Once considered a low-rent alternative to a band, deejays have emerged as the hip alternative for your wedding reception. The main draw: You can book a deejay for one-third to one-half the price of a band, though celebrity deejays charge more. Beyond price, there are several advantages. A deejay has thousands of songs at his fingertips and should be able to get his hands on any songs you request ahead of time. So if you want to alternate between West Coast swing and alt-rock, he can do it. With a deejay, you’re getting the original big-name artist singing your favorites instead of a cover band. Club-style deejays add their own style to the music, blending, scratching, and remixing songs to create an entirely new sound.

Pay attention to your deejay’s onstage persona. Deejays range from cool club kids who don’t say much of anything to in-your-face “hosts” in sequined tuxedos, so find out what kind of role they usually play at weddings and check their references to make sure you know what you’re getting.

For brides and grooms who really want to streamline, digital music players like iPods have emerged as the DIY music alternative. While they’re not ideal as the main source of reception music—you need someone to man the iPod and it’s hard to sync them with the flow of the party—they’re a fine way to provide music at the rehearsal dinner, after-parties, and even during cocktail hour. At a destination wedding, an iPod can eliminate the stress of booking a band you’ve never heard and can offer vastly greater variety than a local band.

If you decide to go the iPod route for the reception, appoint a friend to play deejay. You’ll want separate playlists for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and the reception.

You’ll need to hook the digital music player up to a sound system. Most hotels can supply speakers, or you can rent a sound system from a party supply company, an audio rental company, and even through some deejays. A few deejay agencies and audio rental companies also rent iPods programmed with wedding music.

Find out in advance what equipment you’ll need to provide. Plan on bringing a mini-stereo-to-RCA cable to hook up the iPod to the speakers. It’s also a good idea to bring a “male to female” RCA extension cable.