Your wedding day is going to be one of the most important days of your life. Unfortunately, it is probably going to be one of the more expensive days of your life as well. You will need to stick to a budget. As a general rule of thumb The Knot recommends you allocate 8-10% of your wedding budget to music and entertainment. You will invariably ask yourself “How much does a wedding DJ cost anyway?”. To cut directly to the chase, the average cost of a professional wedding DJ in Chicago will range around $1,200 to $1,600 for basic services. Additional time, sound equipment, lighting, etc. will cost extra.
But I Found A Guy on Craigslist for $500….
You do notice the word professional in the above paragraph right? You can easily find a $500 amateur wedding DJ on Craigslist who just works for beer money. What are you going to get for your money if you hire them? Will they show up? Will they have a professional DJ system or a home stereo and an iPod? How much experience do they have doing weddings? Do they know how to coordinate a wedding? How big is their music library? Is it legal? Do they have a backup DJ? Will they available to answer questions and help you plan your wedding? When all is said and done will they be able to create your dream wedding?
Is this the DJ you want showing up for your wedding?
The question then becomes what does a real wedding DJ cost?
Running a Real DJ Business Costs Money
It costs money to run a real business, hence the higher prices. Here are just a few of the costs associated with running a legitimate DJ business:
- Experienced DJ’s get higher wages than inexperienced DJ’s
- DJ training
- Upkeep and maintenance of equipment
- Business licenses
- Rent for office space
- Office staff payroll
- and the list goes on and on….
$500-$1,000 Wedding DJ’s
The next step up from a Craigslist DJ is a low-price, high-volume company. You can expect to pay in the $500-$1,000 range for this type of wedding DJ. These types of companies rely on sending out a lot of DJ’s every weekend in order to cover their overhead costs. Quality, experience, training and skill level will vary greatly from company to company and DJ to DJ. They have some great DJ’s and some not-so-great DJ’s. The company usually provides the equipment and it is more often than not low-quality and outdated.
There are several very high-volume national companies that offer cheap prices for wedding DJ’s. Once you book with them they go to Craigslist to hire a DJ in your city for your wedding. They usually hire the lowest priced person and have minimal contact with them. There have been quite a few law suits and Better Business Bureau complaints filed against these companies for DJ’s not showing up, ruining weddings, etc. so beware.
$1,000-$2,000 Wedding DJ’s
Most legitimate wedding DJ companies in Chicago will be in this price range. You will generally see better DJ’s, better equipment, back up equipment and DJ’s, legal music libraries, insurance, etc.
Most of these companies will also have upgrades and additional services that will push the price higher if you want more than just the basics.
Do Your Homework
Just because the wedding DJ price is higher doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be getting a better DJ or service. You will need to do your research. Ask friends for referrals and use online review sites like Wedding Wire and Yelp to narrow down your choices to 3-5 then call them up. If you like what you hear, schedule a consultation. The DJ company AND the price have to be a good match for you and your budget.
Now that you know what the average wedding DJ cost in Chicago is, here are some basic questions that you should ask any company you are interested in:
- What is your DJ style? (Does it match what you are looking for?)
- Do you charge by the hour or do you have packages?
- What is included in the package?
- How many hours do I get?
- How much do additional DJ hours cost?
- What type of equipment do you use?
- What extra services do you offer?
- Will I be able to meet my DJ in advance?
- How much experience and/or training does my DJ have?
- Will you be available to answer questions?
- Do you have online planning tools?
- Will we be able to request songs?
Take your time in choosing your wedding DJ, they will make or break your reception. Don’t just go with the cheapest to save money or with the most expensive because they must be the best. The right wedding DJ price is the one that fits in your budget and gives you the best value for your money.
For more information on wedding DJ costs in Chicago contact MDM Entertainment today at 773.253.4986.