DJ's are cheaper than bands and bringing a stereo system and CDs from home is even cheaper! If you decide on a DJ or band be sure to call several. The first DJ we talked to charged $550 for 4 hours, the one we booked only charged $300 for as long as we needed him. Be aware that a cheaper DJ may be a beginner and not as "polished" as a veteran of many weddings.
If you like live music but don't have lots of cash try calling local colleges or even high schools. They may well have a good string quartet or other musical group that will play for far less than professionals.
If you have friends who are musicians or entertainers, have them entertain at the reception. It's great fun, and they will always plan something special as a gift to you.
Entertainer Starla Queen requested that we add the following information: I am an entertainer. I would like to ask that somewhere on your forum you post a suggestion to request bids from bands. In our area, which is a large resort area, bands can be booked for the same price as a dj. The advantage of having a band is when the floor is filled with dancers, the band can cater to them. Most wedding bands, like ourselves, play a variety of music. We generally start with soft jazz (dinner & socializing music), then move into some country if requested and dance music. We ask the party what music they want and if they have any special requests, which we learn for them! It helps us increase our material and satifies the wedding party. I just don't want people to think that all bands are expensive. There are those that charge an excessive price, but others whom really love the business will not take advantage of a situation. My band is booked 5 nights a week and we keep Saturdays open for weddings and organizational events! This November, we did three Sat night wedding receptions (out of 4 Sat in the month!) We also did a double one Saturday and did an afternoon reception! Thanks so much
Besides the musical entertainment many people choose to do other things. If you are having children at your wedding it's a good idea to provide them with "goodie bags" to keep them busy and not bored. You could include crayons & scribble pads or coloring books, travel size games, puzzle books, etc. These items can all be purchased cheaply at the dollar store.
The traditional things people do such as tossing the bouquet and garter and cutting the cake could also be considered entertainment. Think about which things you would like to do and let your DJ or band leader know. They will act as Emcee and keep things moving.
Diana Snyder sent this idea: I recently attended a garden wedding and saw an idea I liked. While the best man got up to toast the new bride and groom someone passed out clothespins. At the end of his toast he announced that the clothespins are to be used to clip money onto the bride and groom. They are told that whoever has the most money on them is loved the most. But really the money is to be used for the honeymoon or whatever they want to use it for.