Friday, December 18, 2009

Wedding Band vs. Wedding DJ vs. Friend With IPod

And so, the endless debate rages on...

Such an important decision, but which do we choose? A live wedding band, a wedding dj, or a lucky friend of ours we volunteer to run the iPod? While it may seem like a difficult decision, after weighing in the pros and cons it just may actually become an easy choice depending on your needs.

There's really nothing like a live band to rock out to, but what if I don't want to listen to a cheesy rendition of “I will survive.” Should you worry if the dj wants to bring a siren? Do you really want someone to yell....“AAAAALLRIGHT party people, everyone shake yo' grooooove thang on the dance floor, that means you too grandma!” Some things to consider:



• Cheaper than a band
• You can tailor what they play
• Songs are played in original format
• Can fulfill MC duties
• Large variety of music
• Professional experience

• Beware of cheesiness
• May only have tacky, generic music
• Personality can make or break reception

Live Band

• Great atmosphere
• Singer can fulfill MC duties
• Feels more like a party
• Professional experience

• Expensive
• Limited to what songs they know
• Can be a challenge to work with
• Needs most amount of space

IPod or Laptop with iTunes


• Cheapest option (considering you can source sound equipment)
• Total control of playlist
• Least amount of space needed


• Not having professional MC
• People may think you are el cheapo
• You (or said friend) are responsible for set-up and any technical issues that arise

Since we wanted to keep our wedding in a more home-grown vibe and we are ULTRA picky about what music we like, we opted to go a hybrid dj/iPod route. Our lovely friend Jade who has been a dj was kind enough to offer the task of djing for us. We purchased an inexpensive iPod mixer (around $90) from Radio Shack which allowed her to mix between her iPod and ours. Being that our wedding was in a barn with no sound system to speak of, some other friends donated the use of two amplified speakers which were plenty loud.

We then selected most of the music for the whole night and broke it down into different playlists for cocktail hour, dinner, first dance and reception. The MC duties fell on the best man.

If you have the means and are sold on either a dj or a live band, make sure you meet with them and discuss exactly what you want and what they can offer you. They should come across as professional. Make sure their musical style is in sync with yours. Even better, if you can, check them out in person before your wedding.

If you do go the iPod or laptop route sans dj, I definitely would bear in mind song order as you make your playlists, especially for the reception. You should have someone designated to “man” the iPod from time to time, especially when switching between playlists. Also be mindful of the gaps between songs — preferably none as you don't want any dead air to break up your groove!

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