How Much Does a Wedding Pianist and Wedding DJ Cost?

The Price of a Wedding Pianist and Wedding DJ

When you book a wedding pianist or a wedding DJ for your wedding day, you will be looking for a musician that represents really good value for money. Whatever your budget, you will want to get the best possible pianist or DJ for your money and the best possible service in the run up to your wedding. The cost of a wedding pianist or DJ can be broken down into seven key elements.

The top 7 costs that make up the price of a wedding pianist or wedding DJ

  1. Musicians Fee – the money that goes directly to the musician
  2. VAT – the money that goes straight to the government
  3. Planning – the money that goes to the people who help you plan your day
  4. Equipment – the money that is used to purchase and repair the instruments and equipment
  5. Promotion – the money that is spent to help you discover the musician in the first place
  6. Admin – the money that is spent on day to day business costs
  7. Profit – the money that goes to the owner of the business

When you start your search for a wedding pianist or wedding DJ and start to ask for prices and costings, you will find that there is a huge difference in the range of quotes that you receive back from the different musicians. No wedding pianist or wedding DJ will ever admit to these three things, but this is actually what is happening.

6 ways to get a wedding pianist or wedding DJ for cheaper

  1. Less skilled musicians are cheaper
  2. Less experienced musicians are cheaper
  3. Musicians who don’t take the time to carefully plan for your wedding are cheaper
  4. Under-rehearsed musicians who don’t practice enough are cheaper
  5. Musicians who are desperate for work are cheaper
  6. Part time musicians are cheaper

The cost of a Wedding Pianist or Wedding DJ

A detailed breakdown on how PianoDJ spend your money when you book a wedding pianist or wedding DJ with us.

Here at PianoDJ, we honestly believe that we offer incredible value for money. You are getting married and we understand that you only get one chance to get everything just right for your wedding day…so we don’t cut any corners. We have a really helpful team who work from our office during the week (we run office hours from 10am until 6pm) and we will look after you from the very first time you make an enquiry with us to the morning of your wedding day. We are really proud of our pianists and DJs. They are literally the very best pianists and DJs available to play for weddings in the UK and you will not find a better musician anywhere else. Our pianists and DJs will look after you on the day of your wedding and you will have the most wonderful time!! We have an incredible reputation for customer service and our wedding pianists and DJs are renowned for being excellent. This is something that we are really proud of and I would encourage you to read through testimonials from couples to find out what other people are saying about us.

We use your money to ensure that you get the best experience in the run up to your wedding and the very best musicians on your wedding day.

Musician Fees – 50%

The pianists and DJs that we use for weddings are the very best musicians that are available to play for weddings in the UK.

We can provide musicians at a cheaper price than you could if you tried to book them directly.

This is because we offer a huge volume of work to our musicians (between 50-100 bookings a year) and they offer a much better price to us in return. Since the company started in 2006, James has slowly hand picked a team of incredible musicians that PianoDJ trust to play at weddings. PianoDJ has an extremely rigorous audition process that is designed to find phenomenal musicians who are also kind, trustworthy and hard-working people. This audition process has shown us that even our expert team cannot tell how good a musician is going to be just by looking at their website. Some of the musicians that we invited to audition turned out to be disastrous…and one was a crack addict!!!

Our wedding pianists spend an average of 8 hours (a whole day) learning new requests for each wedding. All of our pianists can play almost any piece that is put in front of them and a lot of our pianists can play most songs by ear. However, we have exceptionally high standards and our pianists will dedicate hours of practice time to preparing the music for your wedding.

We include this service in our prices and do not add on extra charges unlike some of the other pianists that you can find on the internet.

If piano sheet music is available then they will be able to source the music for your wedding and if a piano version of the song does not already exist then they will create a brand new wedding piano remix. They will then take the time to learn the song so that they can play it flawlessly on your wedding day.

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VAT – 15%

PianoDJ is a legitimate business and we do everything completely above board and by the book. We are a registered limited company, we have a company public liabilty policy, employee liability policy and all of our musicians have their own public liabilty policies. All of our instruments and equipment are fully insured, we carry out annual portable electrical tests on all of our electrical equipment, we have risk assessments that can be provided for venues and we are VAT registered. PianoDJ registered for VAT on the 1st June 2015 and made an attempt to absorb as much of the cost as possible.

