Sunday, January 06, 2008

I can't decide! Band or DJ or both?

This last wedding season we had a new trend emerge- the wedding reception with a band and DJ. Really, I have to admit, I loved it. I thought it was the perfect combination. It came about when my clients simply couldn't decide between the two. Here's why its hard to decide but what can also help you decide.

The thing about a band, is that it's live. There's nothing like live music is there? For example. Everytime you hear that new Gwen Stefani song on the radio in your car you turn it up, 'cause you dig it. Then you hear her sing it live on one of those awards shows, "Oh that was so good!". Last month you went out dancing with the girls and you totally boogied down to it on the dance floor. Last week, she comes in concert- you didn't think it could actually be that good- but it was. On the way home from the concert, you hear pop the cd and you turn the volume way up and listen to it 3 times in a row because now you really love the song.

The advantage of a band is the feeling you get from hearing it live. It's got an entertainment and emotional factor. At your wedding, it's like a private concert with a big ol dance floor. The disadvantage; playlists. A band is limited to what songs they know. That's why its so important that you go through the playlists of bands you're considering and make sure they have lots of songs that you love to dance to.

The advantage of a DJ- any song, any genre, by any artist that you want to hear, when you want to hear it. Kind of like getting the VIP room at your favorite club. The disadvantage, you lose the ambiance of live. But if you think about it- You loved the song when you heard it in your car- and you totally loved dancing to it when you went out that night.

Lastly, the costs. A band (>=4 pieces)is typically,not always, but typically more expensive than a DJ. Costs vary drastically from region to region, so I can't say what you'll find in your area- your planner will guide you in the right direction and let you know what's reasonable. The most important thing to remember- its ultimately the people you invite to your wedding that make it a great affair; not the person(s) playing the music. So make your guest list your priority. After you know who you guests are going to be, make them a part of your decision making process. Do you have a wide age range calling for a plethera of genres? Not every song pleases all, but what pleases the most?

Ok, so how to blend the 2. These days many bands fly on auto dj (aka ipod) during breaks. This is a great time to get in all those songs that you're dying to hear, but the band doesn't play. Just give the band a list of the songs you'd love to hear. Warning! DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to determine what song gets played when and in what order. Leave this to the professional that you paid for (ahem , the band). They know what songs will work best for your crowd ans schedule it as such.
Have the band play the first couple hours (Dinner, traditions, and early dancing)and then break out the DJ for the partying crowd. And by no means am I saying Aunt Ida and Uncle Fred won't love a DJ as much as your cousin Heather. I've seen plenty grandmas get down to Timberland.
Photo Credit: Nick Adams, Impact UK

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