by Christie Brogan {3.10.17}

Along with the 1001 other decisions you will have to make during the wedding planning process, one that needs to be addressed pretty early on is “DJ vs. Band”. Actually, lets rephrase that statement…you don’t have to decide right away, but you need to have some idea of which direction you and your beloved are leaning. Why? Because, as you will find, each decision will impact another decision. In the case of DJ vs Band, there are Pros and Cons to each. What it boils down to is personal preference. What you do want is a great party making “the entertainment” critical.

Wherever your preference lies, here are a few things to consider:

DJ Brian Hood

Budget – The budget may well become the bane of your existence by the time you actually reach the aisle. (And, you will find that it comes up in almost every wedding planning conversation.) The long and the short, when it comes to DJ vs Band, 99.9% of the time a DJ is a much more cost effective option…typically, by thousands of dollars. However, if a band is “must” for your wedding day, know that you may have to trim in another area of the budget to keep things in line.

“The Footprint” on the Floor Plan – The “footprint” or amount of space required for a DJ vs Band is very, very different. As you might expect, the band requires substantially more space in the venue than a DJ setup. Here are side-by-side examples of what each scenario looks like in Bakery 105 with seats for 175 guests. If you have plans for lots of “extras” (read: photo booth, whiskey bar, escort card table, etc., etc., etc.) the DJ might be a better choice. The DJ vs. Band question will most certainly be impacted if you plan to host both your ceremony and reception in the same location. Bands often require extensive load-in and sound check time (you do want them to sound good after all), but logistically those needs cannot always be met in the midst of flipping the room from ceremony to reception. In the example given below, you see how the band is set off to the right of the room. In the event of the ceremony flip to reception, the band would already be setup before the start of the ceremony (behind draping) and in place for the turn of the room and the reception start.

Know Your Audience – Who are your guests? Will they enjoy 2+ hours of rock music or 80s covers? Your wedding is yours and should reflect the personalities and favorites of you and your honey, but the rock cover band might not be the best choice. And, if a Band is a “must have” for you, choose one who can do a variety of music and entertain a wide demographic. DJs certainly lack the “LIVE” music feel, but they typically come with a huge library of music and (the good DJs) are great at “reading the crowd” (meaning: they get a sense of who makes up the crowd) and can adjust the playlist accordingly.

At this point we have to include a “Bakery 105 Real Wedding Story” about a couple a few years back that LOVED a local rock music cover band. The band is great. Very talented. And always draw a big crowd wherever they play. The bride and groom were die hard fans of the band and had to have them play the wedding reception. Rock Music Cover Band meet decidedly “older” guest list. Almost as soon as the band started playing, half of the guests moved to the outdoor courtyard or called it a night. 

So, know your audience…in this case, your guest list. And, although the day is about the two of you, be considerate of the people who are coming to share in the special day.

Contracts and Requirements – This is all about reading the fine print. In both cases you will receive a contract outlining the agreed upon fee, contracted hours to play, etc. In both cases, be sure the times match the times you have contracted with your venue. In both cases, thoroughly read the cancellation policy or the “if I can’t be there” clause. And, read the Band Rider! This document spells out the specific requirements the band has for playing any “gig”. This often includes a contracted hot meal for each band member, a room or designated private area to change, specifications for setup/breakdown time, etc. When you sign on the dotted line, know what you are signing and any extra responsibilities you are agreeing to in the contract.

All this food for thought aside, finding a great DJ or Band can be tricky. Our recommendation is to ask for suggestions. We are always happy to provide a few options for a great DJ or Band. If you ask a few people, you may find the same handful of names come up.  These entertainers have proven themselves, professional, timely, and all around good at what they do. And, always check out online reviews…there’s no better place to find out what other couples have to say about their experience.

Next week…The Truth about Floor Plan and Flow


Christie Brogan {Co-Owner & Partner – 128 South and Bakery 105 in Wilmington, NC. Entrepreneur, Event Planner, Wedding Geek, Writer, Business Innovator, Idea Maker, Boot Camp Betty, Yoga Nut, Animal Lover, Avid Reader}