Most wedding receptions are organized into several different segments--and entertainment plays an important role in each!
Cocktails, Hors d'Oevres, Dinner: Relaxing light classical or light jazz background music--played by a soloist, classical group or jazz combo--creates a congenial mood and encourages guests to "mingle."
$ Money-saving Hint: If you are using a classical group (or harp or guitar soloist) for your ceremony, engage them to continue their performance at your cocktail hour/dinner--it will cost less than bringing in other performers. Or, if you are using a live band or disc jockey for the dancing portion of your reception, you can save by using them for your cocktails/dinner music.
Dancing: For the dancing part of the reception, the basic choice is between live bands and disc jockeys. Live bands generally seem more "up-scale" and tend to generate more excitement. People don't see a live band every day--disc jockeys are more usual. On the other hand, disc jockeys play songs exactly as they sound on the radio or your CD player. Disc jockeys also offer a wider variety of music styles, and cost less than bands.
Children's Entertainment: If children will be attending your reception, consider providing entertainment for the youngsters. Novelty entertainers such as clowns, magicians, mimes and jugglers can help keep the little ones entertained, and prevent them from getting bored and running around disruptively. (The adults will enjoy it too!)