Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Smitten Whittens: Band vs. DJ

When I go to a wedding, there are a few things I will inevitably do: 

1. Get emotional when I see the groom watch his bride walk down the aisle.
2. Pretend to fix my hair so I can sneakily wipe tears from my eyes without looking dramatic.
3. Eat wedding cake.

Now, these are all guaranteed, no matter the wedding, but if it's a great wedding, there is a fourth inevitable thing I will do, and that is dance. 

And to dance at a wedding, I require music. (Gotta keep my reputation as a relatively sane human being.)

In my opinion, music, and the dancing that comes along with it, can either make or break a wedding reception. 

The southern girl in me loves shagging and swing dancing to beach music, and if the moment is right, you may find me wobbling or shuffling to a line dance (but seriously, at the right moment, with the right DJ who knows not to play the entire 5 minutes of the "Cupid Shuffle," because WOW that gets old fast). However, for me, it is never, ever grinding, because that just isn't me. Now, that's not to say I don't wanna hear songs like "Yeah!" by Usher, because I will totally dork-dance my way through that with interpretive dance moves! 

Can you say classic?!

Obviously, not everyone feels the same way I do about the same kinds of music, and that's what makes wedding entertainment so tricky! My goal is to get people on the dance floor, and I want them to stay there! However, when my guests range from ages 2-88 (true story), it's a little difficult to find music that will please everyone. 

I didn't know dancing at weddings could be so fun until last May, when I went to my first wedding with a band.... And it. was. awesome. The band was phenomenal, playing the most fun songs that kept people of all ages on the dance floor all night, and as if that wasn't good enough, they had these backup singers and dancers that looked like they were straight out of the movie "Dream Girls." I was sold. I knew when John and I got married, I'd book a band.

Ugh, can Bey just come play at my reception?!

Until I realized that booking a band means paying for a lot of people. And really good bands have really steep rates.

I talked to many people about many different bands, but for the kind of band I loved- the kind of band people would talk about for years after the wedding, we'd be spending more money than I'd be comfortable spending on one element of the day, no matter how important that element may be.

I almost signed a contract with an okay band; in fact, I did sign a contract with an okay band, but ripped it up before I put it in the mail. Because I had a realization: I would rather find an awesome DJ, and pay more for him than the average DJ, than find an okay band, and pay more for an average band than I would for an awesome DJ. Does that make sense?? Basically, awesome DJ who was a Blue Ribbon Vendor with Southern Weddings (AKA the wedding gurus, in my book) = less money than "meh" band who did covers of Prince my parents weren't crazy about. 

I'll end this with a short pro/con list about bands and DJs, but ultimately, I think John and I will be very happy we saved that money from my parents and put it towards something down the road, like six months worth of mortgage payments! ;) (I wish I was kidding, but price is definitely a good bands biggest con...)

GO DJ: less expensive than bands of equal caliber, more variety in what they can play- not stuck to a certain setlist of songs, take up little space
NO DJ: generally not as interactive with the crowd, can be bad at reading what people actually want to hear, not as exciting or special seeming as a band (I mean, my eighth grade dance had a DJ, and the MAC counter at the mall seems to have one every weekend)

GO BAND: live music is more special, gets the crowd going, looks phenomenal
NO BAND: costs more than a DJ (I mean, you're paying for more people, duh), takes up way more space than a DJ (this is also a factor I hadn't thought about, but with our covered pavilion space being precious at the reception, this is another reason I'm actually grateful the band thing didn't work out)

Tomorrow, you can expect a post on how I asked my 'maids! (Over ten months ago... #oops)

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