Once the ceremony is over, dinner's been served and the bride changes into flip-flops, it's up to the music to make (or break) the rest of the night. So should you get a band or a DJ to provide the entertainment? There are pros and cons to both, and we talked to a couple of wedding planners to get their expert opinions.
Get a band if ...
-You have the budget for it. A band can be a significant cost, so you have to ask yourself if it's worth it. Wendy Ingram-Brasswell, of Maryland Gay Weddings (and former Baltimore Sun Media Group employee), says that while a DJ can cost as little as $700, bands -- especially the good ones -- can run well into the thousands.
-You want the entertainment to interact with the guests. "[Bands] pump the crowd up in a different way," said wedding planner Alexa McCulloch of Union 3 Event Productions. "They can get personal with the guests during the songs."
-You have your heart set on a specific band. Hiring rock cover bands -- the kind you may have fallen in love with at a beach bar, for example -- has become an increasingly popular trend for young weddings, McCulloch says.
Get a DJ if ...
-You need to save money. McCulloch says she's seen an iPod with a pre-loaded playlist get a party started on the dancefloor.
-You want to hear certain songs the way you remember them. If a song holds specific sentimental value, the recorded version will deliver each and every time.
-You're interested in a party atmosphere instead of something more formal. The possibilities are literally endless with what a DJ can play. "Younger couples go with a DJ more often than not," Ingram-Brasswell said. (McCulloch says roughly 90 percent of the Baltimore/Washington-based couples she works with hires a band.)
Both wedding planners agree that the most important aspect of choosing the entertainment for your wedding is doing your homework.
"If you get a band, go see them in person. Don't just hear their CD," Ingram-Brasswell said. "Make sure their personality fits your personality."
--By Wesley Case