADJ takes up less space than a band. If you have your heart set on a band, you will have to ensure that your venue has enough space for them to perform and set up their equipment.

A Wedding DJ

wedding DJ live

In contrast to a band, which has a defined repertoire, a competent DJ can play a broad range of genres, appeal to a wide range of interests, and quickly obtain your favorite tunes if they aren’t in his or her collection already. If you have guests that love to dance, a wedding DJ may be a more suitable option for your wedding reception.

The Pros

Here are the pros of getting a professional DJ to play music at your wedding:

Cost-effective Option

You can expect to pay a lot less for a wedding DJ than you would for a wedding band. DJs are a more affordable option, and they bring the equipment they need to perform at your wedding with them. Many DJs also offer a number of special effects, such as a smoke machine or lights, which bands typically don’t offer.

A Wider Range of Music

Apart from the money you can expect to save, hiring an experienced DJ can open the door to all kinds of music. The range of songs your DJ can play during your wedding is another key advantage. Whether you choose to party to pop tunes, rap, international music or disco funk, a good DJ would have hits in each genre.

Guests can also make special music requests, and the DJ will almost certainly be able to accommodate them. The wide range of music also means that a DJ can better cater to the needs of a more diverse crowd, ensuring that there’s something for everyone, young and old.

The Cons

Here are the drawbacks of choosing a DJ:

Less “Entertaining” (One-man-show)

One of the most prominent drawbacks is perceived entertainment. With a DJ it’s less about the performance and all about the music. It’s a lot more understated than having a large live band.

Limited Song Requests

Some wedding DJs also have a pre-determined playlist and only allow certain requests, even from the bride and groom! If you’re going with a DJ, it’s so important that you meet with them beforehand to discuss the terms of service, so there are no surprises on the big day.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Wedding DJs and Wedding Bands

wedding live band

Before settling on a wedding band or DJ for your wedding reception, consider the following factors:

1.  Your Budget

Weddings are expensive. The first thing you’ll want to take into account is your budget and which form of entertainment best suits your needs. Bear in mind that the amount of money you set aside for reception entertainment will influence your choice of a wedding DJ or band.

How Much Can You Expect to Pay for a Live Wedding Band?

A live band will almost always be more expensive to hire than a DJ. A band cost anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000+.  The wide variance can be attributed a number of variables. This includes the number of band members, the cost of travel, as well as the use of their instruments and sound equipment. In general, the larger the live band, the higher the price.

What Can You Expect to Pay for a Wedding DJ?

Furthermore, if your wedding venue is far away, many live bands and DJs will charge an additional travel fee. The average wedding DJ cost is anywhere from $2,000 to upwards of $10,000 depending on the credibility and reputation of the DJ.  In general, the more experienced the DJ is, the more you can expect to pay for his or her services.

The entertainment costs also include the use of any additional equipment, song requests, lighting, and the actual performance time. Some live bands will charge extra for learning and performing new material, while DJs may charge extra for making special mixes.

2.  The Type of Vibe or Mood You’re Going for

Consider the type of wedding you’re planning before making your choice.  Is it a quiet family dinner or a big dance party? Will people be dancing at the event, or are your wedding guests more conservative and expected to be more interested in catching up and chatting?

The answers to these questions will help you choose the right wedding entertainment. A string quartet might be perfect for setting a delicate and romantic tone for a modest dinner reception, while live music from a large band or a wedding DJ is sure to get the party started and encourage people to move to the dance floor.

As mentioned previously, wedding bands serve as a focal point no matter what you’re going for and offer entertainment for dancing and non-dancing wedding guests.

On the other hand, a skilled DJ who specializes in the genre of music you prefer for your wedding can help you build a lively, party atmosphere. 

Bear in mind that a DJ will play pre-recorded music, so you and your guests will be familiar with it and may even sing along. On the other hand, a cover band may bring the house down with solos performances and surprising twists on old favorites. Take those factors into account when planning the atmosphere of your special day.

3.  Music Genres and Themes

The theme of the party could influence the entertainment. If you’re planning a Great Gatsby-themed wedding, for example, you may need to hire a wedding band that focuses on music from the 1920s or hire a DJ who is well acquainted with and can play music from that era.

4.  Venue and Location

Certain limitations can apply depending on the venue. Consider elements like physical space, electrical constraints, and even noise restrictions. These factors can influence whether you choose a wedding band or DJ.

Live wedding bands require more room to accommodate more members, equipment, and other requirements. A DJ might simply need a tiny table and some room for massive speakers.

Before arranging your wedding reception entertainment, be sure to check in with your venue . Don’t have your heart set on a large live band only to discover that the venue can’t handle the band’s requirements. 

Keep in mind that the further away the venue is, the greater the cost. Because wedding bands need to transport more band members and equipment than DJs, the cost of hiring a wedding band may be considerably greater.

5.  Your Guests

You’re hosting a celebration for your friends and family to enjoy. Before you choose your entertainment, think about the people that will attend. Consider your guests’ ages as well as the group’s overall interests.

Your wedding DJ or band can put together list of songs that includes different genres and decades to suit various age groups.

Keep in mind that all of the songs a wedding band will perform will be covers, so it’s important you have an idea of what it will song like. Song choices may also be limited, so a band may not be the best option for a younger crowd.

Looking for a Professional Wedding Band or DJ?

wedding bands

Planning your wedding is a special time, and finding the right entertainment is important.

With LIV Entertainment, you can rest assured that you’re getting tried and tested professionals in their respective genres. We have a wide range of wedding bands and DJs to cater to your needs, including cocktail bands, cover bands, jazz bands, and more!

To find out more or make a booking, contact us at 310-699-9825 or complete the online form to hear back from us!


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