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The D.J.-or-Band Debate

Bands almost always cost more than a D.J. How can a couple on a budget justify the extra expense?
Winters: To make a band more expensive, you add more pieces—horns, extra keyboards, percussion, etc.
Sozzi: I hate that. Agencies sell bigger bands to make more money. Yes, I could sell you 25 people, but the Beatles and the Rolling Stones only had four!

Don’t bands get tired and need breaks? Guests want to hear continuous music.
Fioto: It’s key for your client to constantly see you playing music. I wait to eat after.
Winters: We do the same thing. The full band plays until a course is being served. While you’re eating, you don’t want to hear the drummer bashing; you want to hear the sax, a keyboard player, and a singer doing a Norah Jones, Van Morrison, or Bruno Mars ballad. It should be smooth.
Fioto: So if you feature three people, everyone else takes breaks?
Sozzi: We do rotate, like when the cake comes out, and it feels like a whole new band. A trio performs unplugged songs by Coldplay and Amy Winehouse, but it’s still like being at a concert. People hold up lighters.

So maybe couples should just hire both a band and a D.J.?
Sozzi: That’s ideal. If you want to do a seven-hour party, feature a band during the reception and a D.J. for the after-party. You just need a big budget.
Regine: Not all bands are nice, though. They get the lead on what songs to play because they have a minimal set list. So I come out spinning with a leash around my neck. The D.J. is always working around the band; it’s never the other way around. I’d rather work with bands that have a specialty, like salsa.
Fioto: A really nice balance is having strings for the ceremony, a jazz band for the cocktail hour, and a D.J. for the party. That way, you get the best of every world.

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