Weddings Some DJs Have QUIT Doing Weddings And I Understand Why

To many ads? Support ODJT and see no ads!

Albatross

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Sep 7, 2016
2,788
7,224
I understand the frustrations that he explains. But, as most here probably know about me at this point, I'm far more in the opposite camp. I'd rather reject every easy birthday party, anniversary party, and other low-stress gigs to focus exclusively on long-day, high execution risk, needs to be right weddings.

If DJs don't like doing weddings... more for me!
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
6,917
5,200
39
I understand the frustrations that he explains. But, as most here probably know about me at this point, I'm far more in the opposite camp. I'd rather reject every easy birthday party, anniversary party, and other low-stress gigs to focus exclusively on long-day, high execution risk, needs to be right weddings.

If DJs don't like doing weddings... more for me!

We are still "Young" so to speak. Brian is is in his 50s, and lots of older DJs are at that point. Younger guys who gripe about these issues were never really meant to make it as DJs in the wedding part of the business any way.

Some DJs are truly meant to be out playing in bars until 2 am. Others only truly want to be performing in a night club in the city somewhere.

I have NEVER met a DJ who actually runs a business and only does birthday parties. Honestly, 90% of the inquiries I have received for birthday parties in the last 5 years don't want to spend over $500 anyway on a DJ, and more than half try to find a $300 or less DJ. Birthday gigs are meant as filler gigs for a hard working DJ who does multiple event types, or are truly meant for the part time hobbyist that looks at Deejaying as some extra weekend income.

I actually have a birthday party booked on November 6th. I did one a few weeks ago. So booked 2 out of maybe 15 or so birthday inquiries this year.

Schools...Honestly, can't make it on doing school dances. They are seasonal, and again...not enough money there.

Weddings are all DJs really have for still being able to make a healthy business income, and trying to do this full time imo. If there is ever a point where I can't deal with weddings any more...I know it's time to truly call it quits for me for good because there isn't enough income in anything else available for DJs.
 

Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
7,762
5,100
Honestly, 90% of the inquiries I have received for birthday parties in the last 5 years don't want to spend over $500 anyway on a DJ, and more than half try to find a $300 or less DJ. Birthday gigs are meant as filler gigs for a hard working DJ who does multiple event types, or are truly meant for the part time hobbyist that looks at Deejaying as some extra weekend income.
Emphasis on: "Inquiries you receive.."

The same people who throw lavish weddings, over the top bar/bat mitzvahs , quinceaneras, will go equally all-out for their 40th Birthday party, daughter's Sweet 16, and often - any number of made up or holiday related occasions.

The fact that these gigs aren't landing at your door does not in any way diminish their existence. When the issue at hand is low pay ... the first and most obvious factor to consider is the skill set being offered.

Having some measure of 'WOW' Factor is what opens this door. No amount of advertising can make up for a limited skill set. You actually have to be known for carrying the weight of consequential events if you want consequential pay rates.
 

djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
4,088
8,229
34
NJ
www.djtaso.com
We are still "Young" so to speak. Brian is is in his 50s, and lots of older DJs are at that point. Younger guys who gripe about these issues were never really meant to make it as DJs in the wedding part of the business any way.

Some DJs are truly meant to be out playing in bars until 2 am. Others only truly want to be performing in a night club in the city somewhere.

I have NEVER met a DJ who actually runs a business and only does birthday parties. Honestly, 90% of the inquiries I have received for birthday parties in the last 5 years don't want to spend over $500 anyway on a DJ, and more than half try to find a $300 or less DJ. Birthday gigs are meant as filler gigs for a hard working DJ who does multiple event types, or are truly meant for the part time hobbyist that looks at Deejaying as some extra weekend income.

I actually have a birthday party booked on November 6th. I did one a few weeks ago. So booked 2 out of maybe 15 or so birthday inquiries this year.

Schools...Honestly, can't make it on doing school dances. They are seasonal, and again...not enough money there.

