Being a big fan of Madonna, I could hardly resist the temptation to incorporate this song into this post. Not only are the introductory lyrics cute and romantic (“Hey mister DJ/put a record on/I wanna dance with my baby”), but it makes for a great segue to the discussion my friend and I had recently. She is in the midst of planning her wedding, and over dinner last weekend, we debated the same issue so many brides struggle with – whether she should hire a DJ or a band to provide the music for her wedding.
Choosing the musical source and style for a wedding can be a special challenge. While most ceremonies have certain requirements for what kind of music can be played and when, wedding receptions are open to possibilities. Additionally, reception music must accommodate the space in which it will be played, and please the ears of all attendees. This can be a particularly difficult challenge – how to keep your friends dancing while also making sure grandma keeps smiling.
At our wedding, we had a band called Lapis Luna and they were incredible. They specialize in jazz and standards from the 30’s to the 50’s and are a fixture at New York weddings and lounges. We did, however, think about having a DJ take over later in the evening, and only scrapped the plan when we found out what a logistical nightmare this could be. In hindsight, our choice was perfect for the style of our wedding, but for brides who are a bit unsure about which route to take, I thought a few guiding principles might help. So here they are – my top reasons to choose a band or a DJ.
Top Reasons to Choose a Band:
- The Magic of Live Music – Being someone who used to sing a bit here and there, I can honestly say there is no substitute for hearing your favorite song live; the sound quality of a live band is traditionally much better than recordings and can be adjusted to fit the space of your reception.
- Great Performances – Great bands bring an energy to a party that no recording or emcee can match; a live band centers the reception and creates a polished look for the celebration.
- Experts in Their Field – If you’re partial to a certain type of music, hiring a band gives you an opportunity to hear a group of experts in that genre, and when the music is played, their passion and expertise shines through.
- Customization – There are many different ways to play any song; hiring a band allows you to make small changes to make your playlist perfect (for instance, we asked our band to play our first dance song slower than they usually do – “at the speed Harry Connick Jr. sings it on the When Harry Met Sally soundtrack,” to be exact – and it was perfect)
Top Reasons to Choose a DJ:
- Cost – While it’s easy to spend $5,000 or more on a good band, a great DJ can be hired for $2,000 or less, depending on where you live and how long you’ll need their services.
- Songs the Way You Like Them – If you’re looking to hear Beyonce serenade the single ladies at your wedding, there is something to be said for having the song sound exactly as it does on your iPod, and a DJ can easily switch between genres to accommodate all musical tastes.
- Ease of Selection – Many DJs work for companies that have several on staff, and a quick conversation with the manager about what you’re looking for (and what you won’t tolerate) can have your music choice completed in short order.
- Space – Depending on the size and shape of your venue, you could be limited in the size of the band you can bring in; with a DJ, you generally need only accommodate one person, a table and a few speakers.
Here’s hoping your wedding sounds as great as it feels!