Monday, October 4, 2010

Chosing a DJ or Live Band for Wedding Receptions

DJ Kenny Casanova of Albany NY - When to chose a DJ or Live Band for Wedding Receptions
Two weeks ago at a hotel on Western Ave, I talked with a cool bartender who had been serving drinks there at weddings for almost twenty years. He said he remembered a time when everyone booked bands and has since seen the trend switched to the selection of the right DJ for the majority of reception entertainment. There are still great bands out there and sometimes they really make the wedding special. But we wondered, “What caused the switch of most brides & grooms these days, over to DJs?”

I think it goes without arguing that the music chosen can make or break any traditional or non-traditional wedding celebration. The food can be really “awesome” or totally “suck,” but it only lasts as long as it takes to eat it. Your musical entertainment is the heart and soul of the party and consumes 75 percent or more of the overall spotlight. The music selection and the dancing that this ensues it ultimately what will send your guests home with a smile or a frown. People remember a good meal, but people never forget a good time.

When people plan a wedding today, they have to really decide if you want a live band or a DJ. It is all personal taste. While both options are the main source of entertainment for a wedding reception, they both offer different things.

The main advantage of hiring a band is to create an impressive visual impression. A good band can really create a great deal of entertainment, as the guests can enjoy the music as well as watch different musicians interact and “put on a show.”

On the flip-side, while a band can bring tons of cool atmosphere to your party, it is safe to say that any band booked will lack the diversity of music that a decent professional DJ brings to the table. Simple enough, a good DJ can download a song before the reception to expand his collection in seconds, while a band has to practice for days to learn how to play a new track out successfully. The learning curve in music is not always an easy one, and bands usually charge when you request a song that is not part of their set.

In the age old debate of Band vs. DJ, there are a number of other important pro’s and cons for both to consider. Which type of entertainment you choose suits your budget personal taste, guest demographics, space allowances, and your dancing ability to bring forth the very best in killer dance moves. Keep an open mind, and consider the following issues:


The music you select sets the tone. If you want a fast fun party with lots of dancing you will want a DJ or band that regularly accommodates this need.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Have you ever told someone “I like all kinds of music” when someone has asked your favorite genre? Whether you choose a live band or DJ, be sure they can play slow and fast, and old and new songs. If you want to involve everyone in the celebratory mix, then changing things up is the way to go. If you decide to book a band, it is important to make sure they are not only good at one genre or type of sound. You want to try and keep everyone happy.


In the price war, the DJ almost always wins. While prices vary depending on the band, no matter how you look at it bands will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay. While there are exceptions to this rule, such as celebrity DJ’s, and bands trying to get their name out there, for the most part, the DJ will be cheaper.

Space Wanted

If your heart was set on an 12-piece jazz band, you really need to check with your reception hall, as the site may have restrictions on the space needed to accommodate such a request. There is also the consideration of electrical power supply needed and noise limitations, so make sure you stay in contact with your event planner at the hall so that you are not planning something that needs special accommodations that cannot be met.

Do Your Homework!

Finally, no matter which way you go, you really need to do your homework. It is best research reviews or to actually go and see a DJ or band, live and in action before you sign a contract, or give a commitment. Completing your homework will give you an idea of how they work the crowd and read the crowd. Ask for referrals from the last few weddings the band or DJ played. Consider your first-dance song a test. If the band doesn’t know it and is unwilling to learn it, or the DJ doesn’t own it and is unwilling to get it, move on!

DJ Kenny Casanova Albany NY Wedding DJ

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