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How Much Does a Wedding DJ Make?

Wedding DJ Average Salary

The cost of a good DJ is immeasurable. They can make or break a wedding. A good DJ can contribute to making your special day wonderful. A bad or less experienced DJ will ruin it.

So, how much does a wedding DJ make? They generally make between $800- $1,500 per wedding but it is not an easy question to answer. There are so many things that affect the DJ’s fee including demand, experience, type of wedding, and additional services.

Keep reading to learn more about how much a wedding DJ can make.

What Are People Willing to Pay for DJ Services?

Planning a wedding can be an emotional process. It’s important to keep in mind that not every detail has been thought about. One of the most challenging areas for new brides-to-be is whether or not they want music at their event.

There could potentially be hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars involved with hiring just one person! Many people don’t realize how expensive DJs get.

When you add up everything from travel expenses like hotels near where they’ll play their sets through sound systems and bands – not even mentioning all costs associated with being hired as part of this huge celebration.

Many couples place a high value on the DJ. Some do not consider a DJ to be crucial and are not willing to spend much money.

You may negotiate for more bookings or wait for what you believe you are worth. You do run the risk of not receiving a booking on that date.

Many times your city plays an important part. You can easily be paid more in Chicago than Kansas City, which is cheaper overall for DJs due to their lower salaries and less expensive cost of living.

What Is The DJ’s Level Of Experience?

Experience is important when it comes to pricing. The more you have done, the higher your price should be for new clients. When a couple is considering hiring a Wedding DJ, this may not always work out as planned.

Experienced DJs can usually command high fees even with lesser experience. Their knowledge of how to handle the room is important. With experience, the client knows they are getting a quality DJ who knows what they’re doing.

Now, if an individual has just started playing weddings on weekends only, then expect them to start at lower rates. Once a DJ has gotten quite a few reviews from past clients, you’ll be more likely to receive wedding DJ inquiries. Then you can then feel more comfortable raising prices a bit and see if you can get it.

What Are The Wedding Specifics?

There are several questions you must first consider including:

  • How long will the wedding reception be?
  • Will the DJ be providing music for the ceremony?
  • Is the DJ traveling a long distance?
  • Will the wedding party be requesting special songs?

 

There are several variables to consider while determining a DJ service fee:

  • DJs may charge based on the demands of each event or by packages (levels where clients receive some things but not others).
  • They might give a flat rate regardless of how long it takes.
  • Perhaps a good DJ would provide reductions for military personnel, friends/family, and so on.

What Are The Additional Services a DJ Can Provide?

Providing extra services is one approach to earn more money. The following are some examples of common supplemental services:

  • Music or audio for the ceremony will be provided in some cases
  • DJs may also use a string quartet, smooth jazz music, or a full band for the ceremony and/or cocktail hour
  • Photobooth
  • Projectors and screens
  • Photography/videography
  • Additional lighting

There is an unlimited amount of additional services. The more you can provide, the more appealing you’ll be to prospective clients, resulting in greater earnings.

When you add services there can be additional:

  • Costs
  • Time and effort will be needed
  • Equipment you’ll have to bring to events
  • People you might need to hire someone to provide the additional service if you can’t perform them at the same time as DJing

A DJ must remember they can’t do everything. It can get overwhelming and take away from the wedding day.

A Wedding DJs Sales Pitch

When you’re a wedding DJ, your ability to close deals is imperative. A DJ’s sales pitch will help get more jobs and make you even better money.

They cannot just rely on words. Sometimes a demonstration or recorded previous weddings is required.

A DJ needs to show off what makes them worth their price. Sometimes the DJ needs to tell the couple, how amazing these events are going to turn out with someone like them at the helm.

Does The DJ Work for a Company or Themself?

In most cases, working for yourself rather than for someone else’s business will result in a higher salary.

When you’re out and about, you’ll see help-wanted advertising for DJ firms looking to hire new DJs for $25 per hour all the time. It is not a bad hourly wage if you don’t take into account that DJs who work for themselves can make $150 per hour or more. That’s six times more than what you are thinking.

Being your boss implies that the DJ will have to do more of the work, create their brand, take on more of the financial burden in terms of costs, and so on. The monetary benefits far outweigh what a DJ could get by working for someone else.

Tips for Becoming a Successful Wedding DJ

For some couples, it’s a given that the DJ will be getting cash from them before the reception has even started. They will have envelopes for every vendor and could tell them how much they want to give specifically so there are no surprises when things go forward with your tip amounts.

Often, it will be more spontaneous. At the end of the night, they’ll give the DJ a tip right on the spot.

They may even put down higher than what was originally planned if that’s all the DJ is doing. Some couples will not tip at all. They may not have realized they should tip.

Tipping wedding vendors isn’t as easy (basically) as it is for restaurant servers and bartenders. Remember, given that the pair have already paid the DJ several hundred dollars (or maybe over $1,000) to perform at their event, they don’t need anything else.

Top Ten Songs A DJ Should Never Play At A Wedding

Many songs should never be played at a wedding. It is the couple’s responsibility to request them not to be played, but it is wise for a DJ to know which songs to avoid.

Top Ten Songs Most Disliked At Weddings

Many brides dislike hearing songs at their wedding. Many times it is past boyfriend’s favorite song.

  • “Chicken Dance”
  • “Cha-Cha Slide” – DJ Casper
  • “Macarena” – Los Del Rio
  • “Cupid Shuffle” – Cupid
  • “YMCA” – Village People
  • “Electric Boogie (Electric Slide)” – Marcia Griffiths
  • “Hokey Pokey”
  • “Wobble” – V.I.C.
  • “Happy” – Pharrell Williams
  • “Love Shack” – The B-52’s

Types of songs that should never be played at a wedding:

  • Any song that has a bad or offensive language.
  • Any song that is too old and would bore guests.
  • A cheesy song like “My Ding-a-Ling.”
  • Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”
  • Any song that is too fast, unless it’s the last dance.
  • “Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey.”
  • Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
  • A song is sung by a solo artist who has died. This makes guests cry every time.

 

A couple of songs are just way too intense for one person to sing both the male and female parts alone, like “The Rose” by Bette Midler. Not even with a group is it acceptable. It’s too emotional and would make every couple cry if they didn’t know the song well enough to cry when their parents did or something like

Remember Do Not Play:

  • Any song in a foreign language that nobody knows the words to.
  • Any song that would offend a guest’s culture, ethnicity, or belief system.
  • Any song without a strong beat that guests cannot dance to is not appropriate for weddings.
  • There is an exception though: if it is the last dance and you want another emotional moment with the guests, you can play it.

 

They’re going to have a wedding planner with them for this, but that doesn’t excuse you from playing any of these songs or getting in trouble for forgetting that they requested it.

Summary

So many things can affect how much money a DJ can make at a wedding. DJs are always experimenting with their prices, especially as they gain more experience and knowledge of what works best for clients in different situations. The most successful ones will eventually be able to charge higher rates than newbies.

DJs who may start quite low ($500 or $600) could end up charging $2,500 or more for their services. It’s all about the experience and the connections that DJs make with clients over time.

There is also just an amount where people won’t pay anymore because while this business does require trial-and-error (probably more than any other) it is more than likely worth the effort. However, if there was one thing about this business. You can make more money on volume instead of maximizing price.

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