Band vs. DJ: Music Tips for Your Tahoe Wedding

Maybe you’re going to go all out on your wedding dress, or maybe it’s the food you’re willing to spend extra on. But for a lot of brides and grooms, the music is the most important part. What they often don’t realize is bands can be mighty pricey.

The good news: good music–the type that just keeps giving the party more and more energy to dance and sing as the night goes on–is priceless. Trust me; I just sent a local Tahoe band a $5000 check for two and half hours of music, and while it’s a hard pill to swallow, a special night of jiving is worth the initial sticker shock.

Music can make or break your Lake Tahoe wedding reception, so be sure to make your choice between band, DJ and what tunes to play wisely. Here are some things to mull over before choosing.

What kind of vibe are you going for?

A good rule is to choose a musical genre that reflects your personality, or at least helps to create the ambiance that makes you happiest. This could be groovy funk, country, jazz, swing, or super fun and energetic rockabilly. It may even be a cello duo or harpist.

What’s your budget?

If you have allotted less money for the music, a DJ’s your answer; they’re typically less costly than bands. And if you do choose a live band, choose one that’s local–if bands have to travel and pay for accommodation, that’ll cost you more. Typically, you can count on the band charging $1000 per band member, and there may be additional charges for providing the sound system. Also factor in providing meals for the band members.

Do you want a variety of music?

The answer is yes, yes you do. Be sure either your DJ or band plays a mix of slow and fast songs to cater to all your guests’ tastes.

Do you want classic wedding songs, covers, or unique tunes?

You can never fault a band for playing their unique songs, but nobody will turn their nose up at a classic dance song that you know the words and moves to. Don’t be afraid to ask your band to play an old favorite of yours to get your friends and family in the zone.

Do you have the space?

Can you fit the 8-piece band into your backyard, and does your venue even allow for large speakers? PSA: Some registered landmarks do not.

What time will the music have to end?

If you’re having your ceremony outdoors at a private home in a neighborhood, bear in mind those not invited to the event might not want to be listening to loud tunes at 1AM. In such circumstances, start the dancing earlier so you can wrap it up by 10:30 PM, or at least take it inside at that time to start round 2.

Have you seen your band live before?

Because bands can sound different live, or just don’t have the crowd-skills you were envisioning, it’s a good idea to attend one of their concerts pre-signing them up to play at your wedding. The last thing you want is thousands of dollars and the highlight of the night–dancing–to feel wasted.

When is the band going to play?

Do you want them to also play during dinner, or just for the dancing? If you’re leaning toward the latter, will you forgo dinner music altogether? Make sure you use your band-time wisely.