Band, iPod or DJ? Pros and Cons of Each Wedding Music Option

Weddings are a time of celebration, and you definitely want to feature wedding music that matches the joy you feel about building a new life together. With a variety of options that can work, it comes down to choosing between which music option you want to be part of this life milestone – a band, MP3 player or DJ.

To help make your choice a bit easier, I want to share insights I’ve collected after 30 years of being a DJ for various weddings and events in Colorado. There are pros and cons to each music option, but there is THE choice that’s best for you and what music you want to share on your wedding day.

Considering All your Wedding Music Options: Pros and Cons

I work with many young couples who are pretty “green” when it comes to wedding planning and selecting musical entertainment. While music is an important part of the day, hiring a professional who is good at communicating is the real key. You really need someone to help you plan all the details and deliver fantastic entertainment for the ceremony and/or reception.

Here’s what you need to know to help you choose between a band, MP3 player and DJ for your wedding music.


There are a lot of great bands in Northern Colorado with an awesome stage presence that are fantastic at pumping up the crowd and playing all your favorites live and in-person. Their style is versatile, catchy and they offer a unique sound that’s great for your wedding. But how do you know when a band is right for your special day, or which one to choose?

Some things consider when interviewing a wedding band:

  • Can the band play versions of your favorite covers, and will it sound like the version you love? Will they be able to play your first dance song in a way you like?
  • Can they MC and easily jump into the flow of the wedding day events?
  • Bands with many members bring a lot to the table musically, but it also means each member needs to be present and on time to deliver the right sound. What’s the contingency plan if a band member is ill or late? Do you have a back-up plan if something happens so you don’t have to scramble last minute to find a replacement?
  • The cost for bands varies and gets more expensive if you want a diverse playlist. A band tends toward a certain style of playing, so do you like a band’s style no matter what kind of songs they play? It’s also important to see the band perform live before booking them to make sure they offer the style and variety you want for the wedding.
  • Is the venue small or large? How much room will the band take up, and does that work for the wedding layout? Are the musicians able to play outdoors in any weather conditions, or are there restrictions?


The music player option is waning a bit in popularity, but it’s still something couples on a budget can consider.

A few things to think about:

  • A music player may seem low cost, but you may have to pay to download all the songs for your ideal playlist.
  • You have access to tons of songs, but you can still only play 15 in an hour. That means you have to plan the timing and order of the songs ahead of time, or scroll through a really long list to find “the” songs that fit key events during the reception. A music player is also unable to choose songs based on the feel of the crowd.
  • Someone needs to be in charge of running the player, or it might be challenging to keep guests away from it, taking over direction of the music.
  • Music players completely lack personality, which means there’s a lack of “aliveness” to the song pacing, and that impacts the vibe of the reception.
  • What happens if the iPod fails? Do you have a back-up plan? Also consider how the MP3 player will be broadcast. Will the venue manage it and allow you to plug into their sound system? What happens when you need to change the volume? Who’s in charge?



DJ or DJ Entertainer/MC

A wedding is a very social event, which means it’s important to choose a DJ that will work with the crowd and give you everything you need to keep things running smoothly. Keep in mind that a “DJ just plays music”. A DJ Entertainer/MC is a whole different world. Not only will they play music, they will also direct, MC, and coordinate with all the vendors to create an atmosphere your guests will really enjoy.

Some tips on how to choose the right DJ for you:

  • Choose a DJ who can read the crowd and know what to play. It’s important to be able to converse with guests, so be sure your DJ is mindful of the sound level.
  • Single operator DJ’s that own the company have a higher vested interest in the success of the wedding and offer top-notch customer service.
  • A DJ is your main and only contact to manage music and entertainment, which means things run more smoothly and problems are managed quickly.
  • A great DJ helps the bride and groom choose a style of the wedding music that works throughout the ceremony, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and reception, including special songs for your grand entrance, the father daughter dance, cake cutting music etc.
  • A DJ Entertainer MC knows how to entertain throughout the whole reception by keeping an eye on the dance floor and also checking in with the vibe of seated guests to make sure they are having a good time.
  • Not all receptions have dancing, but a great DJ can still help entertain – announce, direct as needed to keep the day flowing.
  • Does your DJ bring their own sound system and have back-up equipment in case something fails?

Now you have an at-a-glance run-down of wedding music choices, what’s the best fit for you? Need a little help and want to know more specifics? Contact me at Colorado Sound.