Category Archives: cost of a wedding DJ

wedding dance floor with guests dancing to wedding theme songs

Your Guide to Hiring the Best Chicago Wedding DJ

For any couple drafting a wedding budget, the cost of a DJ may the top question, but it shouldn’t be the only question. Here’s a few more questions you should ask when finding the right wedding DJ—and the answers that connect you to the best Chicago wedding DJ for your special day.

What is included in a Chicago wedding DJ price?

Before you start finding and researching wedding DJs, it makes cents (pun intended) to understand what should be included in your wedding DJ’s price. Note the “should be.” All of these factors play an important part in providing quality wedding DJ services, but may not always be offered by an amateur DJ:

  • Experienced DJ (and a back-up experienced DJ, in case of emergency)
  • Equipment (and back-up reliable equipment, in case of breakdown)
  • Insurance
  • Play List
  • Time

When should I book my Chicago wedding DJ?

According to the Real Simple Wedding Planning Checklist, you should hire a wedding DJ at least a year before your wedding day—but there’s nothing wrong to being ahead of the crowd. The best Chicago wedding DJs’ calendars fill up quickly, so you should start researching wedding DJs and interviewing them once you’ve confirmed the major details (i.e. venue, caterer, etc.)

How do I research a wedding DJ?

Before you hire a wedding DJ, research local wedding DJs to ensure you are getting a high-quality, reliable professional for your big day. You can research wedding DJs on third-party sites, such as The Knot, Wedding Wire, and even social media. These are great places to read through reviews and get insight into the services of local wedding DJ.

Once you’ve done the research, it’s time to interview the top wedding DJs on your list. Ask every wedding DJ about their availability, how long they’ve been in business, their cost (and the length of time included in the cost), if they have back-up equipment and staffing, and a few other important wedding DJ questions.

How long should I book a wedding DJ?

A wedding reception typically lasts for 4-6 hours, and a wedding DJ is typically present for most of that time (especially when providing cocktail hour and dinner music). Some DJs do charge overtime fees for any extra time (ask the wedding DJ about this when contacting them), while other wedding DJs offer an unlimited package without any time constraints.

What other services do wedding DJs provide?

Some DJs offer “extras” that put a wedding reception over the top, such as photobooths and lighting. Many time these services can be included in the wedding DJ package, making these extras extra budget-friendly.

bride and guests at wedding reception dancing to reception entertainer

5 Quick Tips about Wedding DJ Costs

Hiring a wedding DJ inevitably involves the question, “how much does a wedding DJ cost?” The answer may seem straightforward, but there are a few tips for hiring a wedding DJ that keeps your dance floor packed and your wedding budget on track.

Tip #1: Be mindful of quality during the hiring process.

When hiring a wedding DJ, it’s easy to be tempted to sign a contract with the wedding DJ that gives you the cheapest quote. However, a quote doesn’t always tell the whole story. A quality DJ keeps guests on the dance floor and creates a custom playlist specifically for the wedding. (Some DJs use the same playlist for every wedding.)

If you don’t want to get sub-par service that matches the price tag, research every DJ before signing on the dotted line. Wedding review sites are a great place to start; sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire have sections with reviews about Chicago wedding DJs. If you want to really see what you’re getting (and who), schedule a meeting with the DJ and ask to see their equipment and meet the DJ.

Tip #2: Always ask about other wedding DJ costs.

Some wedding DJs and DJ services quote a cost that doesn’t include the “other” costs. Overtime fees, travel charges, and other fees can add up quickly.

To avoid those annoying charges, couples should always ask wedding DJs how many hours are included in the quoted cost and if there is a travel fee (plus these other wedding DJ questions). Some wedding DJs offer inclusive wedding DJ packages that have a set fee regardless of the length of the wedding reception.

Tip #3: Never hire a DJ without a contingency plan.

Unfortunately, emergencies come up that can keep a wedding DJ (and equipment) from performing flawlessly on your wedding day. That’s why hiring a wedding DJ with back-up DJs and equipment is so incredibly important.

When hiring a DJ, always ask about their “just in case” plan in case they get sick or hurt or their equipment breaks down. Be cautious about hiring one-man operations with no back-ups or old and antiquated equipment; instead, look for DJ services that offer a DJ and state-of-the-art equipment PLUS the back-ups that can fill in when emergencies do occur.

Tip #4: Consider a wedding DJ package that saves you time and money.

