How Much To Tip Wedding DJ

How Much To Tip Wedding DJ

I was wondering how much I should tip a wedding DJ.  I decided to look up the information, and this is what came up in the research.  Keep in mind, different areas and different states, and cities can be slightly different.

So how much to tip a wedding DJ?  When tipping a wedding DJ, a generous offering is always nice.    A standard tip is always more than you would tip a band member or musician.  Anything between $50 and $150 is the range of an average tip for a wedding DJ.  This is what to look for whenever deciding an average tip:

Approximately 8-12% for a DJ you felt was just okay.  12-17% for a good DJ.  17-20% if you feel this is a great DJ.  Tipping the DJ is usually in par with the DJs performance.  Remember, some DJs charge between $50.00 -$125.00 or more per hour.  Tipping is usually based on how well the DJ performed.  Did this DJ get to know us?  How well did the DJ play exactly what we requested?  Would you recommend this DJ?

The DJ may negotiate prices with you.  This would at times depend upon the hours of performance.    Would you like two hours, three or up to four hours of music?  The DJs will also continue playing for the allotted time after the bride and groom have left the reception.  The longer a DJ plays, the less they may charge.  Keep in mind, some have set prices and are non-negotiable.  Performing as a DJ or an MC is the same as any other business or profession.

A DJ may have a tip jar set up and guests may request certain music; although not necessary, this shows the crowds’ appreciation for the DJ.  Guests may tip more to have a DJ play longer at a reception.  Maybe you have a partying family, or maybe, they have had to drive miles.  With all the stress alleviated, later in the evening, children sent upstairs with babysitters or care-givers, the real fun begins!  Especially if the event is held in a hotel where the guest may have a great time and return to their rooms safely. 

A tip is considered a gratuity.  As explained in Merriam-Webster, “something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service”.  In other words, a Gratuity is voluntary, as is a tip.  They are the same.  Such as going to a lounge, bar or restaurant.  If we are happy with our service, or our waitress is extremely attentive, we will leave an exact tip or maybe even higher.  “Gratuity is a fancier and more formal word than a tip. It occurs most often in written notices along the lines of “Gratuities accepted”.  Its formality makes it best suited for describing tips of the dignified, expensive variety.  For the taxi driver who takes you to the superb Belgian restaurant, it’s a tip; for the restaurant’s maitre d’, it’s a gratuity.”  For the DJ, it is both.

Performance and Master of Ceremony

The DJ may also be the MC (Master of Ceremony) or host.  He will introduce the Bride and Groom, make brief agreed upon speeches and introductions.  The DJ will announce the night’s events and performances.  He or she will guide the night’s events through announcements. 

DJs make great hosts as they are talented, skilled and sociable.  DJs who DJ for the fun of it, love and enjoy the crowds.  They are usually great at following directions and plans.  At times, they have another (DJ or MC) to fill in for their breaks and to make sure the music continues to play smoothly. 

Should something take place or a planned event is changed or not on schedule, your DJ will transition smoothly into the next segment. 

Courteous and Professional

Courtesy and Professionalism is a must for any DJ.  The crowd expects the DJ to be both polite and courteous.  To be professional.  No one wants a DJ that uses profanity or makes crude jokes at a wedding ceremony!  Be kind to every crowd member.

There are children and persons of all ages and respect are demanded.  This is after-all an important day for the bride and groom and for the entire crowd; which consists of both family and friends.  A DJ will want to help you make the most memorable day of your lives, for you and your family at this wedding.

Dressing professionally is also a must.  No one wants to see a DJ in jogging pants and a sweatshirt.  Dress appropriately.  While meeting with your DJ you can discuss the dress attire, it is quite appropriate.

DJs have a responsibility to please the crowd, playing music, appropriate music, at appropriate times and to keep the crowd on their toes.  Most are happy to accommodate. 

They know to not interrupt a speaker and can lead to the conversation or lead out of it.  This is respect for the person speaking. 

Taking Request and Playing What the Crowd Wants to Hear

During a wedding ceremony, the list of music is often planned with the family or couple beforehand.  It is quite common for the request lines to be open at a wedding ceremony.  Meaning the crowd may also request music during the show.  The DJ must play to the crowd and for the crowd, as in, any other event.  Play what the crowd wants to hear and specifically what the bride and groom have requested.

Although this is a wedding, not a festival, lounge act or nightclub show, the same rules apply.  The crowd is your customers/clients.  Aim to please.  Ensure everyone can enjoy the type of music they can relate to and can have fun with.

A while back I attended a wedding where a DJ was playing.  To my surprise, the DJ announced for the children to “Take the Floor”… He began playing a song called the “Hokey Pokey”.

Needless to say, my appreciation for the DJ soared.  Not all of us are familiar with this song, however, it is an upbeat song and gives instructions; such as “put your right foot in and shake it all about, put your right foot out and shake it all about”.  Sort of like a “Simon Says” game.  The song requires participation from the crowd, young and old(er). 