Weddings are all DJs really have for still being able to make a healthy business income, and trying to do this full time imo. If there is ever a point where I can't deal with weddings any more...I know it's time to truly call it quits for me for good because there isn't enough income in anything else available for DJs.
Like pro said, s many of my weddings go all out for their kids bday parties as well as their parents bdays and such. I don’t really do them much anymore, but every year I still manage to get paid full price for some over the top celebrations that wouldn’t normally be perceived as such. For example in December I have a baptism, in January I have an engagement party that’s bigger than most peoples weddings, I had a 50th bday party that $100k must’ve been spent on. It’s all relative to your crowd.
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
6,917
5,200
39
Brian is also a one armed DJ due to a stroke 10 years ago. I am in awe of his talent under those circumstances. He has changed his equipment to compensate for his issue.
I agree. I give him props for going out and doing many of these events without an assistant/roadie to help him. Everything would be scaled way down if I were in his shoes. I would not have my boombox light show in use without an assistant. That light is a PITA to mount to a speaker stand with 2 good arms! Even getting it out of the bag would be a big challenge. I know I would not be using my 12" Alto Speakers. I would have to go very light, and forget bringing a sub out to any events. I would probably have to go with those Maui 5 speakers he uses a lot, or find a light weight column array set up if I wanted good bass. Or I would be using 8" or 10" speakers only.

I am glad he perseveres and continues to work. Many people would say forget working after that, and just collect disability for the rest of their life. My oldest brother had to have a tow amputated, and he hasn't gone back to work yet, and doesn't plan to. Because he lost a single toe! SO I certainly give Brian props for continuing to perform. I remember how slow he was his first few gigs back after recovery, and he is in better shape now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dunlopj

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
12,119
1,589
63
I have seen brides who were having a 2 hour reception. Not many. Just a few. I wonder what they have planned to do for 2 hours? I can understand why some have decided to stop doing weddings. You have to first get, get yourself ready and then load the vehicle up if it isn't already loaded. Travel to the place where the wedding is taking, load in and setup. Then maybe a little time to relax once you've finished with the setup and testing the gear. When it's time for the event to start it's game on. You normally won't get a break once it starts. When it's over you have load out and put it back in the vehicle. Then drive to either somewhere to get something to eat or home. After that unload and then get in to rest up possibly going to bed. So a long day and when you reach a certain age may not be fun anymore like when you were young and could easily move gear and setup. Not to mention unloading when you get home if you have to. I had 2 heavy duty locks installed on both doors for the back. That way I don't have to worry about someone breaking in the van to steal anything and I also have a club for the steering wheel.

Also when was this video made? There's a lot of things today that have changed makes things quite a bit annoying and not fun doing weddings at this time. Some of it has to with venues and either the changes they were forced to do or did themselves. Then sometimes you run into a difficult staff to work with including those who don't have a clue how to do things. Some are just plain rude. You want to snap on them but you got to remember to keep your cool and be professional so you don't end up with a bad rap or bad review. You may get a little break at the wedding with people who want to have some words to say. That may take up a few minutes so that leaves you time to relax a bit and get geared back up to keep doing the wedding.. A wedding reception may be 5-6 hours but for us it's longer then that. It might be 10-11 hours for us. That's from the time you leave to do the wedding to the time you get home. It could be much longer then that depending on how long it takes to get to the venue, how long it takes you to setup and tear down. Then leave to go home.
 

Albatross

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Sep 7, 2016
2,788
7,224
You have to first get, get yourself ready and then load the vehicle up if it isn't already loaded. Travel to the place where the wedding is taking, load in and setup. Then maybe a little time to relax once you've finished with the setup and testing the gear. When it's time for the event to start it's game on. You normally won't get a break once it starts. When it's over you have load out and put it back in the vehicle. Then drive to either somewhere to get something to eat or home. After that unload and then get in to rest up possibly going to bed.
This is literally the description of any mobile gig at all.
 

