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Reception Music – Band or DJ?

This weekend, the Hitched Events team was at Perkins Chapel at SMU and The Room on Main for Chelsea and Danny’s wedding. Not only was the bride gorgeous, the food fantastic, and decor beautiful, but guests danced the night away with the Downtown Fever Band. The always entertaining band got the crowd on the dance floor with a mix of classic party hits and newer pop favorites.

Since reception entertainment is so important (and can really make or break a party), couples should really spend some time thinking about what musical entertainment is going to be best for them – band or DJ. There’s certainly no one right answer, but I thought I’d put together a few pros and cons to get you thinking about which option might be best for you!


  • Pros: There’s no doubt that having the right band can certainly take the energy up a notch! For guests that aren’t really into dancing, a band provides not only music to dance to, but also a show. Even guests sitting at their tables will be entertained! Plus, special dances like the bride and groom’s first dance, father/daughter dance, or even private last dance can be performed by a live singer. Nothing like being serenaded on your wedding day!
  • Cons: The biggest downside to having a band is the expense. Not only will a band cost you more than a DJ in most cases (although there are a handful of DJ’s whose price point rivals some of the least expensive bands), but it’s often not the cost of the band alone that you have to think about. Adding a stage for the band to play on, food for all the band members, plus keeping in mind extra expenses like tips, a band can certainly take up a much bigger portion of your budget than a DJ will.


  • Pros: A DJ, even one with many years of experience, is almost always less expensive than a band. And not just a little less expensive… think thousands of dollars less! Plus, for couples who want non-traditional music played at their reception or even just prefer the original recorded versions of songs, a DJ is the way to go. A DJ will have thousands of songs available at his or her finger tips and can certainly take care of special song requests in advance. If the size or configuration of your room is of any concern, a DJ may also work best as they take up much less space than a band. Give them a 6-foot table and access to an electrical outlet, and your DJ is good to go!
  • Cons: Using a DJ will be less of a “show” than having a band. For non-dancing guests, there won’t be much to watch, other than the other guests dancing.

Entertainment can really make or break your wedding reception, so regardless if you go with a band or a DJ, it’s important to go with quality professionals. You don’t want your second cousin who is just starting to think about getting into DJ’ing to start practicing at your wedding. And your neighbor’s sons garage band will probably not have the necessary experience, equipment or repertoire to pull off your wedding reception either. Skimping on costs by hiring a non-pro friend in either category is not the way to go. Trust me on this.


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