I have often said that I commend anyone who takes on the task of planning a wedding. It’s not easy but as anyone will tell you, it is well worth it on the day. One difficult part of the day is trying to figure out your budget. I often get asked the question of wedding DJ cost. A common email I often receive from couples goes something like:
Hi, Just wondering how much you charge to play at a wedding?
What is cost for a Wedding DJ for my wedding?
What is the average cost for a wedding DJ in Ireland?
To try and answer these questions I have broken the cost down into 4 areas that for me, dictate the price of a wedding DJ in Ireland. These are – Quality, Demand, Equipment/Business Cost and Travel/Other Factors.
So, How Much Does A Wedding DJ Cost in Ireland?
To give a very quick idea of the cost, according to the WeddingsOnline annual wedding survey (click the link for the full survey) the average cost of a wedding DJ in Ireland is €434. This slightly up from the 2017 survey which said couples spend on average €418. This rise is more than like down to the fact a lot of couples are not opting for a full night DJ option rather than a band. Some may be reading this and think “Wow, that’s more than I was expecting to pay” and more would be quiet happy to pay this kind of fee for top quality entertainment. I know everyone wants to have the best possible entertainment at their wedding. They want to remember the full dance floor from their night, the smiles on guests faces and mad dance moves in the late hours. You want the best possible entertainment while also sticking within a reasonable budget. It is really important to to get the best possible entertainment for your budget.
With varying factors (mentioned above) lets dig in and see why you may get so different quotes from different DJs.
Like most industries, the cost of a wedding DJ generally relates back to the overall quality of service they provide. This includes the skill level of the DJ – their ability to read the crowd and adjust the music accordingly to fill the dance floor and ensure everyone has a good night.
There is a varying level of quality and experience in the wedding DJ industry. Many years of experience has thought DJs valuable skills which they can apply to your wedding night. It is often difficult to see the difference in experience. That is understandable. It can be easy for a DJ to say they have 10 years experience and a couple have to take that at face value. This is often when you can be most likely to opt for a less expensive option. For some, it works out really well and it can be a great night.
However, for some couples, they can be very disappointed by the DJs performance on the night. The feared empty dance floor with all the guests sitting down or at the bar. Less experienced DJs often (not always) lack the confidence to interact with the guests. Be able to read the crowd and from experience, play music that will suit the full dance floor. Another common issue I hear about is the lower quality DJs will not have the sufficient equipment to playback music. But more on this later.
For a lot of couples, they see massive value in hiring a professional, experienced wedding DJ to finish off their wedding night. For you and your guests you want a big party to celebrate!
If having a quality DJ part of your day is important to you, then I would say book the best quality DJ you can within your wedding budget. If you are unsure about who to book. If you put a post on a Facebook group and get 100’s of replies back or your friends all mention someone different, then I would suggest asking your band or hotel. These are the people that see DJs on a regular basis. They see who is on time and there on a regularly. It usually is no coincidence that a wedding coordinator will know a DJs name or a band recommend someone. They are the DJs to contact. If you are considering having a DJ for the full evening it really important to check them out and make sure you are getting top quality.
It is quiet common in today’s wedding world to see a band offer a DJ package. There are 2 distinctions to make that can affect the quality of what you get. The first distinction is when you book a DJ through the band and they then hire a professional DJ on your behalf. This is fantastic and you are assured a good quality DJ. It means you are saving time by only dealing with one point of contact while also being assured you have someone who is professional and offers a quality DJ service. The second distinction to make is when you book the DJ through the band and they actually do it themselves. It may surprise you but after a band playing for over 2 hours, a band member will then start the difficult task of playing for 2 more hours. A common trend I see hear from wedding guests is that the band will press play on an iPad or laptop side stage and allow it to play a pre-determined mix. They then go back and continue to pack up their instruments. At this really important time of the night when the party is just starting you have a DJ who is not reading the dance floor, interacting with the guests and taking requests. They are busy putting away their drums. The quality of wedding disco you have is far below the quality you deserve. It can often be near the same cost to have someone separate as your wedding DJ than letting the band take care of it.
A professional wedding DJ will continually read the dance floor, interact with the guests and go the extra mile to ensure you get the best quality night you deserve. To surmise on quality, the best thing to do as a wedding couple is to find a balance between quality of DJ, expectations and the budget you have set.
