There’s no debate - It should always be a live band…

Jul 30, 2019 | Planning

We've all heard the debate. Should you have a Band or DJ for your wedding reception music? Here at Wedding Sparrow HQ, we're all about the atmosphere and truly believe a live band at your reception is the ultimate way in getting the best time from your guests!

Can't decide who should play your wedding tunes? We've teamed up with experts the Last Minute Musicians, who's directory has over 3,300 fantastic and diverse acts for you to choose from. Here's everything you need to know to find the right music maker for your day.

There's no doubt about it: Music can make or break a wedding celebration—think of it as the heart and soul of a reception. Hiring a talented band is a given. But how do you find exactly what you want? It starts with asking yourself some basic questions—specifically, what type of entertainment suits your personal taste, budget, space allowances, guest demographics and killer dance moves best. Here, we list 3 things to know before you make your music choice.

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Image: Ambassador Band

1. You have a few things to consider

Vibe: The type of music you pick can set the tone of your wedding and solidify a theme. And it's the thing people most often remember. Think about what musical genre best reflects your personalities and inspires the ambience you want to create: '70s band or a romantic string quartet? A throwback big band feel or kick-off-your-shoes rockabilly? The way the music is delivered also affects the atmosphere.

Variety: Regardless of whether you choose a band or DJ, be sure they play slow and fast songs, as well as old and new tunes to encourage all guests to hit the dance floor.

Budget: In the price war, DJs generally cost less, and prices vary depending on equipment requests and whether it's a weekday or weekend. A 12-piece band, for example, will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay. (There are always exceptions; well-known DJs can be just as expensive as live bands.) Band prices vary by the number of musicians, the amount of time you want them to play for, day of the week and what time of year it is.

Space: Have your heart set on an eight-piece band? You first need to check whether the reception site has any restrictions on the number of musicians and pieces of equipment you may bring in, and whether there are any electrical power supply or noise limitations. For example, a registered landmark may not allow you to use large speakers. Ask these questions before you start scouting.

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Image: Fun Time Frankies

2. A band has its pros and cons

There's nothing like a live wedding band to get a crowd excited and create a sense of sophistication. A good bandleader will play the master of ceremonies at your reception, interacting with folks on the dance floor, paying attention to the "feel" of the room and selecting music accordingly.

Pros: Live music is, well, live. You and your guests will experience the pleasure of a performance. Anything can happen to raise the excitement level, from an infectious horn section interlude to a moving solo.

Cons: Bands can be more expensive than DJs. And if you want to hear a song the exact way the original artist performed it, you may not get what you want. You should see them live at some point. If that's not a possibility, ask for a playlist and look for songs you know and love. If a band sends you their songs or a link to a video, be sure the musicians you hear or see are the same musicians who will play at your reception. Also, ask for referrals from the last few weddings the band played.

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Image: Frankly Jazz

3. Tell them your likes and dislikes before you sign

Know that all professionals should be open to your likes and dislikes. Give them your personal request list, songs they must play and, perhaps more importantly, a do-not-play list. Worried you'll hear the "Macarena" at your once-in-a-lifetime event? Specifically prohibit the playing of a song you feel strongly about in your contract.


There's no debate - It should always be a live band... There's no debate - It should always be a live band... There's no debate - It should always be a live band... There's no debate - It should always be a live band... There's no debate - It should always be a live band... There's no debate - It should always be a live band...

At Last Minute Musicians, we love being able to facilitate happy couples finding the perfect entertainment for their big day. With over 3,300 acts currently listed on our directory, it is our diversity that often proves to be most popular with brides and grooms-to-be. No matter how unique or creative their theme, they are bound to be able to find the best in wedding entertainment to suit it – whether it’s a classic wedding band, vintage jazz trio, folk band for a “WedFest”… or anything else!

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All bands pictured available via Last Minute Musicians.


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