How Much Do Wedding Music Vendors Charge
Wedding music can be as grand as you’d like, or as simple and inexpensive as you’d like. There are plenty of options in every category. You can have a 40 piece symphony orchestra, a 100 person choir, or even a simple single guitarist or an iPod plugged into the venue’s sound system playing your favorite music. These options range from free to easily in the $10,000 and $20,000 range. With all of the options available, sometimes it's difficult to choose which one is the best option.
However, the best place for you to be is educated and knowledgeable about all of the music options for brides and grooms today, and what they cost. We've already discussed all of the products and services offered by each of these vendors. Now it's time to look at the costs of music packages, along with all of the individual products and services available.
A DJ (Deejay)
When it comes to typical prices and fee schedules, like I mentioned above, most DJs in this industry stay within certain boundaries. You will see fee schedules and prices that surprise you, some that are incredibly low, and some that are incredibly high, but most stay right in the middle. Just like any other industry, there are different levels of pricing to match the different needs of brides searching for a wedding DJ. For instance:
- Low-priced DJs commonly start their pricing at around $100 per hour and will stretch up to about $500 total for their packages. These DJs typically do not offer a great deal of services, and are usually new to the profession or amateurs, and/or are doing it as a hobby. They usually have minimal experience and adequate gear which should include at least two speakers, and a few basic lights or a mirror ball, and a few blinking lights. Their music library may be illegal and will certainly not be very extensive. They may play a few requests, but will need to search the internet (sometimes right there on the spot) and download it to their computer first.
- Mid-priced DJs start their fee schedules at around $500 and stretch to around $800 for their highest package. That price range is typical of a Professional DJ/MC with a standard DJ system. Lighting, and any other type of equipment is usually an added option on top of that. They are normally of good value, have several years of experience, several good quality lights and the ability to read the crowd, and play the right music at the right time. This DJ will likely have good MC skills and not over use the microphone. Most DJs in this bracket are very talented, but are also very sympathetic to the high cost of weddings and want to provide couples a good deal. Most DJs are going to fall into this category and that of the next one.
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- Higher-priced DJs tend to start their packages at around $800 and go all the way through $1,500 or so for good value packages. These photographers are just as talented as those in the previous group, but charge more, either because they believe that their services truly are worth more (and they may be), or they realize that brides will pay more. This DJ will have a superior sound system, several nice "nightclub" quality lights and colors and patterns, and the music should have everyone out dancing and keep everyone excited. DJs in either this category or the one previous are high suggested.
- High-priced DJs easily charge $1,500 to $2,500 and more for their services. They might say that they offer more services to brides and are more qualified, but the truth is that they don’t and they aren’t. They may lure customers in with fog machines, fancy lighting, snow machines, projectors, etc. But in fact, these DJs are usually lower in quality that lower priced ones. Truly quality professionals raise value to bring in more business, not price. No wedding DJ should cost this much.
- Sleazy DJs will charge their couples anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000, and even higher. These DJs are part of the group that realizes they can easily con unsuspecting couples getting married to pay anything they want, as long as they use the right words, catch phrases and sales techniques. They will offer high tech lighting, a high quality sound system with at least four speakers and sub-woofers “for hard hitting bass,” a concert-quality lighting rig with industry standard lifts and trussing, and will be way over the top. These DJs are about as easy to spot as used car salesmen. They are usually very loud (their voices and their clothes), and will be high-pressure, no-nonsense salesmen that will do anything and everything to get your business. However, they are ironically the ones that usually don’t. Because they gained your business unethically, they will usually treat you and your event as such, including telling the wedding couple what to do, claiming to know better than them, and essentially “running” the event. Beware.
Wedding Packages - $1,150 to $10,000
The average cost for a 4-hour performance by a 5-member live band, which is the most typical size, is $2,085. A smaller band of 4 performers averages $1,150, while a bigger band consisting of anywhere from 6 to 10 members, averages $2,200. Costs for live band will also vary based on the date and time of the wedding, as well as the city or location. Larger, metropolitan areas will typically offer more bands and thus, a wider variety of prices.