ProDJ Jose

Mobile DJ Consultant
Apr 19, 2016
59
130
Tampa Bay Area
All that after a pandemic. LOL

#1 If you got into wedding DJing because those events are lucrative, then you got into it for the wrong reasons.
#2 Having a clearly defined niche can help with that one.
#3 Length of time is insignificant, when you are getting paid accordingly.
#4 Stress is there whether you do weddings or not.
#5 Money. Money. Money. It seems to always come down to what Wedding DJs are getting paid or NOT getting paid.

My response is that in any line of work there will be highs and lows. The important thing is that you do what you love and enjoy the short time that we all have in this beautiful planet called earth.
 

logisticalstyles

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 7, 2018
76
268
46
I can relate to everything that Brian mentions in this video. I generally dislike DJing weddings. I don't actively pursue them but will accept them from my DJ friends that get overbooked. I did a wedding reception over the weekend and it went very well, mainly because I had an MC to work with. I have one more wedding booked for the year and then I'm probably not going to take any more wedding gigs. My situation is different from most DJs on this board since I'm just a part time weekend warrior. The only other type of gig I currently don't accept is teenage birthday parties.
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
6,917
5,200
39
I can relate to everything that Brian mentions in this video. I generally dislike DJing weddings. I don't actively pursue them but will accept them from my DJ friends that get overbooked. I did a wedding reception over the weekend and it went very well, mainly because I had an MC to work with. I have one more wedding booked for the year and then I'm probably not going to take any more wedding gigs. My situation is different from most DJs on this board since I'm just a part time weekend warrior. The only other type of gig I currently don't accept is teenage birthday parties.

This is where I may be headed as time marches on. "Weekend Warrior". As long as I maintain full time job during the week I will probably decline to only booking 17-20 events per year (Only 1 in a weekend), and eventually get to the point to where I ONLY accept weddings, and no other event types. Probably will take me another 2 to 3 years to get to that point though
 
  • Like
Reactions: Andy A

sawdust123

Moderator
Staff member
ODJT Supporter
Nov 10, 2006
1,118
2,517
58
Ventura County, CA
The reasons he lists are not unique to wedding DJs. Most people leave jobs for all the same reasons.

Artistic Integrity = Job not challenging or engaging
Bad clients, guests = Bad boss/management/coworkers or customers
Time = Work/life balance
Stress = Stress
Compensation = Compensation

When you are young, you are still learning a profession and discovering what you do and don't like. You end up putting up with a lot of crap as you gain experience. With your experience, you either learn how to successfully deal with the crap or you find ways to avoid it. Brian has been doing videos for over 10 years. His audience has aged with him so his responses are not unexpected. His assertion that the pandemic offered some an opportunity to rethink their work/life balance probably has some merit but I would doubt that this represents a significant shift the DJ business. OTOH, the pandemic may have caused some DJs to find equivalent income sources that are simply more lucrative or stable than the wedding market.
 

Scott Hanna

DJ Extraordinaire
ODJT Supporter
Oct 25, 2006
7,715
10,829
55
Cleveland, OH
www.djincleveland.com
I say not much has changed. People change. People get older. Preferences change. I don't like doing school dances any more. I'd much rather do a wedding. I enjoy the mcing part and I enjoy encompassing the different genres properly. I also love hearing the satisfaction from people when the party of their lives went exactly as they wanted.

Some djs would rather not deal with the stress of weddings. I get it. This is nothing new. Social media makes it seem like a thing. But It's always been there.
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
18,315
15,406
57
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
I agree. I give him props for going out and doing many of these events without an assistant/roadie to help him. Everything would be scaled way down if I were in his shoes. I would not have my boombox light show in use without an assistant. That light is a PITA to mount to a speaker stand with 2 good arms! Even getting it out of the bag would be a big challenge. I know I would not be using my 12" Alto Speakers. I would have to go very light, and forget bringing a sub out to any events. I would probably have to go with those Maui 5 speakers he uses a lot, or find a light weight column array set up if I wanted good bass. Or I would be using 8" or 10" speakers only.

