DJ vs Live Band: Which Should You Choose?

DJ vs Live Band - Which Do You Choose? - Equinox Sound

You have locked down a date, confirmed your venue, picked your menu, and by now probably have picked out your dream dress. Everything is in order but the entertainment! You're stuck on one decision: a DJ vs a live band, which one should you choose? Here are some things to keep in mind when making the tough choice.


First thing you should think about is budget. How much are you willing to put towards your entertainment, or the better question how much should you be spending? There is a lot to consider. First off, a band could consist of up to 8 musicians which will affect their price - would it be fair that they cost the same amount as one DJ? Obviously not.

It's often an overlooked detail but the band musicians are most likely going to be eating that night, adding on a cost for x amount of plates. Overall, a band can range anywhere between $2000 - $15,000 for the evening.

DJ companies will most often provide a single DJ; although larger events or specialty events may call for two.  The cost can range from as low as $600 (although that can be a major gamble) with other quotes nearing $3000. Either way, you won't have to allocate nearly as much of your budget when hiring a DJ; after all, they only eat consume one meal!

Evening and Music Flow

How would you like the evening to flow? Bands are great at creating an incomparable ambiance and a very welcoming feel. Some will bring a mix of interaction and a high energy attitude while others will play on your heartstrings. That said, there are a number of bands that need sheet music and a moment to prepare for the next song. This can cause gaps of dead air which can create a small but noticeable awkward moment.

Live bands have a much trickier time transitioning into the dance portion of the night. This relies heavily on the type of band as well as the crowd but it's safe to say that DJ's will have an easier time coaxing guests to make their way onto the floor.

Through cocktails and dinner, a professional DJ will have no issues smoothly fading from one song the next - the key is playing the right genres and staying alert so the sound levels are always appropriate. You'll get full control of choosing the atmosphere though.


Finally, are you okay with a limited variety of music? The band you hire will play their hearts out and hopefully the crowd will eat it up but no matter how hard they try, they won't be able to match those catchy, 'I gotta dance to this' songs that span the past 5 decades. If you're okay with covers or maybe you are fully aware that your crowd aren't ones to hit up the dance floor then a band seems like it would be a reasonable choice.

If you can't shake the feeling that your dance won't have a packed floor listening to one of Pitbull's 500 songs or you can't have 'Single Ladies' by Beyonce for your bouquet toss, it might be time to take a step in the direction of hiring a DJ.


With a band, be prepared for more work and to supply more. A band can have many amps, monitors, as well as a PA. This can require a lot more power, while a DJ can typically run a system for 200 people on one plug in.

When going over your timeline and music cues with a DJ, all that's required from you is to fill out a form so he/she can be prepared to play that right songs or make the correct announcement. With a band, a rehearsal is likely necessary.

  • bands will provide an incredible vibe and ambiance but, for the most part, will be reflected in the price you pay
  • a DJ will be your most affordable choice and has a lot more variety, versatility and ability to adapt on the fly
  • bands may leave the room with some awkward silence between songs while DJ's can smoothly transition to keep the flow of music
  • band musicians will drive your catering costs up (especially since some of them might not know where their next meal is coming from haha)
If you have the budget and want the best of both worlds, go all out and get both! Probably the most effective way to create an incredibly memorable night - your guests are sure to brag about how great the entertainment portion was. Whatever direction you choose, do not be afraid to ask questions.

If you are interested to inquire with Equinox Sound, fill out our entertainment request form found here.