Negotiating With DJs for an Indian Wedding

Negotiating is part of our culture. And when you’re planning an expensive Indian wedding, it’s understandable that you want to extract as much value for the lowest prices.

Value is they key word. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. When it comes to your wedding DJ, you can expect to pay more for DJs based on years of experience, professionalism, and overall work quality.

The challenge is with differentiation. Many people think DJs simply come up with a play list and hit play on their Mac Book. But really there’s MUCH more to it than that. And, unless you’ve really paid attention at the weddings/events you’ve been to and thoughtfully compared DJs; chances are they might not all seem that different from one another, to you. But in fact, they are. And the last thing you want, is to discover those differences during your wedding weekend.

For example, one couple shared that when they were talking to DJ Raj from Sound Nation, he advised them to have the DJ booth face the pandit during the ceremony so they could cue each other – subtle but very valuable advice that made their ceremony much smoother and seamless. No other DJ they spoke to talked about that so early on, without a signed contract.

Let me share a non-DJ example. I recently talked to a bride who chose a decorator because they cost less. And an hour before their ceremony started their tent-mandap collapsed; and not because of weather.

So how do you differentiate DJs?

  • experience: a DJ with multiple decades of experience has seen and experienced a lot in his career. He’s probably lived through pretty much every pitfall, challenge and mishap, out there. And his company has survived, so clearly he’s doing something right. Those DJs charge more and in exchange you’re getting their expertise and peace-of-mind knowing that they know what they’re doing.
  • professionalism and quality: does the DJ present himself, communications and interactions well? Did the DJ send you an actual itemized proposal or just an email with a price?
  • thoughtful: does the DJ ask you questions about your event, or is he just trying to book your event?
  • educate: did the DJ spend time educating you about things to keep-in-mind? Things you should know? Insider info about your venue?

How Much Should You Spend on a DJ?
Your wedding budget is comprised of trade-offs. I suggest that you write down a list of all the categories of items you’ll need i.e. DJ, photography, cinematography, caterer etc. Then prioritize them. Prioritize, based on the things you’re willing to spend more money on because they’re the most important to you.

As you gather information from vendors you’ll understand how much things cost overall. Then compare costs across categories. The DJ sets the tone for the ceremony and reception. And usually the DJ is one of the least expensive costs. Guests will remember their experience: the fun they had and how much they enjoyed dancing the night away.  So ask yourself, how much is that worth to you?

And when you’re negotiating with a DJ or any other vendors, expect to receive service corresponding to how much value the vendor is also getting.


This week’s ProTip was a collaboration between ShaadiShop and by Raj S. Gujral, the founder and owner of Sound Nation, providing full service DJ, Mobile DJ, Dhol, Lighting, AV for over 20 years. Check back with us every week on #ThoughtfulThursday for Sound Nation’s one-of-a-kind tips for South Asian weddings!

You might also like their advice on basic reception lighting that won’t break your budget.


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