Wedding Reception Music Options: Band, DJ or iPod?

The perfect wedding has many elements – food, flowers and music. However, one of the most memorable parts for guests is often the wedding reception (and the associated dancing). Music creates a celebratory atmosphere and is an important part of planning your wedding reception. This is the time to shine with an excellent band, cool DJ or meticulously planned iPod playlist. But which one is right for your wedding? Let’s check out the pros and cons of each type of music. This video gives a quick introduction.

Music Band

While music band is one category, it compromises many different types of musicians. There a huge difference between a one-woman harpist and a 22 piece orchestra. However, live music performed by professional artists have some things in common.

  • Music bands are typically the most expensive option.
  • Wedding bands often play at least 300 different songs.
  • Bands can interact with the audience.
  • Bands typically take care of themselves by troubleshooting issues among themselves.

Choosing the right band can take some time and research. Many bands have a specific style, like classical or Jazz. The wedding party should make sure that it suits their taste. Also, brides and grooms should keep in mind that the best wedding bands are professionals. They should have a wide variety of songs and performances available to watch online.


A DJ can handle more songs than any wedding band. Even the best musician doesn’t hold 40,000 songs in her head. Brides and grooms that particularly enjoy electronic music should also consider a DJ. Many musicians are not able to mimic electronic music without the assistance of a DJ.

  • DJs are a somewhat expensive option at $800 to $1500 for a 4 hour reception.
  • DJs have the widest variety of songs available to them. They also create new mixes on the spot.
  • DJs can interact with the audience and emcee.
  • DJs can troubleshoot issues but may take more time because they are typically only one person.

If you like the interaction with the audience but your budget is tighter, Brides says that a DJ can be a good option.


Smaller weddings might do just fine with an iPod playlist attached to a nice set of speakers. The one caveat is to match the wedding to the type of a music. A 20 person backyard wedding doesn’t need a 22 piece orchestra, but an iPod and speakers also probably won’t suit a 400 person venue.

  • iPod playlists are typically the cheapest option, but it depends on the speakers available at your venue.
  • iPod playlists have a wide variety of music, depending upon whose iPod you are using.
  • iPod playlists don’t interact with the audience and must be planned out ahead of time.
  • Any iPod issues will probably distract the bride and groom from the wedding unless someone else is in charge of the music.

Still stuck? Ask your venue for suggestions. The music at your wedding should suit the venue and bridal party perfectly.