Ken Prentice, C.Tech
Band, DJ or Both For Your Wedding
Before entering the wedding industry I can admit that I didn’t understand why any debate between band and DJ existed, because they’re very different in their appeal. However, after being in the wedding industry for almost 10 years now, I see why the debate exists and some of the parallels between them. The first wedding band I met actually published a blog on bands vs. DJs offering insight, which included advice on what price a band and DJ should be. At that time, for a good band, the band leader suggested $2800 and a good DJ, $1200 max. At that time it was fair, but there were definitely bands and DJs that were more. The blog was heavily focused on selling the merits of his band and less of band vs. DJ. I really enjoy a good band and my feelings are the same when I see a talented DJ. At the same time, I also recall having seen and met other bands that clearly exceeded his max value. So what defines good, better, or even the best option for your wedding day?
Seven or eight years ago I saw a wedding band that offered something that I had never seen with any wedding band and it was better than any other band. This band had two lead singers instead of just having one. The range of music they covered far exceeded any band I had seen previously. They spent more time playing and less time on break which is what you want if you hire a band. It was impossible to deny the level of talent this band had and they were well worth the price tag, starting at $3700. Today, if they were still playing, I would expect their price to be closer to $5500 or more, and still worth it for that level of talent. Getting back to the band leader that wrote the blog on band vs. DJ a few years ago, he decided that he was also a DJ. Immediately he contradicted of his own published max prices for a DJ by charging $1400+, unfortunately DJing wasn’t primarily where his talents resided.
A DJ does offer something that a band doesn’t, besides coming in with a lower price tag. An unmatched variety is something a DJ has that even the very best band can’t touch. Still not every DJ is capable of delivering value beyond the equipment they provide. An average DJ is going to play music, a good DJ is going to help control the flow, while a great DJ is going to be make the party memorable with personalization, mixes, talent and charisma. Today $1200 is actually below average with some packages costing more than $4000, which may surprise couples that have been reading online guides that are outdated. The DJ that’s above average price often offers more value in terms of quality and talent, within reason of course. Reliability and talent are the two biggest things missing, particularly at the lower levels.
There’s no doubt that the energy good entertainment brings to the party is worth the investment, whereas the result of substituting talent for price can be very disappointing. The amount of time it takes for an artist to become proficient in their craft, be it playing an instrument, singing in key, or mixing seamlessly, is significant. This is where you’ll see a difference in training and experience or in some cases the complete absence of one or the other, occasionally even both. Many large companies try to convince brides of their value through aggressive marketing, yet won’t name the talent in the contract which makes it impossible to confirm this or research them. If you’re booking either a band or DJ on the basis of their talent do not accept a substitution for another, because as a rule it’s always a downgrade of talent. There’s no single perfect answer for couples in the band vs. DJ debate because some are barely worth the cost of rental equipment and others would be worth 5x to 20x that amount.
Note - There isn't a real comparison in the band vs. DJ argument, because the differences are too great. If you fall in love a band then you should book them same goes for a DJ. If want the best of both worlds then book a talented band and DJ. Have the party and celebration you've always wanted by choosing the best option for your wedding day.