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Wedding Entertainment Options: DJ Verses Live Band

Wedding Entertainment Options: DJ Verses Live Band

If you can’t decide who should play your wedding tunes, check out our simple guide of DJ verses Live Band to help you find the right music maker for your big day!

Music and entertainment is the make or break of a wedding celebration and is the heart and soul of the party that can either send your guests home with smiling memories or grimacing frowns. Whether it’s a talented live band or a quick-fingered DJ you’re after, you’ve got the find the right one that suits you, and finding one is a matter of surfing the internet, asking friends and fine-tuning your talent-spotting ears. And of course, let’s not forget that quality wedding acts get booked up to a year in advance, so once you’ve made the find, you need to move in quick. But before this stage, think about your entertainment options; you personal music taste, your budget, venue space, guest demographics, and prepare to keep an open mind as you begin your search!

Mood and Atmosphere

Music will set the tone and vibe for your wedding and solidify your running theme, ultimately being the thing people most often remember about your day. Your choice of musical style may generally steer you to an easy decision between a DJ or live band. For example, if you love Rat Pack and big band music, these are often best performed live, but if it’s chart toppers you’re into, these can be delivered efficiently by a DJ.

Be Eclectic!

It’s unlikely that you and your spouse-to-be have EXACTLY the same tastes in music, so be sure to include a variety of styles into your requested repertoire and appeal to the masses. A collection of old and new tracks, fast and slow songs can encourage different sets of guests to hit the dance floor – from hyper children, to grumpy teenagers right through to Grandma and Grandpa! This can achieved through either a DJ or live band.

Money Money Money

Budget is everything when planning a wedding, and the price war between DJ’s and bands will see the former charging less, but all prices vary depending on various specifics relating to your day – set-up time, time to travel, length of performance etc. If you have your heart set on a 7-piece Salsa band then obviously you can expect to pay more – after all there are 7 people to pay – but the quality and experience you receive by their performance is fundamentally priceless, and one that cannot be mimicked by a DJ.

Venue Space and Limits

Before beginning to hunt for wedding entertainment for hire check with your venue about the amount of space available and whether they have any noise limitations and curfews. Having a sound limiter will most likely mean choosing a DJ, as there is only so far a live band can ‘quieten down’ before air-drumming to ensure they don’t trip the power! The amount of space and the access to power supply is another important factor that may sway your decision.


Live music is tantalizing, exciting, interactive and provides something really quite special for wedding receptions. They have the ultimate prowess to encourage your guests up onto the dance floor and can perfectly complement and enhance your chosen theme and atmosphere of your wedding with almost every type of style – from harmonicas, bagpipes, ceilidh’s, 70’s, 80’s, tributes and even space-themed bands. The bandleader will also be experienced in acting as the great master of ceremonies, interacting with your guests, enticing them to ‘party-on-down’ and monitoring the ‘feel’ of the room and adjusting the set list accordingly.

The Pros:

– Music is made right before your eyes and will inspire and leave your guests in a state of awe.
– The level of interaction between band and audience is second to none.
– A band can create a unique energy and atmosphere in the room.
– Bands provide visual entertainment as well as audio performances.-
– A specific type of band can complete a wedding theme (for example, an Irish wedding and Ceilidh band, a 1940’s wedding and swing band, or a fairytale wedding and an orchestra).
– Musicians can freely change the tempo of tracks to accommodate a tired bride or a hyper groom.

– Live music really invokes emotion.

The Cons:

– Repertoire can be limited
– Band’s can use a lot of space and a lot of power
– They are generally more expensive than DJ’s
– Musicians are human and they need a break and water.


Modern disc jockeys are very different to the ones we remember with the cheesy flashing lights and the patronising radio-style narrative voice. Nowadays many wedding DJs have a very elegant booth with state of the art mood lighting and can play a variety of tracks, and thanks to modern technology DJs can template playlists, genres, styles and take requests at the click of finger. DJ’s can also play sound effects and provide humour to a reception, reading the audience and making the music flow smoothly.


– DJs have an extensive repertoire and can play requests.
– A single booth takes up little space in a venue.
– You only have one person to pay, so DJs are generally cheaper than bands.
– The tracks are played just as you remember them.
– Volume can be adjusted easily and quickly.

– There won’t be any break, and music can play all night long.


– Bored or those on ‘autopilot’ can lead to dull and unpleasing narratives in between tracks.
– There are no real visual delights of the performance.
– Improvisation is tough, especially if you need to cut a song quickly.
– It’s not live!

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