Q. How can we save money on our vow renewal entertainment?

A. First of all, read all contracts carefully and check for hidden costs before you sign them. These costs include travel expenses, equipment fees, taxes, gratuities, and over time. Generally, the cost of a live band includes fees for the musicians’ time and the minimum amount of equipment needed. The same applies to DJs, even though they are typically less expensive than live bands. If your venue requires additional lighting, speakers, or microphones, there may be notable additional charges.  Make sure you get a firm price for your exact venue before signing a contract.  In addition, since the best bands and DJs are in highest demand on Saturday nights, and often Fridays as well, you might opt for a Sunday or date in January, February, or March for a slightly discounted rate.

If you really need to save money on entertainment, you might consider renting speakers and a microphone to plug into a high-quality stereo so you can play your own playlists on iPod or CDs.  Classical music is great for ceremonies. Jazz is always a hit for the cocktail hour. Mix it up for the reception and include fast and slow styles from a variety of decades.