This means that our prices have remained competitive and represent really good value for money.

A company has to become VAT registered when they turnover more than £82,000 a year. This is an achievement that we are really proud of as it demonstrates that we have grown into a respectable sized, reputable company by being good to our customers. Our reputation has started to spread from Essex and Hertfordshire to the surrounding home counties and demand for our wedding pianists and wedding DJs is now taking our musicians up and down the whole length of the country.

When a wedding pianist or wedding DJ company registers for VAT it is a clear indication of experience.

It proves that they must be performing at least 150-200 weddings a year and that they are getting a lot of bookings. The musicians are performing far more regularly at weddings than pianists or DJs that are only playing once a week. In 2016 we are on track for our musicians to be performing at over 500 weddings during the course of the year and the level of experience that PianoDJ has is far superior to any of our competitors. Hopefully this will give you some peace of mind when you make the decision to book one of our pianists or DJs for your wedding.

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Planning – 10%

The planning process for your wedding music is extremely important. It starts when you make the decision to start looking for a pianist or DJ to play for your wedding (if you are reading this article then congratulations, you have started planning your wedding music). At the initial planning stages, you will be looking for information about the wedding pianist or wedding DJ, reading through websites, scouting for prices, watching videos, listening to recordings, reading testimonials and making use of any helpful guides and articles that you can find. We understand how important it is to help you make the right decision and we are investing hours and hours of time into making our website more helpful, so that you can really decide if we are the right musicians to book for your wedding.

Check out our helpful guides about choosing a wedding DJ and choosing a wedding pianist.

We have a team of really lovely people working in our office Monday to Friday from 10am – 6pm and you can contact us to chat through your ideas. You might want to check our availability, talk to us about your music ideas, have a chat about the unique plans that you have for your wedding or get advice on how music works at your wedding venue.

When you decide that you would like to book us for your wedding, you are given a really friendly, helpful and organised wedding planner who will help you with all of the key planning elements of your wedding music. We fully understand that a creative pianist or a creative DJ is not the right person to put in charge of all of the planning for your wedding as musicians tend not to have great organisational skills. We have an incredible wedding music co-ordinator called Rhiannon and she works full time for PianoDJ.

Watch this short video and meet Rhiannon, the person who will help you with your wedding music planning.

The top 10 planning items that have to be done for each wedding.

  1. [1-2 hours] – Help the couple decide if our wedding pianists and wedding DJs are the right musicians for their wedding.
  2. [15 mins] – Check availability of our musicians and hand pick the perfect musician for the wedding.
  3. [30 mins] – Confirm the booking with the couple, put together a contract for the wedding and email the contract to the couple.
  4. [15 mins] – Create a payment schedule for the booking and email this to the couple.
  5. [15 mins] – Check our bank accounts, chase outstanding deposit payments and send a receipt to the couple by email.
  6. [30 mins] – Spend time on the phone and on emails, answering questions and offering support to the couple as they plan their wedding.
  7. [30 mins] – Email the couple asking for the music requests, offer advice to the couple if required, chase outstanding music requests, send the music requests to the musicians and enter the music requests into our on-the-day crisis/emergency plan.
  8. [15 mins] – Plan the final logistics of the wedding with the couple, including timings, rooms and locations.
  9. [15 mins] – Communicate with the venue and update them with the logistics of the event, including musician arrival times, performance locations and equipment. Discuss important logistics with the venue such as space required, parking, unloading, processes on the day. Send the venue PAT certificates and PLI insurance documents.
  10. [15 mins] – Check our bank accounts, chase outstanding final payments and send a receipt to the couple by email.

If you book a pianist directly, then you should make sure that they do all of these 10 planning items to guarantee that your wedding goes without a hitch. If you add up the times then you can see that there is an average of 5 hours of planning for each wedding. We have a very organised office with an incredible team of people who are really good at and really enjoy co-ordinating all of these logistics. This means that our wedding pianists and wedding DJs can just focus on practicing the music that you want for your wedding.

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Equipment – 8%

When you book a pianist or a DJ for your wedding, the equipment that they bring to your wedding will directly impact how they sound, how well they play and how they look. For example, if a fantastic pianist plays a cheap, low quality keyboard then they will not be able to play well, the music will sound terrible and it will look ridiculous. Similarly, if a superstar DJ plays through a cheap sound system then your guests will think that you have an awful DJ.

