Live Music or DJ: Which Is Right For You?

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Photo: Lynn Dunston Photography / South Side Station

Entertainment is THE MOOD setter for a reception. Choosing the right kind of entertainment, whether live music or a DJ, is entirely up to your preference. So, how do you choose which will work best for you? 

Start by discussing with your wedding planner. We have been planning weddings since 2014, and we know how to help set the mood just right for your big day. 

Live Music

Live music brings any event to life. The musicians can feel the vibe from the room and know how to turn it up for the crowd. So, what should you know about live music and making your event memorable?

  • Cost – Live bands and musicians may have a higher price tag than a DJ. The more band members, the higher the costs. As planners, we have worked with many live musicians, and we can help you navigate someone who can stay within your budget.
  • Variety – Although there is nothing like live music, sometimes the song lists or style can be limiting. If you and your partner can 100% agree on the genre, this may be a great option for you. 
Photo: United Photography


Are you looking for variety and songs from generations past to present to bring everyone together? A DJ may be the best option for your big day.  Have your planner check with your venue about how much space you have for entertainment. Some venues may only support enough space for a DJ.  

  • Cost – A  DJ may cost less than live music because you only pay one person. A DJ can also set up a playlist in advance and cater it to your preferences, including the exact songs you love (or hate). This ensures that the party will continue with “breaks” for the performer.  
  • Variety – A DJ can customize your event with a specialized playlist. DJs also have stellar personalities and stage setups with lights and other specific effects enhancing each song from the playlist.  

We asked Wendy Rothmiller, Founder & DJ of the Wroyal DJ Company, for her advice on hiring a DJ. “Hiring a DJ over a band is going to help you check the boxes on a lot of your wedding day needs all at once. DJs also offer more flexibility with music requests and have the ability to read the crowd and switch the vibe at a moment’s notice to ensure the dance floor stays packed! We aren’t limited to a handful of songs.”

Wendy went on to share that “with over ten years experience as a DJ and a former lead singer of a band, I have experienced both sides of the coin. When hiring a DJ for your wedding, you get more bang for your buck. DJs can be less expensive than a band and serve as the MC and musical entertainment. The DJ can offer you a set-up for your outdoor ceremony, music for your cocktail hour, and set-up for your reception.”

There is no right or wrong in choosing a DJ or live music for your event. It’s just up to personal choice. There is no doubt that you want your guests to have a great unforgettable time! Just be sure to set your priorities and discuss them with your partner and planner to ensure that you can find the right fit.

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I’m an event logistics guru and wedding designer based in Washington, D.C. I’m also a wife and mama to a fiercely independent toddler and two fluffy terriers. Settle in as we share our team’s latest love stories, behind-the-scenes adventures and top-notch wedding planning advice.

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Dantus & Co. Events specializes in special event, and wedding planning & design in the greater Washington, D.C. area and beyond. Our couples are busy professionals who love details, want to incorporate several cultures or religions into their big day, and need a wedding planner who gets it to help.