Recent Comments

    Band, DJ or Both

    By Natasha Miller

    Getting engaged is delightful, and full of endorphins and excitement. Then the planning starts, and that can either be fun or can turn into a bit of stress.

    So many elements of planning a wedding are outside of people’s grasp that it seems like there is a veil of mystery surrounding some elements and a hurdle to overcome. Of course, hiring a seasoned and skilled planner is the very first thing I’d advise.

    When it comes to deciding whether you should hire a DJ or a band, or both, many factors come into play. First and foremost is likely the budget. Hiring a DJ can be less expensive than a band. Keep in mind that it is their skill and experience, as well as their organization, professionalism and equipment that you are paying for. Depending on the venue, the fees for a professional DJ can go from $1200–$3800. That is the approximate range in the Bay Area. And, of course, if you want a celebrity or headline DJ, it will be much more.

    A skilled and talented DJ is a great choice if you are on a tight budget, if there are space constraints, if you want to hear music that is played exactly like the recorded version, and/or if you have a noise ordinance. You can elect to go with the very hip and trendy “silent DJ,” where your guests wear headphones and boogie the night away to either one or multiple DJ’s. (Watching a group of people dance to two different DJ mixes is quite entertaining!)

    I love a live dance band for the human, spontaneous, yet rehearsed sound and energy they can provide. There is nothing like an engaging band that can get your guests to fill the dance floor and stay there all night. I think the element of live music also creates a higher aesthetic in that you are honoring human beings who are creating the music. It is authentic and original, even if they are playing a cover song. There are nuances that human performance allows that spinning a recorded song does not.

    However, I’m a big fan of including both a DJ and a band if you can afford it. This is the absolute best of both worlds.

    The DJ and band can often share a sound and PA system and play with and off each other. The DJ can play music for early parts of the evening, then the band can come on for first dances and a dance set. During band breaks, the DJ can spin songs that the band might not be able to pull off well, in addition to playing the last set by cranking it up and sending everyone off with exactly the feeling the couple hopes to have them remember.

    Many venues have a noise ordinance of a certain decibel level and/or a cutoff time where no sound can be played. This is the perfect time to introduce the silent DJ service. It is not a common sight and can be a surprise element that amps up the last part of the night.

    The silent DJ brings in headsets and has a receiver that sends the mix s/he is spinning to the headsets. There is no audible sound except perhaps for your guests laughing and screaming with glee, or the sound of their incredible dance moves as their feet hit the floor.

    Booking any talent through a reputable and insured company is the best approach to ensuring a seamless and excellent result. My company Entire Productions makes sure to hire only the most accomplished and professional musicians, handles all contracting, manages the talent as well as provides a COI (Certificate of Insurance) that most venues require and that many artists do not have.

    Natasha Miller is a recovering classical violinist and jazz vocalist and owns the entertainment production company, Entire Productions, in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. She was just selected as one of The Knot’s “Wed 100” #theknotwed100 


    1-PHOTO Fred and Jaime (1)Frederick Sullivan and Jaime Botello, who oversee the Weddings & Occasions page for the San Francisco Bay Times, are the talented wizards behind Sullivan-Botello Events ( and SnB Party Rentals (650 -877 – 0840 , Both are Certified Wedding Planners with extensive experience in creating memorable, personalized events for special occasions. Their rental service is incredible, offering everything from beautiful gold Chiavari chairs to LED dance floors, and all at competitive prices. They are the creators of the Gay Vanity Wedding Show and are longstanding members of the Golden Gate Business Association, which is the nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce.