When planning a wedding you will be faced with the inevitable decision – to hire a DJ or live band? Music can make or break a wedding celebration, so getting it right is a must. You want music that will keep the dance floor packed and spirits high all night long but how do you determine if a band or a DJ is right for your wedding? It starts with asking yourself some questions—specifically, what type of entertainment suits your personal taste, budget, space allowances and guest demographics. The following guide will give you the pros and cons of wedding bands and DJs to help you make your decision a bit easier. 

Things You Need to Consider

Atmosphere –  the type of music you pick can set the tone of your wedding and it’s the thing people most often remember. Think about what musical genre best reflects your personalities and inspires the ambience you want to create.

Variety – regardless of whether you choose a band or DJ, you need to ensure they have a variety of songs and genres in their repertoire – slow and fast songs, as well as old and new hits to encourage all guests, both young and old, to hit the dance floor.

Budget – generally a live band will cost more, however there are always exceptions – well-known DJs can be just as expensive as live bands.

Space – you need to check whether the reception site has any restrictions on the number of musicians and pieces of equipment you may bring in, and whether there are any electrical power supply or noise limitations.

The Pros and Cons of a Live Band

A live wedding band can create an electric atmosphere and get the crowd excited and up on their feet, but what are the other pros and cons?


  • Live musicians can easily gauge when a crowd needs a tempo change, and can accommodate it subtly and effectively
  • A band member can also act as the master of ceremonies for the event
  • They make a more dramatic presentation, with musicians, vocalists and instruments
  • Their energy can get people on the dance floor, even people who normally wouldn’t dance
  • Guests who don’t dance will still enjoy watching the show
  • With a live band, you can almost guarantee that your reception music will be one of a kind


  • Live bands generally cost more than DJs, and the higher rates might be prohibitive for some couples
  • No matter how great the band, they can’t have the repertoire of a DJ, who can keep a huge variety of music on hand and play guests’ song requests
  • Bands usually play about 20-30 songs, filling 1/2 to 2/3 of the time for which they are hired, the rest of the time they take breaks, which may disrupt the momentum of the party

The Pros and Cons of a DJ

Today’s DJs are artists in their own right, offering balanced and eclectic mixes of musical styles for all ages.


  • They will play any song you want and be able to take requests
  • A DJ with a charismatic stage presence and excellent emcee skills can really set the mood and keep the party going
  • The songs played will sound exactly as you want them to, encouraging sing-alongs
  • They can work in small spaces without a lot of equipment
  • The music will continue during the entire party with no lull
  • DJs are significantly more affordable than a live band


  • A DJ with a cheesy or less-than-stellar personality can kill the mood. Thoroughly vet your DJ to make sure you love their personality and they know exactly what you want to hear.
  • Improvising song selections to liven up an unenthused crowd is harder for DJs because tempo changes are less natural, and it’s hard to end a song early without awkwardness.
  • A DJ can be boring for guests who don’t want to dance or don’t enjoy his or her song selection, whereas non-dancers would still probably enjoy the performance of a live band.

Remember, it’s incredibly important that whichever option you choose, you love the personalities of the people behind the mic. Nothing is worse than a boring DJ or bandleader, especially when they’re acting as emcee. At Merrimu, we understand how important music is to a great wedding so we can accommodate any option you want. Contact our friendly team today to discuss your requirements and let us bring your dream wedding vision to life.

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