How to Pick Between a DJ and Live Music at Your Wedding

Wedding Entertainment

Decisions, decisions. Your big day is full of them: indoor or outdoor, chicken or fish, who sits where ?  Here’s another: DJ or live music ? This question may be a no-brainer for some couples, but many find themselves stumped when it comes to hiring musical entertainment for their wedding.

If you need some guidance on what avenue to take when choosing between a DJ or a live musician, you’re in luck!  We’ve put together a few tips and factors to consider when making your decision. 

Live Music or DJ ?

One of the first things you should consider is what type of music you and your future spouse enjoy.  Once you decide what type of music you’d like to hear during your ceremony and reception, it is time to decide who will provide the music.  

DJ working at the soundboard

When to Pick a DJ

You most likely want a DJ when:

  • You want a wide variety.  Live musicians typically have a repertoire of various songs they’re skilled in performing, and while some groups are happy to learn a few new tunes to enhance your special day, they may not be willing to add an entire playlist to their repertoire.  Hiring a DJ will allow you to request songs on the spot or add new songs to the setlist to accommodate any type of scenario.  
  • Your budget is tight.  If you are still stuck between a DJ or live musician/band an easy answer may be to choose the most budget-friendly option.  DJ’s are generally less expensive because you’re only paying for one or two people. Musicians and bands require prep work and practice prior to your big day, and this will up the ante in more ways than one. 
  • Your setlist is difficult to replicate.  The classic “Twist and Shout” by the Isley Brothers can hold its own when performed by other musicians, but not everyone can belt out Ed Sheeran and Beyonce’s “Perfect Duet”.  It may be in your best interest to stick to a DJ if you don’t believe your playlist will be the same covered by another band.

When to Pick A Live Musician

  • If you enjoy live entertainment.  Live musicians provide entertainment as much as they provide music.  You may have guests who are physically incapable of busting a move or who don’t like to dance, and a band or musician will keep them entertained all night from their seats.
  • The energy shifts.  Musicians are typically able to read a room pretty well and know what to perform to set the mood.  During dinner, you may prefer calm background music that transitions into upbeat music when the dinner ends and dancing begins.  Live music is sure to bring energy to a crowd that a DJ cannot by engaging with the crowd and injecting creativity into the performance. 
  • You want something memorable.  There is just something undeniable about live music; it keeps people wanting more.  With a live band, your guests will remember how lively and engaging your wedding was.

Best Practices to Follow

Regardless of whether you decide on a DJ or live musician for your wedding entertainment, here are few best practices to use in your decision process: 

  • Interview.  Regardless of what route you choose, interview a few prospects before diving in.  Share with them the vibe you’d like to capture during each stage of the day and listen to what they are able to provide. 
  • Read reviews.  The internet is flush with reviews. If you’d like to dig deeper, ask each potential hire for a list of recommendations to contact.
  • Ask for examples.  DJs and musicians often keep their own YouTube channels to catalog their work, so ask for links so you can hear them in action. For live musicians, ask if they are performing for the public anytime soon so you can see them live before choosing them for your wedding. 

If you’re still on the fence about your music options, contact us for assistance.



  1. How to Pick the Perfect Musician for Your Wedding - Steven Vance Entertainment - […] your wedding entertainment is a tall order.  Whether you pick a live musician/band or a DJ, you want someone…

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Steven Vance has provided high-quality corporate entertainment and wedding music for over 20 years and more than 10,000 special events in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, DC, Virginia, New York, and surrounding areas.

Steven Vance Entertainment


YES, we are doing micro-weddings and mini-ceremonies. Ask us to put together a special package for you to get married NOW with all the style, class and fun our music can add.


This Week:

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 16   Virtual Bridal Show at LoveStartsHere.com. From 7:00-8:30 PM log on and I will be playing the whole time while Susan answers your questions in the Chat feature. Request your favorite wedding song.


