How Much Does A DJ Cost?

If you’re like most people, you’ve never booked a DJ before and you’re not sure what to expect. DJs come in all price points and it’s important to do your homework.

DJ personalities can vary greatly too – from super outrageous game-show-type hosts to humble & informative emcees. All of which may or may not have turntable skills (we’ll get to that later).

It’s important to speak with your DJ about your music preferences and your vision for the event so that they can dress, talk, and make your playlist accordingly. But first let’s get to how much does a DJ cost….

Price can tell you a lot about the DJ you’re considering.

DJ George Rosenbury spinning a wedding at the Brass On Baltimore. Photo by Pure In Art Photography.

SO, how much is a wedding DJ?

A DJ at the $300 – $600 price point is likely to be just starting out (2 or less years of experience, perhaps even a hobbyist), has lower-budget equipment, medium emcee skills and very few reviews.

A $700 – $1000 DJ has 2-3 years of experience and some beat-matching/turntable skills, great emcee skills, medium to top- quality equipment, and can vary in the number of service hours they offer from 4 hours to all-day service.

A $1100 – $2000 DJ will likely have top-of-the-line audio and lighting set up, turntable skills, outstanding emcee skills, and 3+ years of experience with A+ review ratings. Those over $1500 should have loads of reviews and be a household name in the local DJ market.

What is the difference between a turntable DJ & a traditional DJ?

A traditional DJ is one who does not employ the use of turntable or “mixing” skills to DJ. Typically a traditional DJ will play the entire song all the way through and fade into the next.

A turntable DJ will use a set up that has two deck controls (often that look like two vinyl records) to mix and match between the songs quickly. This allows them to get in and out of songs quickly so the crowd stays engaged. This method allows them to make mashups and to keep the energy flowing evenly throughout the night. Here’s a sample of a fully mixed set from DJ George:

I don’t want a cheesy DJ, do they have to talk at the wedding?

Your DJ is also your emcee and will be “directing traffic” and keeping the event moving throughout the night. A good emcee will take initiative and read the room. Some emcees can be cheesy or over-the-top or shy and unable to engage a crowd. It’s important to talk with the DJ or DJ director about what you’re looking for. A good emcee should be enthusiastic, clear on a microphone, and informative – never cheesy or inserting too much commentary into the necessary announcements.

A great DJ company will spend time with you before the wedding to get to know you and to fine-tune the details of the evening. It’s imperative that they have a timeline to work with that includes names of the people being introduced, songs that pertain to each specific moment, and as many of your song requests as possible.

How do I know the DJ can make people dance?

A great DJ is going to read the room and take cues from what is working and what isn’t. They’ll already have years of experience with weddings under their belts, so you shouldn’t need to send them a lengthy playlist – they have a history with what typically gets people dancing. Unless, of course, you have very specific music tastes.

Some of the burden of the dance party falls on the bridal party and the couple Ultimately your guests came to spend the day with you and your closest friends & family. The DJ can play as many of the greatest dance hits of all time, but if you and your bridal party are hanging out at the bar or outside of the dance floor, it’ll be a real challenge to get the rest of the crowd moving. Make sure you carve out time to make some real memories with your friends & family on the dance floor and live it up!

“Entertainment is an extremely important part of any great event. A great DJ is one who can read a room, make energetic announcements and carefully execute a timeline. 

Great music, dancing, smiles, laughs and so forth – these are the things that make for great memories.”

All the best!

About Amanda

Amanda McNeal is a wedding DJ of 14 years, DJ director for Jukeboxx Media and lead singer & director of the band, Twice On Sunday.

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