As a wedding vendor, I often run into the perception that the size (guest count) of a wedding should matter, or make a difference, in the base rate a DJ would charge for a wedding.
While it’s definitely the case that pricing can and should reasonably go up with significantly larger crowd sizes, the fact of the matter is that size on the lower end of the scale really doesn’t matter, and isn’t really a factor in pricing at all.
To understand why, we need to look at different types of vendors and services that are usually used for weddings, we need to understand what makes them fundamentally different.
There are things that go into your wedding whose final price does depends almost entirely on how many guests you have, and hence “how much stuff” you need to rent or purchase.
Obvious examples of this are the total cost for meal service, costs for flowers, chair cover and linen rentals, etc. All of these are things that are based on a quantity of hard goods rented or purchased, or are consumable/disposable items that cost to produce, and that are gone once they are delivered or provided. These types of items that vary based on the “size” of your wedding are not at all analogous to DJ services, because we aren’t renting you “things,” and you aren’t purchasing single-serving-sized portion-packs of good times and fun.
What ARE we providing then, and what ARE you getting? Most accurately and succinctly, you’re hiring a talent-based creative and consultative service that culminates in a talent-based (hopefully, right?!) performance. Someone who consults with you to design and create a wedding day timeline and a flow that has several specific goals (“FUN” being among them) in mind. The time, talents, and experience required to do this, as well as executing the plan the day-of, do not vary based on the number of people who will be there having said fun.
Let’s look at it this way… Would your hairstylist or makeup artist charge differently if there are going to be 50 people looking at their work on your wedding day, versus 500? Chances are they won’t. And they shouldn’t! Why? Because you want to look just as fabulous for a small crowd of 40 friends and family as you would for a larger crowd of 200!
It’s all about the results, and we should be thinking of our DJ along these same lines.
As always, take the time to compare apples-to-apples in considering your services. Sure, some services will likely offer discounts or lower pricing for smaller-sized weddings, but these providers aren’t focused on giving you the time and attention your wedding day deserves, and are instead offering a bare-bones minimum of in just about every aspect of their service (“just music and some announcements”). Anyone offering more, and bringing more to the table to ensure the overall success of your wedding day for you and your guests, is going to have a minimum service rate that doesn’t drop once your guest count dips below a certain number.
Do you really want to sacrifice quality of service and the experience you want all your guests to have simply because there are fewer of them? That’s not a choice or reasonable compromise at all, really, but that’s what you’re going to end up with if you hire a service that drastically lowers their rate because you have “a smaller crowd.”
Of course, there are different sound and lighting options, etc. that will change based on guest count, how big your room or space is, what you would like for your event, etc., but we’re not talking about those types of “extras” here. Those things, understandably, make rates go up.
We’re talking about “FUN,” and until they find a way to vacuum seal that in handy, individual plastic pouches that we can hand out as favors at your wedding, we shouldn’t expect our professional DJ to charge any differently for 50 people than they do for 150. Because regardless of how many people you’re sharing your day with, every one of them should have the same great, uncompromising experience!