Ashburn, VA

How Much Does A Wedding DJ Cost?

$610 – $960

The average cost of a wedding DJ for a 4 or 5-hour wedding is $600 to $1,500. Some part-time DJ's with minimal experience charge $400 to $600. However, wedding DJ costs below $600 generally reflect disc jockeys who are not professionals. The cost of a wedding DJ who has trained professionally, works full-time, and has some years of experience costs between $1,000 and $2,500. Get free estimates from wedding DJ's near you.

Average Wedding DJ Cost

The average cost of a wedding DJ is $610 to $960 with most couples spending between $400 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.

Average Wedding DJ Cost Chart

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

Average Wedding DJ Cost
National Average Cost $820
Minimum Cost $400
Maximum Cost $2,200
Average Range $610 to $1,290

DJ rates below $600 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.

Table of Contents

  1. Average Wedding DJ Cost
  2. Wedding DJ Cost Per Hour
  3. Wedding DJ Price Factors
  4. What Do Wedding DJ Services Include?
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Questions To Ask Before Hiring
  7. How To Save Money
  8. DJs Near Me

Wedding DJ Cost Per Hour

The average cost of a wedding DJ is $150 to $300 per hour depending on if you live in a rural area or a big city like New York. Some disc jockeys charge strictly by the hour, while others have a minimum number of hours that you must book.

Wedding DJ Prices Per Hour Chart

Wedding DJ Cost Per Hour
Length Average Cost
3 Hours $450 – $900
4 Hours $600 – $1,200
5 Hours $750 – $1,500
6 Hours $900 – $1,800

Some DJs do offer all-inclusive wedding packages, but that isn't common. Ask for a list of rates for all their services, and check how much they charge for working overtime if your reception runs later than planned.

Love Letters Sign on the dance floor with DJ equipment and lighting effects

How much does a DJ cost for 4 hours?

The average DJ cost for a wedding reception that lasts about 4 hours runs around $600 to $1,200 with most DJ companies charging $200 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.

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.

Wedding DJ booth during dance party

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.

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

Travel Fees

What if your wedding venue is in a remote location? You can expect most wedding DJs to charge you for their gas expenses and sometimes an additional $50 an hour for their travel time.

It is a common practice for some wedding DJs to offer to drive up to an hour away from their home base at no additional cost, but an event more than an hour away is likely going to cost you extra. They may need accommodation too, especially if the wedding is likely to end late at night and the wedding party is far outside the nearest city.

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 $500.

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.

Man DJing while dancing couples party at wedding celebration

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Have To Tip Your Wedding DJ?

Since a wedding DJ plays a significant role in your celebration, it's customary to tip them anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of their total DJ fee. With the national average rate for a full-time wedding DJ at around $1,000, expect to tip $100 to $150.

What Are The Benefits of a Wedding DJ?

Besides helping you find more of the music you love for your wedding, a DJ can keep your wedding reception on schedule so that you can enjoy yourself. While the wedding planner and a few friends can help with itinerary management, the DJ can guide the whole crowd much more easily due to the additional attention they grab using their sound system. They can make announcements, such as the First Dance, at just the right times and change the moods of the crowd quickly according to the type of the music they play.

When Should You Book Your Wedding DJ?

As soon as you book your wedding venue, you need to find your wedding DJ. Ideally, you should reserve a wedding DJ at least eight months before your wedding day. Then after hiring them, you should meet them again between 2 to 6 weeks before your wedding to go over the final setup details, playlist options and any other concerns you might have. That way, they have time to prepare thoroughly.

What Questions Should I Ask When Hiring A Wedding DJ?

Hiring a DJ for your wedding is about more than simply checking that they're available on the right day and suit your budget. You need to select a trustworthy professional who shares your musical tastes and understands your style.

Beyond the standard DJ hire cost, some of the most important questions you should ask a potential DJ are:

  • What kind of performance style are you most comfortable with? Don't make the mistake of telling the DJ what kind of theme you have in mind for your wedding first. Anyone can promise to do whatever you want, but the truth is that not every DJ shines in every venue. If you're anticipating a dance-hungry crowd who wants to party for hours, then you need a DJ with naturally high energy who likes to engage the crowd. If your event requires a soft, respectful tone, then you need a relaxed DJ who talks about playing the most classy music and blending into the background to set a soothing, ambient atmosphere.
  • Can I see some of your most popular playlists? You can tell a lot about a DJ's musical tastes by which playlists they're most proud of. If you see a lot of their favorite songs don't work for you, then ask how they feel about playing your favorite songs. Pay attention to their answers. DJs who try to talk you out of playing the music you want or who don't appreciate your taste in music are likely to be a terrible fit for your big day.
  • What services do you offer, and how much does each one cost? An experienced disc jockey is well-prepared to explain how much it costs to hire a DJ and why. Experienced DJ's often carry a pamphlet with an itemized list of prices for each of their offerings like photo-booth setup or special lighting. You should come into this conversation knowing how much it costs to hire a DJ in your area and see how they compare to your average rates.
  • Which music genre do you have the most experience with? You can gauge how well they know their genre by asking who their favorite artists are and why.
  • How will you work with us to create a wedding playlist? Ask them about their workflow for planning songs for your event. Will they start by sending you a list of suggestions and then modify it according to your feedback? Are they patient enough to create "must-play" song lists and "do-not-play" song lists with you? How do they handle song requests from the audience during the event, and do you like their approach?
  • Have you played at our event location before? Every venue has different acoustics that makes it harder or easier for sound to travel. In the best case scenario, you hire a DJ who has played at your venue of choice several times. Alternatively, you at least hire a DJ who has played at very similar venues and understands the setup needs for this particular location. They should be willing to visit the site before the big day to go over the schedule and assess their requirements with you or a wedding planner.
  • What equipment do you bring with you? One of the best things you can do is ask to see photos of their DJ setup at the last event they played. Then you immediately get a sense of how much space they need and what kind of vibe they'll bring to your wedding. Also, ask them to give you a specific list of their setup requirements. For example, do they need amplifiers? How many electrical outlets do they need nearby? Do they bring their own lighting setup?
  • When do you take breaks? Plan a scheduled break for the DJ according to what they need. Make sure your wedding planner knows when the break will be. Then they can plan brief interludes of alternative entertainment.
  • Are you insured? This question is critical because if your DJ's equipment causes an accident at your wedding, then you might have to pay for the damages if your DJ doesn't have liability insurance.

How To Save Money On A Wedding DJ:

  • A shorter DJ set: The most important time to have a live DJ is usually at the wedding reception. You can arrange for any reliable person in your wedding party to play your music of choice over the venue's speaker system during the wedding service. Even the first hour of your reception doesn't necessarily need live music while guests are arriving and taking turns posing in photographs. Since many DJs will charge different rates per hour, hiring the DJ only for the specific time you need them will save you money.
  • Streamlined special effects: While a deluxe DJ package including specialized lighting setups and a fog machine is fun, they're not necessary to have a great time. You can save a lot of money if you book a DJ solely to play music. Your wedding planner and the photographer can assist you with planning basic lighting setups for you as needed.
  • Less well-known: Some younger DJs in your local community have lots of talent and potential. Since they're eagerly seeking new gigs to build up experience, they're usually willing to offer their DJ services at a reduced rate. As long as you interview them thoroughly and establish a clear understanding of what they have to offer, then they can give you a top-notch wedding soundtrack at a much more affordable price.

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