Live Music versus DJ – the whole truth!!

Hello Again!
Hunter Valley Wedding Entertainment offer a number of music options for your wedding. One of these options is a Live/DJ combination. This option is as the name suggests; it involves a mixture of live music and pre-recorded music throughout the evening.

Some couples know that they want live music for the whole night, others definitely just want a DJ. We are however finding that a lot of couples are undecided and would like a bit of both and that’s why I’m writing this particular blog; to lay out some pro’s and cons for you to think about. My background is performing live music so I apologise if I sound a little biased at times. My aim is to give you as much info as possible based on my experience over twenty years of playing for weddings. I’ve broken the wedding up into four sections so you can consider them individually. Here goes, hope it’s helpful!

As a musician this is my favourite part of the day. It’s always a very intimate, fairly serious and emotional part of the proceedings. I thoroughly enjoy playing the brides special song as she walks down the aisle, a song during the signing of the register and one as she walks back down the aisle with her new husband! I also play some instrumental guitar for 15 minutes prior to the bride arriving and any other songs you want throughout the ceremony.
I don’t believe anything can set the vibe better than a live vocalist here. For smaller ceremonies in a controlled environment (such as a church or indoors) I can play totally acoustic, but an outdoor ceremony on a beach or in a garden may require my small PA which is battery powered and very compact. You wont have to worry about how long the walk in will be because I can add another verse or chorus and make it as long or as short as the song needs to be. The same goes for signing of the register; some celebrants will tell you to choose two songs for this but you only need one if it’s live – I can just stretch it out a bit if necessary as you’ll never get through two songs in full.
If you particularly like the original version of the songs you choose we can play them back from the ipod, but in this instance I believe there’s nothing beats live.

Canapes/Pre-Reception Drinks
This is a time when your guests are having a good old chat because they often haven’t seen one another for a long time. The last thing you need is loud music in their face while they’re trying to talk. When I play for canapes it’s definitely in the background and in a laid back style that isn’t overpowering. Yes, this can be achieved with an ipod on softly, but I often find that guests like to interact with me as they start to really kick back and relax, often asking questions like ‘who sang that song?’ or ‘what type of guitar is that?’. Live music gives it a personal touch that the iPod can’t.

Reception – during dinner
I’ve found that this is a time when guests are really listening to the music; we often get applause during dinner which would usually be considered not the correct etiquette. Sure they’re having a chat and enjoying their meal but we find it’s the time that they are particularly paying attention. Again, playing live here is much more personal and we really enjoy playing some laid back tunes during this part of the night.
With any of our packages, playing over dinner is included either live or live/DJ combination, unless otherwise stipulated.
It’s a win for live here I’m afraid!!

Reception – Dancing
This is where it gets a little more complex. I guarantee to get you and your guests on the floor and dancing regardless of weather you’ve booked me solo or as Acoostic Moose. In short, we’ve studied exactly what works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting people on the floor. The guests at a wedding are usually a mix of age groups and our repertoire reflects this. Sometimes there are more friends, therefore a younger audience, and we adjust the repertoire accordingly. Sometimes there are a lot more family and therefore our audience is a bit older; we can adjust the set list to cater for them too. The key is to play a selection of songs that people recognise and can relate to; a mixture of old and new.
Having said all that, there’s only so many songs we can know at any one time, so this is where the DJ can come into their own. With the availability of digital music in an instant, it’s highly likely your DJ will have access to almost ANY song you want, especially if it’s requested beforehand. Most DJ’s, and certainly ours, can access a special request on the spot as long as there is mobile phone/internet service. When you book our DJ service, you get a login with your confirmation letter which allows you to choose from literally thousands of songs and you can select whatever you want to be played on the night. Your DJ will have these songs pre loaded on your playlist and the rest is a no brainer. You can also leave it to the DJ to read the crowd on the night as they are experienced at doing this and getting people on the floor.

The bottom line is that with a DJ you can have as much control over the music as you like. You can also have a large selection of ultra-modern, hip hop, classical or songs from whatever genre you prefer or envisage for the dancefloor.

I trust this little blog will help you make a decision re your music on the night. I’m always happy to have a chat about your options at any time but ultimately you tell me what you want to happen with the music at your wedding and we’ll do our best to make it a reality.


We’re in the Top 10 highest rated Wedding Musicians in Australia!!
All of Me – John Legend cover by Mick Fetch

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