man playing bass guitar at a wedding reception

So you've made some pretty important decisions so far. You've probably chosen the theme, colors, and the flowers for the wedding. You may be in the process of choosing bridesmaids dresses and how the wedding cake is going to look (did you remember the grooms cake?) but one of the most important decisions you have to make is probably still on the backburner because you just don't know which choice to go with: "Should I choose a band or a DJ for my event?" Luckily, we're here to go through the list of pros and cons of each, trying to be as impartial as possible, so you can have the best experience possible at your next wedding, quinceanera or other awesome parties.

Researching Your Entertainment Options

If you've done any research so far to hire a DJ or a band, you have probably already discovered some of the pros and cons of each for yourself. But if you are just starting the process and really wanting to know what some of the benefits and disadvantages as to one over the other, we're glad you're starting here. While we have been in the business for over 20 years, we know a thing or two about the pros and cons of hiring DJs over bands, but aside from that, we have also decided to take a look around the web to see what others have thought on the subject as well, just to prove we were really trying to be unbiased! What you will find in this article is years' worth of our experiences as well as what we found when we looked around the web based on others' experiences. What we wound up with is a pretty detailed article with a lot to offer you in terms of actual reasons people chose one or the other. We hope it helps you in your decision-making process so you can get back to the important things like deciding on chocolate or vanilla.

What Kind of Event Are You Hosting?

One question that may help you narrow down your choices would be to think about what kind of event are you having. Is it a wedding? Is it a birthday party? Is it a corporate retreat? Thinking about the mood of the event you will be throwing will help you determine the music, the person or people providing the music, as well as the overall vibe you want to have at your event. When you're throwing a private birthday party, you might want to make a big show of it and have an actual live band playing covers of your favorite songs. Or maybe you would rather just have one person playing your favorite music versus a whole 5 piece band. These types of decisions can really help you narrow down the field.

DJs can make great emcees, besides just being able to play music and some can even provide ambiance equipment and dance floors for you and your guests to enjoy during the party. Many, many weddings we've helped with, enjoy our DJs taking requests for certain songs or types of music. But if you're hosting a quiet, more intimate and formal event setting, you may not feel as though a DJ fits with the theme of your event and would prefer having a string quartet, for instance, instead.

No matter what you are doing or the type of party you're throwing, keeping in mind the mood of the guests and overall space and that will help you determine whether you might prefer a DJ or a live band.

DJs: Pros and Cons

Some people may feel as though DJs will make their party or wedding feel like they are going out dancing and drinking at the club, but that simply isn't the case (all of the time). DJs are well-trained emcees as well as playlist operators and can also help make announcements and transitions from one part of the reception or event to the next. Because of this adaptability, among other positive aspects (like being less expensive) DJs are a very popular choice for weddings, and other, similar life events.

But don't just take our word for it! Take a look at the list below to see all the reasons we've compiled for you based on our experience and research:


  • DJs are built-in emcees. They can easily entertain a room and can take over as a Master of Ceremonies, in case your other options become otherwise... Occupied. (We see Uncle Larry has had a wee too many trips to the open bar..)
  • Some DJs offer their own lighting and ambiance equipment to further amp up the level of excitement and entertainment for you and your guests.
  • Some DJs offer their own dance floor equipment, taking one more thing off of your plate.
  • DJs have computer systems that hold a giant catalog of music of all types; from jazz to samba or rock and roll to pop.
  • DJs don't have to know the songs to play them, luckily technology makes it an easy type and search.
  • The songs you'll hear from a DJ are not covers and you'll listen to the original artist's version.
  • DJs can capitalize on moments happening on the fly, taking up the microphone to take advantage of centering the attention all on you and your new beau or on your precious grandma dancing all over the dance floor.
  • DJs generally cost quite a bit less than a live band or orchestra because there is only one person versus a few people to perform the job.
  • DJs can "read the room" and adjust the music accordingly from slow to fast or anywhere in between, in case Granpa Joe and Grammy are slow dancing while everyone watches or the teens in the room are starting to get low while the adults laugh. Adjustments can be easily made.
  • They can work in smaller spaces without a lot of equipment.
  • There is no lull in the music during transitions or during different events in your wedding or party.

  • Cons

  • Of course, DJs are not actually playing the music live.
  • DJs don't actually have musical instruments.
  • Some DJs may not mesh well with your party's vibe or have a poor personality, which can wreck a good mood.
  • It's only 1 person, where as bands have more than 1 person which adds to the vibe of the night.
  • The DJ will stick to exactly what songs you are wanting, where as bands can play on the fly.

  • Bands: Pros and Cons

    Bands are another popular choice when looking at entertainment options for weddings or other special occasions, but they do tend to cost a bit more due to the fact that there are more people to pay. However, nothing can really take the place or experience of a live band or orchestra playing a beautiful or emotional melody, and people that may not like dancing can still get into the performance simply by watching.

    There are certainly some pros to hiring a live band, so take a look at our list below to help you make your own decision:


  • Live bands are fun to watch and experience, even if you don't dance.
  • A good band's playlist will almost certainly include very popularly requested songs.
  • A live band or orchestra can bring a certain drama and flair to the event. They simply can be more exciting to see.
  • Bands are memorable for your guests and you because they perform during your event.
  • Live bands and orchestras can bring a more formal feeling to the event if you really want that black suit and tie kind of vibe.

  • Cons

  • Some bands and orchestras may not take requests.
  • They may not know all of the songs you would like them to play. (We mean, really, how can a live band play "The Wobble"?)
  • The band or orchestra may have a very small repertoire, limiting the amount of or type of music they can play. If they only know jazz, for instance, you may not be able to hear big band music.
  • Live performers (of almost any kind) are more expensive, which can mean you cannot afford them. An average live band can start at around $3,000.
  • Bands, and certainly orchestras, require more room for more people and their equipment/musical instruments as they play.
  • When a band takes a break, there is not always music playing, unless someone has a backup stereo option to play while they are gone.
  • Sadly, not all venues will allow live music, so live bands could potentially be a problem.
  • Booking times can be many months in advance for a band.

  • Other Things to Consider When Choosing Bands vs. DJs

    Besides the type of event you are hosting, there are a few other items to think about when you are deciding between a live band and a DJ for your party.

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