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Wedding DJ Booking Guide – 2020 Prices, Hiring Advice and FAQs

Wedding DJ Knight

So, your wedding’s coming up and you need to book a musician who can keep your guests dancing throughout the night? Enter the wedding DJ: this humble character standing behind the decks can be the difference between your guests sitting around, or pulling unforgettable shapes on the dance-floor.

At Encore, we’ve helped thousands of wedding couples choose the perfect musicians for their weddings. So, we’ve put together this guide to cover everything you could possibly want to know about booking a DJ for your event. We’ll be covering which situations DJs work best in, how much they typically cost, how to choose a top wedding setlist, and much more!

If you’ve already decided to hire a wedding DJ and you’re looking for available options, you can either:

  1. The Basics
  2. Equipment & Setup
  3. Repertoire
  4. Booking

The Basics

What are the different types of wedding DJs?

When people think of DJs, they often imagine they’re all the same. But there are as many types of DJ as there are musical genres—DJs will typically know quite a lot of music, but there there are also DJs who specialise in certain genres/styles. And yes: if you have a favourite then there will be a perfect DJ for you out there!.

Mainstream wedding DJs: these are DJs who specialise in providing a wide range of music to suit the tastes of all your guests. That usually means a mix of classic pop and rock hits, as well as the usual crowd pleasers and singalong songs.

DJ live: DJ live acts incorporate one or two live musicians into their sets—usually a sax player or drummer. They’re perfect if you’re looking for something with a bit more live excitement and audience interaction. If you’re on the search for the perfect DJ Live act, we work with some fantastic groups on Encore: take a look at some of these great DJ live acts, and tell us they aren’t superb!

Disco and Funk DJs: disco specialist DJs will focus in on the best hits of the 80s; wedding discos are truly their bread and butter. So, grab your flairs and jump aboard the soul train!

Vintage DJs: if you’re not so keen on listening to chart hits on your wedding night, why not consider a vintage DJ? These DJs will mix in the best 20s jazz hits to keep both old and young swinging the night away.

World DJs: looking for some Afrobeat or Latin grooves? Booking a world DJ is the way to go.

DJ Live acts combine live instruments with their wizardry on the decks to create an unforgettable performance—DJ Alice shows us how it’s done

Would a DJ suit my wedding?

Live music is one of the highlights of any wedding celebration. Particularly now that music is so easily available via streaming platforms, booking a live experience is a sure way to make your wedding a memorable occasion, whether that’s for a wedding breakfast as classy background music, or for the wedding party later on, where it’ll be to get the dance-floor moving. But what form should that music take? Live band or DJ?

We’d always recommend that if you have the budget you opt for a band. While the best DJs will often include some of their own artistry in the set, nothing creates a party atmosphere like having live musicians. This why we pride ourselves on having some of the best wedding bands in the UK signed up to Encore and ready to book.

However, couples tend to book DJs in these situations:

DJ as a cheaper alternative to a band: a wedding band can cost anywhere between £800-£2000, whereas DJs typically charge between £200-£500. So, if you’re looking to save on expenses, a wedding DJ hire could be a great option for you.

DJ as an addition to the band: if you’ve already booked live music, you can keep the dance floor pumping by having a DJ take the musical baton once your band has finished. Some bands will offer to provide this service themselves as well.

We’ll talk more fully about pricing below.

A Wedding DJ's view of the dance-floor

Equipment & Setup

One of the great things about opting for a DJ, or even a DJ and instrumental combination, is that the technical requirements are far simpler than those of a band. Many DJs will bring their complete set up with them, leaving little for you to worry about.

How much space does a wedding DJ need?

A wedding DJ with their equipment will usually take up no more than 2m x 3m. If you’re booking a DJ Live act, add another metre for every additional musician booked.

What equipment do I need to provide?

Wedding DJs will usually have their own decks, high quality PA sound system, microphones, and many have disco lighting. The quality of their gear makes a big difference to the quality of the sound and experience they create—more expensive DJs are often the ones who have better equipment, with this investment in quality and experience reflected in their cost.

Always check with the DJ whether they need an extra equipment for their performance, as often your wedding venue may be able to provide additional lights or PA speakers to enhance the experience.

It’s important to check your venue’s license details; they may have a cut-off time at which music will have to stop. In addition, it’s a good idea to ask the venue if they require the DJ to provide proof of Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) for any electrical equipment brought on site. An up-to-date PAT certificate proves that equipment has been checked for safety within the last year.

Do I need to provide food for a wedding DJ?

Musicians will appreciate bottled water and tea/coffee/biscuits upon arrival. Meals are always welcome, though generally not required unless your event is at dinner-time.

Can a wedding DJ band perform outside?

Yes, as long as the weather is warm enough and adequate shelter (a gazebo or marquee that completely covers the performers) plus a power source is provided. Be sure to tell the DJ if they are expected to play outside, as it will affect their preparations!

What dress code can I expect?

