The O-fficial MrsJoseph!
Master September 2010

DJ vs. Live Band?

The O-fficial MrsJoseph!, on January 11, 2010 at 12:10 PM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 20
Saved Save

Sooo... although we are in the MIDST of budget issues, my FH says that he would rather spend money on a live band than a DJ. What are the pros & cons of a band vs a DJ? How much more does a band cost? Is this gonna KILL my budget??


  • Analy aka T-waffle
    Master October 2009
    Analy aka T-waffle ·

    Price depends on the size of the band and how close to the vendor they are. The thing that made me choose a DJ was that the band was limited to only songs that they knew how to play, while a DJ is basically limitless. Also, you will have to feed the entire band, versus one DJ. However, a band brings a great energy to the event.

  • Analy aka T-waffle
    Master October 2009
    Analy aka T-waffle ·

    *close to the venue

  • juhgail
    Devoted October 2009
    juhgail ·

    Hi Mrs Joseph. Forst if this is the NYC area...

    I had a band. USUALLY bands go for about $1000 a head per bandmate. I had an 8 piece band, plus ceremony music plus violin. The whole thing was about $12,000. I also used Hank Lane who is known for being a little pricey. I think the average band will cost about $8,000. The average DJ will cost about $2500. There is always a plus/minus with different vendors.

  • L
    Super June 2011
    Lauren20 ·

    If you use a band make sure you audition them. You want to make sure you get the sound and the music you want. With a DJ, you are guaranteed the sound and songs you want. Also, with a DJ you usually get more for your money as in you get a light show, etc. My dad DJs on the side and charges about a $100 an hour and caps it at about $550 even if you go more than 5 hours. Hope this helps.

  • Dan Paulish
    August 2019
    Dan Paulish ·

    A band will cost roughly 4-5X more than a DJ, with the excitement of live musicians performing but without the flexibility of a DJ. For an extra 20% or so, why not hire both? I've worked with bands at some weddings, and it's possible to put together a very unique entertainment program that your guests will remember.


  • Officially His Mrs P.
    Master October 2010
    Officially His Mrs P. ·

    I would have loved to have hired a live band, but that would have sent my venue capacity of the top & I didnt want to have to feed extra awesome would it be to have The Dan Band!!!!

  • The O-fficial MrsJoseph!
    Master September 2010
    The O-fficial MrsJoseph! ·

    Oooh man, seriously?? I'm looking at anywhere from $1k -$12k for a food (and possibly lodging).... That's really crazy cause my venue doesn't offer vendor or children's meals).

    WOW, don't think I have that in me. Which kinda sucks cause a band has been the only thing FH has asked for (except the whole "eloping" thing, LOL). Maybe I can see what I can find.

  • The O-fficial MrsJoseph!
    Master September 2010
    The O-fficial MrsJoseph! ·

    @Lauren - You're so right about auditioning them!! But if I do have a band I have a great test for them. One of my BM's is a professional singer/song writer. She's gonna sing our first dance song ("Love is You" by YahZarah) but was gonna either track it or go without music. I can ask them to learn the music for that... and she is rabid about rehersals - that may work....

  • Tracy Calvert
    August 2019
    Tracy Calvert ·

    One suggestion - You may want to check to make sure the band you are wanting to hire has experience in playing at weddings. There are bands who have and have not done weddings. The ones who have not done weddings may not know what types of announcements to make, when to make them, etc.

    Will the band also be playing during dinner with soft music? If not you may need to work out something separately for dinner music.

  • The O-fficial MrsJoseph!
    Master September 2010
    The O-fficial MrsJoseph! ·

    @Idowedd - I never thought about it, to be honest... I have been planning to use a DJ the whole time...

  • FutureMrsPanzeri
    Savvy October 2010
    FutureMrsPanzeri ·

    I personally didnt want a band because they usually have different variations of songs that i love and sometimes they arent as good. Plus with bands they usually have to take breaks after certain amounts of time and what not.

    we are having a DJ come up (who actually just did my dads wedding) and he is awesome! they can mix the music together so its nonstop dancing. instead of the awkward OK this song is over whats coming up next... slow? Fast?

