The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Band for Your Wedding Reception

A man playing a saxophone at a wedding reception.

Having the right music at your wedding makes a huge difference. After all, it’s essentially the soundtrack of the most memorable day of your life! It not only sets the mood, but helps your guests get to their feet and dance the night away. You definitely want to make sure you choose the right person(s) for the job. Many couples struggle with deciding whether they should opt for a DJ or a live band for their wedding reception. If you’re in a similar spot and are uncertain about choosing a live band for your special day, here are the pros and cons.

PRO: The Band Energizes the Entire Room

A singer as part of a band at a wedding reception.

There’s really nothing quite like having a live band present throughout your reception. The entire vibe they encompass, from their wardrobe to their set pieces to their instruments, is engaging. They’re also able to riff during the evening, which brings a sense of fun spontaneity that’s not found with a DJ (or your iTunes playlist).

CON: Hiring a Band Can Be Pricey

Typically, a live band is more expensive than hiring a DJ. Their costs are higher because you’re essentially paying for the talents of multiple people, alongside the costs and care of the instruments. So, yes, hiring a four-piece band will be more costly than a single DJ.

PRO: The Band Sets a Tone

A trumpet-player in a mariachi band at a wedding.

If you’re going for a particular theme for your wedding, like a 1920s Gatsby-esque wedding, then a live band can definitely help bring that vibe to life. A live band is also the best choice if you’re certain that you only want a specific type of music, like swing music or jazz and blues, throughout your night.

CON: The Band Might Play Only One Type of Music

If you don’t have a particular theme tied to music and want an eclectic playlist that suits both you and your partner’s tastes as well as your guests’, then a live band probably isn’t the way to to go. More than likely a band will only stick to a few genres (or maybe even one) that they’re comfortable with and typically stick to a set list with maybe room for a few surprise tunes. So if you’re looking for a combination of rock, country, and rap hits, then you might want to eye a DJ or stick to creating your own streaming playlist.

PRO: The Band Will Play Extended Jams

A man playing a guitar in a band at a wedding.

This can be a fun way to mix things up. When the band extends a jam or puts a different type of spin onto one of your favorite songs (which might also be a con, though) it will undoubtedly get the crowd going. It’s always fun to hear a band play to their heart’s content when they’re really feeling the music. It’s infectious and it’s certainly entertaining!

CON: You Will Need to Feed More People

Typically, you provide a meal for any vendors who are actually working at your wedding celebration. Obviously, a single DJ is only one extra mouth to feed. However, depending on the size of your band, you’ll be more than likely feeding an extra three or four people. This will need to be accounted for in the budget and could be a deal-breaker when it comes to hiring a band or not, depending on what your budget allows.

Ultimately, hiring a band comes down to preference, your wedding theme, and your budget. If you’re looking for something specific and thematic with your wedding’s soundtrack, and you have the funds to make it happen, then hiring a band for your wedding reception might be for you!

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