The children were playing along and dancing, (as young as 2-3 years old) but, the parents also joined in!  The DJ made the event a true “family affair”.  The DJ played other songs for the children.  

Even though you may not know the words to the hokey pokey song, listening and following the steps is something, which children of almost any age can follow.  It allowed the children to be part of the ceremony.  Part of the party and family fun. 

Let’s face it, as a child, young or teen, weddings can be boring.  They have to be quiet, be good, sit still and behave.  The DJ allows the children to participate in the wedding ceremony by playing fun songs and even fun games on this special day.  This also allows the parents or grown-ups to take a break.  Besides, it can be amusing watching the children having a great time.  And possibly tiring them out…(whew, what parent couldn’t use this at the end of a special wedding day); children are a part of the crowd, the crowd is what you are playing music for.  Right?  Young or old, as a DJ, you want the entire crowd to be happy and have fun. 

Play to the crowd, which includes children of all ages.  The children and adults were excited about participating in the music. 

I must admit, I was the grandparent of some of these children, and once the DJ played games and music the children could participate and dance to, I was more than happy to leave the reception bringing these tired children (and myself) back to the hotel. 

What awesome planning for the wedding party and the DJs part.  Now! The younger adults could have fun and the DJ could ramp up!

When do I tip the wedding DJ? 

Tipping the DJ during the performance or after the performance is okay.  Tips are an appreciation of how well the DJ is doing or has done.  Like any business, you are tipping for the service being provided.  Sometimes the tip or gratuity fee is agreed upon before the DJ begins.

Personally, I do not agree with tipping before the event.  You are tipping a DJ you may have never heard of and aren’t so sure they will do everything requested or planned.  If they are professional, they will; in reality; not all DJs are honest.  What happens if the DJ overbooks and cannot make the event as planned?  Although rare, this does happen. 

You may get your money back (per contract), always sign that contract, however, tips are extra.  Not all-inclusive. 

Tipping the DJ is showing appreciation or rewarding them for doing their jobs and performing this well.  Tips are a motivation for the DJ too.  They know they did a great job! 

Why should I tip the wedding DJ? 

Of course, this is your decision or choice to tip the wedding DJ.  It is not an obligation.  DJs should receive tips on common courtesy, not only for how well their performance was but, other factors come into play.  How awesome was this DJ?  

A DJ does not simply show up at a wedding event and begin performing.  They will meet with the couple, plan the music, and come up with a suitable or preferable list.  Taking into mind, that for the best part of your wedding day, they will be performing, leading into speeches, and introducing attendees, and music the crowd will love! 

A DJ will show up at least one hour before the performance and be one of the last persons to leave. 

The DJ is required to stay up to date on new and improved technology.  They must also pay taxes and pay for the required licenses. 

Their equipment is bulky and intricate.  Their equipment is usually loaded from one destination and moved to another.  This requires heavy lifting and sometimes hiring help to move or load the equipment.

Often, DJs live in one local place and may play out of a certain venue.  The equipment may remain there.  

However, weddings are often out of town and sometimes booked out of state.  This includes travel time to and from one location to another.  This means the equipment will need to be loaded from this place to that one.

Once the wedding celebration is over, the DJ must load their equipment back up and return to the original location of their home or local business.

It is common for an event to go into over-time, so-to-speak; in which case; a hotel will also need to be booked.  Time away from home and family.

DJs love and are happy to do their jobs.  They love performing and seeing to it that the crowd has a great time.  A memorable and fun time. 

They continue to research the most recent technology, purchase new equipment, and spend days and free nights lining up the music list the wedding party has requested.  (Usually while continuing to play at their regular venues.)

They will remain in contact with the wedding party, be prepared to adjust at a moment’s notice, and stay up with the most current music for your wedding date.  The DJ will ask for a list of your favorite music, in the order that you would prefer, they don’t assume music or play the music they may like to hear at their wedding.  It is about the bride and groom, and they will be able to perform these events with your wishes.  They will ask about the older generation’s music, the middle crowd, the young crowd, your family and friends.  They will bring not only the intimate moments, play the perfect song, or give gratitude where gratitude belongs, they will make it fun for the entire wedding crowd. 

The DJ will visit to review the area of play, how to set up, what is needed, where to place lighting and when; exactly which type of equipment is needed for this particular setup.

If the wedding party has extra plans for a special dance or what has now become common, prepare music and dances for surprise extras, rather the groom request it or the bride, the DJ will play the music and even prepare and practice with you. 

So if you ever have to question yourself as to “Why Should I Tip the DJ”, keep in mind: They will do anything, everything possible, whatever is necessary to contribute to making your wedding day a special day.  And are happy to do it. 

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