“My Wedding Budget Is Spent, and I Still Haven’t Hired a DJ. What Can I Do?”

If you’re less than six months from your wedding day, and you still haven’t hired your DJ, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ve been forced to make a painful decision.

Booking a venue and buying meals, wardrobe, flowers and favors typically costs at least 30% more than a couple expected. If hiring the evening’s entertainment was relegated to your “other expenses” column, and there’s no money left to hire a professional DJ for a great party, here are some ideas to consider.

Shorten your reception and serve drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a sit-down dinner. If you haven’t already committed to a full plated meal for your guests, and your venue contract allows for changes, this strategy will open up some room in your budget for a truly fun evening.

A 2- or 3-star DJ won’t be as good as a 5-star DJ. So don’t expect too much of him. Consider asking a family friend to handle wedding party introductions and be your MC. Trust your knowledge of dance music and give your DJ the full list of dance songs you want played. Perhaps put a note in your wedding invitations asking each guest to RSVP to this question: “What song would you dance to, even if no one else danced?” You won’t have a packed dance floor, but at least your guests will be able to hear songs they like.

Get it in writing. When people hire a huge DJ company with DJs at all levels of talent, they often learn too late that the DJ they expected got reassigned to a more expensive wedding, and they ended up with a total stranger. Demand a clause in your contract that specifies a full refund of your DJ deposit and/or fee if you don’t get the DJ you were promised. Make sure his name is on that agreement.

Expect some extra stress. When a couple’s top priority in a DJ is the smallest possible fee, they often find that the DJ takes days or weeks to respond to their emails and phone messages. Understand that amateur DJs simply don’t play by the same rules as professionals. Yes, it’ll be stressful for you to have to wait for answers. But it comes with the territory.

Be very specific with all your DJ instructions. An amateur is not trained to handle unexpected developments at a party. So the more information you can give him in advance, the less likelihood he’ll panic and make a party-killing mistake.

Every couple would love a great party that makes them heroes to all their friends. And after spending $20,000, $30,000 or more on their reception, it would be a shame to let a few hundred dollars stand in the way of that wonderful experience. A DJ with lots and lots of great reviews is a sure bet. A DJ with none is just a gamble. Here’s wishing you a reception filled with happy memories.

To learn more about Fourth Estate Audio’s 5-star service, call me at 630.654.4440. I’m here to help.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2022 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.

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