DJ or Band? Which is Better?

devoted wedding logo

A wedding reception is the biggest party you will ever throw. Whether it be in Cincinnati, Dayton (Ohio) or Northern Kentucky, guests will certainly want to get down on the dance floor. Which is better? That all depends on you. There are pros and cons to both, and it really comes down to the vibe you want at the wedding ceremony and reception, and your budget.



Live music creates an ambience of class and elegance. The price comes down to one simple detail — How many musicians will be playing. The more musicians you have, the higher the price. The longer the musicians play, the price goes up. You can have a string trio, guitar quartet or even a piano play during your wedding ceremony. This oozes of elegance, but it typically comes at a price of $600-$900 for a trio or quartet. A piano player typically runs a couple hundred dollars on their own. Musicians should also be tipped, so incorporate that into your wedding budget. Bands, on the other hand, have anywhere from 4 to 12 “pieces” (meaning different people playing a different instrument). Not all bands are created equal, as some bands cater to a bar scene while others have extensive experience playing at special events and wedding receptions. Make sure that your band is comfortable serving as a master of ceremony during your wedding reception. The band leader should be prepared to lead the introductions, keep the timeline on schedule and announce formalities like cake cutting, toast, dinner, first dance, bouquet toss, garter toss, and last call. You do ‘get what you pay for’ with bands, and those with extremely good reputations will cost more and book up more quickly. You can expect to pay $2500 to $8000 for a typical wedding reception band. You can also play 15 minutes of pre-recorded hits when the band takes its break if there are specific songs you want to hear.



If you have always envisioned walking down the aisle to a specific song sung by a specific artist, or want to jam to Journey’s version of “Don’t Stop Believing” and other Billboard hits on the dance floor, you want a DJ. DJs can personalize a specific playlist and play exact renditions of most any song you want to hear. A professional DJ will subscribe to a service that offers hundreds of thousands of songs that you can choose from, and many of them have online portals for you to select a play list, do not play list, and must play list. In some cases, your guests can even log in prior to the wedding to select songs for the wedding reception. Many DJs offer more than music, and services can include mood lighting, uplighting, photo booths, monograms, fog machines, sparklers, confetti shots and more. Like bands, you need to make sure that your wedding DJ has experience MC-ing a wedding reception and that their expertise isn’t simply at clubs, doing quizzes at your local bar, or karaoke. You also want to make sure that a DJ owns or has access to a reliable sound system and a backup plan should something happen. Most DJs in southern Ohio range from $400 to $2500, and specialty DJs can go as high as $6,000 in some markets. In most cases, you do ‘get what you pay for’ when it comes to quality of DJs.