    I vote for DJ Just be sure and do your homework so you dont get some cheesy strip-club-esk DJ who will creep out your guests

  • Konichiwa
    Master January 2010
    Konichiwa ·

    I personally never even considered a band. They would not only have been way out of budget for me but also they'd be limited in the style and type of music they played. They also need breaks, in which if you don't have a DJ there is no music playing. DJ's are just more versatile and a better bargain all around if you ask me. Of course if I'd had unlimited funds, then I maybe would have considered it more seriously.

  • H
    Just Said Yes February 2010
    haylee ·

    I hired a dj and it was well worth it!!!! I went with Amazing Weddings With The Riz from TRP ENT.. He is more flexable unlike a live band. We wanted to dance to hottest songs that we hear on the radio. Although the instruments from a live band add to the feel of the wedding. The dj that we hired is very exciting and interactive. Here is his info his name scott and his number is 209.823.0829. Cant wait for my wedding

  • Derek Rafferty
    August 2019
    Derek Rafferty ·

    A few points from the band side: I agree with most of you about a DJ usually being able to do more types of songs. We saw that too, so we focus on learning all the current stuff like hip-hop, R&B, etc, and have singers up front who don't look silly doing it. For other songs we don't know, we have a live DJ who spins and mixes the breaks, also a jazz trio to do cocktail hour. It's a 6-hour pkg and costs $5500. This pkg has been a HUGE success because it met a real need in the market. And we're willing to negotiate travel and meals to find a good compromise. Sounds like many of you had to choose one or the other. The band does bring a much higher energy level, so if you can swing the band DJ deal, do it!! FWIW, take a look at this video:

    This gives you an idea of what you might be able to get from a band if you're in the middle. Mrs. Joseph, sorry we're in Detroit so we can't put something together for you, but good luck to you and FH!!

  • Ricky Bulles
    August 2019
    Ricky Bulles ·

    I've worked with many bands on weddings and holiday parties. You need at least a 5 piece band for a wedding, and even a 5 piece band that is good will go for around $3,500 starting. Most of the popular 8 piece bands go for $5000 . It depends in what you want. A real good band will put on a high energy live show, and will have A LOT of sound(Louder, not necessarily better). A real good DJ will get people to dance just as much, and have virtually unlimited flexibility(plus a DJ can throw in lighting for much less). All depends in what you want. You can also pair a DJ and band together, and have the DJ play the band breaks, or have the Band play for a couple of hours, then have the DJ take over. Also, keep in mind that a band can only be so quiet. A DJ can adjust the volume more accurately during the cocktail, and dinner hour so that people can hear their peers more easily while conversating. I have seen guests complain about the volume of a band numerous times before.

  • Jon Margerum-Leys
    August 2019
    Jon Margerum-Leys ·

    I do both--live band and DJ. Each has its place. A DJ gives you more flexibility with the kinds of music you have. A band puts a particular flavor on the music. If you're doing a themed wedding, a band that matches the theme can be great. And a band, while it costs more, doesn't have to cost that much more. It depends on what kind of band and what you're having them do, but a decent band can be had from $1,000.

  • Chuck Thompson
    August 2019
    Chuck Thompson ·

    I ask that same question on the DJ page of my website and here's my answer, "I offer DJ service for your reception. This way, you and your guests will hear the songs the way you are used to hearing them. There's also a much greater list from which to choose.

    You can listen to my music for over three hundred (300) hours before you would hear the same song twice!

    When I DJ at your wedding reception, I also emcee the

    celebration for you - the right way.

    I know how to do it right."

  • The O-fficial MrsJoseph!
    Master September 2010
    The O-fficial MrsJoseph! ·

    This is great information. Honestly, I would love to have both, but I'm limited by finances to have one or the other. While I'm not adverse to paying for a decent band - per the conversations above - it seems that a DJ gives a greater bang for the buck. Me and my fh need to discuss this...

  • Jamie Bodie
    August 2019
    Jamie Bodie ·

    Check your budget, interview both a band and a DJ, and choose the one you love. Don't hire anyone for your wedding that you aren't thrilled with.

  • R
    Just Said Yes February 2014
    rachel ·

    I'm trying to decide whether to have a band or DJ, but I'm in the UK, does anyone have any idea about UK pricing? I found this article about the benefits of live bands, eg sound quality, athmosphere.

Comment on this discussion