Skip to Content

How to Have a Wedding Without a DJ (9 Alternatives)

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details..

From the first dance to the parent dance, bouquet toss dance, and last dance, dancing – and by extension music – is a vital part of most weddings. But sometimes, people cannot have a DJ at their wedding for many reasons.

Should the absence of a DJ at your wedding keep you from dancing? No.

Even if there is no DJ at your wedding, you can make things interesting in many other ways. Below, we talk about how to have a wedding without a DJ. We also discuss various alternatives to having a DJ at your wedding. Read on for the details.

Dancing couples during party or wedding celebration

How to Have a Wedding Without a DJ

If you are going to have a wedding without a DJ but want music, you can be your own DJ.

Below, we describe how you can have a wedding without a DJ.

Choose a Streaming App and Create a Playlist

The use of streaming apps for music instead of DJs is increasingly common. Of course, this option does not replace a DJ. But it ensures you get the music you want at your event.

Ensure you opt for the streaming app’s premium plan (or any plan without ads). You wouldn’t want the fun to get interrupted by ads.

If you want the music at the ceremony to be more fun, use Jukestar for your Spotify playlist.

Jukestar streams your Spotify playlist and creates a web page for it so that your guests can vote on which song comes next.

Of course, Jukestar does not strip you of control of the playlist. You retain superior control of the playlist.

Creating the Playlist

music songs playlist

You should create a playlist if you plan to use a streaming app instead of a DJ.

The playlist should be creative – you do not want to bore your guests.

The playlist should also be inclusive – try to include at least a couple of songs that will appeal to each type of guest. More specifically, consider the age groups of the guests and add something to satisfy each one.

Of course, you should also consider yourself and your spouse. Choose the type of songs you want for your important dances.

It would be best if you avoided genres most people do not like. For instance, most people will not look forward to listening to hardcore rap and hard rock.

One way to create a playlist for your wedding is to design something for each part of the ceremony. You can make a playlist for events like:

  • Dancing (obviously)
  • Cocktail
  • Dinner

You could start with a rough playlist, then adjust it later to get the final playlist.

The playlist should be long enough for the entire ceremony. But if you feel length doesn’t matter, you can loop the songs, so there’s music throughout the ceremony.

Get the Right Equipment

Smartphone and laptop.

You do not need any serious setup to DJ successfully at your wedding.

Still, you should get a quality sound system and audio amplifier – rent or buy them. That way, you can bank on the output quality you’ll get.

Besides the sound system and audio amplifier, you also need a device from which you can stream your playlist. This could be a phone, laptop, or other suitable audio devices.

You may also need a microphone, extension cords, and audio cables. Do all the necessary research and decide what you need.

Get Someone to Control the Music

You’ve done most of the work by making the playlist and getting the equipment. But it is your big day, and you will be too busy to control the music yourself.

Ask someone to control the playlist for you – someone to hit play and pause. It is always better if you inform this person beforehand.

Hire a Marching Band

band wearing black and loading their silver drums

You can get a marching band to provide music for your guests at your wedding.

As with any wedding plan, book the marching band as soon as possible. But do not just opt for any option. Research thoroughly to ensure you get a skilled band.

Once you find your perfect marching band, have a detailed discussion with them. Let the band know your preferences so they can tailor their performance to your taste.

Also, be sure to fulfill your agreements with them. Provide the band with all they need for optimal performance.

If you are getting married to your sweetheart from school and want a marching band, you could get the services of the marching band from that school.

Of course, this is just an idea that can highlight your love story.

Jazz Band

The music at your wedding can come from a jazz band. With a jazz band, you can get a unique wedding performance.

If you use a jazz band for your wedding, you may choose to have a stage.

A stage might come in handy, depending on the atmosphere you want to create.

For instance, a stage would be perfect if you want a concert-like experience.

But if you want the band to have some interaction with the people at the wedding, a stage might not be the best idea.

Beyond influencing the atmosphere at the wedding, a stage offers added safety: There will be no cables running all around, so people will not trip on them.

If you are not sure whether you want a stage or not, you could ask for the professional advice of the band you choose. Also, let the band tell you the type of stage it wants.

Mariachi Band

Mexican musician with his trumpet and guitars

If you or your spouse have Mexican or Latino roots, a mariachi band is a perfect wedding DJ alternative.

You get to have an atmosphere reminiscent of your culture. But more importantly, most of your relatives who are among the guests can vibe along with the band.

At celebrations like weddings, mariachi bands play energetic music. You are almost sure to get many guests involved and dancing with a mariachi band.

Brass Band

Male student with friends blow the euphonium with the band

Besides mariachi, jazz, and marching bands, a brass band is another DJ alternative for weddings.

Music from a brass band is lively, so their performances create a festival-like atmosphere. If you are okay with such, you could have a brass band instead of a DJ.


Piano music is typically relaxing.

If you want a soothing atmosphere at your event, having a pianist in place of a DJ would be perfect.

As said before, make sure you discuss your preferences with the pianist. Also, finalize discussions as early as you can.


Like piano music, harp music typically creates a calming atmosphere.

Everyone can just sit and relax, listening to the soft tunes from the harp.

Also, no one feels like they have to join the dancing crowd, so chances are that no one would be dancing. The harp music would be in the background while people sit, watch, and enjoy.


Midsection of people playing saxophone in orchestra

While saxophonists work well in tandem with DJs, you can have only a saxophonist at your wedding. But if you opt for this, it must be a skilled saxophonist.

Saxophone music can be calming or energetic. So, if you want either atmosphere, you should consider a saxophonist.

Acoustic Artist

You could also have an acoustic artist perform at your wedding. You could have them perform an original song for you and your spouse – this could be pretty romantic.

You could also have the acoustic artist perform some of your favorite songs. They could also perform some of their own songs.

All in all, having an acoustic artist can give your wedding reception a unique atmosphere.

Extra Tips If You Hire a Band or Musicians

Ensure the band is well taken care of – whether it is a mariachi band or any other band.

One thing you should ensure is that the band gets enough water.

Singing and playing wind instruments will surely dry the mouths of the band members. But if they stay hydrated, they can keep going.

Besides water, the band may let you know of anything else they need. Take note of those things.

If you want the band to play for several hours, you should schedule breaks for them.

Breaks give the band members time to refresh themselves. Let the breaks correspond with an event like toasts that does not really need music.

You should also provide a room or private space for the band. The band members can use that space when the band goes on breaks or regroups.