If you want more than just music at your wedding reception, look for wedding DJs that offer packages with other entertainment services. It can be really helpful to have one service that provides lighting, photobooths, and the cocktail music—especially when juggling communications with multiple wedding vendors and an extra long wedding planning checklist.

Couples who want other services should look for wedding DJs with packages that offer those “extras.” If you have any questions about additional services, look through reviews on social media for more info or contact the service directly for other wedding DJ costs.

Tip #5: Ask about dinner hour music.

One of the biggest benefits of a wedding DJ is that most DJs provide dinner hour music as part of their service. To make sure the wedding DJ you’re hiring is like most DJs, always ask if dinner hour music is included in the wedding DJ cost. In addition, always ask these wedding DJ questions:

  • “Are you available on my wedding date?”
  • “How long have you been a DJ? Do you have a lot of experience with weddings?”
  • “Do you offer any other services (lighting, photo booth, etc.)?”
  • “Can you do….” (Ask this question if you have a really special request)
  • “What is the final total cost? Do you charge any overtime or travel fees?”
  • “How much of a deposit is needed? When is the deadline for a deposit?”
  • “What is the cancellation policy?”
  • “Does your service carry insurance?”
  • “If there is an emergency, do you have a back-up DJ and equipment?”
  • “What time will you be at the wedding? Is dinner music included in the total cost?”
  • “Do you offer any other services? What is included in your wedding package?”
  • “Do you have a wedding DJ checklist that I can write my favorite songs and songs I do not want played at my reception?”
  • “Will the DJ be in formal attire? Can the DJ be the emcee?”
  • “Is there a time we can meet?”

How much should I pay for wedding entertainment?

wedding guests having fun dancing at wedding receptionA wedding budget is one of the key elements of wedding planning; it can also be one of the most frustrating.  You don’t want to pay too much or too little for your wedding cake, food, or your wedding entertainment.  Because the cost of wedding bands and DJs vary greatly, it’s hard to know how much is the right amount to pay for your wedding reception entertainment.  While there is no right answer, there are a few tips to keep in mind when deciding how much you should pay for wedding entertainment.

Keep it all in perspective.

As much as you want to save money, remember that the important parts of your wedding are what you and your guests remember.  In the case of wedding entertainment, it may be tempting to save a few hundred dollars on a cheaper DJ, but remember that wedding entertainment is only a small percentage of your overall wedding budget and has a HUGE impact on the enjoyment of your guests.  If your budget is tight, be strategic where you spend your dollars.  Allocate the majority of your budget to areas of your wedding that make the most impact on your guests: food, entertainment, venue, etc.—and enjoy a memorable wedding night with good food and entertainment.

Make sure to ask your band or DJ about all the costs.

To make sure you stick to your wedding entertainment budget amount, ask your band or DJ about all the total cost.  Many companies or bands quote you an amount that doesn’t include set-up, take-down, or overage fees (such as when your reception runs over the allotted time)—or choose a wedding DJ that doesn’t have any of those painful charges. Your goal is to keep your guests dancing and having fun—why would you want to be charged for a successful wedding reception?

If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Does that quote from a wedding DJ seem to be too cheap to be real?  Remember the old adage, “if it seems too good to be true…” when hiring a wedding DJ.  If the amount of the quote seems low, there is a good chance that the DJ is an amateur and the quality is going to be subpar.  Amateur DJs (you know, “the friend of a friend”…) tend to have low-quality equipment and no back-up plan (what if the DJ gets sick or the equipment breaks?).  A low quote is only one sign of an amateur DJ; be wary of any DJ that doesn’t have a business address or can provide references (or shows any of these other signs of a bad DJ).

Keep in mind the total cost of a DIY solution.

With all the wedding costs adding up, it can be tempting to go the DIY route for wedding entertainment.  Make sure you factor in the total cost of DIY wedding entertainment: the equipment, cost of songs, time spent compiling a play list and trying to run the equipment during the wedding reception (wouldn’t you rather be having fun?), and the lack of a back-up time in case of a breakdown.  Evaluate all the costs, including time, when you select the right wedding entertainment for your special day.

Find other ways to save money—without compromising the fun of your wedding reception.

Reasonable amount of wedding favors, an off-season wedding date, a creative wedding desert—all these ideas (plus a few more) are ways to save money on your wedding.  For more ideas on how to trim your wedding entertainment budget (while still getting the best wedding DJ), or to get a quote on wedding entertainment for your big night, contact us.  We can give you a number and advice about your wedding entertainment, so you can have an awesome wedding reception without breaking the bank.