How Much do Wedding DJ Cost?
What Does a Professional Wedding DJ Actually Do?
Great wedding DJs are a lot more than disk jockeys who simply play music. They are aces at helping your wedding go smoothly. They will help you create and stick to a timeline. They will keep the mood going from the ceremony to cocktail hour and through the reception. They make stellar introductions and direct guests to where their attention should be at a given time.
Most DJs will have their own database for you to record your favorite songs, must-have playlists, and songs to avoid. You can also provide them with your wedding party names and any other announcements you’d like them to handle. The right DJ can advise on the best flow and timing for the first dance, father-daughter dance, and mother-son dance as well as things like the cake cutting, toasts, and bouquet toss.
And, of course, a DJ creates a great dance party! Good DJs know how to keep the mood going with a balance of upbeat and slow songs. They’ll also be the one to announce things such as last call and offer information about your transportation and after-party.
So you’re planning a wedding and are thinking about hiring a DJ to take care of the music? The most common question is: “How much should I budget for my DJ?”
The answer to this question isn’t generally so black and white as there are usually a bunch of other questions hiding beneath it.
- How do I know if I’m scoring a deal or paying way too much?
- Does paying more for a DJ mean they will be better?
- Does paying less mean they will be much worse?
- What should be included in the price that I pay?
- How do I make sure that I hire a good DJ?
- What could happen if I hire a bad DJ?
- It’s tough to know the answers if you’ve never hired a DJ before so we decided to take a few minutes to answer these questions for you’
Let’s get to it!
Four Types of DJs
Wedding Specialist DJs – $1200 – $2500
Average DJs – $900 – $1200
Bargain DJs – $400 – $900
Wedding Specialist DJs Prices: $1200 – $2000
Wedding Specialist DJ Companies have lots of experience. They’ve performed for hundreds, or even thousands, of weddings and have years of experience. These DJs invest in regular training and skill development in music research, mixing, music production, MCing, lighting setup, audio setup and so much more.
They buy the best equipment and attend industry events to learn more about weddings and what’s happening in the DJ world. To put it short, Wedding Specialists live and breathe weddings. Now that’s not to say that they won’t work the occasional birthday party or corporate event, but most DJs in this category will focus 95% of their time on being wedding professionals. Wedding Specialist DJs charge a premium because they deliver a premium service.
You can expect things like:
- Thorough music planning consultations
- Prompt response time (within 24 hours)
- Backup DJ in place, in case of emergency
- Above and beyond customer service
- Stunning light shows
- Articulate speaking skills
- Creative ideas and customization
- Professional and high quality equipment, plus backup equipment
- Backup plans for everything—a pro will plan for things that could to go wrong, so if something does happen, you never notice
These types of DJs understand that their role is about so much more than just playing good music; their job is to make sure everything goes smoothly both on the day of and in the time leading up to your wedding. You’ll find tons of five-star reviews for these companies for a good reason—they deliver.
Wedding Specialist DJs are the best option when it comes to ensuring that you get everything that you want in your DJ (plus a lot that you didn’t even know you want). They will take the time to consult with you, find out more about your wedding, your vision and your style, and then follow through with their promises. Now that’s not to say that every single DJ that charges more is a Wedding Specialist DJ, but “you get what you pay for,” definitely applies to wedding DJs.
Average DJs – $900 – $1200
The DJs in the “average,” price range tend to have a bit more experience, education and better reviews.
Average Wedding DJs:
- Are reasonably reliable and consistent
- Play music and make simple announcements
- Are often one-person DJ companies
- Often Rent equipment
These wedding DJs tend to take their businesses seriously as most of them are full-time or on the way there. They show up on time (usually), play music and offer standard MC services. Often these DJs entertain for all kinds of events, including weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, high school reunions, corporate events, proms, nightclubs, and karaoke events.
They aren’t wedding specialists, so they may not be experienced or equipped to deliver top- notch service that is catered specifically for a wedding. So, while they may have performed at some weddings in the past, they may not be fully aware of all the specific details and backup plans that should be considered when planning the music for your wedding.
Going with a DJ in the “Average,” category is likely to result in a better experience than their “Bargain,” counterparts. However, you may find that the response time, depth of planning and support you receive are lacking.
Bargain DJs – $400 – $900
Of course there may be exceptions in each of these categories, but in general bargain DJs:
- Are Less Experienced
- Are Working Part-Time
- Focus On Quantity Not Quality
- Does not own equipment, but rents
Most bargain DJs are amateurs or hobbyists that have a regular “day job” and provide wedding entertainment on weekends for fun. Some of these lower cost DJs are just starting out and are inexperienced in the intricacies of announcing speeches, timing the music for a ceremony, reading a crowd and playing music for an audience of mixed ages and music tastes.
All that to say that they typically have less experience and knowledge of the specific skills that are required to ensure that your day is memorable and stress-free.
You may want to consider that the Bargain DJ has only budgeted the time they will spend at your wedding, not the time required for meetings, calls and emails pre-wedding. This has the potential to lead to additional bills, cancelled performances, or in some cases, never hearing from them again (we typically hear about this a handful of times per year).