There’s no doubt about it: Music can make or break a wedding celebration—think of it as the heart and soul of a reception. Hiring a talented band or DJ (or both!) is a given. But how do you find exactly what you want? It starts with asking yourself some basic questions—specifically, what type of entertainment suits your personal taste, budget, space allowances, guest demographics and killer dance moves best. Here, we list five things to know before you make your music choice.

1. You have a few things to consider.

Vibe: The type of music you pick can set the tone of your wedding and solidify a theme. And it’s the thing people most often remember. Think about what musical genre best reflects your personalities and inspires the ambience you want to create: back-in-times or a John Legend/ Ed Sheeran vibe? A throwback big band feel or kick-off-your-shoes for an intense 2010 soca session? The way the music is delivered—by live band or DJ—also affects the atmosphere. The type of music you want may also dictate your decision too—big band sounds are generally best live, for example.

Variety: Regardless of whether you choose a band or DJ, be sure they play slow and fast songs, as well as old and new tunes to encourage all guests to hit the dance floor.

Budget: In the price war, DJs generally cost less, and prices vary depending on equipment requests and whether it’s a weekday or weekend. A 12-piece band, for example, will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay. (There are always exceptions; well-known DJs such as DJ Private Ryan can be just as expensive as live bands.) Band prices vary by the number of musicians, the amount of time you want them to play for, day of the week and what time of year it is.

Space: Have your heart set on an eight-piece band? You first need to check whether the reception site has any restrictions on the number of musicians and pieces of equipment you may bring in, and whether there are any electrical power supply or noise limitations. For example, a registered landmark may not allow you to use large speakers. Ask these questions before you start scouting.

Pros of Hiring a Live Wedding Band

  1. Fun and Exciting

If you’ve ever been to a wedding with great live music, you know how much better it can make the event. Even if you weren’t particularly fond of the people getting married, you probably stuck around a little longer just to watch the band play.

Your guests will love the spontaneity of a live wedding band, and so will you! You never know when someone might break into a fun solo. Or, the lead singer could even tweak a song’s lyrics just for you!

2. Memorable

You’ve probably spent a fortune planning your wedding, and you’re not spending all that money so people can forget about it the very next day!

Your guests might not remember the flavor of your cake or the color of your bridesmaids’ dresses, but they will remember the talented musicians you had playing at your reception.

Good music can take your wedding from just a run-of-the-mill event to an evening people will be talking about for years to come.

3. Adaptable

Live musicians do a great job of picking up on an audience’s mood and transitioning from one song to another.

There’s no awkward starting and stopping with a live band. Wedding bands are especially good at smoothly adjusting and keeping your guests engaged.

Cons of Hiring a Live Wedding Band

  1. Expensive

A live wedding band — especially ones that don’t just sing bad covers all night — can be expensive. If you have room in your budget for one, great! If not, you might have to sacrifice something else to pay for the band.

2. Less Variety

Most bands specialize in only one style of music, which can dramatically limit your song selection. If variety is important to you, a band might not be the most practical option.

3. Take Up Extra Space

A band can also take up quite a bit of space. You might need to do some extra work to find a venue that can accommodate the band members and their instruments while still leaving room for everyone to dance.

4. Venue Regulations

How frustrating would it be to invest in a band, only to find out you’re not allowed to have live music at your wedding?

Some reception centers have noise limits and don’t allow live music. Make sure you find out if this is the case for your venue before you start looking for a band, it certainly isn’t at Signature Hall.

Pros of Hiring a DJ

  1. Good Balance

Do you love smooth classic jams and upbeat pop hits? It might be hard to find a band that can accommodate all your preferences. But, if you hire a DJ, you don’t have to choose just one style of music for your wedding reception.

DJs offer a wide range of music to suit all your guests’ tastes, and it’s easy for them to switch from one style to the next.

2. Take Up Less Space

A DJ requires far less space than a live wedding band, meaning there’s more room on the dance floor. It’s also easy for a DJ to relocate throughout the night if necessary. The whole party won’t have to stop while the musicians haul their instruments across the room.

3. Fewer Breaks

Musicians are human beings who will need to take breaks throughout the night. It’s an inconvenient truth, but they don’t stop needing food and water just because they’re playing at a wedding. These breaks can really put a damper on the energy in the room. If you want the party to go on all night long, a DJ is a better option. They usually don’t need to take any breaks!

Cons of Hiring a DJ

  1. Personality is Essential

Most DJs have a great stage presence. They’re fun and energetic and can turn your wedding reception into a real party. However, if you end up with a DJ like the one who worked at your highschool Mayfair, they can seriously affect the mood in the room.

When you’re looking for a wedding DJ, make sure you meet with candidates in person. That way, you’ll be more likely to end up with someone whose personality will enhance your wedding day instead of giving you painful high school flashbacks.

2. Less Appealing to Non-Dancers

You and your friends might love to hit the dance floor, but what about your other wedding guests? A live wedding band appeals to most people, even if they just want to tap their toes on the sidelines. But, music from a DJ can be a bit boring to people who aren’t interested in dancing.

It’s also awkward if there are only a couple of people dancing throughout the night. So, keep your guests’ personalities and preferences in mind when making your decision.

How to Find the Perfect Entertainment

No matter who you choose to entertain your guests, do your homework and take your time finding the best person for the job.

Some things you should do to make sure you’re hiring a good wedding band or DJ include:

  1. See Them Live

Watching a wedding band or DJ perform live is probably the best thing you can do when you start your search. Try to attend an event at which the band is performing or the DJ is working.

Also, if a band or DJ only gives you a CD of their work or a link to a video, you should definitely be skeptical.

2. Consider their Personality

In addition to musical ability, you’ll also want to pay attention to your potential entertainer’s personality when you see them live. Are they willing to take requests? Are they flexible if your guests don’t seem to like a particular song? Remember, especially in the case of a DJ, your entertainers’ energy and attitude can make or break the evening.

3. Know the Theme/Style of Music You Want

It’s great to have a particular theme or style of music played at your wedding. But, you need to establish it before you start meeting potential entertainers. Then, make sure that the band or DJ you’re interested in will stick to your preferences.

4. Make the Most of Your Special Day

Whether you choose a live wedding band or a DJ, the most important thing to remember is to live in the moment and have fun on your wedding day.

It’ll be over in a flash and, before you know it, you’ll be busy worrying about less glamorous things like kitchen remodeling.

This is the day that people spend their whole lives dreaming of. So, don’t forget to enjoy the big event!

Choosing  a Venue to host your big day is even more important than choosing between a live band and a DJ! Signature Hall may be the right fit for you- Call our office at 222-8896 to set up a site visit and inquire about our availabilities.