If you have come across this post, that probably means you are planning your wedding. This planning stage should be really fun. You are planning the most special day of your life. But for most people, it can be really stressful. After all, you probably have never thrown a party for 50, 100, 200 or more guests.
Where do you start?
At EPIC Charleston, the #1 question brides and grooms ask when searching for Wedding DJ entertainment is,
How much does a Wedding DJ cost?
We are here to help you answer that question. We’ve got the breakdown for you. We are going to describe the different tiers of a Wedding DJ and explain all the Pros and Cons so that you are better informed and can pick the perfect type of DJ to have on your special day.
A Wedding DJ typically plays a wedding reception for four hours, so prices are based on that. Here are the four tiers we will be using to explain what you are getting with each DJ:
- Beginner DJ typically ranges from $0 – $300
- Amateur/Intermediate DJ: $400 – $600
- Pro Wedding DJ: $1,000 – $2,000
- Master/High-end DJ: $2,500 and up
So let’s take you through every type of experienced DJ. Hopefully, we will answer every question you had… and even questions you didn’t even know you had!
We’ll start with the Beginner DJ. This is usually either a friend or family member or someone that does this part time as a hobby and charges anywhere from nothing up to $300.
Pro: It is cheap. (less $, yay!)
Cons: Well. There are a lot more cons…
- They probably do not have the right equipment
- They may dress poorly
- They may be inexperienced with the microphone
- Due to less experience, they will probably not be prepared
- Music knowledge is lacking
It is unlikely, due to cost, that they will have a Lapel microphone for the wedding ceremony. They may not have that black tie suit or understand that you need to match your attire to the occasion… no party clothes here! Inexperience with the microphone shows, and it will send off the wrong first impression to those guests you want to impress. They are probably not going to do their homework ahead of time for the event, waiting for direction from the other vendors and not being in control of the timeline for the day. With the lack of music knowledge, they may just gravitate towards something very comfortable, instead of reading the crowd. They need to be prepared for all of those different tastes and then be able to mix those together. They rely more heavily on the bride and groom to provide all the music.
Typically, we play 45-60 songs every single night. Each of those songs is handpicked and for a purpose. With more experience, you know what is going to work and make the bride and groom happy. You want Grandma out on the dance floor. This magic happens where your parents love the song that’s playing and then it transitions into your favorite song. There is something for everyone. An inexperienced DJ simply won’t have this knowledge.
Let’s move to the Amateur/Intermediate DJ, only in the $400 – $600 range.
Pros: Cheaper selection and you are going to get a slightly more experienced DJ.
- More weddings under his belt
- A little more comfortable with the wedding environment
- Slightly better dressed
- Better equipment
- Music knowledge is improved
As you do more and more weddings, you pick up little nuggets that you can’t just Google and learn from the internet. You get these little nuggets from real life situations. Guests may make certain song requests (a dad for his daughter, a mother for her son) and it may become a go to song. You begin to collect this library of go-to songs for specific situations. This intermediate DJ is starting to work towards that.
Cons: Pretty much all of the same cons from the Beginner DJ. Not very strong music knowledge, not super prepared, not the best equipment… this DJ is better, though not the best.
If music and entertainment are not a huge priority, you may be trying to save more money for other things, then one of these DJs may be a good one to seek out. These DJs are most likely part time.
Now we will talk about the Pro Wedding DJ and the high-end “Master DJ.” The experience here is completely different and these DJs work full time to make sure that your night is absolutely perfect and are prepared so that nothing will go wrong. EPIC Charleston offers these next two tiers so let us now walk through those pros and cons. The pros will be much greater and the cons will be much less.
Now we are going to cross over to the other side of the fence.
If you are looking for a full-time DJ, you will probably find the Pro Wedding DJ. These packages typically range from $1,000 – $2,000.
Con: More expensive, a larger investment ($$)
Pros: Lots more here…
- They’ll be prepared for your day
- They’ll have a process/system in place
- Going to be a sharp dresser
- Better equipment, more practice and better at troubleshooting
- Great at reading the crowd and more music knowledge
- Manager of the energy in the room
- Works well with other wedding vendors (knows them)
The Pro Wedding DJ is more prepared and has the whole day set aside for you. He arrives early, is well trained and has excellent experience. So much planning has gone into this wedding and all ideas are on paper. A lot of weddings will help him keep up with current music trends. He is looking good… dressed to match the vibe of the wedding. He has a system in place and better equipment to bring, including back up equipment. Every venue is different and this DJ is probably familiar with the location or knows that by arriving early he will know where the person with the microphone will stand. This will produce the best possible sound so everyone can hear and the speaker will feel comfortable.
