Tips and Information
If you're planning an event and looking to hire a Wedding DJ service, Anniversary DJ service, Corporate DJ service, Company DJ service, High School DJ service, Kids party DJ service, College party DJ service, reunion DJ service, Bar/Bat Mitzvah DJ service, or whatever the event, you should consider drafting a well designed and thought out plan from the beginning. The availability of the most popular services usually get booked well in advance, sometimes one to two years or more, so don't delay, start the day you plan to have an event. To assist you in the planning of your event, we have outlined a few areas to help you get started.
Choose a date/time: Select a time of the year that suites your event properly. It's important you choose a date and/or specific time on that date that will not conflict with other events (Holidays, etc.) that might hinder the attendance of your guests. Weekends are the most popular, of course, since the majority of people have more free time away from work.
♦ Fact: Most events take place on a Saturday (late afternoon into the evening) and at a time of the year when the weather is most pleasant.
Create a guest list: Selecting your guest list is a task within itself. First, choose the maximum number of guests you'd like to invite. Then select the people you want to invite. Many times guest lists get long, so try to limit your list to family, business related people, close friends, and anyone important to you. Most of the time, you end up with more people on your list than the number you chose. If that happens, go through your list and cross out the people you feel you can eliminate. It's tough sometimes when you have to eliminate someone, but it's your party and your money (usually).
Select a location and venue: Be certain the location and venue you select can properly service your event and especially the number of guests you plan to invite. The location should be in an area easy to find and not too far away for most of your guests to travel. The venue itself must be able to handle your event without too many sacrifices. Personally visit the location and make certain it's compatible for what you want to accomplish and is as close to what you had envisioned.
Invitations: Select the style of invitation that is best associated with your event theme. A more casual, and much less expensive approach (free services available), is an e-mail invitation (i.e. www.evite.com). Send out your invitations at least 3 to 4 weeks prior to your event date. Wedding invitations are traditionally sent out about 6 weeks prior to the event date.
Choose your entertainment: This is critical! The entertainment can make or break the success of your event. Consider the Disc Jockey as your master of ceremonies (or ring leader). He/she is the person with the microphone and the person that provides the music entertainment throughout the event. So, choose your Disc Jockey (or entertainment service) very carefully. Click here for more information. To locate a Disc Jockey in your local area click here.
Services: Other than music entertainment, additional services that might be appropriate or necessary at your event: Photographer, videographer, florist, caterer, event planner, and a rental company (tables, chairs, etc.), just to name a few.
Food & Beverages: Decide if you want to have food and beverages at your event. At most events, some sort of beverage is available and depending on the event type, food is served.
Decorations: Depending on the theme of your event and the venue, decorations may or may not be needed. Just remember, whatever the event, decorations are a nice addition to the surroundings. New LED up-lighting effects are ususaly available through your DJ service you hire. Ask them about LED uplighting and other decoration ideas for your event.
Budget: Write down all of the services you require to make this event happen. Start by contacting 3 or 4 of each type of service to get an average price, so you know what you are going to need to budget for that particular service. Once you get a better idea of the costs per service, then you can set your budget within each area and get a good idea of what the entire event is going to cost.
In Summary - Outline your event in detail from start to finish: With most anything, pre-planning is the key. Take time to write down everything about your event, including the type of services needed, staff, venue, guest list, and especially your budget for each area. This will give you a better idea of all of the details of your event and most importantly the cost. Good thorough event planning will ultimately minimize the risk of surprise.
Frustrated? No time? Hire a professional: Many times it's easier and more time-manageable to hire a professional event planner (i.e. Wedding planner) for your event. An event planner can cover all aspects of your event and take most of the stress and responsibilities away so you can enjoy your event before, during and after. Click here to find a party planner in your area.
- Are we guaranteed a DJ on the day of our event?
A written agreement (contract) with your specific terms protects you from unscrupulous operators.
- How many years of experience do you have?
Experience brings knowledge of common problems and situations. Be sure your DJ has experience with your type of event. Ask for referrals.
- May we contact your references?
References are a major party of the entertainment business. This helps clarify the significance about the service.
- Do you belong to any professional associations or trade groups?
An involved business shows a willingness to learn, network, and share ideas. Belonging to a professional trade group reflects a caring attitude and respect.
- Will you allow requests?
This is your event and your special requests should be welcome. If a song seems inappropriate, a good DJ service will explain the reason(s) and ask, or suggest, an alternative.
- How early will you be there to set up?
An average of 60-90 minutes should be allowed for set up and sound check. Normally there is no additional charge for this and should be part of the entire service.
- How will the DJ be dressed (attire)?
Proper attire reflects a positive image to your guests. The DJ should be dressed as good or better than your guests.
- Are you insured and do you accept credit cards?
Insurance is a part of any legitimate business. Liability and casualty policies protect yourself, your guests, and the DJ company. Credit cards protect any purchase you make. In fact, if the service you hired does not appear or does not provide the services in the signed agreement, you can challenge the charge with your bank.
- Do you use professional gear (equipment)?
