Category Archives: hiring DJ

how much does a dj cost chicago

How Much Does a DJ Cost: A Guide

William Shakespeare once wrote ‘if music be the food of love, play on.” Though Shakespeare’s character, Orsino is attempting to create so much love around himself that he gets sick of it, there is a lot of truth to the line. 

There’s a reason you can find so many love songs on the radio, and why so many high schoolers look forward to prom. Love seems to thrive in the presence of music, and we thrive in the presence of love.

This is also why so many big celebrations have a DJ. How easy is it t hire a DJ, though, and how much does a DJ cost? We’ll discuss that in this article.

DJs and Events

The cost of a DJ depends on a few different factors, with one of the most important being why you’re hiring a DJ. A lot of DJs charge different amounts for different events. 

The most affordable events are often birthday parties, and the most expensive are weddings. It sometimes costs twice as much to hire a DJ for a wedding as it does for a birthday party.

Crowd Size

A wedding DJ costs so much more for a few different reasons. One of those reasons is crowd size. 

Small weddings can have as many as eighty guests, to say nothing of larger weddings. Have you ever had 80 people show up to a birthday party? Granted, if you had 75 weddings in a lifetime, there would probably be a lot fewer guests.

Crowd size plays a key role in the cost of a DJ because more people mean a larger space. A larger space means that more equipment will be needed for the music to fill the whole room.


Not all DJs use the exact same equipment, and that can affect the cost quite a bit. Some use better quality equipment or have additional things they like to use. There are a few questions you should ask a DJ before hiring them, and what equipment they use is one of them.

Some DJs come with the option to rent additional party attractions, such as photo booths. These extras will add to the cost, so they’re best avoided if money is a concern.


How much does a DJ cost? It depends on how long you hire them for. Most DJs charge by the hour, so if you want them to work for several hours, you’ll have to budget accordingly.

While we can’t give you exact numbers, prices for a DJ range from about $250-$500 on the low end and can cost well over $1000 if you want to go all-out.

How Much Does a DJ Cost?

How much does a DJ cost? It’s a question that comes up a lot, especially among those hoping to get married. While there isn’t one definitive answer, there are factors that can help you estimate.

We’ve talked about a few of these factors in this article, but there’s always more to explore.

For more information and advice on planning a wedding please visit our site. Feel free to learn more about us while you’re there.

When should I hire a DJ for my wedding?

disco balls from a wedding danceThis is a question we’ve been hearing from a lot of couples in the throws of wedding planning.  If you’ve heard the saying “October is the new June,” you understand why: there are now many months of the year popular for weddings.

The answer to the question, “when should I hire a DJ for my wedding?” is 14-18 months. In reality, the sooner you contact and hire a quality wedding DJ the better.  The best DJ’s calendars book up early, and you don’t want to end up with a bad DJ (here’s how to tell the difference between quality and wedding DJ horror story).

What questions do I ask a potential DJ?

We’ve already given you tips on how to find a good DJ (i.e. ask friends, check their social media pages, etc.).  The next step is to ask the important questions that help you select the best DJ for your big day.

  • “Are you available on my wedding day?”
  • “What kind of experience do you have as a wedding DJ?”
  • “Can you give me references that I can contact?”
  • “Do you offer any other perks other than deejaying?” (i.e. lighting, photo booth rental, etc.)
  • “Can you do….(Insert special request here)?”
  • “How long can you DJ? What is cost of that time?”
  • “Do you charge overtime fees if our wedding reception runs late?”
  • “How much of a deposit is required and when will the balance be due?”
  • “Do you charge a travel fee?”
  • “What is your policy in case of an emergency or cancellation?”
  • “Can you provide me proof of your insurance?”
  • “How many meetings do you typically set up with clients? When are the meetings?”
  • “Can we do meetings over the phone or internet instead of in-person meetings?”
  • “Do you have back up DJs and equipment available for just in case?”
  • “How early do you arrive at the wedding reception?”
  • “What kind of electrical needs does your equipment require?” (for an outdoor wedding)
  • “What is included in your wedding package?”
  • “Do you provide dinner music as part of our package?”
  • “When do you need information from me?”
  • “When should I give you a list of my favorite songs and songs I do not want played at my reception?”
  • “Will your DJ be in formal attire?”
  • “Will the DJ act as Master of Ceremonies (MC) at our wedding reception?”
  • “How many years of wedding experience does my DJ have?”
  • “How do we contact you as we plan our wedding?”

