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:


PopRock Electric Violin and DJ Package for a Wedding Ceremony at Mansions On Fifth and then the Reception at Lemont. 

We will also have performers at Phipps Conservatory. 


New Years Eve at Rivers Casino from 5-10 PM in their new restaurant. More specifics soon.

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Sunday December 6.  My plan is to play for an hour on Facebook Live and then do another hour on Instagram IGTV.  Late afternoon or early evening.  Times to be announced soon.

Electric Violin live from my home. Go to my Facebook page (link below) and my Instagram page @StevenVanceEntertainment 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. The next one will be  posted here and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. 


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"

See over 450 videos on our YouTube Channel. Enjoy !


"Juan was amazing! He communicated with us and helped us to pick more contemporary songs that would work well for the solo violin we booked. Our guests loved the acoustics of the violin in the smaller church we used and it helped to make our day that much better. I would definitely recommend!"                                                                                                                                                      Ashley & Matthew 10/17/20 Old Stone Church Solo Violin                                                                    "We used the Steven Vance String Trio for our wedding ceremony and it was AMAZING. We received so many compliments on how lovely it made the ceremony. They did an incredible job and were very easy and professional to work with."                                                                                                            Courtney & Marc  10/10/20  St. Margaret Mary Church  AAA String Trio                                                  "Would recommend Steven Vance’s company to anyone! We booked their DJ package for our wedding and I’m so glad we did! Steve was extremely courteous through the whole process and helped us book the appropriate package for us. We worked with DJ Vanessa for our wedding and she was so wonderful. Awesome personality and truly cares about giving you the perfect day. She took time to get to know us and really listened to our music preferences and played the perfect mix of songs/genres. She had great energy for announcements and really ensured the reception transitions ran smoothly. It was an awesome experience from start to finish with Steven Vance and I’d absolutely work with them again!"                                                                                                           Jordan & Matt 10/17/20  Southpointe Golf Club DJ Vanessa                                                                   "I’d like to pass along my sincerest gratitude to DJ Mike Greca. He made our wedding experience so wonderful and was truly a delight. He was professional, on time and prepared, and a fabulous MC for our wedding! We appreciate everything and could not have asked for a better DJ."

Chris & Amanda Vos  9/26/20 Red Barn Inn Swanton MD DJ Mike G

"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 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.  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

Wedding Shows

Tuesday 12/8/20 Virtual Rainbow Network Wedding Show in Columbus. 7:00. Open to all. FREE Registration.

Several coming up pending health restrictions.  Updates soon.