Using professional sound and LED lighting equipment helps insure a reliable service and quality presentation.
- Will you provide an emergency back-up system at our event?
Weddings, Mitzvahs, birthdays, and special events are often a once in a lifetime opportunity. A back-up system protects your investment.
This section's tips are provided by: ADJA (American DJ Association) in conjunction with DiscJockeys.com.
Choosing the right music is one of the most important decisions you make in planning your event. Music sets the tone for your whole event, from the first song to the last song. While the process can seem intimidating, with a little support it can be a wonderful opportunity for self-expression.
Here are some things to think about when planning your music:
Start the selection process early. The best DJ's are booked well in advance. The busy wedding months in many metro areas are March through June and September through December. Also keep in mind that Saturday nights are more in demand than other times. Look for a DJ that can play styles to suit all your guests. Your event should reflect your tastes, but you want everyone to have a great time. Look over your guest list and think about what they might like to dance and listen to. Of course, your friends are very important, but you should consider your relatives and your parents' friends as well. Be sure to choose DJ's who can provide the variety of music you want. A great DJ will make each one of your guests feel that at some point in the evening the DJ was playing just for them. Look for DJ's who can serve as a resource about every aspect of the entertainment for your special day. Talk with the DJ about repertoire, volume levels and audience participation. Ask lots of questions and be specific about your expectations. Don't hesitate to ask for suggestions.
Your DJ should listen carefully to your ideas and concerns. It is their attention to detail that will ensure that your event will be all that you dreamed.
Chances are this is your first time hiring a Disc Jockey Service. Many people are tempted to ask (What is your price?) for their first question when interviewing a prospective disc jockey service. This is not the best way to start your interview. Price is important but not the determining factor. You want to get all of the information and the most for your money. One potential DJ may charge less because the company is less experienced or is not as well equipped to handle your function. Some DJ services charge more because their service has a great reputation and may have many bookings. They may also have an exceptional sound and light show and many years of experience. Remember the law of supply and demand. There is Shop around and look for the best over all package that fits you. We have put together this list of questions to help you interview prospective DJ services. We hope you find the professional that is right for you!
- Do you use professional pro audio gear? What are some of the brand names you use?
The DJ tells you name brands that you can buy at the local electronic store (Best Buy, Circuit City etc. ) chances are they are not using pro audio gear. Home Hi-Fi gear is not made to hold up to the demands of repeat performances of professional use.
- Do you provide back up gear in case of an emergency?
Chances are nothing will happen at your event, but if it does, is your DJ prepared to trouble shoot the problem? Do they have back-up equipment on location to get the party back on track? (They should have extra cables, fuses, basic tools, CD player, amplifier, mixer, etc.).
- Ask them if their DJ service is insured?
If the service is professional and reputable, they will be insured. Most DJ services will at least have liability insurance for $1,000,000. Some will also have their equipment insured.
- Are we guaranteed the DJ of our choice the day of the event?
Some DJ companies have more than one DJ working for them. While the company may have been in business for years, your DJ may have been hired last week, so be sure who you are getting. Most companies have references on the specific DJ who will be assigned to your event.
- How many years of experience do you have?
This is a commonly asked question. The question should be how many events have you performed at? A seasoned DJ will have performed at hundreds of events.
- May we call three of your references?
A good DJ service keeps current references. The list that they provide for you should have at least ten or more names and not be more than six months old. This is a good indicator of the quality you can expect. If you are not comfortable with calling strangers, ask if they have any banquet halls, photographer, or video services that recommend them. Most banquet halls, photographers and videographers work with a lot of different DJ services every weekend.
- How will you be dressed?
Specify the type of apparel that your Disc Jockey is expected to wear for your occasion. Formal attire or coat & tie are the most popular forms of attire. If you are having a "themed" event, make sure your entertainer is informed.
- How early will you be Set-Up?
Most DJ services like to have the opportunity to do a sound and light check before any guests arrive. The last thing you want is a DJ hauling equipment through your receiving line and or guests.
- Ask if they allow requests from you and your guests?
Consider the policy of requests. The best DJs will take requests form the audience and work them into their routine. But don't expect the DJ to play every request. An excellent DJ blends requests with songs that will get your guests up and moving.
- What type of music is available?
Remember it is not the number of CDs, Tapes or Albums they carry but the content of the media. Ask them how many hit songs they carry and what type of music they have. Ask them how do they stay current with the new hits. A good DJ service will carry a wide variety of music and will have as many as 2000 hits or more. There are professional DJ services like Promo Only and Hot Hits that are available to professional DJs. These services provide the latest hits played on the radio stations with new additions released monthly. Remember that during the dancing segment of your reception a DJ will average 65 to 75 songs, so you should hear nothing but hits all night long. This will keep your dance floor full all night and everyone will have a great time.
- Do you provide a written contract?
It is extremely important to have your booking confirmed in writing . Ask for a written agreement, especially if you are paying an initial retainer. The standard initial payment for entertainment services is 50%. If you are expecting a specific entertainer, make sure you get it in writing as well.