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Live Band or DJ: Which to Choose?

Really, people only go to weddings to see one thing. Well, actually two things: you and your partner.

There’s no doubt that you’re going to be the main attraction, but there are going to be moments when you want the attention to shift away from you. (Trust us—you’ll want a moment out of the spotlight to eat a forkful of cake.) This means that you’ve got a choice to make: Should you hire a live band or a DJ for your wedding reception entertainment?

If you’re trying to decide between the two, here are the factors that you should consider.

What type of a venue is your wedding in?


Typically, the space needed for a band is more than the space needed for a DJ, but a smaller venue doesn’t mean you have to rule out live music.

For example, music performed by an acoustic wedding band or solo guitarist can fill a space without overwhelming it. These performers tend to perfectly suit Bohemian celebrations, as well as nuptials rooted in class and tradition.

What type of atmosphere do you want to create?


Generally speaking, the type of “vibe” you’re going for is usually a good indicator of whether you should hire a DJ or a live band.

A live band is more likely to be the centre of attention at your wedding. This will create a particular level of excitement, emotion and energy in the room—and will be a hit even with guests who don’t enjoy dancing.

That was the experience of Duncan Hill and his wife Nicole, who booked our three-piece band for their reception.

“A live touch is exactly what is needed to match the emotion and joy of the day,” says Duncan. “We wanted a relaxed party feel for the reception—and for everyone to dance and celebrate the day with us.”

However, if you’d like the attention focused elsewhere, a DJ might be your best bet.

Are there any songs that you have your heart set on hearing?


While there are tons of niche bands for hire—from big bands to heavy metal—a good live band can work with you to determine what type of atmosphere you’re going for and the style of music you’d like played.

But if you have a favorite song, don’t expect us to perform it exactly as recorded. We like to put our own twist on all the songs you know and love, which gives them energy. And while the repertoire of our live band is impressive, there’s no way we can compete with a DJ’s catalog of music. A DJ is going to have an easier time taking requests (which—dependent on your guests’ taste in music—can be a pro or con!) and can play a wider variety of styles.

With that being said, Duncan says that even with a live band, you may have trouble fitting in all the songs you want to hear.

“Keeping the list of songs we wanted down to a reasonable number was hard,” he says. His advice? “Keep it simple. Pick the key songs for key moments, and then just pick a few in the genres that you like. The band will be able to work out the set from this and may even surprise you with a couple you wish you had chosen,” he says.

What is your budget?


Generally speaking, hiring only a DJ is the best option for those working on a tighter budget. However, we’ve worked with many happy couples to provide them with both live music and DJs for their wedding receptions, based around the budget and music ideas they provided us with.

Ultimately, if you’re trying to choose between a live band and DJ, you don’t have to compromise — we do both!
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I loved the music; the violinist really set the atmosphere and I was almost lost for breath as I was about to walk down the aisle. We had talked about getting emotional thinking about that particular song and that was definitely the case for me on the day.

MISTY & WAYNE


Red Soda Band played with perfection on our special day! The song choices were easy and done in a flash. Prompt and friendly communication the whole way through made this part of the wedding planning simple.

MALCOLM & BHARTI


Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to you guys. It was PERFECT – the songs were great, the volume was spot-on and you both were extremely professional. You were both lovely guys, too! It all came together and everyone commented on how great the music was!

DEB & JOSH


The team were SUCH a pleasure to deal with. If you want to limit your stress, get the Red Soda Band involved. They were just so fantastic and wonderful AND TALENTED! We have had so many positive comments over how spectacular and wonderful they were. Make this easy-peasy for yourself and talk to Red Soda today!

ALEX + CHRIS


The music helped create the perfect vibe for both our ceremony and reception.

JENNY + CHRIS


The song selection was top-notch and the dance floor was rocking.

FRASER & ALANAH


Our warmest thanks for providing such beautiful music on our wedding day. It was absolutely perfect in every way and we have had so many friends and family comment on it.

TIFF & MATT


Thanks for the fantastic job you did at our wedding!! It looked and sounded amazing and we have had nothing but compliments from our guests.

HENRY AND JANE

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