This is the definitive guide to the overwhelming task of DJ’ing your own wedding.
What if you could DJ your own wedding!? How much could you save? We know that there can be some sticker shock when you first get prices from wedding DJs. It can’t really be that much, right? We’ve spent years selecting equipment and putting together epic weddings, and we’re about to share all that knowledge.
We’re about to give you all the things you need to know about DJ’ing your own wedding.
(Yeah… this is slight satirical… check out our Ultimate Guide To Hiring a Wedding DJ here)
The most obvious thing you will need You will need a computer or music player of some variety. Most people have one of these, so there isn’t much cost involved here. Cost: $0
Spotify is probably the easiest way to build your playlist! I love a good Spotify playlist! In fact, you can listen to ours here. You will want to make sure that you don’t have a free account, of course. There is nothing worse than an ad for Bud Light coming on right before your first dance. Jennifer and Mike’s First dance, Presented by Bud Light, just doesn’t have a good ring to it.
Make sure you have a robust and secure wifi connection. It may work well with just a few people there, but once there are 100 people there with cell phones… it’s likely to get less reliable. Cost: $9.99 (Total: $9.99)
You will definitely need a speaker!! Now I know the Bluetooth speaker you have sounds great at the beach and next to the pool. Still, I promise you, it will not be nearly loud enough or cover that area you need it to cover for your reception. Plus, remember the wifi concerns with Spotify? Bluetooth connection will definitely get suspect with 100+ cellphones floating around… all looking to connect to anything they can. So you will probably need to rent speakers for your reception. Cost: $320 (Total: $329.99)
Wait, you are doing your ceremony on-site as well? You’ll also need to rent a speaker for that. Cost: $55 (Total: $384.99)
Now we need to make sure that everyone can hear the vows and toasts! So we’ll need some microphones. We could go the cheaper route with wired microphones, but they don’t look as good in pictures so let’s opt for renting wireless microphones. Cost: $120 (Total: $504.99)
With most speaker setups, you will need a mixer to connect your microphones and music sources. We’ll need 2 of those, one for the ceremony and one for the reception space. I know you are probably thinking, why don’t we just move it? You can do that, but now you are likely to have a cocktail hour without music until someone can move everything for you. Cost: $50 (Total: $554.99)
Ok! Now the equipment is covered! A total of $554.99 seems reasonable! On to the next part!
Who will you be designated to pick up and drop off the equipment you rented? It will need to be someone willing to put down a credit card for the deposit, and it’s probably not something you want to be doing on your wedding day. Sure… I guess you could pick it up the day before; that way, you can practice setting it up and making sure you know how it works. Our equipment total is going to double now; that rate was for a 24-hour rental only. Total: $1109.98
Who has a van or SUV? You’re going to need it. A couple of hand trucks or dollies might be a good idea too.
So, who is going to set it up and operate it? Do they know how it all works and how to put it together? Is this someone that will be reliable and willing to handle this significant responsibility? Are they going to be ok with not socializing much, not drinking until the end of the night?
Are you planning on having a wedding brunch the next day? Don’t plan on whoever is returning the equipment to attend, as they will need to well… return the equipment to avoid getting charged late fees.
You could always have the rental company drop it off and set up and breakdown the equipment. So now we’ve cut our rental fee back to $554.99. However, this isn’t a free service. Cost: $400 (Total: $954.99)
The equipment is here, set up and ready to go. Your cousin Brent sings in an industrial death metal band and offers to help with the sound and music.
Questions to ask Brent:
Does he know how to prevent feedback?
Will he be able to start and stop songs in the right place for entrances and special dances?
Will he be able to MC the wedding?
Ok… will he be able to MC the wedding without using the industrial death metal screams and growls?
You’ve made your playlist, but will Brent stick to it, or will he decide that this is the perfect opportunity to play his band’s new song?
Will he be able to adjust the music to keep your guests happy and on the dance floor?
Is he going to keep the music going seamlessly, i.e., mixed, or will there be gaps between songs?
Maybe you don’t have a Brent.
Your rental company will be happy to provide you with a technician. Cost: $500 (Total: 1454.99)
Who will fulfill at least the roles of playing the music and making announcements? Do they have public speaking experience? Do they know how to command the attention of the room?
DIY DJ Costs
Reception Speakers: $320
Ceremony Speaker: $55
Setup Staff: $400
On-Site Technician: $500
Total DIY Cost: $1454.99
Average Boston Wedding DJ Price: $1500
Now, granted, this is the cost to do it right. There are always corners that can be cut. In fact, Brent offered to let you borrow the PA system from his band’s practice space. It came with the practice space, and three other bands use it, but he says it has ‘good bones,’ whatever that means. I’d be a little scared… you know, death metal band and all. Also, one of the other band’s singers likes to smash the one and the only microphone against his head… so it’s a little beat-up looking, but it works… well when you duct tape the cable to it…
The Cost of Knowledge
As you can see, if you want to do it right, it will not be as cheap as you think it may be. The cost that is missing here is the cost of knowledge and experience. That is what you get when you hire a professional wedding DJ for your wedding. You can get ‘average’ for about the same cost… why not go at minimum average? I’m guessing, though, that you’d like more than average if you will make the investment. I am a DJ, and even I didn’t DJ my own wedding, one of my trusted assistants was my wedding DJ and did a fantastic job.
Many people are surprised when I tell them I got to DJ conferences. They are amazed to learn that there are even conventions for DJs. In a typical year, I spend approximately $4000-$5000 on attending these events. I believe that it is vital to learn and grow as a professional to advance my business and deliver the best service possible to my clients.
So… You probably shouldn’t DJ your own wedding.
Honestly, suppose you read this post and were actually serious about doing your wedding music yourself. In that case, you probably don’t need a wedding DJ. I wish you luck; you’ll need it.
If you were just curious and made it this far, thank you. I hope you have a better understanding of what goes into being a wedding DJ and what we do. Oh, and we didn’t even touch on lighting! We’ll save that for another time!
We’d love to help make your wedding vision come to life. We don’t believe in being your average wedding DJ; we want to be better than that and want that for you. You deserve it.