Reasonably Priced Celebrant? Affordable Wedding DJ?

Every bride and groom wants something slightly different for their wedding.

Every couple will have totally different ideas of what’s “reasonably priced” or “affordable”.  Asking for recommendations using those terms really doesn’t help anyone.  You’re not really just looking for the cheapest, you’re looking for the service that best suits your needs.  As for how well it matches your budget, unless you’ve met and chatted to wedding professionals you might not have a clear idea of what to expect regarding costs either.

For the sake of discussion, two couples, two different weddings, with a similar number of guests at the same venue.

For bride #1, the five-tier cake and the chair covers might be the most important part of her vision.   That same bride might choose Spotify instead of a band or DJ, or have a 1989 budget for entertainment.

Meanwhile, bride # 2 hires Drax Project and Dave Dobbyn for entertainment and buys four dozen plastic $5 chairs at K-mart.  No chair covers.

From the cake company’s perspective, bride #1 is “high value”, yet they’d possibly never even get a chance to meet bride #2 who on the surface seems to have a much higher overall wedding budget.  That same bride might be asking on Facebook discussion groups where to find a reasonably priced or affordable cake company.

Each bride has a completely different concept of what “affordable” means regarding the cake and seating, and their idea of “reasonably priced” entertainment are worlds apart.  Neither bride is wrong.  Neither has made a mistake. And most importantly, nobody has any right to say they’re being extravagant, cheap, or anything in between either way.

Asking for “reasonably priced”  or “affordable” in a wedding discussion group gets you nothing more than a list of what others found “cheap enough” or a bunch of arguments about why a mentioned service is “overpriced” or just out of their budget.

“Reasonably Priced” is subjective, relative, and largely meaningless. 

Affordable” means nothing to anyone other than the person paying for it, and in over 500 weddings, I’ve yet to meet anyone who wasn’t on a budget (another commonly used term that doesn’t help you at all).

Other brides in discussion groups can only give so much advice, no matter how good their intentions.  None of them would steer you wrong on purpose, but most of them haven’t planned many weddings and so their experience is somewhat limited.

So how DO you find the right service at the price that’s right for you?

Regarding entertainment, I’ve shared advice on the most commonly asked question when hiring a DJ, along with a bunch of things you never thought to ask a DJ first.  The same advice will be relevant no matter which part of the wedding you’re planning.

Unless the service you’re looking at has a set rate 24/7, 365 days a year, then there are a few factors that might affect your quote:

  • Day of the week – Sunday to Thursday weddings often make for slightly better rates from suppliers.
  • Summer/Spring vs Winter – in most parts of New Zealand, there is a wedding season.
  • Location – when it comes to hiring a service, it’s like rent.  Rent and cost of living vary geographically, as do most things. Getting rates from brides in other parts of NZ may be misleading and potentially frustrating or depressing when you can’t find a similar bargain in your area.
  • Who are you hiring, exactly – are you getting exactly the same person or group of professionals you’ve heard good things about, or less experienced team members instead?
  • Unique factors specific to your wedding, your venue, number of guests or something else.

My advice is always to meet the people in the industry you need, even if by Skype etc.  Even if you think the DJ/Celebrant/Photographer/Whoever is out of your price range, just see if you can have a chat.  Be up front, say you really have no idea what to expect and need help setting some budget expectations.  Everyone has a budget, but if you’ve never hired a DJ before, how can you know where to start?


Even if you think you can’t afford it, or don’t need it, just be upfront, talk, ask questions, and always keep an open mind.  And remember, not every service is right for you, and you’re not the right couple for every service.  Doesn’t make them wrong either.  Lucky there are plenty to choose from!


By the way – Dave Dobbyn doesn’t do weddings.  

I hope this helps!  It’s certainly intended to.


Nick Logan

Wedding MC | Event DJ