When you’re planning a wedding, there are endless decisions you have to make, from color schemes and centerpieces to invitations and seating arrangements. The choices you make are as unique as your love story – but there are some wedding-planning puzzles that always seem to arise no matter what kind of celebration you’re planning! 

At Crystal Gardens, our wedding experts have seen it all – including these top 5 this-or-that dilemmas. So we’re breaking down the best and worst of each option so that you know exactly which choice is right for you!


Whether you go with a band or a DJ, every bride wants to see their guests dancing the night away. The important part is figuring out which option will best reflect your wedding style and your budget. While a band is likely to cost anywhere from $3500 – $6000 (or more – the bigger the band, the bigger the cost), a DJ is typically around $1000-$2000, with more experienced DJs costing a little more. 

DJ’s can also typically offer a lot more variety in music style than a band, since they can usually play almost any song you or your guest might request. This isn’t always true with a band, which will typically have a set list for you to review and approve ahead of time. That being said, bands do offer more opportunities for improvising – changing lyrics, encouraging partygoers to participate, instrument solos, and more – that can keep guests on their feet and grooving all through the night. 


Many brides have a clear picture of their dream dress – but we don’t always include accessories in our daydreams, like jewelry or a veil. So when you’re ready to make that big purchase, you might find yourself wondering: do I also need a veil? 

You don’t necessarily need one, but adding a veil can provide that picture-perfect moment of completion when you transform from “a beautiful girl in a beautiful dress” into “a Beautiful Bride”. Veils are also flattering to every figure, balancing the fullness of your dress and adding length to your shape. It’s also a great detail for wedding photographers!

However, not having a veil is a burgeoning bridal fashion statement of its own. If you decide a veil isn’t your style, you can choose other accessories, like tiaras, headbands, or a unique embellished headpiece. You could even skip all the accessories, and wear a dress with a dramatic, long train.


Ah, an open bar…enough to strike fear into the heart of every budget-conscious bride! The truth is that while an open bar is deeply appreciated by every wedding guest in history, it can be extremely costly, and you won’t know just how much it costs until the end of the night. 

On the plus side, an open bar is a great way to show your appreciation for your guests, including those who might have invested a lot into making the trip for your special day. The obvious benefit of a cash bar is knowing that you don’t have the added/unexpected expense of a bar tab at the end of the night; typically you only pay for the bar service. 

Luckily, this is one wedding day decision that doesn’t have to be a “this or that” – you can do a little bit of both! If you can’t afford a full open bar, but don’t want to go the full cash bar route, try these options:

  • Offer one or two free signature cocktails
  • Skip the hard liquor, and stick to beer and wine
  • Offer a limited open bar (open bar during cocktail hour and beer and wine during dinner)


As the bride and groom, you’re focused on things like your wedding attire, your vows, and your photos…meanwhile, your guests are focused on the food! Plated and buffet each have their own pros and cons – starting with price. Buffets can be more budget-friendly, but not always. Although having more variety and options is a key benefit to a buffet, the more options you add, the higher the cost. Buffets also allow you to avoid keeping track of everyone’s meal options, and it gives guests the ability to control their own portion sizes so that everyone can eat what they want, and how much. 

Plated dinners, on the other hand, can be easier for the bride and groom to control, since it takes much less time to serve plated meals than it does for all of your guests to make their way through the buffet line. The more organized and choreographed aspect of plated meals gives them a more elegant reputation than a buffet, although most couples only offer two or three meal options for guests to choose from, with less potential for guest customization than a buffet could offer. 

At Crystal Gardens, we offer a third incredible option, so you don’t have to pick this or that! Instead, consider serving your guests Family Style. With this type of service, your tables are preset, and the courses are served one at a time, right to the table. The best part? The platers of food can be refilled!  If your guests want more Champagne Chicken, all they have to do is ask. It’s all the benefits of a buffet, without the hassle of long lines and dismissing tables one at a time – and with all the elegance of a plated meal.

When it comes to planning the perfect wedding, whether you pick “this”, “that”, or a little bit of both, the only thing that truly matters is that you know you’ve chosen the right person to stand next to at the end of the aisle. 

Ready to cross one decision off your bridal to-do list? Connect with our event coordinators at Crystal Gardens to get started planning your dream wedding today!