Steve, for the first time, will be at the New Eagle Castle in New Eagle PA, playing Electric Violin for an evening concert from 6:30-9 PM. You might want to bring chairs and sweaters but I believe there will be food trucks and beverages available.


Steve will be doing a PopRock Electric Violin and DJ Package for a Wedding Ceremony and Reception at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. 

We will also have performers doing weddings at Seven Springs (for a second wedding), The Mansion in Butler, Betsy's Barn in Portersville, Hampton Presbyterian Church, Gardens of Stonebridge, Bella Sera Event Venue and a family residence in Stoneboro PA.


Nothing currently on the schedule but check back for frequently for updates.

Online Shows

FACEBOOK LIVE GIG.                                                                                                                               

Electric Violin live from my back deck - if the weather is nice.                                                                  Go to my Facebook page (link below) to watch. LIKE my page so you can check announcements and see invites. SHARE with your friends are my new friends. In the meantime, you can also watch all of the sessions (15) we've done so far.  Many of them are now posted on our YouTube Channel.  Click the icon above.

We've had a wonderful turnout for these so we plan to keep doing at least one every week. The next one will be  posted here and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Update soon.


Steve plays Electric Violin on  "Circles" by Post Malone                                                                                PopRock Electric Cello plays  "Best Day Of My Life" by the American Authors                                        Cadillac Jazz Trio (Sax, Keyboards and Bass) plays "All The Things You Are"                                          PopRock Violinist Charles May plays Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself"                                                Steve plays Electric Violin on the new Duo Lipa song "Don't Start Now"

Enjoy !


"I’m on my way to my honeymoon, but I wanted to send you a quick email to say thank you. Tiffany and Lorenzo were both fantastic and made sure my wedding was wonderful. Tiffany’s music was stunning, and it was easy to work with her. But what I really wanted to let you know was how wonderful Renzo was! He went above and beyond for me the entire time I was working with him. He was very communicative and easy to talk to in advance. He came out to visit the venues with me so that he would be prepared, and was generous with his time and very patient. He made sure he had all the info he needed. He was professional, and fun to work with. And he was a great DJ! Set everything up very well, kept the guests entertained, on the dance floor, and kept my timeline going. He even gave a little salsa lesson to my guests because I told him it would mean a lot to me, and everyone had a blast! Anyway, I’m sure you know all of this (and I need to get to my honeymoon), but he was so wonderful throughout, I just wanted to let you know :) I know he will do excellent work for many more of your brides in the future!"
Stephanie & Dustin  9/12/20 Tranquility Farm Purcellville VA Electric Violinist & DJ Package
"We just got back to New York yesterday and wanted to send a quick note to thank you again so very much for being a part of our bootleg backyard wedding on the 3rd. I'm so sorry that I didn't get a chance to say hi in-person - everything was such a whirlwind that day! This year has been a rocky one to say the least with everything going on in the world, but it was all so completely worth it to still be able to get married on our original date. You were a huge part of that, and we are forever grateful. Hope you have a great rest of the weekend, and we'll see the trio in December for the big wedding :)"
Caitlin & Matt 7/3/20 Private Residence in Somerset Solo Violinist Steven Vance

"Steve was a must-have for our wedding as he did my sister's 8 years ago (and we loved him) and should be a must-have for your event! Not only does he do an amazing job MC'ing and DJ'ing, and running the event, but the live violin - WOW! The violin adds elegance to your event that guests will continue to talk about for years to come.  Steve also is an expert in the field, leaving no worries for the bride-to-be in the event. I knew our reception would run perfectly with him in charge and it did. Highly recommend!!"     Paige & Russ 3/14/20  Soldiers & Sailors Hall

Wedding Shows

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 16   Virtual Bridal Show at LoveStartsHere.com. More details soon.

SUNDAY 11/8 - RESCHEDULED FROM MARCH 29, JUNE 14 AND SEP 13                                          Look for us at the Pittsburgh Bridal Showcase at the David Lawrence Convention Center from 12-4:30 PM.