Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of different comments from people in regards to their views and opinions on this topic and I would like to start by clarifying some of the most common disbelieves and confusions out there.
“It is more expensive to have a band than a DJ.” Most established DJ companies charge between $1000 and $3000 for a wedding reception while most established bands charge the same amount of money. While being a musician requires a lot more talent and years practice than being a DJ, many bands are charging less money and getting paid less just to be able to compete with those DJs and stay in business. These days, the demand for live music is fairly low but I believe that it’s just a matter of time before live bands and musicians become popular again. Then DJ companies will have to reduce their rates and the financial difference between hiring a band and a DJ will be more significant and make a little more sense :)
“Bands can play only specific genres, all the songs sound the same and it gets boring. DJs are more flexible.” This might be the case if you are dealing with very unprofessional bands or if you really hate live music. The main purpose of any professional wedding entertainer is to satisfy their client and make as many guests happy as possible. And since all people have different music preferences, many of the wedding bands constantly work on expending their repertory while experimenting with different genres, transitions and sounds. This allows them to play different kinds of songs from different eras and be just as flexible and accommodating as some of the top class wedding DJs. In my opinion, there is a lot more appeal, sophistication, energy and excitement when there is a band playing live instead of (or in addition to) a DJ pushing two buttons on his laptop.
“Are there any advantages of having a DJ?” Well, it can be many different things. Sometimes DJs might be better for playing electronic music. Also, many of the San Diego wedding DJs have become popular, to a large extent, because of their ability to MC all necessary announcements and introductions. DJs do not have to “learn” the songs they play and if you’re looking for a large number of non-mainstream songs, it would be easier for your DJ to download them than for the whole band to learn them just for your wedding. Also, if your space is limited, a DJ setup would not require as much space as most bands would.
Depending on your venue, your personal preferences and other details, there will be more advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing between having a disc jockey vs. a live band. However, there is another option of choosing to have both at the same time and there are many different ways to make it work. One of the most common ones is to have a DJ, a pianist or a guitarist for your ceremony and/or cocktail hour and then a live band for your dinner. Your DJ would take over the dancing part and this way you would get a nice mixture of both DJ and live entertainment, which is very likely to surprise and please the vast majority of your guests.
One of the most important parts of shopping around for DJs and bands is to make sure you’re hiring dedicated, experienced and professional entertainers. You need to find out if the person you’re dealing with is the actual DJ who would be playing at your wedding and not just the sales person who tells you exactly what you want to hear in order to get you to buy their package. There are many couples who try to save many on entertainment and end up with a lot of disappointment and frustration because of relying on subcontracted DJs who, oftentimes, aren't trained and experienced enough to be a part of one of the most important day of your life. Many of them are paid a very small portion of the fee you’re paying to the company and poor level of service, old-school equipment and inappropriate attire are just a few of the possible consequences of dealing with those kinds of companies. While pictures, videos, reviews and referrals are great ways to learn more about the company you’re interested in hiring, in my opinion, one of the most important things is to be able to trust your wedding entertainer by establishing a personal relationship.
There are several companies in the San Diego area that offer packages that include DJs and live music, and Golden Gate Sunrise Entertainment is one of them. Their all-inclusive “Red Diamond” package provides a DJ for your ceremony, a pianist for your cocktail hour, a live jazz trio for your dinner and a DJ for the rest of your reception along with MC services, up lighting, dance floor lighting, highly personalized planning and more. The cost of this package can be compared to the cost of hiring a wedding DJ (or a band) alone. If you’re interested in learning more, you can click here.