Live or Recorded Hawaii Wedding Music: How to choose between a Kona Wedding Band or Big Island Wedding DJ
Deciding on the right music for your wedding can be a difficult task. Often our couples are torn between the excitement of a live band versus the diversity of music a DJ can provide. We have some tips on how to make the most of the impact music has on the event. Spoiler alert: you may not have to choose, why not have both?
First, it is important to note, while there is an abundance of solo musicians and even Hawaiian trios on the Big Island, we are relatively limited on large live band options. This means you may not find exactly what you are looking for or have envisioned if you want a 5-7 piece band. Occasionally, our clients bring in outside bands from other islands or even other States. However, in our experience this can easily get to be in the range of $15,000 or more, which is generally beyond what couples are comfortable spending on that element.
Our Hawaii Wedding Musician Recommendation:
We suggest having live music for the ceremony (unless you have a highly specific song in mind for your entrance that might be difficult to play or doesn’t translate well live.) We find live music at the ceremony really sets a romantic and special tone to the ceremony. It is also very adaptable. A live musician can watch the pace you and your wedding party are walking and plan the song accordingly making any split second adjustments if needed and transition to an end of the music seamlessly. We have to admit we are big fans of live ukulele -it is Hawaii after all! But, we do have clients who prefer guitar, violin, or even harp and we make that happen.
For the cocktail hour, I also suggest going with live music. Often for the ceremony, we have a single musician and for the cocktail hour, they are joined by the rest of the trio. To top it off, you can also add hula to the cocktail hour which is such a beautiful and uniquely Hawaiian touch. This can be just a single dancer and is usually really enjoyed and appreciated by the guests.
Unless you are able to find a band that really matches your style. for the reception, transitioning to a DJ is my preference. Throughout the evening there will be a number of interruptions such as your grand entrance, first dance, toasts, parent dances, cake cutting, etc. A professional DJ service can play all your selected songs with perfect timing and make any necessary announcements to keep the evening flowing. While a really great band can also do this, it may be difficult for them to capture a wide range of music or play every requested song without possibly adding on additional fees to learn any unknown ones.
Big Island Wedding Bands vs Hawaii Island DJs
Additionally, I find a band set up becomes a major visual feature of the event. Bands typically need a stage with skirting, often a side stair case for it, lighting, and lots of electrical equipment -think cords, big speakers, etc. With most weddings in Hawaii being outdoors, renting the equipment needed to make this still look beautiful can add an otherwise unnecessary expense. Additionally, it also becomes a large focal point. Don’t get me wrong, I love live music and a great band has an energy that is hard to beat. We have had a number of amazing bands and have always done our best to create a unique and beautiful set up for them.
However, sometimes the aesthetic of a wedding event just doesn’t fit all the set up involved and it is nice to have the focus on the gorgeous scenery.
For a DJ, from a design perspective, I definitely prefer a low profile option. No large screens, limited flashing lighting and large lighting tripods, and preferably, no stage (unless you are having a toes-in-the-sand reception). Having a more simplified set up allows all the other beautiful decor to shine and the sunset, palm trees and ocean to be the backdrop if you are outdoors. And, it allows you two to be the focus.
Another important point, you may not know there is an island wide noise regulation that prohibits loud music after 10pm at most wedding sites. When the venue suits, a fantastic option is to host a post-reception wedding afterparty in an indoor location. Here is where you might want the party lights, disco balls, etc. for a real party vibe. A band or a DJ is a fantastic option for this.
Our favorite DJ: 808 Hype Productions. Rodney’s genuine, no drama, all fun personality makes for an enjoyable and relaxed experience! Finding the perfect band can be a little more complicated in Hawaii -please reach out so we can assist you! Remember, a consultation with us is absolutely free so please do connect with us for help!