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Wedding Music: Choosing a Live Band Vs a Wedding DJ Vs An iPod

Perhaps the biggest decision when it comes to your wedding day music is whether you should go the wedding band or wedding DJ route, and, of course, the third alternative – play your own music! Here’s how your choices break down:
Live Wedding Band
There is no better entertainment than live music – it is something special, something that cannot be duplicated and gives your wedding a much larger, more upscale feel. A live band will get your guests up and dancing and will know how to keep the wedding flowing smoothly.
But live music goes beyond the band that plays at your reception – you can hire many different types of musicians for various portions of your ceremony and reception.
On average, expect to pay between $100-$150 per musician per hour.
• Solo musicians
o Pianist
o Organist
o Harpist
o Guitarist
o Violinist

• Ceremony ensembles:
o String quartet (two violins, viola, cello)
o String trio (two violins, cello)
o String duo (two violins or violin and cello)
o Flute trio (flute, violin, cello)

• Singers
o Solo singer
o Choir

• Live Reception Music
o Big band orchestra
o Rock band
o Soul / R&B band
o Jazz band
o Jazz trio or quartet
o Marimba band

Wedding DJ
There are many great advantages to choosing a DJ over a live band including lowered cost, less spacial requirements and the ability to play multiple genres of music or specific songs. While not as large or dynamic a presence, a great DJ can really work a crowd and get them moving.

On the other hand, there are a lot of terrible wedding DJ’s out there. We’ve all been to a wedding or two with music that fell completely flat. Do not make the mistake of hiring you’re friend’s brother-in-law thinking that all DJ’s are the same because a bad wedding DJ can ruin the experience.
Wedding DJ’s can cost anywhere from $300-$3000 depending on location and experience. The average cost is $1200.
If you are planning on hiring a wedding DJ, here are a few things to consider:
• Experience is king: You want to work with a DJ who has a long history of playing at weddings, who understand how weddings are supposed to flow, how to keep the party moving and how to improvise when things don’t go according to schedule. If you’re working with a wedding DJ business, hire the owner, not the novice DJ. It will be worth the additional cost.
• Watch them in action: Ask to see a video of them working, or better yet, go watch a live set. And do make sure that the person you see in the demo is the person who will be playing your wedding – you don’t want any surprises!
• Ask Questions: Don’t be shy about getting detailed.
Live wedding musicians and even DJ’s can be expensive and many couples just are not in a position to spend that kind of money just on music. Thus, many are opting for the trusty old iPod – it’s virtually free and you have complete control over what music you play and when. But if you’re going the DIY route, do keep in mind a few things…
• Make sure you have a proper sound system at the venue – you don’t want to get stuck having to shell out money for a new sound system.
• You won’t have someone to “MC” your event, so you’ll need to designate someone responsible to select the playlist and push play and stop on the right songs at the right times etc. Bonus points if he/she can keep the flow of the evening going, the way that a band leader or DJ would.
• Make sure you have backup playlists in case your song selections fall flat. is the ultimate guide for your wedding ceremony and reception music. Find song ideas, playlists and recommendations for all aspects of your wedding.

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