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Budget Weddings

Hire DJ vs. having friend DJ?

Okay, so we are torn between recruiting a friend to DJ or hiring a DJ. We are on a tight budget and our venue would charge an additional $200 to have a professional DJ there. We are on a tight budget and would rather avoid that absurd fee if possible. 

That said, we also don't want this friend to feel left out at the wedding. We would of course ask and make sure he is comfortable with it (but he is a very jovial, outgoing guy and might enjoy the role), but we're still not sure. We would offer compensation and give a gift as well. And we already have music picked out, so there wouldn't be additional responsibility beyond announcing dances and keeping the music going according to plan. 

Has anyone had a friend DJ? Did it go okay or would you advise against it?

We're just worried because we don't think we can afford a $200 fee on top of what the DJ charges. 

Thanks for any input you can provide!

Re: Hire DJ vs. having friend DJ?

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Okay, so we are torn between recruiting a friend to DJ or hiring a DJ. We are on a tight budget and our venue would charge an additional $200 to have a professional DJ there. We are on a tight budget and would rather avoid that absurd fee if possible. 

    That said, we also don't want this friend to feel left out at the wedding. We would of course ask and make sure he is comfortable with it (but he is a very jovial, outgoing guy and might enjoy the role), but we're still not sure. We would offer compensation and give a gift as well. And we already have music picked out, so there wouldn't be additional responsibility beyond announcing dances and keeping the music going according to plan. 

    Has anyone had a friend DJ? Did it go okay or would you advise against it?

    We're just worried because we don't think we can afford a $200 fee on top of what the DJ charges. 

    Thanks for any input you can provide!
    Welcome to The Knot.  When you create identical posts, it is helpful to put XP (cross posted) in your title to alert readers not to respond to all your posts.

    A $200 fee for a DJ is NOT absurd.  You are asking someone to work for several hours and a DJ typically ensures your reception runs smoothly.  Your reception is the biggest expense of your wedding, and for many, the highlight of the day, so I would think you would want it to go well.

    Asking a friend to work your wedding is not typically recommended.  He cannot enjoy himself as a guest if he has responsibilities that prevent him from even enjoying his dinner, assuming he is MCing while others are enjoying themselves.  By the time you offer him compensation and gift him, you might as well hire the professional, and allow your friend to be a proper guest.  He may not want the job but feel obliged to accept your proposal because he is hard pressed to be honest with you.  

    Find a way to either save up the $200 or cut expenses elsewhere.  Guests should not be expected to work at a wedding.
    InLoveInQueensOurWildKingdom
  • I want to know what your hall's justification for the extra $200 fee is if you bring a DJ to your event...  Absurd is right unless it's a historical venue..  AND, chances are they'll charge you the fee even if it's your friend doing the DJ service instead of a professional.  I'd suspect you're going to get charged this fee regardless of who does it.  Remember, there is a cost to DJing in regard to music and such.  

    IMO, I'd do some shopping around for DJ's, hire the pro in instead of asking the friend to do it.  DJing is more science than people realize because you can have a play list, but what your crowd responds to can change on a moment's whim and a pro is going to be ready and anticipate it.  
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    OurWildKingdom
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    MesmrEwe said:
    I want to know what your hall's justification for the extra $200 fee is if you bring a DJ to your event...  Absurd is right unless it's a historical venue..  AND, chances are they'll charge you the fee even if it's your friend doing the DJ service instead of a professional.  I'd suspect you're going to get charged this fee regardless of who does it.  Remember, there is a cost to DJing in regard to music and such.  

    IMO, I'd do some shopping around for DJ's, hire the pro in instead of asking the friend to do it.  DJing is more science than people realize because you can have a play list, but what your crowd responds to can change on a moment's whim and a pro is going to be ready and anticipate it.  
    Oops.  I misread OP's post.  I thought the $200 was the fee the DJ was charging for services.  I agree that for the venue to add that charge is absurd.  Your point is well taken that regardless of who acts as DJ, the venue might vary well levy that charge regardless.

    OP, the rest of my advice remains.  Do not ask a friend to work your wedding!

    OurWildKingdomInLoveInQueensMairePoppy
  • I've never heard of a venue having a fee for just having a DJ, and I agree with @MesmrEwe that you might get charged that $200 no matter who you have DJing your wedding. 

    I'm not a fan of having friends work weddings like this. Let them just enjoy the day as a friend and not as a vendor. If your budget is tight, what about creating a playlist on Spotify or something like that to play during your reception? You wouldn't have the banter, etc. that a DJ provides, but it would allow you to have music at your wedding without worrying how to pay for it. Just a thought.
    image
    OurWildKingdom
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    I've also never heard of a venue charging $200 for a DJ. What's their reasoning? 

    If you can swing it, I'd skip having a friend have to work your wedding, even if you are compensating him. Let him enjoy being a guest. 

  • In my area many venues charge fees if you’re using someone that isn’t on an approved list, or if they can’t confirm the vendors insurance/liability coverage (or if it isn’t above a certain threshold) so I’d say it’s not completely unheard of. 
    eileenrob
  • In my area many venues charge fees if you’re using someone that isn’t on an approved list, or if they can’t confirm the vendors insurance/liability coverage (or if it isn’t above a certain threshold) so I’d say it’s not completely unheard of. 
    This.  Due to liability, venues charge fees (for more than $200) if you don't use a vendor off of their preferred vendor list.  My venue did this.  But they had like 20-30 preferred vendors in each category, so it was fine. 
    I doubt your venue would waive their fee just bc you were using a friend and not a professional DJ, unless using the friend means bringing an iPod attaching to Bose speakers or something, and it's all the large, heavy equipment a DJ brings in the venue takes issue with (are you getting married in a historical garden, or something along those lines?).  Either way, I agree with PP to let friends and family enjoy the wedding as guests. 
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    I would never consider asking a friend to DJ the wedding, even if you're paying. Being the DJ means being stuck in the DJ booth/behind the speakers for basically the entire reception. It means this friend would barely get to eat, would never get to dance, and wouldn't get to socialize. Even if you're paying him, this is not something to be pushed on a friend. "Hi friend, I know I invited you to this party, but really, I just want you to be an employee. I'm hoping to pay you less than the market rate since I sent you an invitation to this already. But don't worry, I don't want you to enjoy being part of the party with the real guests."

    If you didn't budget for a DJ, don't have a DJ. Get an ipod/phone, set up a playlist, and connect to some speakers. 
    MairePoppyInLoveInQueens
  • I agree with @MyNameIsNot. If a DJ isn't in your budget, do not have one, but don't ask a friend to do this job for you.
    MesmrEwe
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