I am glad he perseveres and continues to work. Many people would say forget working after that, and just collect disability for the rest of their life. My oldest brother had to have a tow amputated, and he hasn't gone back to work yet, and doesn't plan to. Because he lost a single toe! SO I certainly give Brian props for continuing to perform. I remember how slow he was his first few gigs back after recovery, and he is in better shape now.
Weddings are not the only good paying gig in the DJ world. You're leaving off:

Sweet 16
Quinceanera
Mitzvah
 

DJ Ricky B

DJ Extraordinaire
Mar 9, 2015
6,917
5,200
39
Weddings are not the only good paying gig in the DJ world. You're leaving off:

Sweet 16
Quinceanera
Mitzvah

How many Good paying Sweet 16s, Quinceaneras, and MItzvahs have you booked at your venue so far? What percentage of your events this far have been weddings?



Quinceaneras usually go to spanish speaking DJs these days, and I can tell you that a lot of them are not good paying. Many DJs will bring out a ton of equipment and lighting and do these quinceaneras for $450 to $800, AND if you don't speak spanish, it's usually a deal breaker. I have seen it happen this way a lot in the DMV area. Plenty of hispanic DJs out there now. It was different 10+ years ago. I use t get booked for quinces. Have not done one in years at this point.


Bar and Bat MItzvah can pay well, but I personally don't want to do them any longer.

Sweet 16s...The only DJ I see booking them at high amounts has been Taso. I am sure there are others out there. I don't know anybody in my market booking them at high amounts. Sweet 16s where the DJ is charging $2,000+ are certainly not the norm at all, and probably make up less than 5% of sweet 16 parties out there.

....And in my area, sweet 16s have become rare. Most families and 16 year olds don't even want the party and do something much more scaled down

Here are current Average prices that DJs get booked at on thebash.com nation wide. The bash or thumbtack is going to have the most relevant price data on events outside of weddings because that is where the bulk of these event type inquiries are going to these days for a DJ.

Cost of a DJ for a Quinceañera
A quinceañera DJ cost is an expense to consider when planning this special day. For a quinceañera, the average cost of a DJ is $500 for 5 hours. These prices will vary and can range from $350 to $800.

Cost of a DJ for a Sweet 16 Party
When planning a sweet 16 party, it’s probably best to leave the music choices to a DJ who knows what the popular songs are for the teens in attendance. When booking a DJ for a sweet sixteen, the prices will vary based on event duration and can range from $250 to $700. The average cost of a DJ for a sweet 16 party is $400.
 

ProDJ Jose

Mobile DJ Consultant
Apr 19, 2016
59
130
Tampa Bay Area
How many Good paying Sweet 16s, Quinceaneras, and MItzvahs have you booked at your venue so far? What percentage of your events this far have been weddings?



Quinceaneras usually go to spanish speaking DJs these days, and I can tell you that a lot of them are not good paying. Many DJs will bring out a ton of equipment and lighting and do these quinceaneras for $450 to $800, AND if you don't speak spanish, it's usually a deal breaker. I have seen it happen this way a lot in the DMV area. Plenty of hispanic DJs out there now. It was different 10+ years ago. I use t get booked for quinces. Have not done one in years at this point.


Bar and Bat MItzvah can pay well, but I personally don't want to do them any longer.

Sweet 16s...The only DJ I see booking them at high amounts has been Taso. I am sure there are others out there. I don't know anybody in my market booking them at high amounts. Sweet 16s where the DJ is charging $2,000+ are certainly not the norm at all, and probably make up less than 5% of sweet 16 parties out there.

