top of page

Wedding's Over, Time to Party

What to Consider and Who to Hire for Entertainment at Your Wedding Reception

Weddings really are a magical thing. It's the only time in your life when all of your friends and family are gathered in one place to celebrate you. It's probably the only time in your life when you can look up at the reception and see your crazy aunt from Kansas dancing with your college roommate. Magic. And probably a little bit of alcohol, but mostly magic.

After the "I do's" are said and the rings are exchanged, it is time to let loose of all of that pent up stress from wedding planning, and break it down on the dance floor, but before you can do that, there are a few important decisions to be made. The ceremony is only act one of the overall wedding celebration. To really wow your guests, the reception should also be a focal point of the wedding planning process, and the most important thing to consider for your reception is inevitably, the music.

Not just the music being played, but equally important is who is playing the music. There are a few different options when it comes to music for your wedding reception, primarily whether you will feature a DJ or a live band. Both are valid and popular options, but the choice you make really depends on a variety of factors including wedding style, budget, and venue.

Here we will examine the pros and cons of each, and give you a list of a few important things to consider for each option!

Live Band

Photo from Brandon Kidd Photography


There is just something different about live music. As opposed to working with a DJ, with a live band, you and your guests are actually involved in the performance. There are more opportunities for human to human interaction with a live band. A good band leader will work to maximize those opportunities and work the crowd.

Depending on the vibe of your wedding and the style of your band, a live band is oftentimes considered more formal than a DJ. If you are going for a black tie look, a live band may add an extra boost of class and style. If you are just asking guests to be in their Sunday best, a DJ with definitely suffice.


With the added formality, comes a greater expense. Live bands generally cost more to hire, especially if they are playing ceremony music as well and they charge by the hour because that means that, more than likely, they will be racking up charges through dinner as well.

As with any live performance, there are elements of uncertainty. No matter how good your band is, there will be differences in their version of some of your guests' favorite songs. This can be troublesome for guests who want to sing along with the original.

Things to Consider

  • Does your venue have space to accommodate a five piece band? Eight piece? Twelve?

  • Will your band need a stage to perform? (Keep reading for more details on staging.)

  • What kind of music does your crowd like? Are they songs that a band is likely to know?

DJ Services


With the power of the internet on their side, DJs have the ability to be much more flexible in their work. If your mom wants to request her sorority's chapter song from 1980, they can find it. Because of this added layer of adaptability, they are able to bring more of a variety to the dance floor.

A good DJ will also act as the couple's personal hype man. Meaning, your DJ is the one who gets the crowd going and energizes all of the guests who may be tempted to slip away after dinner. They can also make announcements, create timelines, and act as a "reception planner" for the wedding after party.


DJs are a great, budget friendly alternative to a live band; however, if your DJ isn't much of an entertainer, your reception will suffer. You may be thinking, "anyone can stream and play some songs." Not so fast. If your DJ is a debbie downer, your audience will mirror their attitude. If you decide to go with a DJ rather than a band, make sure you meet with them beforehand to get a better understanding of how they operate.

Things to Consider

  • How much space does your DJ need to set up, and will they bring all of their own equipment?

  • Are there certain songs you absolutely don't want played at the reception? Consider providing your DJ with a do not play list to avoid any awkward moments at the reception.

Staging Options

Occasionally your band will request a stage set up in order to perform. If your venue does not have an adequate area for your band's preferences, you may have to look into stage rental. Dependent on the size of the band, their instruments, and how many people will be sharing the stage, the size and, consequently, the cost of your stage will be different. Sizes can vary from an 8x8 (64 square feet) at the smallest to 16x24 (384 square feet) at the largest. We suggest speaking with your prospective band(s) before hiring them to see what their needs are and, remember, to include the cost of any additional rentals in your music budget!

These stages usually come in a kit that includes the panels to build the stage, the black drape to cover the front and sides, and occasionally steps where they are needed.

Call us at Purdon's Rental and Sales at 859-266-1197 or visit us in the showroom to get a quote for all of your staging needs. When you book with us, set up of your stage is included!

Ultimately, whatever route you go, whether you go all in with a live band or choose to book with a local DJ, the most important thing is to do your research! Make sure you know what you are getting before they arrive. If you are hiring a band, try to attend one of their performances before booking, or you can request to view footage from other weddings that they have done. For a DJ, make sure you request a meeting beforehand to do a quick personality check, but also so you can go over any do not play lists or other necessary requirements.

Best of luck, and happy wedding planning!


bottom of page