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A trend now is to have a live band and DJ at your wedding. This is the best of both worlds. When the band breaks, the DJ plays songs that are perfect for your guests. Then the band is back on and is invigorating your crowd with live music.
We offer a full DJ service to complement our live band because we believe it is the best of both worlds.
But if you are considering just a DJ, here is an honest assessment of what you need to take in consideration when choosing how much to pay for your DJ:
DJ – $0 – Category 1
This is where you talk a friend or relative into running the iPod for the night.
- Seems Free But – Nothing is included at the venue, so you have to rent a sound system and buy all the necessary technical equipment. This includes cords, connectors, microphone and music. It’ll end up costing you at least $300+ and a ton of time and working picking up the equipment and returning it.
- Behaviour – Your friend or relative is also a guest at your wedding. Hee or she is going to want to enjoy himself just like any other person. If he or she consumes too much alcohol, this might affect the performance as the night goes on.
- A Standard of Musicianship/Knowledge of Entertainment – Perhaps your friend or relative won’t know how to address a crowd, make announcements or have any idea of how to keep the party flowing. There may be awkward dance-floor emptying situations or embarrassing loud clicks or pops as your friend tries to cue up the next song.
- Adaptability, Flexibility & Experience – Less experience means lack of knowledge on how to deal with unforeseen circumstances that happen at weddings.
- Reliability & Customer Service – Depending on who you choose, they may forget the one cord you need to make things run smoothly. Or their computer might die.
- Professionalism – N/A
- The X Factor – N/A
My recommendation about this category of DJ: I would avoid putting a friend “free-jay” in charge of the biggest and most important party you’ll ever throw. Your friend or relative will do the best they can. But, without much experience, it may make your guests feel like you cheaped out.
DJ – $0 to $700 – Category 2
This is a bargain DJ, probably found on Craigslist or Kijiji.
- Inclusiveness of Fee – They will most likely promise you a lot up front, and then the features will probably be a little “underwhelming.” The “amazing laser show” looks like a cheap disco, the “state-of-the-art sound system” is weak and hurts everyone’s ears.
- Dress and Behaviour – I think it’s possible you’ll get anywhere from hobo to well-dressed. Behaviour-wise you’ll get anywhere from timid and respectful to drunk and belligerent.
- A Standard of Musicianship / Entertainment – Should probably be able to take requests and play some of the cliche top 40 songs, but won’t have the ability to respond to what the crowd is really into and keep the dance floor packed all night.
- Adaptability, Flexibility & Experience – An overall lower number of live performances mean less experience in all eventualities and with that comes less knowledge as to how to deal with inevitable changes in event schedules and unforeseen circumstances.
- Reliability & Customer Service – Don’t expect to be able to reach this DJ or get e-mails or phone calls returned. There is also a good chance you’ll have a no-show or a late-show at your wedding at this price range.
- Professionalism – Maybe a contract? Probably, but no guarantee. And even if there is a guarantee, good luck finding the guy after the wedding. Don’t expect this person to be able to use a microphone well or entertain the crowd. Equipment is probably unreliable because he is not earning enough to properly maintain it.
- The X-factor – N/A
My recommendation about this category of DJ: At this price, you’re almost better off going with the friend “free-jay,” at least you know he’ll show up. Do not go with the cheapest choice. If your budget is too small, then cut something else, don’t cheap out on wedding entertainment.
DJ – $800 to $1500 – Category 3
- Inclusiveness of Fee – You should expect a good sound system, some microphones for speeches, lights for the dance floor and maybe some fun stuff like a Fog Mist machine or other funs stuff.
- Dress and Behaviour – they should be well dressed and behave professionally at this price point.
- A Standard of Musicianship / Entertainment – This person should probably be able to take requests and play a large amount of music. They also should respond to the needs of the people on the dance floor. Might not be able to work the crowd as well as a live musician, but they should be pretty decent at speaking or MC’ing.
- Adaptability, Flexibility & Experience – If the guy is a pro, he’s probably able to deal with anything.
- Reliability & Customer Service – You should hear back promptly from your DJ.
- Professionalism – Definitely expect a contract and to put down a deposit to hold the DJ if he’s good. Equipment is probably reliable because he’s earning enough to properly maintain it and has a budget for this.
- The X Factor – Ask the DJ about what he’ll do if no-one dances, he should have some strategies, do you agree with them?
My recommendation about this category of DJ: I think this is a fair amount to pay for a Wedding DJ but still ask for references and testimonials and proof of what this DJ is claiming.
DJ – $1600 and up – Category 4
My recommendation about this category of DJ: I think this is way too much to spend on a wedding DJ. If he’s doing other things like uplighting and “extras,” then it is more understandable. If he’s MC’ing and engaging the crowd, then he can justify a higher price. But $2000+ for a basic DJ when his job is only to select good songs and press play? This can be done by a reasonably priced DJ in the $1200-$1500 range. Or better yet, if you have a larger budget get a live band and a DJ to get the best of both worlds.
How do you ensure the band or DJ makes sure the dance floor is full?
Don’t let this happen to you! Hiring professionals that can adapt and entertain a crowd will go a long way. I’ve created a Free Report (Downloadable PDF) that talks about the challenges of filling a dance-floor and how to avoid being embarrassed on the biggest night of your life. Download it right now to your phone or computer to read whenever you have a few spare minutes.
How else can I help?
We offer a free 90 Minute Wedding Entertainment consultation where we’ll go through your perfect wedding entertainment vision and give you a plan to make your wedding entertainment unforgettable.
My genuine desire is that you’ll book the absolute best band or DJ for your wedding and that it truly will be “the best day ever.”
David Fraser is the founder and bandleader of DCF Wedding Music based out of Erin, Ontario. He specializes in live music that’s exciting, entertaining and engaging and has been involved in the wedding industry professionally since 2007.
DCF Wedding Music & DJ Service performs at venues in Toronto, GTA and Southern Ontario. To meet David and learn more about his services book a free consultation at https://meet.dcfweddingmusic.com. Or contact him at 1-866-710-7658 – david@dcfweddingmusic.