A wedding is a lot of preparation. You have to think of the venue, invite your guests, go dress shopping, coordinate the food, and one of the most important aspects is the music. A wedding DJ is more crucial to your wedding than simply making a playlist and pressing play. So, how much you pay will affect the quality of your DJ.
The cost of a wedding DJ is something to consider when creating your wedding budget. It’s helpful to know the average cost when you’re booking vendors.
With that said, read on to learn about the average cost of wedding DJs and how much you can expect to spend.
Average Cost of a Wedding DJ
The national average wedding DJ cost is about $1,000, and most couples spend between $780 to $1,500. The upper cost is more than $2,000, with some costing even over $3,000.
The price varies depending on where you’re getting married, the type of package you order, the DJ’s experience, and their expertise level. Couples spend more now than in past years, considering their budget to help make a memorable experience without going overboard.
In short, the cost of a wedding DJ varies, and this article will dive into what you need to know before booking your DJ.
What’s Included in a Wedding DJ’s Price?
DJs don’t charge you for just showing up and playing music.
Their prices include the hours and time dedicated to your wedding. Some spend up to thirty hours prepping for a five-hour wedding.
They create your playlist and write an appropriate script for your big day. In addition, they factor in the traveling time, set-up, performance, and breakdown.
They have to consider your guest count and venue, possibly needing to purchase or maintain up-to-date equipment, such as speakers and microphones.
They also buy the requested music, so you don’t have to worry about an awkward advertisement popping up, and have a lot of songs to mix up at your wedding.
Furthermore, well-versed DJs will have operational costs, rent, licensure, marketing, and insurance, on the off chance that someone is injured or the equipment is damaged.
DJs consider the setting they will perform and the number of guests. Your bill might increase if they need to purchase additional equipment to properly serve the crowd.
Also, if your wedding is outdoors, they will need power cords to hook up their equipment. Of course, you could pay more for additional effects such as black lights or image projection to create the perfect tone for your wedding and reception.
Do Wedding DJs Bring their Equipment?
DJs provide their audio and visual equipment. Some companies have lighting, photo booths, video screens, and more.
However, you will need to spend more to get a quality sound system and special effects or add-ons. Lower-cost DJs will often borrow equipment or use old sound systems that don’t give the performance you expect.
What Affects a Wedding DJ’s Price?
The longer the wedding and the reception, the higher the cost.
DJs tend to charge more if you plan to have an all-day wedding or one that goes late into the night. They need to be present more, thus the pay increases, and it’s difficult to give a precise answer to how much does a wedding DJ cost.
Another factor of a DJ’s price is the location, and DJs charge more in large metropolitan areas. If you live in a rural location with a lower cost of living, the price will be less.
Also, DJs tend to spike their fees in busy cities where parking is expensive, making it challenging to load and unload the equipment from their car.
Higher-cost DJs, such as in the $3,000 or more range, are known as celebrity DJs. They have fifteen plus years of experience and are well-trained.
They have an office to meet in, use updated equipment, and have reviews and references online. Most are well-known, flexible, responsive, and will travel almost anywhere.
Additionally, they have business insurance, an on-site music library, and often coordinate with other wedding vendors to assist in planning.
So, pricier DJs will be well-prepared with a clean presentation, a reputable website, a legit email address, and go over a contract with you before collecting a deposit.
In the end, what you pay is what you get, and if you’re looking for a quality experience, the pay will reflect their professionalism.
What Services does a Wedding DJ Offer?
DJs play recorded music throughout your wedding reception and ceremony.
They act as the emcee of the event, making announcements, and toasts. They’re responsible for running the show with an outgoing and energetic personality. They also know how to read a crowd, playing appropriate music to ensure a popping dance floor.
DJs are more than simply track players and will play a part in helping your wedding run smoothly. They often help you create and stick to a timeline. They introduce guests and give instructions for activities.
Arguably the most important, they know what songs to play, and what songs to avoid. Overall, DJs are in charge of creating the best flow and timing for activities.
How Much Should a Beginner DJ Charge?
The beginner average wedding DJ costs are in the $500 to $700 price range.
Most often, they just started their journey as a DJ or work only part-time or as a side-gig. In other words, they could have scheduling conflicts or not show up.
Some DJs offer discounts during the off-season, normally throughout the winter months, and on less busy days.
That said, beware of budget-friendly DJs that have a price that seems too good to be true.
For only a couple hundred bucks, they will lack the skills, experience, and necessary equipment to provide a good time to you and your guests. Sometimes, they won’t have a backup for both if the equipment breaks or they get sick.
Downsides of a Bargain DJ
While the price is appealing, these DJs might be unorganized and not pay attention to the small details that more expensive DJs will.
Some of the worst cases involve DJs showing up intoxicated or not dressed properly.
Your wedding is one of the most important days in your life, so it’s better to spend a bit more rather than risk your DJ not showing up or ruining your happy day.
A few other downsides of a cheaper DJ is that most often, it’s not their passion or main profession. Therefore, you won’t be able to communicate as much with them since they’ll have less availability.
Additionally, they could freeze up due to stage fright, have less experience with a microphone, and have an unfamiliarity with formal environments.
Bargain DJs give you a cliche experience without any personality or customization, most likely recycling songs and simply tweaking a few things.
Overall, if you’re looking for more reliability, better communication, performance, and versatility, it’s better to invest more. While it’s great beginner DJs want to grow and learn on the job, they won’t give you an above-average performance.
Before deciding on your DJ, get multiple quotes from various DJs.
Compare their services with their prices and see which one sounds the best.
That way, you can save money, and get the best experience. Interview potential DJs to ask them lingering questions that you’re unsure of based on their reviews, contract, and so forth. Know what you want to ask them.
When should I book my wedding DJ?
You should book your wedding DJ sooner rather than later.
Hire a professional DJ at least eight months before your wedding day and meet them at least once, roughly two to six weeks beforehand.
You have the opportunity to discuss the created playlist, your timeline, and any other clarifications so there won’t be any confusion come your big day.
Check out our wedding planning checklist for a fuller timeline of when to book vendors.
How much should I tip the wedding DJ?
Expect to tip your DJ roughly 10 to 15% of the bill, or an approximate $50 to $100 for their services.
Another consideration is whether you book the DJ directly or through an agency.
Is hiring a DJ through an agency more expensive?
When collaborating with an agency, they will have additional fees on top of the DJ’s fee. The average cost of a wedding DJ through a smaller agency is $1,500, whereas if you book from a larger company, that can go up to $2,000.
This price doesn’t include travel time, setup, or breakdown. At least a PA system is included in that bill. If you want music and an emcee for your ceremony and a cocktail hour, then that’s an additional fee.
The price will be lower with an individual or self-employed DJ. You could barter the price, but make sure they have good references and reliable equipment.
If you’re looking to save money, a DJ is more affordable than a live band, which can cost up to $3,500 more than a DJ.
You can save a few bucks by having a DJ perform in a shorter time frame, skip the fancy add-ons, and choose a lesser-known DJ that has good reviews and recommendations.
How much is a DJ for a wedding? To summarize, a DJ price depends on your location, your wedding size, and the amount of time you wish for them to perform.
You can get great DJs at reasonable prices, but it’s safe to say that for the best experience, invest a little more without worrying about any negatives that could ruin your special day with your soon-to-be partner for life.
Not sure if you want a DJ or live music? Weigh the pros and cons!
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