Piano Equipment

The dream instrument for a wedding pianist is a well tuned, well maintained, traditional grand piano in a room with beautiful acoustics. Many wedding venues have grand pianos but they are not looked after and are actually quite a pain to play. The action (the mechanism that moves the keys/notes) can be really stiff and it can be really difficult to play with any sense of fluid motion. The wedding venue with the best grand piano is Brocket Hall. They have an absolutely incredible grand piano in the ballroom. This is our favourite piano and it is an absolute joy to play. If you book a pianist to play this piano for your wedding then you will be hearing the pianist at their absolute best. If you wedding venue does not have a traditional grand piano and you have the room in your budget then the best thing that you can do is hire a real grand piano for your pianist. Depending on where you are getting married, we can recommend different piano hire companies for you to contact.

A digital grand piano is cheaper to hire than a traditional grand piano.

Another alternative is to hire a digital grand piano for your wedding. A digital grand piano is a modern instrument that has been developed to replicate the sound, touch, feel and look of a traditional grand piano. A digital grand piano projects the sound of the piano music around the room in the same way as a traditional grand piano and it sounds exactly the same as a real piano. It has a volume control which means that the piano can be set to the perfect background volume level depending on the number of guests at your wedding. It also has a brightness control which allows the sound of the piano to be adjusted to the furnishings in the room (carpet, wooden floor, stone building, etc).

Watch out for grand piano shells and fake instruments.

Do not confuse our stunning digital grand piano with the cheap pretend grand piano shells that are available for hire. A grand piano shell is a fake wooden or carbon fibre case that looks a bit like a piano. They are easy to transport and you can put a keyboard inside them so that the pianist can pretend to be playing a real piano. The lid on a grand piano shell does not open, so the sound of the keyboard is muffled and it is really easy to tell that the musician is using a fake instrument. If a pianist uses a grand piano shell then they will have to connect the keyboard in the shell to a speaker system – which completely ruins the illusion of it trying to look like a real piano. Even your guests with no knowledge of music will realise that a grand piano doesn’t plug into a speaker system and they will be able to tell that your pianist is playing substandard / fake instrument.

Does the keyboard that you pianist uses have enough notes?

Part of the audition process to become a wedding pianist at PianoDJ requires the pianist to own a suitable professional keyboard. We ask them to let us know the make and model numbers of all of their keyboards and if they do not meet the required standard then we insist that they purchase a better instrument. You can get beginners keyboards and decorative home keyboards with less keys/notes than a real piano, keyboards that sound nothing like a piano, keyboards with keys that do not respond properly, etc. These are all unacceptable for weddings. The keyboard manufacturer with the most authentic piano sound is a company called Roland and we recommend their keyboards to our pianists. PianoDJ are Roland artists and we have access to their incredible repairs and maintenance team in the event of an emergency with any of our professional keyboards. This is really assuring to know that we are supported by such a reputable company. I have written a short blog post about the keyboards that our pianists use for weddings.

DJ Equipment

PianoDJ own all of the equipment that our DJs use for weddings. We have a unique DJ rig with a custom DJ booth, heart light, high definition line array sound system and a computer controlled lighting rig. We also have wireless uplighters that we use for weddings. All of our DJs have exactly the same DJ rig and this means that you know exactly what you are going to get when you book a DJ from us. You can also take comfort from knowing that we have a warehouse full of spare parts and replacement speakers / lights so that we can fix a broken piece of equipment straight away. Everything that we use for weddings is transported in professional hard flight cases and these are on wheels. All of our vans have metal ramps and we can load in and out of almost any venue. We believe that you should have the best sound with the best lighting and a DJ who has a state of the art DJ booth with the best mixing desks, effects units and controllers. We provide everything that you need for a great night and we look after our equipment really well.

Repairs, Maintenance and Spares

A professional wedding pianist or wedding DJ will perform at upwards of 100 weddings a year and as a result of this they will need to stay on top of the maintenance and repair of their equipment. It is likely that most items will need to be replaced / serviced after two year of rigorous use and money has to be set aside to pay for these costs.