....And in my area, sweet 16s have become rare. Most families and 16 year olds don't even want the party and do something much more scaled down

Here are current Average prices that DJs get booked at on thebash.com nation wide. The bash or thumbtack is going to have the most relevant price data on events outside of weddings because that is where the bulk of these event type inquiries are going to these days for a DJ.

Cost of a DJ for a Quinceañera
A quinceañera DJ cost is an expense to consider when planning this special day. For a quinceañera, the average cost of a DJ is $500 for 5 hours. These prices will vary and can range from $350 to $800.

Cost of a DJ for a Sweet 16 Party
When planning a sweet 16 party, it’s probably best to leave the music choices to a DJ who knows what the popular songs are for the teens in attendance. When booking a DJ for a sweet sixteen, the prices will vary based on event duration and can range from $250 to $700. The average cost of a DJ for a sweet 16 party is $400.
All good "relevant" points Ricky. That's the reality for Mobile DJs that rely on Thumbtack for new events. I feel sorry for those DJs.

BTW, I hapen to know one personally that claims to have done more than 6000 events and is a competition winner, the best DJ, yada yada.

But, his rates don't reflect the greatness he proclaims.
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
18,315
15,406
57
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
How many Good paying Sweet 16s, Quinceaneras, and MItzvahs have you booked at your venue so far?
I just booked (verbal, no deposit yet) my first Quinc and have done a couple of low budget Sweet 16s. My only point was to say there are other decent/good paying DJ gigs besides weddings, not that I'm spending any time on pitching them. For my venue, I'm only pitching weddings. If a stray birthday, Quinc or Mitzvah happens to walk in the door, and they want an open date, then I'll take it but I won't spend a minute searching for them.
 

TwinSpinDJ

Up-lighting
ODJT Supporter
This Post has been moved to another Thread in The Private Show for COMMENT. See thread.

Ricky, two weeks ago Saturday, I did an EMERGENCY Quincenera here in Florida. DJ was unable to perform to personal issues. Some budge event representative texted me on that Saturday as I was driving for haircut appt. Got a few details in text. I then while sitting in my car called the number. This "dj headhunter" was calling around trying to find a DJ who would help them out. Show time was 4:00 pm - 9"00 pm with setup prior to start. It was then 11:45 am and I hadn't even left for home to receive the email attachments. Once I received the attachments (Program, Special songs (Latin), and sample playlist and timeline it was already after Noon.
I have a goodly amount of Latin, they wanted Salsa. Merengue and Pop, so dance music wasn't a problem. However, each of the Program Special Dance songs I had to download prior to leaving for the gig. Oh, did I mention the gig was Formal. The venue was 1/2 hour away. I arrived at 3:00 pm for the load-in and 4 PM start.
If you are reading this and did not know that this kind of event is just like preparing for a Wedding Reception; Grand Entrance of the Court and Quince, Special Dances, and Sweet Sixteen party. Buffet meal. I normally prepare "cue cards" for each segment of introductions and program music. None of this was possible. Here I am reading from an outline that was poorly spaced and hard to read. Fortunately, the mother of the Quince gave me a time line and sequence of events by "minutes." Do this at this time and that, etc.
Now for the most interesting aspect of the entire event. The pay was $50/hr. and $50 for short notice. Paid by PayPal.
I can tell you that most likely I will NEVER do an EMERGENCY like this one for less than $1500. Its not worth ruining my reputation. Which brings me to another irritation. No advertising of any kind of my DJ service. No bus cards, logo skirts, visual references to my business.

I would be interested in what you would have done given this situation? Keep in mind it is always an unwritten rule that we never let a DJ burn in an emergency. I could have said NO, but I have feelings. I also had the Latin music necessary to do the job. As it turns out the Quince, her parents, grand-parents, aunts and uncles, you get the drift, really enjoyed the music. Salsa and Merengue were big hits, same for Line Dances. Even had a request for the Macarena.

What would you or any of ODJT members have done under the circumstances and timeline imposed?
 
Last edited: