2023 Average Wedding DJ Cost (with Pricing Factors)

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Wedding DJ

When wedding planning, it’s recommended to allocate at least $800 from your wedding budget towards your DJ. In larger metropolitan areas, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington DC standard DJ rates range from $1,600 to $2,200, and that is the DJ cost only.

Wedding DJs can make or break a wedding reception. The personality of your wedding DJ can set the mood for the entire affair, especially if you are having them provide MC services in addition to playing music. DJ iSizzle in Los Angeles, California, recommends that you should find a wedding DJ you would be proud to introduce to your whole family. If you are hiring a DJ for your wedding, be sure they meet any requirements of your venue, including liability insurance.

Average Wedding DJ Cost

The average cost of a wedding DJ is $710 to $1,060 with most couples spending between $600 and $2,200 depending on the expertise of the DJ and the length of the wedding. Expect to pay more when adding dance-floor lighting, photo booths, video projections, karaoke, and fog machines.

Wedding DJ Price Factors

Not only does a DJ serve as the master of the wedding ceremony and cocktail hour by making the appropriate announcements at just the right times, such as the first dance, but they also help to read a crowd and understand when to change the music to keep everyone happy and enjoying the dance party.

The main DJ pricing factors are your location, the size of your venue, the length of time they perform, what kind of equipment they use, their level of experience, and how many add-on services you request. The larger the entertainment company is, the more additional perks they can add to your celebration.

Venue Setting

Many indoor venues come with their own sound systems, dance lighting, backup equipment, and a DJ stage. The advantage of having your wedding at such a venue is that the DJ only needs to bring minimal equipment, which helps to reduce the cost of DJing at your wedding. At venues where weddings aren’t commonly held, then the DJ’s setup costs will be much more.

Size of Wedding Party

The size of your wedding party is a critical factor in determining the question of how much a DJ should cost. For everyone to be able to hear the announcements during the festivities, the DJ may require extra speakers, microphones and extension cords to set them all up.

If the wedding ceremony or cocktail hour is outdoors and further away from a power source, they may need to bring a generator to supply their own power. Besides, outdoor weddings require some shelter to protect your guests and the DJ’s expensive equipment in case of unexpected rain. Renting a deluxe tent for your wedding usually starts at rates around $600.

Length of DJ Set

Now, what is the average price for a wedding DJ who plays a set that’s 6 hours long? You could expect a DJ to charge around $1,200 to $1,800 for extended sets like this. The longer they perform, the more time it takes them to prepare their material and keep everyone entertained.

How much does a DJ cost for 4 hours?

The average DJ cost for a wedding reception that lasts about 4 hours runs around $700 to $1,300 with most DJ companies charging $300 per hour. This rate varies according to where you’re getting married and the experience level of your DJ. Make sure to discuss the DJ’s setup time and tear-down time to get an accurate estimation of the price.

DJ rates below $700 generally reflect disc jockeys who are not experienced professionals. They tend to offer minimal services beyond playing music, they don’t spend a great deal of time preparing for the wedding, and typically they do best at a very low-key, casual wedding.

Remember when you’re selecting wedding vendors that experienced professionals charge more because they bring a lot more to your wedding. Some may spend up to a week before your wedding date preparing all those little touches and set up logistics that will make your big day run smoothly.

DJ services typically cost more for a wedding than for a regular birthday party or gathering of friends. Ethan Michaels of DJ iSizzle in Los Angeles explains that the higher pricing reflects the fact that weddings require more work for a DJ than many other functions. DJs average 15-20 hours of effort, including pre-wedding consultations, working with the timeline and creating special playlists to ensure the perfect wedding day, says Ethan. In the Los Angeles area, wedding DJ costs often range between $1,000 and $2,500, according to numerous reports. Higher prices in the range can include premium DJ services with add-on services such as a full lighting package, a subwoofer sound package, a digital video wall, custom monogram lighting or other features.

What Do Professional Wedding DJ Services Include?

Not everyone understands all the work behind the scenes that needs to happen for a professional DJ to make your celebration truly special. Here’s what a wedding DJ’s booking costs include:

  • Time: A seasoned wedding DJ puts many more hours into preparing your wedding that you don’t see. They organize a customized musical selection for your wedding, create just the right script of announcements for your guests, tour the venue with you before your wedding day to plan their setup, arrange all their equipment before the ceremony, perform, manage music requests, and then they pack it all up after you leave.
  • Equipment: Your DJ has basic operational costs to keep their equipment in top-quality condition for your service. Therefore, their regular maintenance costs are also a part of their rates.
  • Music: Reputable DJs buy their music so that they have the highest-quality music files in their library. Whenever you play music over a loudspeaker, you can clearly recognize the cheap copy of a downloaded song because it sounds distorted. Only original music files preserve the full integrity of the music so that they will sound well no matter how loud you play them over any speaker system.
  • Operational costs and insurance: A full-time professional DJ may have to pay rent on their workspace, pay for regular updates on their business license, maintain liability insurance, and cover their own marketing fees.

DJ equipment

There’s a reason you don’t want your niece to DJ your 30th birthday party. Even if she has fabulous taste in music, unless she has professional sound equipment, your big party will sound like it’s being played on a home stereo. The money that professional DJs invest in their equipment is part of the reason they charge the rates they do. The more high-tech the sound system, the larger investment on the part of the DJ. DJ iSizzle says that DJs might bring anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 worth of music and sound equipment to an event. If you want an upgraded package that includes lighting and other special effects, that requires even more valuable equipment. This is also why it’s important to hire a DJ who has the appropriate insurance coverage.

Additional Services and Equipment

To figure out how much DJs usually charge, consider that DJ companies can include a wide variety of options:

  • Photo booths with attendants
  • Personalized music mash-ups of your favorite hits
  • Video projections for slideshows
  • Uplighting, dance-floor displays, and disco balls
  • Karaoke
  • Confetti shooters
  • Lasers
  • Fog machines

MC

The total cost of DJ services may increase if the DJ is asked to emcee the event as well as provide music. Acting as the MC can include announcing activities, keeping the event on schedule and more. Some DJs automatically include MC services in the cost of their package, so be sure to ask if this is the case. Be sure to let the DJ know if you don’t want them to provide any MC services. Some DJs like to urge people to get on the dance floor or talk to the crowd over the mic unprompted. If you prefer the DJ to keep their service to the tunes, just communicate that clearly with them during the hiring process.

Size of event

Large weddings and parties can increase the DJ bill if additional speakers, microphones or upgraded sound equipment is required to properly serve the crowd.

In Closing

Hiring a wedding DJ is all about preparing to have fun. Start by reading customer reviews to get an idea of how long they have been in business and whether their other clients are satisfied. Look for someone who is professional and puts on a great show. Verify that the pro has the appropriate business licensing and that they hold liability insurance. Discuss pricing with the pro and be sure to get everything in writing. Have a contract that outlines date and exact hours of service, including what time they will arrive for setup and when they will be ready to perform. Clarify what will happen in case of emergency if the DJ gets sick or if they have an equipment failure. A little bit of planning makes for a smooth wedding.

Pro tip:

  • Read client reviews and follow up with references to make sure you’re choosing the right DJ for your wedding.
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