When the DJ from EPIC Charleston is playing a song to the audience, he’s listening to the next one coming up and preparing that mix in his headphone so that one side is the music playing currently on the dance floor, and then in the other side he is listening to the next song coming up. This is a great way for him to gauge the energy in the room. Also, a technique that may be hard for someone with less experience. This DJ knows that fading music in the background for the cocktail hour and dinner may work, but when it comes to dancing, mixing is the place to go.
The Pro Wedding DJ also works well with the other wedding vendors. He controls the room by providing good, social audio cues. A lot of time, these DJs and working with vendors that they have had experience with in the past and understand how each other flows. If the DJ does not make clear announcements, the Photographer may not be in place to capture that perfect shot. They need to check lighting, get the framing right… The wedding is a production and the DJ and other vendors work together as one team. This DJ knows exactly what’s going to happen and has the order in his hand. A Beginner or Amateur DJ will probably not communicate as well and know the timing to anticipate for things ahead of time.
EPIC Charleston also offers the package with all the bells and whistles, the high-end “Master DJ” as we’ll call it. An investment of $2,500 and up. This is the guy with the most experience and knowledge. This may be the way to go if you have a much larger wedding with a higher guest count. This is the highest level of trust of the four tiers.
By placing this trust in your DJ, you have more time to enjoy your guests, the food, the drinks, the dancing… because trust us, the night will go by fast and you will not want it to end. Enjoy it.
Con: Most expensive investment ($$$)
Pros: All of the same as the Pro Wedding DJ, with a few additions
- Best prepared for any situation at a higher-end wedding
- Comfortable with all guest counts, 200-300 guests and up (yes, we control the masses)
- Everything operates like a well-oiled machine
- Sticks to the timeline and every detail
- Hyper prepared
- Has intelligence and has done his homework
- Appreciates the art of DJing
- Operates more autonomously
Master DJs have the most experience and have worked many larger weddings in the past. If you have a higher guest count, lots of different things may happen. This DJ will control the microphone and be confident and comfortable. He will be able to handle and move these large amounts of people in a polite, nice and concise way and be prepared for any changes. There are a lot of people, a lot of food, a lot of drinks and he will make sure to be professional and make sure that everyone feels comfortable.
Everything is going to operate like a well-oiled machine. As we discussed previously, this DJ will communicate with other vendors because the timeline is very important. With more guests, it is easier to get off track with that. The Golden amount of time is two and a half hours. You definitely do not want that getting cut short. The timeline improves the night and everything happens when it is supposed to happen.
The Master DJ is hyper-prepared. Here at EPIC, we have a complete entertainment planning process for the ceremony, the cocktail hour and the reception entertainment. There is a system in place so that we go through every detail of the entire night, including sensitive details. A family member may have passed away, or the bride and groom are creating a new family with children involved… these are situations that cannot be taken lightly. Our planning forms give that sensitivity a place to be written down. All details are covered and the DJ will know exactly what he is doing ahead of time.
With higher-end weddings, you also have some guests that may be more well-travelled. They may be a more challenging set of guests to entertain and music tastes may be much more eclectic. Grandma may know what is fresh or what a good classic might be. These higher-end weddings require more homework. This is really where the art of DJing comes in. The Master DJ knows creative ways to move through the music and be able to make everything flow, even when it’s not pre-planned.
And this can go for any wedding, no matter the size. For example, the mother of the bride may request a Disco song. Well, to get to that Disco song, the Master DJ knows he needs to play these other three songs before that, then he can nail it right with the Disco song. The mother of the bride is going nuts… it built up and prepared everyone with smooth transitions. Knowing how to lead into anything is like breathing.
This DJ also operates more autonomously. The bride and groom should not have to come up with their own playlist of music. Of course with our planning, we do get to know you and ask you what you like, but after speaking to us, we want you to leave saying to us, “I know we’re going to trust your taste.” The reason you should be hiring a Master DJ is that you want to set it and forget it.
So that’s all we got.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how Wedding DJ pricing costs and what you get with each type of pricing package
If music isn’t a huge priority and you want to allocate your budget to something different, the Beginner or Intermediate DJ may be the way to go.
If you are looking for great entertainment, you may have a lot of guests, you want everyone out on the dance floor and talking about your wedding for the rest of their lives, then investing your budget to that Pro Wedding DJ or Master DJ will probably be your best decision.
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