Thursday, 1 November 2012

Wedding DJ vs Wedding Band vs Wedding Singer

As with the majority of wedding planning tasks, choosing your evening entertainment is a tricky and potentially time-consuming one. You want your guests to be impressed, you’re maybe after that ‘wow factor’. Above all you probably want a full dance floor and the certainty that a good time will be had by all. 

Be quick!

The first thing to say is: start your research early. As with all of your suppliers, the best DJs, singers, bands will get booked up early. As a popular wedding singer, it’s not uncommon for me to be booking 18 – 24 months in advance.

Budget it

Secondly, you want to get some idea of your budget. Very broadly speaking, for a quality wedding-specialist supplier, for your evening entertainment, you are looking at £250-£500 for a DJ, £500-£1000 for a Singer and £1000 + for a band. Shop around. You will find that if your wedding is in an off-peak month or during the week you should be offered better deals. However, the best suppliers will probably be able to book popular dates 10 times over and will be reluctant to reduce their price making haggling virtually impossible, particularly for popular summer dates. If your favoured supplier is not giving you a discount, it’s maybe because they are popular enough to get fully booked up at full price. If someone still has the majority of their summer Saturdays available, maybe ask yourself why!

Credible or laughable?

Have a look through web sites, see pictures, testimonials from previous brides or grooms. Do they entertain at lots of weddings? It’s about more than turning up and playing music; a Friday night entertaining a pub is a lot different from what you and your guests will require on your wedding day and you need to be confident that your dance floor will be as busy as a Next sale at 1am! I would find someone with an up to date, regular stream of dated wedding testimonials, with pictures, very attractive.

If there is an opportunity to meet them, take this up. If not, give them phone call to quiz them about what they do and to talk through your day. If you’re talking to a DJ, throw a couple of your favourite tracks at them and see how they would integrate these into a play list to keep your dance floor busy. What are their top 5 tracks to keep everyone on the floor? Do they say Flo Rida or Black Lace? Are you on the same wavelength? 

Does the singer / band / DJ you are consering have decent have decent equipment? You’re probably not an expert in sound equipment but seeing some pictures and checking visually is a good starter. Does it look up to date? Is it suitably tasteful  - if you’re spending £500 on chair covers, you don’t want a Tony Blackburn wannabe arriving up with a homemade speaker and rope light!

If you’re looking for a band or singer, check the use of ‘substitutes’ or 'deputies'– will you definitely be getting the people you see and hear when you book? Bands often interchange members at their leisure whilst keeping the same band name. If this is common practice for the band you're considering, make sure the 'subs' or 'deps' will be up to scratch.

Music styles

Think about what style of music you want for the day: classical, rat pack, rock or dubstep? Jazz, disco, funk or folk-metal? Whilst the visual element my be lacking in a DJ, a live performer will have more restrictions in terms of the music styles available to them; a four piece pop band won’t be able to play any rat pack or swing tunes wihtout a brass section. The same goes for a lot of funk, disco, soul tracks - many would require brass instruments.

A singer using backing tracks will be more versatile and only restricted by the limits of their voice, rather than what instruments a band has as its disposal. You also have the novelty of a live performer – something for your guests to watch and interact with.

A DJ will be more versatile and be able to play technically whatever styles you request without, of course, the visual element of a performer.

A different performer/s  for each part of day is obviously another option: Harpist / String Quartet for your reception drinks, Singer for during your Wedding Breakfast and then a pop band and disco in the evening, but that’s for another blog entry on another day!

Hiring a wedding DJ, singer or band for your special day ultimately boils down to your budget and favoured music styles. A DJ will be versatile in terms of music and easy on your budget. A singer will be slightly less versatile but could easily entertain you all day and evening, crooning during the day and rocking out in the evening. A band offer the ultimate in visual and musical entertainment but will seriously limit your scope for different music styles, as well as makes the more serious a dent in your budget.