We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again. Music is a crucial part of your wedding! The music sets the mood for both your ceremony and reception, and you’re going to want to find a vendor you can trust to turn your day into the celebration it deserves to be.

When it comes to providing the music, there are two main ways that couples choose to do so—a DJ or a live band. Both are awesome choices, but each brings their own perks to the table.

WHAT VIBE ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

If you’d like to have a wedding featuring solely jazz music or 80’s rock hits, why hire a DJ to play these genres when you can have a live band play them? However, if you’d like a mix of different genres, you may have a hard time finding a live band that can cover the songs that you want. If you’re looking for a lively mix of today’s music and yesterday’s hits, that’s a job more designed for a DJ. They can read the room and match the tone that you want for your dream wedding.

WHAT’S YOUR PRICE RANGE?

This goes without saying—you’ll pay more for a live band because there are more people involved. Lots of DJs work either alone or with a partner, while live bands can really be any size. If you’d like a jazz band with seven different instruments played all at once, you’re going to pay for those seven people to play. Smaller bands (for instance, an acoustic duo) will cost less than bigger groups, but a DJ will usually be cheaper than live music.

HOW MEMORABLE SHOULD YOUR MUSIC BE?

While their lower price range makes them more popular with couples, having a live band is a sure-fire way to make your wedding music memorable! If you’ve been to weddings before, how many of them had live music? Probably not that many! Live bands are a fun and unique way to create an artful atmosphere at your wedding.

DO YOU WANT RECOGNIZABLE MUSIC?

There are some songs that guest just EXPECT to hear at a wedding. Fun clichés like “We Are Family” and “Don’t Stop Believing” are classic songs that have wedding guests swamping to the dance floor. In addition to these wedding classics, your guests may have requests for music they’d like to dance to. While some live bands will take requests, that’s not something that you should bank on. Likely, a band will ask the bride and groom what songs they can’t live without (such as their first dance song) but won’t take requests from anyone on the spot.

On the flip side, DJs will play the music that everyone recognizes, and they can take requests on the spot. Likely, a DJ will have the dance floor consistently filled with more people than a live band.

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED A COMBINATION?

If you’re interested in a packed dance floor for your reception, but acoustic music for your ceremony, why can’t you have both? You’ll still have to pay both vendors for their provided services, but likely spend less on both for having them play the ceremony or reception, respectively. Many churches provide couples with an accompanist or organist, so you may not even have to pay for their services out of pocket. Make sure you ask your venue what services are included prior to hiring other vendors.

No matter what combination of music vendors you choose, your guests are sure to have a great time on your special day! Make decisions that will fit into your budget and ultimately make you and your future spouse the happiest.