Bands vs DJs: Which Is Best For Your Wedding

By | 1st November 2015

Among the many difficult decisions you will make when planning your wedding, one of the trickiest is deciding on music for the reception. To pick a band or a DJ is a discussion couples have been having since DJs entered the fray around 50 years ago. If you are currently struggling to make your minds up this post can help. Here are some pros and cons of each

Band pros

Unrivalled energy

No matter how charismatic a DJ is, there is only so much they can do from behind the decks. Live music can get a crowd pumped up quicker than any DJ because of the personal interaction singers bring. Having a great band front man bounding up and down the stage and interacting with the guests is exactly what you want to really start the night with a bang.

Any genre possible

If you have a passion for a certain type of music or artist and are desperate to have that music at your wedding, then a band could well be the way to go. Booking agencies like Band Hire UK some of the biggest and most diverse bands available. From Disco and Funk to Orchestras, from jazz to tribute acts, they have them all.

Makes your wedding unforgettable

The chances are your wedding isnt your guests first, and it probably wont be their last so its important you make it as unforgettable as possible. The danger you run with a DJ is that the music and occasion isnt very memorable, but that cant be said for a band. Creating a unique musical experience for your guests is important, and live music can certainly do that.

Band Cons


Generally, bands are more expensive than a typical wedding DJ. A good act will normally be £1,000 or more so bare this in mind when planning your budget, especially if you are already leaning towards getting a band.


Size can be an issue with live music on two fronts. Firstly, you need to work out whether your venue has the size to fit in all of your guests, your band a performance area and room for all their kit.


One thing that can be unpredictable can be the attitude of the band. The best bands will be largely invisible once they are off stage and when they are on youd ultimately like them to be able to judge the crowd, the last thing you need is a potty mouthed singer upsetting peoples grandparents and children.

DJ Pros

Music as intended

One thing which bugs plenty of people is hearing a live band murder one of your favourite tracks because of a tone deaf singer or a clumsy guitarist. This is well illustrated article on talking points memo argues this perfectly. This can be avoided by hiring a DJ who can play your favourite tracks as they were intended.

No Breaks

Its a big ask for bands to play all night without an interval, so the majority will have a mid set break which can potentially slow the tempo of the evening. This is never a problem for a DJ who can nip off for breaks between tracks without losing the pace of the evening.


As mentioned in the Band Cons, if you are looking for a quality band they are going to set you back around £1000, thankfully DJs are far cheaper than this. You can pick up a good DJ for half that of a band, making it a great alternative for those with a smaller budget.

DJ Cons

Lack of Performance

DJs are great for those who want to get up and dance, but dont offer much to those who dont. Bands can be enjoyed by those sitting down or uninterested in dancing because a performance is worth watching, a DJ isnt.

Cheesy Wedding DJs

A certain negative stereotype has emerged from wedding DJs, encapsulated in popular culture by characters like Ray Von in Phoenix Nights. While its not to be said that every Wedding DJ talks to much or is dreadful at audience participation, there is no smoke without fire. Its probably best to check way in advance by meeting with the to chat before hiring.  

Set list

Wedding DJs will generally have a tried and tested set that they trust, however this might not be to your liking. A set list of 70s soul classics might not be ideal for a young couple in their twenties, so its best you find out what they intend to play way in advance and if you want something in particular, request it because plenty are happy to alter it for their clients. More can be found on set list planning in this from the Huffington post.