The feel of your wedding reception will, in large part, be set by the music. There are two primary options when it comes to musical entertainment: a band or DJ. Here are five things to think about when deciding what option will work best for your reception, courtesy of Brianna Morrison, Owner of Status Events:

1. Budget. “The first major consideration is budget,” says Brianna. Although it depends on a band’s size and popularity, you can expect to spend two- to three-times as much on live entertainment as opposed to a DJ.

2. Feel Do you want your music to act as a backdrop – or take centre stage? “Couples who want a band are typically looking to create a really interactive experience for their guests,” says Brianna. If you’re not as interested in a show, a DJ is a better choice.

3. Musical repertoire. Are you hoping to dance to oldies, rap, and everything in between – or stick to a more consistent genre of music? That’s a big consideration, according to Brianna. “A DJ will have a wide repertoire, whereas a band will usually be limited to a certain style, and songs they know.”

4. Venue size. Bands take up more space and are generally louder, so a DJ may be a better choice if space is tight. They don’t require as much real-estate, and they also have the ability to adjust volume on a song-by-song basis.

5. Format and duration. DJs will generally be happy to provide music for the duration of your reception, whereas a band will play for a shorter timeframe – usually about four hours, divided into a few sets. If you go with a band, you’ll have to figure out music for the dinner portion of the evening, and in-between (and possibly after) the band’s sets. Brianna says that some couples handle the “in-between” music themselves by creating playlists and using an MP3 player, while others will spring for a DJ on-top of the band. Luckily, most bands offer a DJ option at a reduced rate, saving you a few bucks – and the trouble of dealing with multiple vendors.


The bottom line? It depends what you’re going for. “A band provides high entertainment-value, and is a good choice for couples who really love live music and will appreciate that aspect,” explains Brianna. “On the other hand, a DJ offers flexibility and an unlimited repertoire of music at a more affordable price point.”

Whatever option you choose, take the time to research your potential candidates carefully. If you’re going with a DJ, look for a reputable company with lots of positive online reviews, and avoid any that don’t seem professional – there are a lot of fly-by-night types out there. If you go with a band, ask about live gigs so you can see them in person.

Once you’ve selected your vendor, expect to put down a substantial deposit and sign a contract right away. The balance is usually due on, or a couple of weeks before, the big day.

Happy dancing!

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