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:


Steve will be doing PopRock Electric Violin and DJ Package for a wedding at Sea Cliff Manor in Long Island NY. 


Steve will be playing PopRock Electric Violin for a Ceremony and Reception at Bella Sera Event Venue.  

We will also have performers doing weddings at Uniontown Country Club, Carrolltown Golf Club in Carrolltown OH, Landoll's Castle in Loudonville OH and St. Stephen Church in Sewickley.


Saturday August 15 Steve will be rocking the Electric Violin at Frescos at The Chadwick on Perry Highway in Wexford from 7-9 PM. Covered outdoor dining. Reservations highly recommended because of limited seating. Go to https://www.frescospittsburgh.com/ or call 724-935-7550 for details.

Online Shows

FACEBOOK LIVE GIGS. We've had a wonderful turnout for these so we plan to keep doing at least one every week.  Electric Violin live from my back deck - if the weather is nice. The next one will be  posted here and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Update soon.

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.


Steve plays "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tommy James And The Shondells and covered by Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day.                                                                                                                                PopRock Cello plays  "Best Day Of My Life" by the American Authors                                                    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 !


"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

“My husband and I cannot recommend Steven Vance and his team enough! We first encountered Steven Vance at a cousin’s wedding in October of 2018 and we absolutely fell in love with the unique blend of pop-rock violin with DJing! For our own wedding, we had the absolute pleasure of working with Nate Goodrich. During the planning process, Nate did a wonderful job of ensuring that he understood exactly what we wanted and helped make sure the flow of the evening was perfect! Nate did an absolutely incredible job ensuring that our cocktail hour and reception went perfectly. For our cocktail hour, Nate performed a variety of pop-rock violin selections that we and our guests absolutely loved. To this day we are receiving compliments on how wonderfully he played and how unique the experience was. To say the least, having Nate perform during the cocktail hour definitely took our wedding to the next level! As for the reception, he did an EXCELLENT job of keeping our guests on the dance floor and having a good time! What was most impressive is that he selected music that kept guests of all ages moving! Along with the wonderful music selections, Nate did an amazing job of keeping the evening well-paced without feeling rushed. Overall, we would absolutely recommend Nate Goodrich to anyone who is planning a wedding! Thanks to Nate, we had an absolutely unforgettable wedding day!”                                                                                                     Zach & Rose 2/29/20 Marriott Hotel Cranberry Electric Violin & DJ Nate

Wedding Shows


Look for us at the Pittsburgh Bridal Showcase at the David Lawrence Convention Center from 12-4:30 PM.