Your wedding pianist must have a spare keyboard and your DJ must have a spare mixer.

All of our wedding pianists have two professional keyboards that they take to weddings. This offers great flexibility if they are needed in two different rooms as they can have two keyboards set up in different places and this saves moving any equipment around during the wedding. More importantly, however, it means that they have a backup instrument in the case that one of the keyboards becomes unplayable. During the course of their career, a wedding pianist is likely to drop their keyboard at least once, a guest is going to spill a pint of beer onto the instrument and the power cable is going to deteriorate on several occasions. If this happens at your wedding then we can give you peace of mind because our pianists all have a backup instrument.

Do not put your wedding at risk because your musician cuts corners.

Our wedding DJs are just as well prepared. We insist that all of our DJs have two Macbook Pros to store their music. This way, if one laptop dies then they have a backup with them and they can just switch their mixing desk from laptop to the other. All of our DJs also carry a backup Pioneer mixing desk so that they can swap their mixer for another in the event that it stops working. All electrical equipment can just break for “no reason” (because electrical components can just fail) and your wedding DJ should have a replacement part or backup strategy for every single speaker, amp, light, controller, cable and microphone that they use.

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Promotion – 7%

Working in the wedding industry presents an interesting challenge. Unlike a high street shop where you might have customers who return month after month, a wedding pianist or wedding DJ will have to keep finding new couples who are getting married. This constant promotion takes a lot of time, energy and it also involves money. If you think about all of the different places that you looked to get ideas for your wedding, then you might have been to wedding fairs, read magazines, been given a recommended suppliers list from your venue, searched the internet, been suggested to check out a company by another supplier or a friend, seen a supplier that you liked at another wedding, been handed a flyer or business card, etc. The possibilities are endless!

PianoDJ do not pay any hidden commission for recommendations

We have a fairly unique promotion strategy. We do not pay for any printed advertising and we do not pay any hidden commission to any venues or suppliers. We promote our wedding pianists and DJs by trying to be as helpful as possible and by being open, honest and upfront about the services that we provide. We are lucky to be recommended by lots of venues and suppliers who trust us and this forms a huge chunk of our promotion. PianoDJ is built on transparency and we will not be part of any venues with recommended lists that take a hidden commission without disclosing it to their couples – for example, Gaynes Park.

Come and see us in action and be inspired

It is great to meet new couples and we love sending out our pianists to play wedding piano remixes at wedding fairs around the country. This is a great way for you to meet us and see our musicians in action. You can request a song for them to play and give them a live audition. It also gives you a chance to ask all of your questions to one of our team and to chat through all of your ideas in person. It would be great to meet you at a wedding fair soon!

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Admin – 5%

The day to day running of any business is filled with lots of different costs and PianoDJ is no exception to this. The “Admin” costs include everything that does not fall into any of the categories above. Here is a list of some of the day-to-day expenses that we have to pay for.

  • Banking, Accounting, Insurance and Professional Costs
  • Internet, Phone and Communications
  • Stationery, Computers, Office Furniture, General Administration
  • Premises Costs for Office and Warehouse
  • Vehicle and Motor Expenses
  • Auditions, Networking, Musician Development and Training.

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Profit – 5%

PianoDJ is a small family business owned by James (me). I make my full time living from PianoDJ and my personal income comes from two different parts of the business.

1) I earn money from DJing at weddings.

This is my main passion in life and I DJ at weddings on nearly every Friday and Saturday throughout the year.

2) I earn money from the overall profit that the company makes.

I work in the office Monday to Thursday and I have a goal to gradually build PianoDJ into a national company for supplying pianists to weddings across the UK.

I currently earn what I would consider to be a “musicians salary” and I live a fairly comfortable life doing what can only be described as the best job in the world. To give you an idea of my personal situation, my wife and I have recently bought a small house in the countryside, we have three children and we can afford to take a holiday once every other year. I am committed to growing my business, step by step and I absolutely believe in our company ethos:

  • Be transparent, honest and trustworthy at all times.
  • Focus on each individual couple and the music that they like.
  • Supply specialist professional musicians who make their living from playing at weddings.
  • Help couples at every stage of their wedding music decision making.

I hope that you choose us to help you with the music for your wedding and I look forward to hearing from you soon!!

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