One of the most important elements to any wedding is the music. Therefore, choosing the right wedding band can make or break a wedding. Whether you are thinking about having a rocking band to help your guests dance the night away or a smaller ensemble to play during dinner, you need to choose your band carefully.

Essentially, wedding music boils down to two different options: you can hire a live band, or you can have a wedding DJ play the music of your choice. One of the nice advantages of a DJ or wedding band leader, in addition to providing the entertainment, is that he or she can basically emcee the celebration and keep it moving from one moment to the next. If you aren’t sure whether to opt for live music or a DJ, we have tried to answer a couple of the most common questions people have about choosing wedding music.

Is a DJ or Band Cheaper for a Wedding?

Having a live wedding band is generally more expensive than hiring a DJ. An average starting price for a wedding band that performs at the reception for three hours after dinner is $4,000 plus a 10% gratuity. Furthermore, pricing can vary according to different factors such as the time of year, the day of the week, the number of band members, and your area of the country.

On the other hand, a DJ usually winds up costing much less than a live band with an average of $1,000 for a typical reception. One of the main reasons for the lower cost is that a DJ always operates solo while a live band usually consists of at least six performers.

Nevertheless, a band has the advantage of providing a richer sound and a more authentic experience for the guests. It can really add great energy to a wedding ceremony and reception.

How Do I Find a Band for My Wedding?

Start with Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

Getting word-of-mouth referrals from friends is a great way to begin your search. You can start by asking around on social media. If you loved the band at friend’s wedding, don’t hesitate to get their contact info. Leveraging your social network is a good way to get reliable information about great wedding entertainers.

See Them Perform Live

Before making your decision, ask a band if they are performing at a venue near you soon. By seeing them live, you can gauge how they interact with the crowd and whether they inject energy into the room. If watching them live isn’t an option, you should request videos of some of their past performances. Either way, it’s important to find out if their style fits with what you want.

Ask for a Set List

Asking potential bands for a set list is a good way to find out how they pace an event. Believe it or not, a good set list follows the energy of the evening. For example, the first set usually occurs during dinner, so the music should correspond to that vibe. After the plates are cleared, the band should start to turn it up with classics that will bring your guests onto the dance floor. During the final hour (typically the third set), the band should be ready to take it up another notch now that the young kids and the older guests have gone home.

After you have searched online, checked out referrals from friends, and hopefully seen a few live performances, you will be ready to make your selection. Trust your instincts, especially if you really liked them in person. Then it’s a good bet that your guests will be dancing and having a wonderful time at your wedding.

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