SHOULD I HIRE A DJ OR BAND FOR MY WEDDING? DECIDING WHAT ENTERTAINMENT TO USE FOR YOUR BIG DAY.
The second big vendor that I wanted to tackle during my wedding planning was my music and entertainment. So many people say that the most important parts of your wedding are the food and the music. People want to enjoy delicious food and dance the night away so it’s crucial for me to find the perfect entertainment to have a wonderful reception that people will remember and talk about long after we say our vows. As mentioned in previous posts we booked our wedding venue at Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove, New Jersey so we know the food is going to be on point. We have only heard amazing review about their food and both me and my fiance have attended events there and enjoyed their spread. Our families are both primarily Italian so we had to make sure there was a large menu of Italian dishes and delicious meats, cheese and seafood. Now the next big thing to consider was the music.
The first thing to think about for us was do we want a band or do we want a DJ?
For us the answer was pretty easy. We didn’t want a band for a few reasons. Most bands are good if you have a lot of older guests. A lot of older family members love live bands and when they play to classic songs, but to be honest I never like when they play the new hits. There’s something about a band playing Kanye West that just doesn’t get me wanting to dance. Bands in NJ also cost upwards of $8-$10k for a Saturday evening. There are much better things I can spend ten thousand dollars on. We also have been to weddings when there is a band and for some reason it seems people sit down more often than when a DJ is playing. Bands also take a lot more breaks than a DJ does and if I am paying that much money I want there to be constant music all night long. So based on our taste of music, the fact that we want a lot of people dancing all night and that the type of music we prefer is more recent songs we wanted to go with a DJ instead.
Now that we were both in agreement on that it was time to start reaching out to vendors in New Jersey to start to get prices as well as find out what most packages include for music for your wedding. We had a few things we were looking for:
- Ceremony Music: our wedding ceremony will be outdoors at the venue we are getting married. This means we need music that can be played outside to set the tone for the ceremony and easily transition into the cocktail hour which begins right after we say our “I Do’s”. For ceremony we wanted live music/live musicians. Many DJ companies either have their own musicians on staff or can hire freelancers for your wedding.
- Cocktail Hour: for cocktail hour we were torn between DJ music or live music. Our cocktail room at Il Tulipano is quite large so whatever music we choose has to be able to fill the room and be loud enough to be heard over the chatter of the guests, but not so loud that it becomes annoying or drowns out conversation. For this we were open to live music or DJ, but decided to go with live music. We knew that the reception was going to be DJ music so we wanted to make sure that cocktail was a bit different.
- Reception: For the largest part of the evening amazing dance music with a mix of slow songs and classic was what we wanted to find in a DJ. We also wanted intelligent lighting for the room to help liven it up on the dance floor and we wanted a closed photo booth for our guests to take photos and print them out.
If your guests like dance music, electronic dance music, the hits, some fun dance along favorites and some slow songs I highly recommend getting a DJ. If you want some live music then you can do like we are; get some live music for your ceremony and/or your cocktail hour to set the tone and then have the DJ for the reception. This also allows for your guests to request music too, something that doesn’t usually happen when you hire a band. They usually have the songs that the couple has requested and the few hits that they practice often.
Something to also look at when looking for a DJ is make sure the Emcee is top notch. You want someone who is comfortable on the mic and can get people on the dance floor during the entire evening. There is nothing worse than an Emcee who can’t get the crowd to play along. The Emcee sets the tone for the evening and by the middle of the reception you want your guests to love the Emcee. Usually the Emcee is also your DJ so make sure they also have a large library of songs to choose from. For us, we plan to let our DJ use his judgement for most of the music throughout the night. There will likely be about 20 songs we request but the rest we will leave to his judgement – you should trust your DJ to know what to play and when.
As for the package we were looking for: lights, photo booth, entertainment/music and Emcee we have that all covered in the company we chose. We talked to about 5 different DJ companies and wound up selecting POSH Entertainment in Cranford, NJ. I had previously worked with Lil Cee and Mikey B. back during my time in radio at KTU and completely trust them to turn my wedding into an amazing night. They offer everything soup to nuts and can get anyone on a dance floor. Some of the other companies I reached out to just didn’t seem to match my expectations. They were either non responsive (took forever to respond to calls or emails), made it seem like they were “way too busy and booked” to be bothered giving us the attention we wanted, or getting quotes/prices from them was like pulling teeth. Sometimes you just want to know the costs so you can X them off your list if they are out of your budget. Many want you to come see them in person before they even tell you quotes. I would highly recommend talking to POSH Entertainment if you are looking for a DJ company in NJ. (Tell them Adrienne sent you!)
In the end, you have to pick the music and entertainment that matches your vision, your venue and your guests. Hiring a DJ company is about half the cost of hiring a band, allows for more freedom for options of songs throughout the night, and is a bit more modern if you have younger guests at your wedding. While grandparents might want a live band, for us it just wasn’t something we were interested in.