Ultimate Guide to Booking a DJ, or a Live Band, or Both for your Wedding Evening Party.

Most couples when considering booking entertainment for their wedding will nearly always opt for a DJ, and quite right too as a great DJ is always far better than a mediocre band. Conversely, a good live band can provide the energy that recorded music will find it hard to compete with. However, some couples who also like Live Music will opt for a Live Band, and some without even considering booking both a band & a DJ.

 So, if without thinking things through properly, the train of thought for a couple planning their wedding party reception is the decision to book either a DJ or a Live Band, One or the other, to entertain them and their guests, what are the pros and cons of both? Band versus DJ.

 Pros for Booking a DJ  

 A DJ is more affordable than a band

A DJ is more versatile than a band in being able to change things around to suit the mood and style of your guests.

A DJ has a massive song repertoire and will be able to play any song or any genre that you require, or that the night or your guests may take you to

A DJ is more adaptable and can change things around to suit any mixed music taste audience to ensure your party is memorable.

A DJ can play any song that you require

A DJ will keep the music going without a break or a lull and an experienced DJ will be able to use his musical knowledge to lift the mood by skilful use of his vast music collection.

A DJ is experienced enough to compere your evening, make announcements, and adapt to changes if required which helps with the flow of your wedding reception.

A DJ can play requests for your guests on the night

 Cons for Booking a DJ  

 An inexperienced DJ will kill your wedding party, so do your research and book the best professional, versatile, and experienced DJ you can find. Do your research and do not rely on generic Facebook searches as friends & family of some ‘wannabe’ DJ’s will obviously recommend them in posts, but that recommendation is usually not because they are good, but because they are a friend of family member.

 A DJ with a less than stellar personality can be a dance floor killer

 There are many people out there who have decided to be a DJ, who are playing at it to earn a few quid, but with minimal or no experience. The cons are that you may fall for the pre-booking patter and book this person, only to find out after your wedding party, that booking him was your worst decision ever. Remember, you will get what you pay for.


You may not know how good or bad this DJ is until after your party, when it’s too late, so check out reviews and research, research, research.

 Pros for Booking a Live Band

 They can make for a dramatic presentation with musicians, instruments, vocalists etc.

They all have unique personalities and with an experienced band who have been together a while, this will enhance the energy and entertainment value in the show that they provide.

Their infectious energy can get people onto the dance floor.

Guests who do not want to dance will still enjoy the visual aspects of their stage show.

Live music played well is more emotional than recorded music, and to a certain extent, this is what the day is all about.

 Cons for Booking a Live Band

 The higher cost

 A band may only do, say, 2 x 45 minute/1-hour sets. What happens to the dance floor when they take a break? What about the rest of the night when they finish? They may tell you that they will also ‘DJ the evening’, but they are musicians not DJ’s and will invariably just load up a pre-set ’one size fits all’ playlist which will just see your party go flat and it will not recover.

 No matter how good the band are, they cannot have the repertoire and music choice of a DJ who will have every form of music and can almost instantly drop it into his set including song requests. A band cannot usually do this, unless coincidentally the request is for a song that is already in their set.

 Many 2, 3 or 4 piece ‘function or wedding bands’ rely on recorded backing tracks to enhance their sound, so you may as well just have a DJ who will perfectly reproduce the original recorded sound, much to the delight of your guests.

 The more musicians in the band will inevitably mean a better live sound and visual experience but will obviously cost more. Less musicians, then they may rely on recorded ‘filler backing tracks’ to cover for the missing musicians, which means you are halfway back to a DJ playing recorded music. Again, make sure you know who and what you are booking.

 A band usually has a set routine of songs and cannot adapt. What you book is what you get. You book them for what they do, so in all fairness it’s unrealistic to criticise a live band if they flop at your wedding, as you have booked them based on the style of music they play. and for their musicianship.


A band is usually not versatile regarding songs they play. Their set is their set, so you need to ensure that the band you have booked is the band that you know will make your party rock and create memories for you and your guests.

 I have personal experience of this. I was the DJ for a wedding party a few years ago and the bride and groom had booked a live band they had seen play in their local pub. As it turned out, they were a superb rock band, great musicians, and I really enjoyed them.

However, on the night, when they started their set, they were 2 songs in, and I took the opportunity to visit the loo. On the way, I was stopped by the groom, who asked me to tell the band to turn the music down as guests were complaining. My polite reply was that they are a rock band, and, in my opinion, rock needs to be played at a certain volume. (I personally did not think it was too loud, but guests were complaining to the happy couple). However, it was not really my place to tell them and I advised that I felt as he had booked them, he should tell them and that it was awkward and embarrassing for me to do so. Two songs later, nobody on the dance floor, the band doing their thing for which they had been booked, and the bride came up to me behind my decks to ask me to ask them to turn their volume down? Again, I politely declined her request and I certainly was not in a position as a fellow entertainer to embarrassingly interrupt their set. One song later, still nobody interacting with the band at all, and the groom asked me if I minded going back on as he was going to ask the band to finish and pack away and go home.

 On my first song played, the dance floor was packed. I felt bad and uncomfortable for the band, but I was only doing my job.

 My point is that the bride and groom had booked this band who were excellent rock musicians with a superb set. However, they had booked them having seen them play and go down a storm in a pub but had not considered if they were suitable to entertain their guests at their wedding party.

So again, do your research, consider your budget, and if it is to be a band, make sure they are right for your wedding party.

 My advice always is that for 95% of weddings, a good DJ is a necessity for the evening party. A good DJ is indeed all that the bride and groom will need for their evening party. However, I will then advise them that if their budget will permit, then alongside a good DJ, a good band is the ultimate icing on the wedding entertainment cake. This will really give their guests a night to remember with the contrast between a quality big live sound and a DJ, using his musical expertise and experience to take the party into a different direction before bringing the band back on for their second set and then the DJ to finish. A perfect night’s entertainment provided the band is the right band for the function.

When considering a live band for a wedding, I also advise that whilst as a bride & groom they can have whatever they want because it is their wedding, it is also important to consider their guests too. As the ‘party hosts’, to coin a phrase, although it is their wedding, I am sure that they also want their guests to have the best night possible. Therefore, whilst personal preference is important, it is also a major consideration to look at the style of band they might like to book. A couple may have seen a brilliant band playing in their local pub, but are they right for a wedding party also? They may like them, but will most of their guests like them, will they want to get up and dance to them? (This is ultimately what all brides want: -a full dancefloor). So, this is where careful consideration is important in selecting the right band playing the right music for any given event or function. Whilst you are not going to please everyone, it is important to try and please as many people as possible. Again, with respect, a good DJ can provide this service, but only the best bands can also do this, hence research and asking the right questions before you book is a no-brainer.















  • 17 Aug 2020