This is a follow on from quality. A top quality DJ who can come in, rock the dance floor and give you an amazing night will, no doubt, be in high demand. They will tend to book out prime dates 12-18 months in advance and inevitably turn down bookings for these dates many times.
With demand, comes more costs to maintain the level of quality. It often means a DJ in high demand will not be part time and treat this as their full time job. Office and secretarial work can take up a lot of time. This can lead to more time replying to emails, phone calls, follow ups and date checking for upcoming weddings.
There are a lot of wedding DJs out there who are in less demand and will happily work at your wedding for a lower fee. They want to gain experience and build their business. DJs who gained this experience and are in the wedding industry for many years will tend to charge more. As they gain experience it is often seen that their cost will rise accordingly.
A huge cost to professional DJs is the equipment to do the job. Someone with good quality equipment, both sound and light will generally charge more for their wedding entertainment packages and different services.
Ensuring equipment is well maintained and ready for a wedding will be priority for a wedding DJ. They take good care and want to be sure there will be no technical mishaps on the night of a wedding. There is nothing worse than a DJ starting and 5 minutes into their set the music stops. They is a strong link between the cost of a DJ and the equipment they bring to a wedding. Both lighting and sound quality can be a really important factor for the night. A nice sound that isn’t too loud will mean your guests can talk, dance and enjoy the night. Rather than a DJ turning up with inadequate equipment that is being used in its upper limits and distorting the sound to point that it is uncomfortable to listen to.
A professional wedding DJ will also budget for backup equipment and always have additional equipment with them on the night of a wedding. They will have systems in place to minimise any risk of an early finish due to failure.
As mentioned above, an in demand professional DJ will usually do this as their full time job. With that comes many business expenses. Income tax, statutory contributions, vehicle tax are all accounted for in their fee. For some VAT is also a factor.
Insurance is also a big part of a DJ’s cost factor and most professional wedding DJs will carry it. Public liability insurance (PLI) is essential to protect you as a client and of course the DJ. It is great peace of mind for both you and venue to know a DJ carries this. Many wedding venues in Ireland now require this and may want a copy of the indemnity cover ahead of the date. I am happy to say I carry PLI and am happy to provide proof of cover at any stage.
I personally, like many other DJs, continually invest in training to learn more about new ideas, offerings and in turn be able to give my couples a better experience. I am all about re-investing a percentage of income on training and keeping up with trends. Also replacing and updating equipment is necessary to maintain a high level service.
Like anyone, who goes to work, I think you will agree we as DJs have to be paid and earn a fair wage for what we do 🙂
Travel Expenses/ Other costs:
One of the biggest expenses to wedding DJs is the cost of travel to and from a venue. Like many DJs, I travel nationwide from my own base in Limerick. I am lucky to be able to most venues in two hours or less with much of my work concentrated in Munster. There is a direct link between the cost of a DJ and the time/distance they must travel to reach your wedding venue.
Travel time to a venue can mean a DJs working day begins many hours before they are due to start. For a 2 hour travel many will leave 3 hours ahead of time to allow for any traffic problems, delays due to weather and any issues with getting to the venue. Once the night is over they must then turn around and travel back. This can, with the example above, add up to 4 hours of additional time onto their evening.
Other costs to be factored in are tolls, fuel and general ware and tear on the car/van. These are all accounted for in each booking and spread throughout the year.
Often, it may not be possible for a DJ to travel home on the actual night of the wedding. As an example, weddings that happen on Islands like Inis Mór etc mean an overnight stay in a hotel or B&B as ferries don’t travel by night. Or, the distance back would be unsafe to do. Leaving a venue at 3am with a 2 hour drive puts a DJ at risk of driving without due care and staying would be a safer option. This is all taken into account when looking at the cost of a wedding DJ.
Based on the above, the cost of a wedding DJ in Ireland can be broken down into 4 key factors; quality, demand, business expenses and other costs. It is important to look at the value you get from a wedding DJ and book based on striking a good balance between quality and cost. I hope you have found this wedding DJ cost guide helpful and if you are interested in having me at your wedding feel free to fill in the contact form.