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Ask any wedding guest what defines a wedding reception, and the answer almost certainly will entail the music. Did the DJ spin a solid mix of crowd pleasers? Was the band the absolute best? Was the dance floor at capacity from beginning to end? It begs the question: What’s right for me? Band or DJ? Let’s brainstorm a few key considerations.
What sort of mood are you going for? Is this a black-tie affair with old Hollywood tradition worthy of only a big brass band? Or is it a youthful, modern celebration with light-up dance floor, for which only Top 40 hits will do? Your ideal vibe will direct you to the music befitting your vision.
Is it worth it? A band is made up of multiple skilled musicians, as well as their instruments and equipment, and probably some snazzy outfits. This can be a bit more expensive to fund, depending on the size of the group. DJs can vary in cost but by and large fall on the more affordable side.
What will your venue allow? Your chosen reception site will help guide your decision by perusing their rules for entertainment. Be sure whatever option you’re leaning toward can be accommodated by the venue in terms of space, electrical capacity, and noise restrictions.
Unanimously, brides who selected a DJ did so for one primary reason: variety. Milwaukee bride Erin Kelly wanted a crafted mix of music, “to keep people dancing without interruption or too much talking.” She also appreciated the lighting package many DJs can provide, but inevitably opted to go without. “We wanted a mix of classic and modern. No big disco balls or bulky track lighting for us! That said, the option was nice.”
“We really wanted music that was important to us and our families,” says Delafield bride Caitlin Elftman. “I wanted someone who was willing to let our personalities and taste in music shine through rather than their own.” A DJ that catered to their preferences perfectly fit the bill. Curating your dance floor experience is easier with a DJ, explains Milwaukee bride Rebecca Kuss. “I thought there was more of an element of control with a DJ. Whereas with a band, you’re kind of stuck with what you get.”
Appleton bride Lindsey Angiesetty offers some advice by asking what you would prefer supposing you were the guest. “For me, I find it much easier to dance to a DJ, so the answer was very clear. DJ all the way! But to someone else, they may love the idea of experiencing a live band, so that’s their answer.” She also offers one creative alternative to satisfy all. “Can’t decide? Do both!”
Finding the right performers can bring unmatched energy to a wedding reception. “What a difference having a band made,” says Oconomowoc bride Mary Jahnke. The band she chose kept the guests dancing to ‘60s and ‘70s hits, and “they even let us play our own playlist during the band break, allowing time for modern pop songs.”
Door County bride Olivia Harlan Dekker was thrilled to find a band that accommodated requests, and added some extra songs to their set list for a more personalized feel. “They were so interactive with our guests and played the best mix of modern and classics.” For both brides, their respective bands made a big impact while still allowing for a broader selection of danceable tunes.
Make sure they can play your key selections, and honor your “no-play” list.Remember that your entertainment brings the party vibes, but they are only as good as the brides and grooms they work with. Come to the dance floor with your best energy, and together you’ll create an unforgettable celebration for the ages.
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