Special backdrops or stage lighting may be added to the total cost, but are often negotiable. There may also be additional fees for additional hours or additional musicians. Overtime fees are running about $450 to $750.
Wedding Packages - $100 to $15,000
An orchestra is essentially a group of instrumentalists; especially one combining string, woodwind, brass, and percussion sections and playing classical music. To be considered an orchestra, they don’t have to be humongous, simply a group of instrumentalists. The majority of orchestras on the market, advertising themselves to wedding couples, offer their services not only as the entire orchestra of 40 or more individuals, but also as groups of 12, 10 8, and 6. The ever-popular solos, duets, trios, quartets, and quintets can be hired as well.
Not only do the hours needed affect the price they are charging, but so do also the size of the event and the musical group, the number of different locations, and the other services you take advantage of from them. You can also rent lighting, screens and projectors, a PA system, and their DJ service to use during breaks.
A Church Choir
Wedding Packages – Free to about $600
Depending on if the wedding is at a church with a choir (which is more than likely when it will be free), or an engaged couple is simply hiring a choir for their off-site location because they love the sounds, the price still isn’t radically different. The only reason it might sky-rocket past $600 or so is if a couple is determined to ship an entire church choir across city or state lines, and pay for lodging as well. Since the choir members are actually donating their time, the fee is traditionally applied toward music, administration, rehearsal, extra work etc. Choir "fees" are usually considered as a donation to the music ministry of their home church. For the organist of the church alone, you’re looking at about $150 to $350, unless of course travel and lodging must be considered.
A Duet or Trio
Wedding Packages - $500 to $1,500
The price for these types of groups usually starts with an upfront charge for the first hour followed by about $50 to $75 per person per half-hour. They will probably have a separate charge for the wedding ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the wedding reception, along with a charge for travel. Duets typically do not play for entire wedding receptions, but only for the wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. At that point the bride and groom would need to hire a separate music option for the rest of the wedding.
Wedding Packages - $500 to $750 (about $50 to $100 per person per hour)
Keep in mind that although you may be getting wonderful musicians, they may not be practicing as a group. You may be limited on the repertoire choices. You may also need to have them come to your ceremony rehearsal if they don't usually play for weddings. The price for these types of groups usually starts with an upfront charge for the first hour followed by about $50 to $100 per person per half-hour. They will probably have a separate charge for the wedding ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the wedding reception, along with a charge for travel.
A Quartet or Quintet
Wedding Packages - $600 to $1,500
The price for these types of groups usually starts with an upfront charge for the first hour followed by about $100 to $125 per person per half-hour. They will probably have a separate charge for the wedding ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the wedding reception, along with a charge for travel.
Wedding Packages - $200 to $1,500
The price for these types of groups usually starts with an upfront charge for the first hour followed by about $100 to $150 per person per half-hour. They will probably have a separate charge for the wedding ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the wedding reception, along with a charge for travel.
A Single Musician
Wedding Packages - $350 to $900
These musicians usually charge an upfront charge for the first hour followed by about $50 to $100 per person per hour after that. They will probably have a separate charge for the wedding ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the wedding reception, along with a charge for travel. This is going to vary amongst musicians. Single musicians typically do not play for entire wedding receptions, but only for the wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. At that point the bride and groom would need to hire a separate music option for the rest of the wedding.
Choosing the right wedding music vendor can make all the difference for your perfect wedding day. A DJ can keep a wedding upbeat and excited, treating your guests to the feeling of a night club complete with flashing lights, and motivating music.
A band can give the feeling of a concert. Live music always sounds better than recorded, but comes at a higher price. An orchestra in it's full glory will create an event worthy of a formal ball with the feeling of sweeping dresses on the dance floor and chandeliers overhead.
But any wedding music vendor you choose, just make sure to choose music you love, and you'll have the event you've been wishing for.
Which wedding music vendor are you likely choosing for your wedding?
© 2013 Victoria Van Ness