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Should I Hire A Wedding DJ Or A Wedding Band?

Ahhh, the age-old question that stresses so many couples out… ‘Should we hire a wedding DJ or wedding band’? A great question and one that will certainly help shape the mood and vibe of your special day. First, let’s define what each are and the quality one should expect.

A wedding band is far different than your local bar band. A professional wedding band will often feature between 6 to 12 musicians and singers (along with a tech crew that will set up and manage the shows sound and lighting) and will have a catalogue of music that spans throughout the decades and genres. When hiring a wedding band, they usually perform four hours with various short breaks and usually one longer break during dinner where they will play recorded dinner music. A professional wedding band will often have a booking agent (especially in larger metropolitan markets) and can average from $7000 - $15000 in price depending on the size of the band and travel requirements.


Can you find a cheaper band for your wedding? Absolutely! A typical bar band will run $1000 - $3000, usually features 3-4 musicians, and usually will be genre specific. It’s important to do your research and most bands will have promotional videos or have an opportunity for you to see them live. But typically, bar bands do not make good wedding bands as the flow, engagement, and experience varies drastically between bars and weddings.

Professional DJs can vary greatly in price and quality. In my market (Buffalo, NY; Rochester, NY; Ithaca, NY), a typical professional wedding DJ will run you between $1200 - $3500. The experience, quality, options they offer (photobooth, lighting, spark fountains, etc.) and size of their company will greatly influence their pricing. When researching wedding DJs, it is important to have a phone call or in-person meeting so you can have an opportunity to get to know your DJ, how they cater to their clients and get a good sense as to their personality and vision. It is always worth paying a little more for a DJ that you really connect with and someone you think will proactively and positively help create the atmosphere and experience you want your guests to have.

Can you find a cheaper DJ? Absolutely! But buyer beware, wedding DJs that charge a low price are almost always not professionals. The quality of their equipment will be sub-par, they won’t carry liability insurance, and often lack experience. In worse case scenarios, they might cancel or not even show the day of your wedding (yes, this happens more frequently than you would expect). Do your research, ask for references from recent couples, google their company and ensure they have a legitimate website and view their Facebook and other online reviews.


So now that we have covered what a professional wedding DJ and wedding band look like, the big question is… Which should you choose? So here is my professional opinion, I have been a wedding DJ for many years but also have worked with professional bands.


Ultimately, the pros for having a wedding DJ is that they can literally play any song from any genre ever recorded. The dance party will flow seamlessly from song to song with no intermissions and you as the clients will have significant input as to the music played. Also, the cost of a wedding DJ will average about 70% less than a wedding band. Most higher end wedding DJs will not only emcee your wedding but will also offer engaging games for your wedding party and guests. Lastly, a professional wedding DJ should also work with you to develop a full timeline for your wedding day and manage the specifics and flow during the ceremony and reception.

The biggest pro for hiring a wedding band is that there really is no atmosphere that can top amazing live music. If the band is awesome at what they do, your crowd will not be disappointed. A big drawback however, is you might not have an emcee for the reception formalities and you will still need to hire someone to oversee the music needs of your ceremony.


So, there you have it… hopefully this will help you navigate your options a little more and help narrow down your decision. If you are in the Western, NY area and thinking about hiring a wedding DJ, please fill out the quote request form at the bottom of this page as I would love to talk to you about your wedding day vision and how we might best fit.


-Marshall Green, Owner

Top Entertainment DJ


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