Wedding DJ vs Band: Which Should You Hire?

Hire a band or DJ for your wedding? Austin's Best DJs

Hire a band or DJ for your wedding?

Should You Hire a Band or DJ for Your Event/Wedding?

Should you hire a band or DJ for your wedding or event? This is a popular question and the answer is: it depends on your needs. When it comes to weddings one thing is for sure: music can certainly make or break your wedding reception! Before deciding on whether to hire a wedding band or hire a wedding DJ, there are a few things to consider. ​

The Knot conducted a poll on what guests remember most from a wedding, and overwhelmingly, the guests said they remembered the food and music! So now the question is, what are the main differences between a wedding DJ vs a band, for your wedding or event? There are pros and cons when you hire a band or DJ for your wedding. Let’s discuss those, now. 

Wedding DJ vs Band Considerations

Atmosphere

The first thing to consider whether to hire a band or DJ is, what type of vibe or atmosphere are you going for? You have to consider your theme, if you have one, as well as what music genre best represents your personalities, as a couple. Maybe you have a Roaring 20’s theme, or a rustic, Texas country vibe. Whatever the vibe is, be sure your music choice reflects this. Decide who can best reflect your vibe, whether it’s a band or DJ. 

Music and Genre Preferences

Next, you also have to consider what type of music genres and preferences you may want to be played at your wedding or event. Additionally, will your guests all want to hear the same music genres, too? Ask for a playlist of songs that the band is able to play. Be sure to also ask if there are songs that you can request that they play. If you’re opting for a DJ, be sure to ask what genres the DJs play and if your DJ is also able to get specific songs, or take requests. 

If possible, find out if you can see the band or DJ, live. Many bands and DJs will play public events that you can go to and hear them for yourself. If this isn’t possible, see if there are any videos available of any past performances. Also, be sure to read reviews from various websites, to see what actual clients are saying. Reviews within the last 3 months are definitely going to be the most important, since it will tell you how they’re performing, now. 

Other Important Considerations

Venue Size

Another thing to consider is the size of the venue where your wedding or event will be. Talk to the venue manager about where the bands or DJs usually set up. Bands usually require more space than a DJ, depending on the DJ’s set up and the size of the venue. Generally, we ask for about an 8 ft X 8 ft area to set up our DJ equipment (as well as our photo booth area). 

Sound Ordinances

If your event is at an outdoor venue, or near a residential area, be sure to ask about noise ordinances. In our area, they usually require the sound to be less than 85 decibels for outdoor events. The venue manager also usually has a decibel reader to be sure your band or DJ is complying with this. This is extremely important when considering whether to hire a band or DJ for your wedding. 

If it’s louder and the venue gets a complaint, the venue is often warned or even fined, and they may pass this cost onto you. Other times, the police may even ask the venue to stop the entire event, due to noise complaints, and it can happen on the first complaint, without a warning, at the police officer’s discretion. 

Power Requirements

Whether you hire a band or DJ, both bands and DJs need power outlets. Usually, a DJ will only need one standard power outlet on its own breaker. A band will likely need more power since there are more musicians and more instruments to amplify. Be sure that wherever the band or DJ is setting up has the necessary power outlets. 

Cost to Hire a Wedding DJ vs a Band

Generally speaking, bands usually cost more than a DJ. If you’re on a budget, this may be the only statement you need to know when considering whether to hire a band or DJ. However, there are exceptions.

If you’re hiring a very experienced DJ or DJ company, they are likely more expensive than other DJs. DJs and DJ companies, on average, charge about $1200 or more, for a wedding reception. This can certainly cost more or less, depending on your area or region of the country, how much competition there is in your area, how long the DJ/company has been established, etc. 

Bands, on the other hand, are generally more expensive, since there are more people to pay. A large band with several band members will definitely cost more than a smaller band. Other factors that affect pricing are the day (weekdays are usually less than weekends), and the time (daytime events are usually less than evenings/nights).

The time of year also matters (winter events can often be less expensive than spring or fall events, at least in central Texas). Even summer events can be cheaper in the central Texas area since it’s ridiculously hot, so summer events can often be less expensive.

Pros & Cons of Hiring a Wedding Band

After you’ve considered all of the above information, it’s time to look at the pros and cons of hiring a band. As always, we do our best to provide unbiased info on whether to hire a band or DJ. Let’s discuss the band options, now. 

Pros

  • Live music is always a crowd favorite and usually, a band is regarded as “more sophisticated” than a DJ. 
  • The band can create a different vibe by making songs their own, like adding in an impromptu guitar solo, or having a member of the audience be a guest singer! 
  • The stage presence of a band is the focus of the event. Bands will put on a show that your guests will love! 
  • A great bandleader can also be a great MC if he/she provides this. 

Cons

  • Live bands are always much more expensive than a DJ. Usually, double the cost or more. 
  • Bands need more space than a DJ does. If you’re limited on space, this can be an issue.
  • Limited music selection. A band can only play songs that they know, so be sure to ask what their music setlist songs are, before booking.
  • Bands take breaks. A band will usually take one, maybe two breaks, at an event, depending on the length of the event. You’ll need to figure out what will happen during their breaks.
  • Venue limitations may prevent you from having a live band, especially outdoor only venues. Be sure to ask your venue manager.

Pros & Cons of Hiring a Wedding DJ

Pros

I know you think we’ll be biased about whether to hire a band or DJ, but we promise to remain objective. 🙂 Here’s the list:

  • DJs can play a variety of music, easily. You’ll simply need to provide your playlist ideas in advance. 
  • You’ll hear the exact songs you know and love, and not a live rendition of them (though some people don’t mind live versions). 
  • DJs usually take up less space and have fewer power requirements than a band. This is particularly important if space is a concern at your venue.
  • DJs usually don’t take breaks, so the music and the dance will go on, all night, without interruption. 
  • DJs will often MC your event. 
  • DJ companies may also offer a variety of other options for your wedding, such as uplighting, a fun photo booth rental, and many other options that bands may not offer. 

Cons

  • DJs are often very different, and therefore, their personalities may also be very different. You may hire a DJ who wants to act like he/she is the star of the show, and constantly make your wedding about him/her and not you.
  • You may also get the DJ who says “I don’t talk on the microphone” and you’ll be stuck having to find someone to MC.
  • People who don’t dance will often prefer a band since they can simply be near the stage and watch the band perform, maybe tap their feet, or clap along. Those same people will not stand in front of a DJ booth and watch the DJ, all night. 
  • Many DJ companies will hire brand new, inexperienced DJs, which may impact your wedding. You’ll definitely need to find out exactly who will be the DJ at your wedding, before hiring them. 
  • Many DJs are unreliable, unfortunately. People will often DJ as a side hustle, and may not take it as seriously as their regular job. They may decide they don’t want to DJ your wedding anymore since a higher paying event came up, or they just want the weekend off. Sadly, this happens a lot. We hate to hear this from clients, but this is another reason to hire the professionals who will give you a contract and guarantee they’ll be there! 

Other Option – Hire Both! 

Are you still stuck choosing whether to hire a band or DJ for your wedding? Just remember, it’s totally your choice on who to hire. Be sure to get a contract with the DJ or band, and be sure to do your research beforehand. We’ve done weddings with a band and a DJ, and the people had so much fun! If it’s in your budget, you can get the best of both worlds!

This way, you don’t have to compare a wedding DJ vs a band, or whether to hire a band or DJ only! 🙂 If you’re looking to hire a great DJ or photo booth rental for your Austin, San Antonio, or central Texas event, fill out our contact form, today. Let’s celebrate, together!

​- Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths

Leave a Reply

Close Menu