Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When to hire your entertaiment.

Ok, so it has been a little while since I have posted and I have been very busy this fall. It has been full with weddings, fund raisers and corporate events. Now the holiday season is upcoming and that will certainly prove to be equally busy, I am sure!
This post is going to discuss at what point in time, during the planning of your wedding, should you consider hiring your entertainment. The answer is actually a simple one - it should be right at the beginning. Yes, this is should hire the entertainment for your wedding either first or as soon as you have secured a facility and/or photographer. What I have been asking all of my clients when they call me is "where are you at in your planning?" I have been flat-out surprised at the answer. Almost everyone answers that they have the location, photographer, florist, gowns etc. Now they are looking for a DJ. Let me outline the reasons why this is the wrong approach.
Everyone of us has been to a wedding at one point in time. If you think about the ones you have been to, what do you remember most - the meal?, the location?, the flowers? I doubt any of those responses are correct. Most certainly it is the DJ. When I ask this question to folks, they almost invariably reply with "the DJ was awesome" or "the DJ was horrible". Even if the food was less than average and not what you were expecting, the entertainment will be the one thing that everyone remembers. The two most important investments - yes I am calling them investments - are the photographer and the DJ. The photographer will capture the memories of your wedding and help you remember them and the entertainment will be what you remember most when you see those pictures of you and your guests dancing at your reception.
Don't wait until the very end of your planning to secure the most important piece of your reception, do it early and do it right. You won't regret it!!

Why so much money for so little time?

A frequently asked question is "How come you charge so much for a four hour event?" This is a very good question and there is a very good answer. Although your event will only last four hours on that day, our effort will average 7-8 hours. We will plan to arrive to set up two hours before the start time (after commuting there), then we will play for the four hours and then there is an hour breakdown time plus the commute home. All that adds up to about 8 hours of time which, on average, is a normal work day for most folks. Once we add in the time spent before your function (meeting with you, planning the paperwork and music) our total time and effort spent on your event will be approximately 13-14 hours.Now, it is important to realize that this time and effort spent on your event is not typical of most DJs. It is typical for us, but not for most. In fact, one of the questions you should ask your DJ or entertainer is exactly how much time and effort will they put into your event for you. If you don't like their answer, or if it isn't 10-14 hours or more - move onto the next person!

What to ask your DJ?

What are the important questions you should ask any entertainer before hiring them (including me)?
  • How long have they been doing this?
  • Is their equipment professional (CD players, mixers, speakers etc)? (A home stereo with a couple of iPods just won't cut it)
  • Do they have backup equipment in case of failure? Will your event continue seamlessly?
  • How much planning will they put into your event?
  • Is the person you are speaking with the person who will be at your event?
  • Will they meet with you in person to discuss your needs and wants?
  • How extensive is their music collection?
  • Are they current?
  • Do they have music for all of your guests?
  • What is their attire going to be at your event?
  • Are they part of a network of entertainers in the event they are sick or have an accident? (Will they find a comparable replacement for themselves?)
These are just some of the things you should consider when hiring your entertainer. If they are not able or willing to answer them for you or if they stumble to find answers that they think you are looking for, move on to the next person!!

How much do you charge?

One question that continuously comes up when I speak with prospective clients is "How much do you charge?" Although this may seem like the right question to ask, it really should be one of the last. Think about walking into a restaurant and before you even see a menu, you ask your server "How much is my bill?" Or, going into a car dealership and asking the salesperson "How much is a car?" it is impossible to answer these questions without knowing what it is you are looking for or what your needs are. Whether it is a wedding reception, a birthday party or a prom, determining what your needs and wants are is the most important thing to consider. A good entertainer will ask the right questions and set the right expectations before determining what package is best for you. Once you have discussed everything with the entertainer, then you can talk about price.It is important to remember that all good function planners will stress the importance of selecting the right entertainer for your event. You could have the most prestigious country club for your wedding reception, but if the entertainment is less than stellar, that is what ALL of your guests will remember most. Your meal could be mediocre at best, but if the music wasn't what you asked for and no one danced, that is what ALL of your guests will remember most. Finally, you could have your function at the local Elks Lodge with your family providing all the food and if the DJ is the best you've ever heard, that is what ALL of your guests will remember most!!

So far in 2008...

The first half of 2008 has gone well. It was one of my busiest years ever and I have enjoyed every function thus far. One thing has become very clear to me this year - brides and grooms are still looking to have elegant, high-energy wedding receptions and they clearly want someone with experience. I am honored to have been selected for several receptions already this year and I am very much looking forward to the ones I have coming up late this summer and early this fall. After 14 full years as a mobile entertainer, I still continue to learn new things and always apply the things I've learned to each and every function I perform at.