A successful wedding reception should be able to fill in lulled moments with entertainment so the entire event would appear seamless and effortless. For this purpose, nothing beats musical entertainment in providing opportunity for people to stand up and get some crowd movement going on.
You have two means for providing reception music: go with a DJ or a live band. This should be an easy choice, but it isn’t. There are a few key factors you have to consider before you make a decision which could practically make or break the event.
Consider your budget. In this sense, DJs usually have the advantage over live bands; the usual starting price for DJ services is about a thousand dollars for a standard-length reception (four hours) – live bands can ask for three or five the times the amount for the same service.
You’re still good even if you’re going for a well-reputed DJ; most would only ask for as much as two thousand dollars, and you’ll have the advantage of including less people to factor into your per-plate meal budget. Live bands can include at least five members, and your budget can take a beating if the reception is held on a fancy restaurant.
Consider the length of the event and the venue. Even if your reception lasts for only four hours, do take note that most bands can’t keep up with continuous playing for more than two hours tops; they have to do it in sets, with prerecorded fillers in between.
If you feel that your reception will extend way over the four-hour standard, it may be a good idea to go with DJ services; you’re assured of full-blast music whenever you like it. Also, your venue may be too small to adequately accommodate the sound of a live band, and some halls may impose restrictions on the genres of music which may be played. This also applies for large reception halls; either way, your choice will depend on what kind of sound you are aiming for: raw or canned?
Finally, consider your general crowd. For people who get married in their middle ages, a live band is probably the best option. But if the newlyweds are twenty-somethings, and the guests are also within the same age range, the event calls for fun and vibrancy which only a DJ service can live up to.
Whether you choose a DJ or live band, make sure that you do know their capabilities before you ask any of them to serve as your reception emcee. The best way to do this is to go to a wedding where your potential DJ or band leader is emceeing, or go with reliable testimonies from previous clients.
You need to have your choice finalized about a year in advance though, and this decision will probably be the first ones you’ll make for your wedding (especially if your prospective band or DJ is much in demand). Getting married in the wedding seasons (spring and summer) won’t help either, so make sure that you book the service a year in advance so you won’t get left out once the actual event kicks in.