How much does a wedding DJ cost?

This is one of the most difficult questions to answer online because the cost of your wedding DJ depends on so many factors, including what you need and want (i.e. lighting, photo booth rental, etc.)  What we can answer here is a solid tip: don’t underestimate the cost of a quality DJ.  Yes, you need to save money and stick to your wedding budget.  However, hiring the cheapest or that “DJ friend of a friend” that can give you a killer deal has it’s downsides: sub-par equipment, no back-up in case of emergencies, no extras, crappy DJ horror stories…the list could go on and on.  When vetting potential DJ’s, be selective and hire a quality DJ (we’ve listed what to look for in a quality wedding DJ here) so you don’t end up regretting your choice on your big day.

5 Warning Signs You’ve Hired a Crappy DJ

disco balls from a wedding danceNo one wants to admit they’ve wasted their money, but unfortunately when you’re vetting through wedding vendors, it happens.  Like our friend, who hired a venue caterer only to find the caterer inebriated at the bar at her wedding reception.  The same can happen to couples who are trying to hire a good wedding DJ, especially when they’re trying to stay within their budget.

The good news: it’s not too late to hire a quality DJ (here’s questions that help you choose the best wedding DJ) if you notice any of these warning signs that you’ve hired less-than-the best DJ for your big day.

They don’t ask—or seem to care—about what you want played

Everyone’s version of “good” wedding dance songs is different; it’s up to the DJ to ask what songs you want—and don’t want—at your wedding reception (more information on how to craft your wedding playlist here).  If you are planning a vintage wedding, it’s not out of line to ask the DJ to play songs from that era.  If they don’t, it’s time to move on, and find a DJ who cares about what you want played (and not just about reusing that same old playlist of songs).

Doesn’t ask about the other vendors you hired

The best DJs are social birds; they offer their couples more than just excellent dance songs and a fun dance floor, they also talk to other vendors to coordinate special moments.  If your prospective DJ is not asking about your photographer or venue contact, it’s time to hire a DJ that’ll coordinate with other vendors to get you the best shots of your first dance and capture all those special moments.

Isn’t a one-stop shop

Anyone can rig up an iPod and play tunes all night.  When you hire a DJ, expect more.  Look for a DJ that can set the atmosphere with stellar equipment and extras that send your night over the top, such as lighting, sound, and fun entertainment options (like a photo booth)—and avoid DJ’s that only offer the basics.

Can’t give you a back-up plan

Life happens.  In addition to our friend with the “belly-up” caterer, we’ve heard stories of wedding photographers who couldn’t attend, venues who shut down…the list of wedding horror stories are endless.  Don’t let your wedding join the list.  Ask your wedding DJ if they have a back-up plan for those “just in case” situations—and run away from DJs who can’t.  Quality DJ companies can promise you a back-up plan that’s just as solid—and as quality—as the primary plan.

Doesn’t come with positive reviews or references. 

If the DJ can’t get the guests dancing at another wedding, what makes you think your reception is going to be different? Don’t just hire a DJ without doing your research, like checking their reviews on social media and asking about reputable awards and testimonials. If you want to take it a step further, ask friends and family for recommendations for a DJ that did an excellent job of entertaining and keeping the guests dancing. Once you’ve done your homework, contact your DJ and book early. The best DJ’s calendars fill up quickly, and you don’t want to be stuck with a DJ that shows all the signs of a bad wedding DJ.