Guest Post | Reception Entertainment

Happy Tuesday, friends! Today we have the lovely Becky, from Bow Ties & Bliss sharing with us about the choice between a DJ and a live band/musician. It’s a tough call, so hopefully Becky’s tips can help you make it! Thanks so much for being here Becky!!

‘Ello loves!

It’s Becky here, fellow music lover and wedding blogger over at Bow Ties & Bliss. I am so excited to be sharing again on Colleen’s fantastic blog! Last time I discussed ways to decorate the dance floor, and today it’s all about the reception entertainment.

As I’m sure you have realized by now, planning a wedding involves making a LOT of decisions. Some of the decisions are simple, and some of them may take more thought. One of the potentially more complicated choices you will have to make is what kind of entertainment to provide at the reception.

There are two main routes you can take as far as reception music goes: hiring a DJ or a live band/musician. There are benefits to each of these, so let’s discuss!

{Image via the Seattle Wedding DJ}

Hiring a DJ

DJs are generally less expensive than live musicians, which is one of the main reasons you may decide to take this route. Another benefit is that you can customize the music to be exactly what you want– a mix of 70s, 80s, 90s, pop/rock/hip hop, and so on. You can give the DJ a list of all the songs you want him/her to play as well as the songs you DON’T want them to play. If you go with a live band, the music will generally be of the same style/genre throughout the night, with less variety than that of a DJ.

When choosing a DJ, make sure to find someone who’s personality you really enjoy because they are going to be running the show during the reception. The DJ should be outgoing, confident, friendly, have a good sense of humor, and have a lot of experience under his/her belt. Ask to watch a video of them ‘doing their thing’ if possible before hiring them, so you can see how they interact. If you find the right DJ, he or she will be able to keep the party going all night and keep everyone on their feet.

{Weber Photography via Bow Ties & Bliss}

Hiring a live band or musician

Having live music at your reception can provide a completely different feel than a DJ could. Live music emulates being at a concert… and who wouldn’t want to have a concert at their reception!? If you decide to go with a live band, you will need to figure out what kind of genre you want played at your reception. Most bands have a specific niche, i.e. oldies, 70s, rock, jazz, classical, and so on.

Live musicians can provide a more sophisticated or up-scale feel to your reception as well, and they may be much more entertaining to watch then a DJ clicking around on a computer. When hiring a live band, make sure to listen to samples of their music, and ask to see a video of them performing at a wedding.

{Leo DJ Photography}

There are several things you will need to consider when making your decision about reception entertainment, so I would recommend starting out by looking up local DJs and live bands in your area, and comparing the costs. Is it worth to pay an extra $1,000 or so for live music? It very well could be, depending on the “feel” you are going for at your reception. Often times a good, quality, seasoned DJ can do just as good of a job as keeping people on their feet and entertained as a live band.

So what are your plans for reception music–live band or DJ??

Thanks so much for having me, Colleen!

Until next time,



[…] My post is all about choosing your reception entertainment, and how to decide between having live music or a DJ. You can see it right here. […]

Laurel G - February 29, 2012 - 2:29 am

great tips. We had a DJ for monetary reasons, I wish we could have had a band though!

Sarah {A Paper Proposal} - February 29, 2012 - 9:58 pm

I always wanted a DJ, because I love the idea of dancing to songs that everyone could sing along with.

John Lee - April 9, 2012 - 2:05 pm

Thanks for the tips. Where to get a freelance DJ? It’s nice to have one

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