We all have priorities in life. Do I spend the extra cash on the Oleg Cassini dress, or do I actually want my guests to eat? If I go to the gym, will that cost me extra for additional tailoring? We can't ignore the costs of things in life. Just like anything else, music has a wide variety of price points. Whether the music is recorded or live, there is a lot of variability here. The cost depends upon several factors, which include: the number of people involved in providing the service, the hours of work required, and the complexity of the work. To be honest, you could spend a few hundred, or up to thousands of dollars for either musicians or a DJ. It's not uncommon for couples to request the DJ to play a processional and a recessional for the ceremony, if it happens to be in the same spot as the reception, and is under 15 minutes in duration. Since the DJ is there anyway, many couples find this logical and it probably won't cost extra.
Different strokes for different folks. Many people want segments to their wedding day. They don't necessarily want one cohesive mash of events, but rather they want divisions, like the ebbs and flows of a romantic novel. For example, they want an elegant and/or intimate ceremony, a social cocktail hour with mood-setting music, and a rowdy reception. Having a DJ provide recorded music for all of this doesn't quite have the same feeling and can make it feel singular.
Here is a common scenario that we run into. UpScale Strings will perform either light classical or non-traditional music for the ceremony, followed by upbeat pop repertoire for a fun light cocktail hour. This is typically followed by the DJ taking over, in order to provide the louder music or dance feel for the reception. DJ's are also great at providing the flow for the reception, i.e. party introductions, first dance, and cake cutting.
We've mentioned it in previous posts, but live music and recorded music are two different animals. A violin and a guitar are not going to provide a massive sound for your reception, nor you may want that kind of mood if you hire only two performers. We'd like to admit that we're perfect and can do it all, but we can't. Going for live music here is fine, don't misunderstand us. The difference with the recorded music is the atmosphere you can create with two or three instruments. Your guests may even appreciate the "artistry" of having performers right there, while they enjoy some cocktails.
We're probably biased because we're musicians, but for us, recorded music doesn't quite do it for a ceremony. Just like two musicians won't provide the sound of a ten piece brass band for a reception, recorded music doesn't hold the same classic romance for us as you're walking down the aisle. It's your big moment; your big entrance! Live music can be extremely memorable; there is a certain energy emitted from people who are able to physically create music. Pushing play here, to us, is just...synthetic. We love DJ's, but our preference for a ceremony will be live 100% of the time, just as we did for our own wedding.
Song selection can also play a factor into hiring musicians or a DJ. We meet some really unique couples, some with very alternative tastes. If you want Guns 'n Roses' greatest hits to bring you down the aisle, by all means! But understand that this may be a little bit tricky to capture with two violins or a solo guitar.
So after all of that, when making your final music decision for recorded or live, what's the best answer? Hard to say! As we mentioned above, there are a lot of factors that will go into your decision. It's best to not only shop around for price, but also consider the design for the day that you have planned. Cost, flow, and music choice will all impact your final answer. Trust the professionals that you're giving a look to. Send them an e-mail and let them help you make the best decision for you vision and budget.
Having trouble figuring out if live music is right for your big day? Contact UpScale Strings and ask us anything!