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Cost of Live Wedding Band vs. DJ - Which Option is Right?

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Band VS DJ

Planning a wedding is a thrilling experience, and choosing the right music is crucial. It sets the mood and touches everyone's emotions.

With our 50 years of combined experience in live music, we have some tips to help you decide whether a live band or a DJ is better for your wedding or event.

What do you picture — the lively beats of a band or the adjustable tunes of a DJ? Let’s explore the details, particularly comparing the costs of hiring a band versus a DJ.

1. Looking Deeper into the Cost of wedding band vs DJ

a) Wedding DJ Cost

Recent data suggests that couples, on average, are saving about $1,500 for a DJ service at their wedding reception. However, it's crucial to note that every wedding DJ cost isn't always the same. The duration of the DJ's services, the type of equipment they bring, and whether it's a single DJ or a team can influence the final price.

Location too plays a significant role. For instance, North-East couples have often found themselves parting with approximately $2,100 for their DJ. In contrast, those celebrating in the South or Midwest have typically spent around $1,000.

DJ Donte

The upward trend in their cost is worth noting. While the average wedding DJ cost was pegged at $1,400 in 2021, it was closer to $1,200 between 2016-2019. Experts attribute this increase to industry evolutions and heightened demand.

However, the lure of a professional DJ remains strong. With 70% of engaged couples opting for one, DJs remain the crowd favorite, not just for their musical prowess but also for the additional offerings like photo booths and intricate lighting packages that some now offer.

b) Average Wedding Band Cost

Engaging a live band for your wedding day ensures an immersive auditory experience. However, this experience does come with its price tag. Data indicates that the average Wedding Band cost in the US is between $2,500 - $4,500, significantly more than the average DJ cost. But when you take other factors like quality of performance or guest experience into account, a wedding band dosent seem like a bad option after all...

But why exactly are you paying more for a band? Other than there being more members to account for, the performance is much more dedicated to you and your guests then a DJ would be.

PDA Band at a wedding

Most of the time, wedding bands also bring a DJ along with them to fill in any breaks they might take, so you still have a chance to hear those special songs that not every band might know.

There is a level of crowd interaction & amazing dance performances that a live band brings, it makes sense why they cost more than a DJ because your paying for concert level entertainment. In addition to this, you are also supporting local musicians & performers who live in the city. If you were to seek out these qualities in a DJ it would cost around the same price 9 times out of 10.

However, this does not mean that live wedding bands are a waste of money. If you're looking to really start a party on the dance floor at your wedding, then you'll want to look into this as an option. Bands like PDA band, based in Austin TX, are masters at getting all your guests on the dance floor & keeping them there. Check out their website or social media to get a good idea of the energy a live wedding band can create for you.

2. Wedding Band or DJ: Key Decision Points

Budget coin jar

a) Budgetary Constraints

For many couples, especially those mindful of their wedding budget, the price point becomes the determiner. Both wedding bands and DJs bring their own set of additional costs, such as equipment rentals, travel accommodations, and sometimes even special requests. It's crucial to factor these in during your wedding planning process.

b) The Atmosphere You Envision

Your wedding music sets the vibe of the reception. From '70s disco beats to classical strings or chart-topping hits, both bands and DJs bring distinct flavors. Bands, with each band member adding their unique flair, typically interact with the guests, ensuring a pulsating energy on the dance floor. DJs, meanwhile, can seamlessly transition between genres, maintaining a dynamic musical flow.

c) The Constraints of the Venue

When you've selected your wedding venue, it's essential to consider its limitations. There might be restrictions on the number of musicians, the kind of equipment you can bring in, and acceptable noise levels.

d) What Resonates with Your Heart

Remember, it's your big day. Whether you dream of a live band serenading your favorite song or a professional DJ curating the perfect playlist, the decision should resonate with you and your partner.

3. Torn Between Choices? Blend the Two!

For couples grappling with this decision, there's a delightful compromise available. Imagine a scenario where the band takes a break, and a DJ takes over, ensuring uninterrupted entertainment. Some entertainment conglomerates have introduced fusion bands, where live music seamlessly melds with DJ tracks.

live DJ and a band

It should also be noted that most wedding bands In austin come with DJs or DJ systems in addition to the band. They are there to fill in any gaps when the band might go on a break or for any songs that the band cant play.

4. Research and Engage Wisely

When faced with an important decision, such as choosing a DJ or band for an event, it is crucial to gather as much information as possible before making a final choice. One effective way to do this is by immersing yourself in a live performance by the DJ or band you are considering. By attending one of their shows, you can experience their style firsthand and get a sense of their adaptability and how they interact with an audience.

Watching a live show allows you to observe how the DJ or band interacts with the crowd. You can see if they can understand the audience and adapt their performance accordingly. Additionally, you can witness how they create an exciting and lively atmosphere. This firsthand experience provides valuable insights into their skills, stage presence, and ability to entertain diverse audiences. This firsthand experience can give you useful information about their skills, presence on stage, and ability to entertain different people.

Furthermore, seeking referrals from weddings or events they have previously performed at can provide valuable feedback from past clients. By reaching out to these references, you can gain insights into the DJ or band's professionalism, reliability, and overall satisfaction of their performance. This first hand feedback can help you make a more informed decision and give you peace of mind knowing that others have had positive experiences with the DJ or band you are considering.

Before choosing a DJ or band, it's important to gather lots of information. You can do this by watching them perform live, watching videos of their performances, asking for playlists, or getting recommendations. By doing this, you can see their style, how well they can adapt, and how they interact with the audience. This will help you make a good decision and make sure your event is fun and memorable for everyone.


Whether your heart is set on a DJ, live band, or a blend of both, your wedding entertainment choice should mirror your vision for the big day. As the music echoes through the reception hall and your guests revel in the melodies, remember that these moments will be etched in memory. So, plan wisely, ensuring the wedding music harmonizes perfectly with the magic of your big day. And remember, that Moontower Entertainment can help you with any and all live music needs. We offer everything from DJs & wedding bands, to cover bands, tribute bands & even solo musicians. Just tell us the vibe you want & we'll supply the live music to make that happen!

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