The national average cost for a wedding DJ (disc jockey) is between $325 and $660. The price will reflect the length of the event, size of the venue, and access to additional DJ equipment and services.
Hiring a wedding DJ is an easy way to reduce your pre-wedding to do list and increase your wedding day fun. Professional DJs know how to make a ceremony run smoothly, and get guests of all ages out on the dance floor when it’s time for the reception. The wedding DJ often serves as the event’s MC as well, announcing entrances and cueing activities.
What's in this DJ cost guide?
How much does a wedding DJ cost?
Wedding DJs may quote a total cost for a wedding, or they may offer a price breakdown per service. Here’s how Afino Entertainment in Fort Lee, New Jersey breaks down wedding DJing prices:
- Mobile DJ booth: $250 (includes table, turntables, mixer, music, speakers, illuminated facade, wireless microphone, lighting and backup equipment)
- DJ Booth upgrade: $250 (larger speakers and two subwoofers)
- Wedding DJ services during ceremony: $125 per hour
- Wedding DJ services during remote ceremony: $175 per hour
- Wedding DJ services during cocktail hour: $125 per hour
- Wedding DJ services during reception: $125 per hour per hour
What affects the cost of a wedding DJ?
The length of the DJ set, access to sound equipment, size and setting of the venue, and add-on services will all impact the cost of your wedding DJ.
Length of DJ set
In general, the longer the wedding and reception, the higher the overall cost. For all-day weddings or receptions that go late into the night, more than one DJ may be required to maintain a constant DJing presence. More people on the job will likely increase the cost of services.
The size and setting of a venue
Large weddings may mean a higher DJ bill if additional speakers, microphones or upgraded sound equipment are required to properly serve the crowd. Costs may increase if the wedding DJ is required to set up outdoors because additional equipment such as power cords and other items may be needed. Afino Entertainment has a set rate of $50 for any outdoor event to cover tent rental and setup fees.
Additional equipment or services
Many DJ companies offer add-on lighting and special effects for use during the wedding ceremony or reception. If your DJ needs to use additional DJ software, create complex special effects, or have access to specialized DJ equipment, it's likely to increase the price.
Here’s Afino Entertainment's pricing for common add-on options:
- Two CO2 cannons (for shooting fog, confetti, etc. into the air): $600
- Black lights: $40 per light
- Custom image projection: $250
- Fog machine: $200 Costs may also be affected if the couple requests music or sound effects that the DJ has to download or seek out beyond his or her existing music library.
Whether they're driving from New York to Boston, or just 30 minutes, travel time to and from the wedding can become a part of the overall cost. Some wedding DJs, such as Be Entertained Events, factor in travel-related costs to the total tab and do not charge an additional fee.
A popular DJ often commands a higher fee than a DJ who is just starting out or who is not as well-known.
How to hire a wedding DJ
First, make sure your venue allows you to hire outside vendors like wedding DJs. Once you establish that your wedding location will allow you to bring in a DJ, use the following questions to find the right one.
- What services do they offer? If you want special equipment, complex special effects, music festival style lighting, or certain music production elements, make sure that they offer those services.
- What styles of music would you like them to play? From slinky dinner jacket jazz to New York hip hop to Canadian pop (hey, it’s your big day), no genre is too obscure. Just make sure they're a part of your DJ's library, or that they're willing to include a few of your music files. Share a playlist or mp3 files of the songs you absolutely need to hear at the reception or when you jump on the dance floor.
- Do they provide all of their own DJ equipment? Typically DJs provide the pa system, channel mixer, direct-drive turntables, cdj and dj headphones. It never hurts to double check if they need any additional items before the big day.
How to save money on a wedding DJ
- A shorter DJ set: Purchasing limited DJ services can be a way to lower costs if the DJ is only needed for certain parts of the day or if the venue already has a DJ system. You can also hire a DJ for a few hours to soundtrack the dance party part of the reception and create preset playlists with your own music files for the cocktail hour and dinner, or have a talented friend do a live performance of a few favorite songs as a wedding gift.
- Streamlined special effects: Be selective with your special effects and additional services. If a fog machine or certain lighting effects are important to you, go for it! But if you don’t need them, skip the add-ons and stick to a standard package.
- Less well known: Working with someone who is a newer addition to the DJ community can also reduce your price. If you're comfortable working with a DJ with slightly less experience, there are many excellent professionals who can provide you with the wedding soundtrack you seek at a fraction of the cost.
What are the benefits of a wedding DJ?
A DJ can help you create the right tone for your wedding and reception. If you want a rocking dance party or a classy soundtrack to pair with your dinner, a professional DJ knows exactly what to play and can work with you to showcase the genres that you like. They know the latest news in the music world and how to combine new songs with classic favorites. When it comes to a music library, they have the world at their fingertips, so you don't have to worry about tracking down too many songs.
Hiring a professional removes the hassle of renting sound equipment. It can also provide you with an MC who can smoothly move your guests from toasts to cake cutting to the dance floor. While they pop on their DJ headphones and and hit their cue points, you can just relax, dance, and be fully present on your wedding day.