Whether you're entertaining a crowd of 20 or 400, you want your reception to be a fun celebration. That is going to mean different things for different couples, venues and budgets. If you have a small group, do you really need a band or DJ? And what's worth the money for a larger group? Here are some ideas to help you pick the entertainment that best suits your wedding.
Consider your Crowd
Regardless of how many guests you have attending, there is probably a certain "feel" you have in mind for your wedding day. Do you want your reception to have a swanky, dinner party vibe? Or do you want your guests to feel like they're at an exclusive club? This is a great place to start to help you narrow down your options.
Mind your Budget
You don't want to start your married life under a mountain of wedding debt, so carefully consider how much you're willing to allocate to entertainment costs. Most couples are going to be choosing between a band or DJ, but "entertainment" can even include extras like a photo booth, surprise guests (some people even hire mascots to crash the party!) and specialty lighting for the room and dance floor.
If you're trying to decide between a DJ and band, there are solutions for every budget. If you want to hire a band but can't foot the bill for the entire night, consider hiring the band just for part of the night and using a DJ for the rest of the reception. Also, keep an eye out for deals. Some vendors will provide coupons at wedding expos, offer discounts for booking multiple services (like photo booth and room lighting, if they offer it) or shave off some of the cost for booking well in advance.
Work with your Venue
When you're booking your venue, make sure you discuss anything that might be off-limits. Get a good idea of what space you have to work with, what power options are available for a band or DJ, and what time slots you need to fill for your reception entertainment. If you want additional details like a photo booth, make sure to okay that with your venue as well.
This is where your guest count comes into play as well. A band works well for a more intimate setting or fewer guests because it gives your guests something to watch if they're not big on dancing. On the other end of the spectrum, a DJ can work well with a larger crowd, and they tend to be more affordable than a live band. These aren't hard and fast rules - bands can add amazing energy to a reception with a large group, for example. When you're looking at your venue, imagine the setup for the day and what would work best with your guests and layout.
Go for Quality
A really good DJ is better than a mediocre band, but an excellent band can really work with the crowd and offer great entertainment. There are phenomenal DJs and bands out there, so whatever you decide, make sure you're paying for true quality. You can't go wrong with professional entertainment that knows how to keep a party rolling and respects your wishes and limits for your wedding day.