Wedding Music

5 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Band, Not a DJ

Photo by Bruno Cervera

The only question you want to ask yourself when deciding between a band and DJ is this: Do you want the same exact wedding as everyone else? If so, then great, a DJ is a perfectly unoriginal choice for you. Have fun listening to the same Top 40 hits over and over just like you did at Brad and Jen’s, Tom and Miranda’s, and Steven and Julie’s weddings.

Bands on the other hand, are made up people who’ve spent their entire lives learning to master their instrument. These are talented artists that bring a certain independent panache and emphasis to each song that no one else can.

However, even if you go for a traditional Top 40 wedding band, that will be less cheesy than having some guy named Gunther stand behind a laptop looking bored in a pair of expensive headphones all night. Which is why we compiled this special list of the reasons you should hire a band for your wedding.

There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Variety

During the course of a typical four-hour function there will be time for about 60 songs. A wedding band will play well-known songs, ranging from oldies and Top 40 dance, to classic rock, to Motown, and whatever you can give them a heads-up to learn ahead of time. Your wedding won’t be better because someone could choose from 60,000 songs–90% of those songs are terrible or inappropriate. There’s a reason we have something called Top 40 music: because most people will want to hear those songs. Those are the ones a wedding band will play. So yes, a band will have a limited repertoire, but that’s a good thing. It means that real people are curating the playlist to the moment.

Bands Are More Fun

Why is a live band more fun? Because musicians—even in wedding bands—love to play music. That’s why they became musicians in the first place. They have fun when they are onstage and that’s contagious. Your wedding guests can see how much they’re having, and will want to have fun, too.

Analog Beats Digital

Bare with us here as this is going to get a little technical. These days, it’s highly unlikely any DJ is going to schlep crates of vinyl to your wedding. If you hire a DJ, you will be listening to music in the form of mp3s (or some digital streaming service). That means the music has been compressed into a series of binary codes—which is nothing more than a string of ones and zeroes. It’s cold. It’s dead inside. It has no vibe, man. Whereas a live band—well, that’s like eating a loaf of warm freshly baked bread. Through your ears. Did we lose you yet? No? Good.


If you hire a DJ, you’re just getting the exact same song that everyone else gets. If you hire a band, the singer can customize the lyrics to the slow dance to mention you and your new wife by name (“And I say ‘Diane, you look wonderful tonight,’ ”) or tweak the lyrics to remove objectionable words in a 50 Cent jam. Just another way to remind yourself that this moment is real, once-in-a-lifetime, and unreproducible.

Beware The Old Bait & Switch

When you hire a band, you get that band. Most DJs are hired through an agency. There is nothing shadier than a DJ agency. There are Kremlin-backed computer hackers we trust more than DJ agencies. In some cases you might hire one DJ—let’s call him Luc, since that is probably his name–then your wedding day rolls around and instead some guy named Wyatt shows up. Or worse, his name will be just a bunch of vowels in a row, and then you’re really screwed.

Bottom Line

DJs are dodgy and they tend to have trust funds. Real musicians are nice and give a charm and craftsmanship to their work. Not to mention, most of them are starving, so they really need the work. Hire a band.

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