If you are hoping to have your first dance song performed by the artist who originally sang it, you may be in luck. Global superstars such as John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Florence Welch, Stevie Nicks and Elton John have all performed at private weddings, so why wouldn’t they serenade you on your special day?
First, I need to set your expectations. Most of the above megastars performed for other celebrities (for example Lana Del Rey performed at Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s wedding). Some famous acts are simply not interested, but most will consider it if they are available and if the financial offer is sweet enough.
Realistically, most of us won’t be as nonchalant about this significant cost as Russian billionaire, Mikhail Gusteriev, who financed his son's lavish "Billion-Dollar" wedding, where J-Lo, Sting and Enrique Iglesias performed. Lopez allegedly charged $2 million (a mere drop in the bucket for Gutseriev, whose estimated net worth is $6.4 billion) for this performance alone.
So let’s say you have the budget, and an interested artist, what’s expected once they’re hired? The sets are always going to be 60 minutes or less, and they are never full-scale concerts. Also, when you’re dealing with a major superstar, you have to provide their standard accommodations - private jets, 5 star hotels that can run $2,000-4,000 per night, professional stage and sound set-up, etc.
If you’re not interested in spending $250,000 (or way more) for a superstar (as most of the clients who hire celebrity artists have weddings that cost over $10 million), there are other options. Celebrity DJs and throwback bands are in massive demand, and are much more “accessible".
According to Beth Helmstetter, a top-tier wedding planner in Los Angeles, clients are often requesting 90's entertainers such as Salt-N-Pepa, Big Joe, Milli Vanilli and C+C Music Factory. She explains, “These bands are often more of a novelty to get the energy up and dance floor started rather than entertainers that are performing throughout the evening.” A nostalgic band like Earth, Wind & Fire may cost around $150,000 while a hip-hop artist like Snoop may get $300,000 or more for a wedding.
According to Yoni Goldberg, who represents DJ Pauly D., Rev Run (RUN-D.M.C.) and DJ Ruckus, celebrity DJs will earn $10,000-80,000 per event, and that fee is independent of their required accommodations.
Helmstetter’s clients typically spend $20,000-30,000 for a non-famous wedding band that can cover all of your favorite songs. Goldberg explains, "DJs benefit from the fact that when you're hiring a wedding band, money is being spread across six to eight performers, and DJs are able to make the same or more for just one person."
While some celebrities will charge millions of dollars to purposely price people out of hiring them, others are much more flexible and open to these types of gigs. If you have your heart set on a famous act, and negotiations starting at $50,000 are comfortable, you may be able to make your wedding music dreams become a reality!
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