Making a Case: Live Band or DJ?


Music is one of the most important details of the big day, and believe it or not, something that needs to be thought of well in advance because good DJs and live bands book up fast. For some couples, deciding between a live band and a DJ is a no-brainer (they have family friends in a band, they want to customize a playlist with a DJ, etc.). However, other couples are left scratching their heads wondering what the best option for their big day is. Not to worry! We’ve broken down the pros and cons of each below, which will hopefully reveal the best music source for your wedding.



  • Nothing beats live music — the energy, the emotion and the presence. Think of it as a personal live concert of all your favorite songs.
  • If you hire an experienced band, chances are they are pros at keeping people entertained and enticing even the most hesitant guests out on the floor to bust a move.
  • For those guests too stubborn to dance, they can at least enjoy the band’s live performance.


  • They can be $$$$ and may stretch the budget too far for some couples.
  • A band’s repertoire is limited. A DJ has access to any song, genre, tempo, artist and more. The sky is the limit.
  • A band requires more space and logistical set-up. Thus, you must ensure your venue can accommodate those needs.



  • More affordable than a live band.
  • Can work in tight spaces with minimal equipment.
  • Bottomless repertoire, playing any genre, artist, etc.
  • Generally the music is continuous, avoiding the dreaded “break” that a band usually works into its contract.
  • A DJ can also coordinate the music for the ceremony and dinner portions of the wedding.
  • A DJ can take in-the-moment requests from guests. *Fun idea: In your wedding invitations, include a song request line on your RSVP for a fun way to involve guests. They’ll love hearing their song play at the reception!
  • A good DJ will double as the MC to make announcements and keep the flow fluid.


  • If your DJ is just good — not great — it can ruin the energy of the entire reception. Our advice: Arrange to see him dj an actual wedding.
About the Author
I'm a lover of words, wit, whimsy, weddings and lifestyle content. I die for all things decadent and dreamy — from a French pastry-like floating tulle wedding gown to a velvety soup to a soft cashmere throw. I come from a lifestyle magazine and editorial background, having contributed to publications like Southern Living, Southern Living Weddings and Portland Bride & Groom. While home is Portland, Ore., I'm currently living in Europe, scouting the latest tastes and trends.

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