Should you hire a Band or Professional Wedding DJ?

October 14th, 2015 pulsedj

Part 1 of a 3 Part Article

When searching for entertainment for your wedding, you are faced with many major decisions; one can be whether to hire a live band or DJ?

Pulse Entertainment, a Professional North Carolina based Wedding Disc-Jockey with over 20 years of experience would like to share a few tips to help couples make the best entertainment decisions.  In this three part series I will try to remain unbiased toward my own profession.  There are good points for having a live band, or a DJ,  and a few things to keep in mind when deciding.  Sometimes couples choose to hire both a DJ and live musicians, and when your budget allows it, that can be a great option. I have worked with bands and live musicians many times, and now I would like to offer some tips based on my own experience.

Part I: The Ceremony Music Band OR DJ.

THE PRO’S: A band offers a live version of songs chosen by the couple or based on a theme designed by the couple that the band follows. It certainly offers a nice “look” and “feel” when you have a guitarist, a violinist & cellist, or a saxophonist , harpist, and/or flutist playing the prelude and ceremony music. The live musicians offer a wow factor and it looks great in pictures.  The sound they provide, when they’re really good, is hard to compare with pre-recorded music, it’s just much more intimate and personal.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND: If you aren’t getting married in a Church, and your venue does not have it’s own PA system, you will still need someone to run the microphone sound levels for the officiant and vows to be heard.  When I consult with clients, the number one complaint I hear with regard to Ceremonies is “we couldn’t hear the vows”.  If the band offers a PA for your officiant and vows, make sure they will personally control the sound and not simply set it and forget it.  I have seen disasters with this approach!  Some people speak more softly than others and the person controlling the sound can adjust for this. I even attended a Wedding where the Microphone and PA System was set-up (and the responsibility of the best man to operate) and the microphone was never even turned on.  The Wedding Party had no idea until after the ceremony that no one could hear them.

Professional North Carolina Wedding  DJs meet with the officiant just prior to the ceremony to make sure they understand the proper use of the mic, to assist in important cues during the ceremony, and what to do in the case of an equipment failure…make sure your DJ or Band does this to avoid any problems which could ruin your Ceremony.  If the Band doesn’t have a PA system for the officiant and vows, you may need a DJ to provide the Ceremony sound system, which is usually an additional cost…If your budget is a concern, remember that the DJ can provide the sound support for the ceremony as well as play all of your prelude and ceremony music for a nominal additional cost, while bands/musicians can cost quite a bit more.   Also, Bands often have multiple members who all come with many pieces of equipment that can take up quite a bit of space. The musicians may have several amps or instruments that require electrical outlets to be available while a DJ requires only 1 outlet. Also, many musicians play by reading sheet music which means between songs you may have a “gap of silence” while they prepare the next song.  DJ’s come prepared with a full list of music selected by the couple or based on the DJ’s experience and the general wishes of the couple, and there is no gap in the music.  DJs usually only need one speaker and a wireless microphone and laptop (and some backup equipment for emergencies), so they take up very little space and are not a focal point of attention. Finally, (this one is very important!)  if you hire a musician or band, it is crucial that you hear them play live.  You don’t have to hear a DJ play live, because a DJ is playing pre-recorded music that you know will sound great…as long as the sound system is a good one and the DJ is experienced with performing Ceremonies, but a live musician who provides a “demo” may have polished the recording to perfection but when it comes time to play live, they simply aren’t that good.  Ask to see them play live, at least for those key Processional songs you’ve chosen.  We don’t want to step on any toes, we simply want to caution our clients to make certain the musicians they hire are proficient players.

There are many reasons why you should or should not hire a band and/or a DJ.  Bands are not my competition and I love to work together with them side by side, sharing the entertainment responsibilities while we usually act as the MC.  It’s comparing apples to oranges when you really consider everything you get from both types of entertainment.  Your decision should be about what will make your night fun, entertaining, stress-free, and an event that you and your guests will never forget. We hope you always make confident choices and consider all the details.

Part 2 of this blog will focus on Cocktail Hour and Dinner Music Band OR DJ?

I wish you love, happiness, an awesome wedding and a beautiful future.




Leave a Reply