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Hire A Wedding DJ Or A Band?

Summer Music Performance

When a couple is searching for entertainment for their wedding, they are faced with a few major decisions; whether to hire a live band or DJ? Our Wedding DJs at Butler Events want to help couples make the best entertainment decision. There are pros and cons for having a live band, or a DJ, and a few things to keep in mind when deciding.

Here is a break down of each portion of a wedding, and the pros and cons for Bands/live musicians and DJ/MCs:

The Ceremony Music: Band OR DJ

A band offers a live version of songs chosen by the couple or based on a theme designed by the couple that the band follows. It certainly offers a nice “look” and “feel” when you have a guitarist, a violinist & cellist, or a saxophonist , harpist, and/or flutist playing the prelude and ceremony music. The live musicians offer a wow factor and it looks great in pictures. The sound they provide, when they’re really good, is hard to compare with pre-recorded music, it’s just much more intimate and personal.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND: When we consult with clients, the number one complaint we hear with regard to Ceremonies is “we couldn’t hear the vows”. If the band offers a PA for your officiant and vows, make sure they will personally control the sound and not simply set it and forget it. Some people speak more softly than others and the person controlling the sound can adjust for this.

Our professional Houston Wedding DJs meet with the officiant just prior to the ceremony to make sure they understand the proper use of the mic and what to do in the case of an equipment failure… make sure your DJ or Band does this to avoid any problems which could ruin your Ceremony. If the Band doesn’t have a PA system for the officiant and vows, you may need a DJ to provide the Ceremony sound system.

Bands often have multiple members who all come with many pieces of equipment that can take up quite a bit of space. The musicians may have several amps or instruments that require electrical outlets to be available while a DJ requires only 1 outlet. Also, many musicians play by reading sheet music which means between songs you may have a “gap of silence” while they prepare the next song.

Most importantly, if you hire a musician or band, it is crucial that you hear them play live. You don’t have to hear a DJ play live, because a DJ is playing pre-recorded music that you know will sound great… as long as the sound system is a good one and the DJ is experienced with performing Ceremonies, but a live musician who provides a “demo” may have polished the recording to perfection but when it comes time to play live, they simply aren’t that good. Ask to see them play live, at least for those key Processional songs you’ve chosen.

Cocktail Hour and Dinner Music Band or DJ?

Bands create a tangible atmosphere and an interactive experience which people take a mental picture of throughout the day, Bands generally bring a lot of energy to an event, BUT, DJs can also have a wow factor when they run an event flawlessly, can be as interactive as the clients want them to be, especially if they have a great personality, aren’t obnoxious or cheesy, and play great music.

Also, with a band it may be hard to control the volume levels unless they have a professional sound technician with them. Without a sound technician, a guitarist’s amp may be too loud while a singer or trumpet player is getting louder trying to compensate, this isn’t ideal. DJ’s control their sound by walking around during a song and checking levels to make sure the music isn’t too loud or is just loud enough…or in some cases, meets the noise ordinance requirements set by a Venue.

The Dance Music: Band or DJ?:

Bands are lively, fun, loud, and energetic. DJs can be all of those things too. For the dancing portion of your wedding, you have to ask yourself “do I want all styles of music?”: including the latest pop hits, hip-hop, jazz, rock, oldies, etc… and if so, “do I want a band that plays their own rendition of those songs? Or do I want to hear the Actual Original Recorded version song itself? “ That’s what it really boils down to.

We’ve actually had people tell us they hired expensive bands for previous events and when they attended a wedding we DJ/MC’d, they wish they had hired us. So, just because a band or DJ costs a lot, that may not be a full indication of whether they are really good or fit your desires for a great event.

You can see that it’s comparing apples to oranges when you really consider everything you get from both types of entertainment. Your decision should be about what will make your night fun, entertaining, stress-free, and an event that you and your guests will never forget.

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