My besties hubby plays in a wedding duo and so I asked him what he reckons. Here is his response.
We just spent the weekend at a bridal expo discussing that very topic of conversation, which also often dovetails into the Band vs DJ dilemma, which I have covered as well.
When it comes to dancing at a wedding reception, the main point to consider is your guests. Yes it is your wedding, but your guests are what makes it memorable or not. Would you rather have a night full of boring, mostly unknown indie music by a band ‘you’ love, or have a mix of classic, known party songs that most people know and will want to dance to?
In the duo, we provide a mix of live music and pre-recorded music to try and cater for the guest list, which is generally everyone from a sleeping baby to a great grandma.
Dance songs that we play live that always tend to work well include:
I'm a believer - Monkees
Moondance - Van Morrison
Brown Eyed Girl - van Morrison
Crazy little thing called love - Queen
Bad moon rising - Creedence
April Sun in Cuba - Dragon
Eagle Rock - Daddy Cool
Gimme some lovin - Spencer Davis Group
Old time rock n roll - Bob Seger
Roadhouse Blues - The Doors
Sweet Home Alabama - Lynrd Skynrd
Summer of 69 - Bryan Adams
500 Miles - The Proclaimers (a great song to get a conga line going)
Prerecorded songs we use for dancing include:
Nut Bush – Tina Turner
Grease Mega Mix
YMCA – Village People
Love Shack – B52s
Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
Blame it on the boogie – Michael Jackson
Then of course there will be more recent songs that get the younger guests excited like:
Moves like Jagger – Maroon 5
Baby – Bieber
Then for the oldies, we might put on some old school swing or upbeat jazz standards.
The trick here is to keep the music flowing. Most people will stay on a dance floor for one song they don’t like, waiting for the next song. Keeping a mix of classic songs and older or newer stuff tends to work best.
We have found that by offering a mix of live music (like a band) and pre recorded (like a DJ) we are able to offer a ‘musical solution’ that ensures all the guests have a great time, and therefore look back on it as a memorable wedding.
Band vs DJ
A band has the live music dynamic that a DJ cannot reproduce, but will be limited to the style they know/play. Plus depending on the size of the band, will take up more space and will cost more to feed.
A DJ will be able to play any song, by any artist at the touch of the button, (so long as they have it) and as they are a solo operation therefore can be a cheaper option, but will lack the energy that comes from a live performance.
Studies have shown (and through experience playing weddings, we agree entirely) that most people prefer a live music experience than a pre recorded one, and therefore based on that logic, the majority of your guests will enjoy a live music experience at your wedding more than a night full of pre recorded music.
Both have their place of course, which is why with the duo, we have covered the advantages of both a band and a DJ, and as there are only 2 of us, it is an economical choice for wedding music.
Hope that helps