The entertainment industry has evolved rapidly over the past few decades, due in no small part to revolutionary breakthroughs in technology – and, as such, the wedding entertainment business has evolved with it. But in such uncertain times, and in such a competitive climate, it’s easy to be fooled by untruths and lies. Are wedding bands becoming redundant thanks to the infinite number of tunes a wedding DJ can access at a fraction of the cost whilst using a fraction of the space, and with a lot more control over volume? Are DJs actually necessary at all, just maintaining a constant flow of pre-recorded music, with none of the magic nor any of the spectacle of a live performance? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding ‘no’ – read on to find out more about what the score really is in the wedding music world:
Live Wedding Bands Are Not Too Loud
Agreed, nobody wants to be sat with their head next to the big bass drum – but a wedding band who knows what they’re doing won’t allow this to happen. Experienced players will know how to pitch themselves in relation to the acoustics of the room they’re in, and will know there’s a high probability of elderly relatives. Amps and PAs can have their volumes turned down to be in accordance with your venue’s sound restrictions and your guests’ aural sensitivity, less aggressive songs can be chosen, and drummers with knowledge and control can use bunch sticks, brushes, electronic kits, cajons or just play quieter.
DJs Aren’t Always Cheaper
DJing is a rich, if relatively recent, art form, with a wide variety of skills and styles involved. And presiding over a roomful of friends and family drunk on love and Prosecco is an art form in its own right. Pro wedding DJs will be aware of the challenges that entertainers face – but will also know how to work the room like a treat. This is what you’re paying for – a fun, memorable evening of music and dancing. And an expensive (and therefore likely experienced) wedding DJ will be well versed in witty banter and know how to handle any request thrown at them, so you’ll be in safe, fun to watch hands. On the other end of the scale, you can often hire yourself a professional solo musician, like a guitarist, pianist or harpist, for significantly less than a top-end wedding DJ – so don’t feel like your choice has to be limited.
Bands Won’t Take Continuous Breaks
It’s not the 1970s anymore, so you don’t have to worry about your band popping off to their beaten up van every ten minutes to ‘refresh’ themselves. Wedding bands know their place, and they know how much pressure, financial or otherwise, you’ll be under as a couple on your wedding day. Sure, they’ll take five here and there (actually, it’ll usually be 10-15 minutes – not really that long considering it’ll usually be after a 45-60 minute set), but they won’t just set their guitars off and vacate the stage. They’ll probably agree timings with you beforehand, and will announce to your guests with due notice that there’ll be a lull in the festivities. Unless, of course, you’ve got that covered.
You Can Hire a Band AND a DJ
No, this isn’t some special service reserved for millionaires and celebrities – it’s actually becoming common practice to have both live musicians and a DJ set at one wedding reception. And you needn’t worry that the live classic rock will be at odds with the 90s house anthems, as it’s likely your DJ will be a member of, or at least be affiliated with, you wedding band, will have considered the shift in tone and will endeavour to make it as smooth as possible. More and more wedding bands today offer a DJ service as part of their package, which is extremely convenient equipment-wise – the PA’s already set up, and the decks will most likely have been set up along with it prior to the band’s first set. So you’ll be saving time, space AND money – that’s the big three!
DJs Don’t All Tell Terrible Jokes
Watching a wedding DJ is not like being at a school disco – if you don’t want any Agadoo, there won’t be any Agadoo. And you can dance in whichever way you want to. Wedding entertainers in general now are more interested in delivering bespoke services to create beautiful memories that are unique and personal to you than telling you what you want. This extends to what a wedding DJ says down the microphone – words of encouragement may be heard, but not at the expense of interrupting the music. You’re more likely to hear timely announcements that you yourself have approved, like when the cake’s about to cut, if the bar’s Chardonnay supply has run dry, or if the best man still hasn’t come out of the bathroom (these could all come at the same time, which would only cut off one song). Don’t be put off hiring a DJ by all the silly noises and comments you hear on the radio – DJs are not contractually obliged to make them.
Bands Can Offer a Surprising Amount of Variety
While a band’s guitars and drums can only sound so different song-to-song in comparison to a DJ’s all the music in the world (or at least on the internet), you may be pleasantly surprised by just how varied their performances can be. OK, so a jazz band is going to be playing mostly jazz songs in a predominantly jazzy style – but they’ll know that they’ll need to cater to guests of yours who might not prefer this particular genre, and will surprise you by playing Bohemian Rhapsody, or American Idiot, or Single Ladies, or whatever the kids are listening to these days – but as if it were jazz! As gloriously different as wedding bands can be, the one thing they all have in common is that they want everyone in the room to enjoy what they play, and they’ll go to surprising lengths to make that happen.
It’s Not a Good Idea to Hire Amateurs
One look at a directory of premium wedding bands could have you running for the hills, or into your local music venue to find the first group of hopeful teenagers looking to make a quick buck. After all, if they know the same tunes, they’ll do just as well, right? No – this is a misconception, not to mention a mistake. While some professional wedding bands and wedding DJs do charge hundreds and thousands for their services, their experience and reputation has earned them the right to do so. Any artist who’s worth their salt and knows it will not undersell themselves; it’s just common sense to take pride in your work. And don’t worry – not all professional wedding bands will be way out of your budget; you just have to know where to look. A good place to start is, without a doubt, a wedding entertainment agency. Not only will these acts have been through vigorous quality checks – they’ll also know how to act at a wedding, and how to deal with a wedding crowd. It’s a wholly different gig to playing in the sweaty back room of a club, and only true professionals will appreciate that. And owning your own set of decks or does not a professional wedding DJ make – they must also be engaging with, yet respectful to, your audience both in terms of their interactions and the music they choose – an art that can take years to perfect.
We hope you feel like you know a little more about wedding music now, both of the organic and electronic variety, and feel more equipped to make the right choice for your impending wedding. Whichever musical avenue you decide to walk down, we wish you all the best!