Wedding DJs will usually dress to suit the style of the event—if they are vintage DJs they might come in a 30s-style suit or dress, but a mainstream wedding DJ will usually dress the same way as your guests. If you have a particular dress code, it’s always worth checking your DJ can stick to this.

How long will the DJ perform for?

Usually, DJ sets last 2-3 hours. However, DJs can often perform sets of anywhere up to 3-4 hours, and even longer if they are given the proper notice.

Do I need to provide parking?

Yes, a DJ will generally have a lot of kit to transport, unless they specify otherwise. If there is no parking near the door, they will need to be able to unload and then move the car.

How long do setup and sound-check take?

Roughly 45 minutes to an hour. This will give them time to load in their gear, get warmed up, and sound-check within the wedding venue.

DJ Mark Green


Can wedding DJs take song requests?

Yes! Unlike live musicians who need to learn music before performing it, your DJ can play just about any song you ask them for.

However, we recommend that you send your DJ a list of the tracks you’d like them to include in their set before the wedding as some might not be able to find more esoteric requests on the night. You could even ask your guests to recommend a song when you send them their invitation and get them to help with the wedding music playlist!

What are songs normally played by wedding DJs?

  • Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
  • Happy – Pharrell Williams
  • 24K Magic – Bruno Mars
  • I Want You Back – The Jackson 5
  • I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas
  • Dynamite – Taio Cruz
  • Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  • Get Lucky – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams
  • Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams
  • Wanna Be Startin’ Something – Michael Jackson
  • Can’t Stop the Feeling! – Justin Timberlake
  • Hey Ya! – Outkast
  • The Way You Look Tonight – Michael Bublé
  • Twist & Shout – The Beatles
  • September – Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder

DJ Live act, Freddy de Lord, shows just how electric the atmosphere created by a DJ and live instruments

Booking a wedding DJ

How far in advance should I book?

We recommend booking ahead as soon as possible. On busy dates around Christmas and weekends during the summer wedding season, DJs tend to get booked up months (or even years!) in advance.

How much does it cost to book a wedding DJ?

The price of your DJ will depend on a number of factors. DJs with more experience and expensive equipment will tend to charge more, and bookings during peak wedding season may also be slightly more expensive.

These prices are based on thousands of quotes that DJs have provided to customers through the Encore platform; they are intended to give you an idea of starting prices, rather than a precise costing.

Do I have to pay for travel expenses?

Most DJs will include travel expenses in their quote as transporting their equipment requires them to drive to the venues themselves. This is usually charged at a rate of around 45p per mile. Booking a local DJ is a great way to reduce travel expenses.

How do I handle contracts and payment?

The easiest way to handle contracts and payment is to book through Encore. Our bookings process is very straightforward, and once you have confirmed a booking with your chosen DJ, contracts and payments will be handled painlessly and effortlessly by our secure payments system.

It saves you precious wedding planning time and effort, as you won’t waste hours contacting DJs who can’t make your date or travel to your venue. And you can breathe easy in the knowledge that every DJ on our books is professional, reliable, and talented.

Questions to ask a wedding DJ before you book them:

  • Do you have Public Liability Insurance (PLI)? Most venues will not allow a DJ to play without valid proof of PLI, so make sure your DJ sends you a copy of their certificate before you pay a deposit.
  • Is your electrical equipment PAT tested? They’ll need to be able to provide proof of this if the venue asks for it.
  • Do you play lots of weddings? Luckily, by using Encore Musicians you’re already a step ahead of most people when they book the music for their wedding, because we do lots of the work for you. It’s always a good idea, however, to make sure that your DJ knows how weddings work and how to work the crowd. Building an incredible atmosphere at a wedding is a very different thing from playing a club night, or a corporate event. They’ll need to be confident in playing for a mixed crowd of people of different ages and potentially different social backgrounds, too.
  • What music do you have? Can you play our favourite songs? And crucially, can you play the song we want for our first dance? Most DJs these days will have a near limitless range of tracks, thanks to the freedom that comes with digitalised music. But ask them, all the same.
  • How long will you play for, and how many breaks will you take? Check that they’ll set up music to continue playing during those breaks.

Questions to ask your DJ after booking:

Congratulations on finding your DJ! Now all you need to do is put the final arrangements in place. And, of course, chat about the styles of music they’ll play on the day plus give them the lowdown on the songs you’re most excited to hear.

Ask them:

  • What time will you arrive? Early is good. Make sure they won’t be setting up their gear while your guests are milling around nearby with champagne in hand.
  • Can you visit the venue, or talk to them on the phone, to get an idea of the space you’ll be playing in and the equipment you’ll need? Your DJ should be happy to get in touch with your venue to scope out how best to set-up their equipment for your wedding.
  • Can you dress according to our wedding style? This won’t be a problem for most DJs, as long as your expectations aren’t outlandish (and even then, they might be happy to play along)!

If this guide has piqued your interest in hiring a wedding DJ, you have two options to get you great results quickly:

Cover image courtesy of DJ Knight

Harry Burgess

Our Bookings Specialist, Harry, composes strange sounds and has a well-developed instrument acquisition syndrome.

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