BAND OR DJ?
It’s an age-old debate, but what worked for your best friend’s urban wedding might not work for your black-tie, countryside affair. Cloe Timperley speaks to Paul Haymes from Baker Boys Band and Tony Curini from DJ First to compare the key differences between bands and DJs, in order to see which act best aligns with your own celebration.
There really is no question – music can make or break a wedding celebration. For many couples, the wedding reception entertainment is one of the most important aspects to consider.
Deciding between a live band or a DJ is one of the biggest challenges you and your partner will face, but settling the dispute is just a matter of asking some basic questions. Specifically, what type of entertainment suits your personal taste, space allowances, guest demographics and killer dance moves?
THE JOY OF LIVE MUSIC
There’s nothing like a live band to get the crowd going. A band gives your wedding the inimitable dynamics of a live performance, and anything can happen to raise the excitement level, from an infectious horn section interlude to an emotive solo.
“Live bands ooze charisma,” says Haymes, managing director at Baker Boys Band.
“They deliver an animated experience of raw energy and physical interaction, and thrive off connecting with a captive audience.”
There’s no doubt that bands foster a unique atmosphere that only live music can create. Band members often encourage clapping and sing-a-longs, and can truly make your guests feel like a part of the show. If you want to experience the rare treat of having a talented vocalist croon your wedding song right in front of you, then live music is the choice for you.
FIND YOUR NICHE
Haymes stresses that there are bands to cater for every reception’s individual vibe, from classical string quartets to high-energy party bands, so it’s important to choose a group that contributes to the overall concept or theme of your wedding
“From the moment we initiate contact with the client, we investigate preferred music styles, artists, genres and eras to customise a huge repertoire of material,” he says.
Bands can ultimately do wonders for the tone of your reception, so it’s important to think about the tenor you want to achieve. If your heart is set on a fiesta-inspired celebration, then seek out a Latin band to ensure your reception hits the right note with its tantalising tunes.
Live music brings a sense of sophistication and elegance to any event. Hiring a professional band can often bring glamour to your wedding, and a top performance will leave a lasting impression. Ultimately, bands offer a dramatic visual that cannot be replicated, so the ability to customise your band to suit your needs and your venue should also be a key consideration.
“The Baker Boys can be booked in many variations, starting with a three-piece band with guitar, bass and drums [all the way up] to a larger, 13-piece ensemble featuring brass and percussion,” says Haymes.
What makes a wedding DJ so versatile is their ability to gauge the atmosphere of the room, and to dramatically change the vibe by switching to relaxed and romantic or energetic and lively.
“DJs play the appropriate music at the appropriate time,” says Curini, owner and operator of DJ First.
“DJs don’t have to learn new music, so they can also take requests and play the original artist’s song. While bands can take requests as well, there’s always a chance that they won’t know how to play the song.”
DJs certainly have the market cornered when it comes to range, with a huge library of tracks at their fingertips and the ability to cater to all musical tastes and genres. If musical diversity is the deciding factor for you, then a DJ may be the way to go.
When you’re dancing, guests can often become uncomfortable waiting for the band to strike up the next song, and the pause can sometimes interrupt the flow of the evening. A DJ should have no problem lining up consecutive songs, so there will be little to no gaps in the music.
“Keep in mind that DJs don’t take breaks the same way that a band does,” says Curini.
“If they step away from the stage for whatever reason, they will have a playlist running throughout so there’s never any break in music.”
DJs provide seamless entertainment; songs fade into one another, and the playlist will be running uninterrupted for as long as you’ve booked your DJ to spin the tracks.
IMAGE CREDIT: Immerse Photography
Bands take up considerably more space than DJs, so a 20-piece band may not be an option if your reception site is quite small.
“If you’ve booked a small venue, [space] could be an issue,” says Curini.
Some reception venues restrict the number of musicians and pieces of equipment you can bring inside, so you will need to check if your venue has any limitations before deciding on entertainment.
“DJs are also compact and blend easily into the environment, whereas bands can look busy and distracting,” he adds.
Whether it’s a lively band or an awesome DJ, they’ll both rock the dance floor at any given wedding. Choosing between the two is always tough because there’s no right or wrong answer – it all depends on your taste and priorities. When the time comes, make sure you settle on the right option, so you and your guests can dance the night away with no hassles!