Southern Living Magazine

The manager of The Spectrum Band was interviewed for a feature article in Southern Living Magazineís special wedding issue for summer of 2002. The entire article is included below for your convenience.

Hiring a band or a disc jockey for reception music can be a big decision. Take the time to study the pros and cons before making a choice.

"Guests are most likely to remember two things about your reception," says Tim Callihan, manager of The Spectrum Band in St. Louis, "the food and the music." Luckily, we can help with both. For a reception menu, see page 134. For information on choosing entertainment, keep reading.

Music sets the tone of a reception even when your venue doesnít have a dance floor. Background music makes guests feel at ease in a large facility. At a cocktail reception, lively yet unobtrusive instrumentals encourage people to mingle about the room.

Consider how much youíre willing to spend on music. Also think about what you and your guests will enjoy. Then itís time to address the age-old question: "Should I hire a band or a disc jockey?"

The major advantage of a band is the live-music experience. "Some guests donít dance, but they enjoy watching musicians perform," says Tim.

An ensemble also offers spontaneity. If your great-uncle is dancing for the first time since his wedding, youíll want to have a photo taken. "A band can respond and continue to play while the moment is captured," says Tim. "And a band gives musically talented guests the chance to perform," he adds.

These benefits bring higher costs. Youíll spend $1,000 to $3000 (or more) for a band, depending on experience, size, and region. "A band is more expensive," says Tim, "but it offers a better value with respect to the cost per performer when compared to a DJ." If you want live music but need to save money, consider hiring a smaller ensemble.

Bands will take breaks during the performance. Ask how often breaks occur and if recorded music will be provided to fill downtime. Personalize your reception by making a CD ahead of time and playing it during breaks.

Want to know how large an ensemble you need for your reception? Some sources recommend 6 pieces per 150 guests, but Tim disagrees. "The connotation is the bigger the band, the louder they are. But a good band adjusts volume to the audience."

For a less expensive alternative in entertainment, hire a quality disc jockey. Depending on the market, expect to pay $500 to $1000 to book a DJ for a typical four-hour reception.

Beware of very low prices, which can indicate poor service. "Many people will flip through the phone book and go with the cheapest," says Ron Peene, president of Cutting Edge Entertainment, headquartered in San Antonio. "Then theyíre disappointed later because the DJ never showed." Ron advises, "Find out if the DJ has a commitment to the business or if it is just a weekend hobby." Also, make sure there is an office or someone available to answer your calls.

In addition to lower costs, there is another advantage to hiring disc jockeys. "A DJ can play a wider variety of music," Ron says. "Receptions are a mix of people, backgrounds, and ages, so itís important to have all types of music." A DJ may also be able to play requests that are not a part of a bandís repertoire.

Copyright © 2021 Spectrum Band ∑ Web Design by Jay Hungerford