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  • Writer's pictureNicola Warner

DJ or band - which is better?

Band - Mammoth. Photographer - Mimosa. Venue - Brickhouse Vineyard
Band - Mammoth. Photographer - Mimosa. Venue - Brickhouse Vineyard

Are you feeling torn trying to decide which would be better for your wedding reception – a DJ or a band? You’ve been to weddings in the past and experienced both bands and DJs in action, but you had mixed feelings about them both and now you can’t decide which worked better and which you would prefer. With both DJ’s and bands booking up months in advance it’s an important decision to make so that once you know what you want you then have the time to find and book exactly who you want.

Couple and guests dancing at wedding.  DJ - Bepsoke Disco. Photographer - Holly Collings. Venue - Rockbeare Manor
DJ - Bepsoke Disco. Photographer - Holly Collings. Venue - Rockbeare Manor

In an ideal world you might want to have both, but your budget might not stretch that far, or your venue might not be able to accommodate both, so it’s important that you look at this from all angles. It’s also important that this is a decision that you make as a couple – yes you might need to compromise in order for you both to feel happy with the choice, but you definitely need to work together on this. Your wedding day and reception is something that you will remember for years to come and when you look back on the day you don’t want to be full of regret over a poor choice that was made due to a lack of communication between you and your future spouse.

Venue - Bickley Mill. Photographer - Memories & Milestones. LOVE lights - Rustic Love
Venue - Bickley Mill. Photographer - Memories & Milestones. LOVE lights - Rustic Love

Consider the music and songs that are most important to you. What will your first dance as a married couple be? What do you want the final dance of the night to be? Do you specifically want either of these to be performed live or are you happy with pre-recorded versions? These points alone may start to steer you in one direction or the other. If that first dance feels like a key milestone to you and is something that the music will make or break, then keep that in the forefront of your mind as you start the decision-making process.

Couple dancing their first dance at wedding. Band - Mammoth. Photographer - Mimosa. Venue - Brickhouse Vineyard
Band - Mammoth. Photographer - Mimosa. Venue - Brickhouse Vineyard

Points to consider when choosing between a band or a DJ

· What space do you have at your venue? Can it accommodate a band or is the space somewhat restricted and would suit a DJ better?

· What style of music do you want? Can a single band cover all the songs you might want? If you have an eclectic taste and want a good variety of music would a DJ suit better?

· What is your budget? Can you find a band or DJ that you really like that fits within that budget? Do you have the budget to have both?

· What is your first dance song choice? Do you have strong feelings on if it should be sung/played live or are you happy with a recorded version that a DJ can play?

· Are you looking for something a little quirky? Something that provides you and your guests with more than just music. Both a band and a DJ can do this by letting their personalities shine through, so it’s important you get to hear and see them play so you can see their overall style.

Guests dancing at a wedding at the Yurt Camp
Venue - The Yurtcamp, Liverton. Photographers - Camera Hannah

Why is your choice important?

Music can make or break the atmosphere at your wedding reception. That might seem like a big statement but it’s an undeniable fact. A good band or DJ can get

your guests pumped up, get them on the dance floor and help them to have a wonderful time as they party the day and night away. On the flip side of that a bad band or DJ can ruin the mood, leaving everyone feeling flat and bored. Even a good band or DJ that switches up the pace or style of music at the wrong time can clear the dance floor and flatten the atmosphere.

Guests dancing at a wedding Rockbeare Manor
DJ - Bespoke Disco. Photography - Holly Collings. Venue - Rockbeare Manor

Whilst it’s important to have music playing that you know and love it’s also important to have your guests engaged and entertained, you want your special day to create long lasting happy memories for everyone that is involved, and music can be a key player in that process. Much of your decision will come down to personal choice, and budget, but you want to make sure that once you have selected either band or DJ that you pick the right one for your wedding reception. That means arranging to hear them perform live, understanding their full repertoire and knowing exactly what they can and cannot do.

Guest dancing at wedding at Bickley Mill
Venue - Bickley Mill. Photographer - Memories and Milestones

At our wedding we had the Barefoot Bandit - a dub reggae band. We went to see them a live gig first so we knew exactly what we were getting. We loved them as this is the style of music that we like. We were concern that it might not go down with the older folk as it wasn't traditional wedding band type music. However, we needn't have worried, the dancefloor was packed - from the little kids to the oldest Auntie!

I've seen weddings with ska bands, rappers, even a woodland rave with Nanna getting down on the dancefloor! So don't be afraid to go with the music you like even if you're worried it won't be everyone's cup of tea. Your guests will be happy to see you happy and that what matters. Another reminder that it's your wedding so 'you do you'.

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