Choosing Between a Live Wedding Band or DJ for Your Wedding

21 10 20

Which is the Best Entertainment Choice for your Melbourne Wedding?

A wedding DJ or band – it’s an important decision to make, but one that will be so worth it by the time your big day arrives. If you’re on the fence about picking live music or a DJ, below you’ll discover a few key pointers to consider in making your final selection. We’re deep-diving into the wedding waters so you can ensure your entertainment is a truly memorable experience, whatever you choose.


Before we get into the nitty-gritty differences between a wedding band vs a DJ, let’s touch on what will stay pretty consistent regardless of your choice:

  • ‘All Day’ entertainment package options, covering you for 7 hours of uninterrupted entertainment.
  • Your very own Event Manager to help you through song choices and liaise with the venue.
  • Optional extras like additional time, instruments and more.
Wedding Band Melbourne
Wedding DJ and Sax

What to consider?


Okay, so technically both the wedding band and the wedding DJ are live (the DJ will be spinning tunes, not clicking them, promise!) but they can create quite different atmospheres. If you know you want to dance the night away to a huge variety of songs from The Beatles to Beyoncé, you’ll love the DJ option. If you’re after more of a unique and eclectic atmosphere you might not get from pre-recorded songs, you’ll love the energy of a live band. Unsure about what kind of music you want? Read our top tips to nail the perfect wedding reception music.


We know money talk can be a little awkward, but we want to keep things honest and transparent with you so you get everything you expect. Generally, a DJ is going to be a bit more cost-effective than a full live wedding band since there’s only one person compared to a band where the sky is limit! The silver lining here though is that if you really want a band, the cost will be more palatable by going for a package deal for your entertainment; yes sometimes you really can have your cake and eat it too!


Wondering ‘should I have a band or DJ play for my wedding ceremony?’ It’s an important element to consider. We try to remain unbiased and impartial because we know both a wedding band and DJ have unique features they can bring to the table, but live music really is a must for your ceremony.

When comparing to your reception, a ceremony is usually a more intimate setting. Both the style of music and look of a DJ table with equipment can seem a bit disjointed and conflicting with the rest of the wedding ambience and atmosphere.

Walking down the aisle is generally a special (and emotional) moment for you and your partner, your families and friends, so it’s key to have the music to fit and match that moment. Not to mention the songs from live music can be more easily tailored to your style and start and stop at precise timings rather than just “faded out” (which isn’t as personal).

Either a band or DJ for your wedding reception will be able to create a lively, upbeat mood for guests to get up and move and groove to – so you’ll have a few more aspects to deliberate first. Check them out below.


Another consideration to take into account is how long will a band play for vs how long will a DJ play. A DJ will play from start to finish without breaks so you’ll have music continually playing. Even if they have to take a pause and have a sip of water, you’ll still have songs on the go (since songs are pre-recorded and then played live).

The musicians that form a live wedding band will need to take some reasonable breaks throughout the day so they can provide music from at the start of your ceremony and/or reception, through to the very end. Let’s say you book a live band for a 5-hour period, you will generally hear live music for 4 x 45-minute sets spread across the night. A good band will align their breaks with speeches to ensure that peak times always have memorable notes and create a vibe to remember.


A lot of soon-to-be newlyweds like yourself are unsure if you can request songs from your entertainment. The good news is yes you can, from both a DJ and a wedding band (within reason). Some bands have a wide repertoire and know loads of songs to play on the fly. If your requests are super well-known wedding classics or pop hits there’s a higher chance they’ll know how to play what you’re requesting and can work it in.

However, that can be risky business so we do recommend that if you have must-have songs you would love to hear on your big day, you discuss them directly with your Event Manager and band prior so they have time to prepare. A live band can generally learn at least 3 songs of your choice and you can also review the setlist prior. Not much can match taking your first dance together to a song that holds a special meaning to you and your partner, friends and fam plays.

On the other hand, enlisting a DJ makes it easier to request songs you do or don’t want to hear in the moment, giving you great flexibility and spontaneity, but it may be a little less personal than a live wedding band.


Ah yes, the wise words of Craig David. What we mean by this is that a live band will put their own distinct and unique flavour into a song, ensuring the songs you know and love come with something a little extra that makes them stand out. Alternatively, if you want to hear songs exactly as you remember them, a DJ will be able to do that. They can also often remix the songs a bit to make them more relaxed or up-tempo.


As you probably realised from the above, you’ll have multiple band options to choose from. Depending on how you look at the glass, this can be a great thing or a bit of a challenge. A quick, easy choice may lead you to opt for a DJ, but don’t let that be your main decider; on the flip side, your Event Manager can provide the best selection of Melbourne wedding bands to you based on the vibe you’re after for your day.

This means you’re covered regardless of if you prefer a smooth, soulful sound, classic R&B vibe or something else entirely. Hey Jacks’ wedding bands and wedding singers are the best at catering to a range of tastes! Plus, we can supply you with lots of videos of the band performing prior to locking anything in so you really get a feel for what they bring to the table.



Still can’t pick between the two? You don’t have to – if you love the idea of the party atmosphere that live wedding music brings, but also want dance-worthy beats and variety, you can keep the DJ and just customise a little. Ask to add a brass instrument like a saxophone or trumpet to match the play over the songs the DJ spins. This is sure to elevate your entertainment to the next level. Basically, you’ll be able to create your own Melbourne band adding as many wedding musicians as you want.

Customising both a DJ and elements of a band brings the added benefit of interactive fun for all your guests. We know they’ll love seeing the sax or trumpet player weave in and out of the crowd while hitting the big notes. There’s no doubt even the most discerning guest won’t be able to resist the showmanship and impressive display of talent that turns your reception up a notch!

If you’re feeling like something really different to spice things up, why not go big or go home and add a bongo player! The beat of drums is always a crowd favourite with upbeat, entrancing foot taps from even the most dance shy guests.


Hey Jack has been an integral and important part of many special weddings and wedding bands Melbourne over the years and we know no two are the same! Our musicians are part of a close-knit team (#workfam) so it’s safe to say we know what it takes to get (and keep) a party going all night long.

Our goal is to take the stress away from organising your entertainment and help you get everything you envisage, whether that’s the best Melbourne wedding DJ, a live band, or both. Let us look after the whole day of entertainment, from your ceremony right through to the dance floor. That way you can focus on what’s really important – having the time of your life!

If you’re ready to chat more or have any questions, contact our wedding event managers.

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