How to Choose and Hire a DJ (Disc Jockey)
If this is your first time hiring a DJ for your special event, there are a few things you should know and I will do my best to explain them. You have probably heard the phrase “The entertainment can make or break the party.” That is very true and learning these few tips can save you from a disaster.
The best way to find a DJ is through word of mouth. Ask your friends and family who they’ve seen or used. What did they like or dislike about the performance? If these resources are not available to you, a quick internet search will yield dozens of results. Keep in mind when searching the internet, every upstanding DJ company will have a website. Also, a DJ’s website is a direct reflection of their company. From the various websites, you will notice some have a “homemade” look to them and some are distinctly designed by professionals. Professional DJ’s will have professional websites.
It is important for you to understand the level of entertainment that you desire. Some events are extremely interactive and require an energetic DJ, while others are more relaxed and you simply want someone to provide music. Because of this, it is important to understand what you want so you can find a DJ that will be the perfect match for your event.
Do you want a DJ with a set music program or be flexible? Take requests or not? Play your requests on-demand or when they feel it can be fit in without altering the dance floor or mood? As always, this is completely up to you. I can’t stress this strongly enough – get the DJ that will do it your way.
Experienced & Professional
Although interesting, you probably wouldn’t hire McDonald’s to cater your event. You would leave that to an experienced caterer. You should pick your entertainment the same way. Find an experienced DJ company that will provide you with the world-class DJ entertainment that you require.
Make Sure your DJ:
- Is punctual
- Has enough music
- Plays your requests
- Understands your event
- Is personable
- Uses professional equipment
- Plays your requests
Choosing a DJ for your Wedding
Let’s start with some interesting statistics:
After the Vows…
72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment.
Almost 100% say they would have spent more of their budget on the entertainment.
During wedding planning, Brides say their highest priority is their attire, followed by the reception site and caterer – reception entertainment is among the least of their priorities. Within one week after their reception, 78% of Brides say they would have made the entertainment their highest priority!
When asked 81% of guests say the thing they remember most about a wedding Is the entertainment.
65% of all couples that chose a band to entertain at their wedding, said, if they had it to do over again, they would have chosen a disc jockey.
These statistics were published in St. Louis Bride & Groom Magazine in 2003. Sources include Simmons, 2001; USA Today, 2002; National Bridal Service, 2001; The Knot, 2002; Brides Magazine, 2001.
Choosing a DJ for your Sweet 16 or Bar/Bat Mitzvah
These two very different events can be very similar in terms of entertainment. You will want a DJ who is familiar will all traditional ceremonies that you may opt to have such as candle lightings, grand entrances, etc. Do you want an interactive DJ who is a true showman that will MC your event and create a high-energy performance? Would you prefer someone to be more laid back and play music for a simple reception at your home? Maybe a bit of both? Make sure to discuss this with your DJ. Make sure he is able to offer the level of energy that you desire. Typically, dancers (or motivators) are hired as well as the DJ (a good DJ company will have their own dancers). These entertainers can teach dances, motivate your guests, and create a very impressive party atmosphere.
THE PERFECT SWEET 16 – “Making or Breaking Your Party”
Having helped plan a few sweet 16s, I am very aware of how stressful they can be. You want everyone to have fun, you want to make the best of your party – you want the perfect sweet 16. Let me give you some ‘inside information’ that you can use to help you focus more on enjoying your party than planning your party.
You’ve heard the phrase “The entertainment can make or break the party.” As a professional event planner and MC/DJ, I can tell you that this is very true. Because of this, finding the right DJ can be the hardest part of planning your sweet 16. There are thousands of disc jockey services nationwide – each of them very different. I could save you time in your search and shamelessly recommend our DJ service, but I would be hurting you more than helping you. I will be the first to tell you that we are not for everyone. We have a certain style to our performances and so does every other DJ. Call a few disc jockey services and talk to them. Get to know them and their performance style and see if you “click.” More on this later.
One of the biggest factors to consider is if the service you are considering is a full-time entertainment company with a proven record of success or a hobbyist DJ that will show up with a home stereo and a bunch of CDs.
Yes, the equipment that the DJ will be using at your event is important. A basic DJ system with sound and lights will cost upwards of $5,000 – much more expensive than a home stereo system or boom box. That is for a basic system and there are many factors that can raise that price estimate. Our “Premium Package” for example has an approximate worth of $10,000.
OK, if you’ve read this far you are really taking your party seriously and a serious party demands serious entertainment. Ask your disc jockey service if they will simply play music or if they will interact with your guests and motivate them on the dance floor. If you’re looking for a laid-back and friendly atmosphere, that’s great and a very nice way to celebrate your special day. If you’re looking for a high-energy performance, that’s great also – it’s just important to discuss this with your DJ.
One more thing I would like to let you know. Whether you’re in our West Michigan service area or you’re in a California suburb, we are here to help you. Get in touch with us if you have any questions. We’d be happy to help you pick the perfect DJ even if we are unable to make it to your event.
Celebrity Productions is a MI DJ Service founded in 2005. More information can be found online at https://www.celebrityproductionsgr.com or by calling (616) 633-1392.
Here’s an article that you may find useful:
How to Select the Right DJ Entertainment for your Bar / Bat Mitzvah
Selecting the right DJ Entertainment for your Son or Daughter’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a task that should not be taken lightly. Ask any parent who has recently had their son or daughter’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah and they will tell you that the Entertainment plays a critical part in the success of this kind of celebration. Often times the first service that is reserved is the Entertainment.
Entertaining a crowd of people that has a significant portion of 13-year-olds and 30 something and older adults demand a certain level of expertise. If both of these groups had the same tastes in music then entertaining this kind of crowd would be simple. However, this is not usually the case. Therefore the first thing to look for is an entertainment company that specializes in high-end youth/family events.
While the specific tastes in music may vary amongst the different age groups there are interactive dances that both can enjoy together. This is where your MC (master of ceremonies) comes in. A seasoned MC can have a crowd of adults and kids out on the floor together having the times of their life almost instantly.
Aside from handling the candle lighting ceremony, the grand entrance, and various introductions, your MC is a source of motivation and energy for your party. A physical and verbal presence on the dance floor to lead your guests through interactive dances and games. Your Son or Daughter is the star of the show and the MC’s job is be right there making sure everyone is having fun while paying the right amount of recognition to the guest of honor at whatever level the Bar or Bat Mitzvah feels comfortable.
Bar / Bat Mitzvah MCs come in all shapes, sizes, personalities, and experiences. Be sure and sit down with any potential MCs you are considering and see how your personalities fit. This will be very important when your party date arrives as a large portion of the success of your celebration is resting on his/her shoulders. Be sure and ask questions about anything that is on your mind. A seasoned MC will have the answers to your questions and will be able to set you at ease about your specific concerns.
If the DJ company you are considering does not offer a dedicated MC for your event you may want to keep searching. There is a lot for the MC to keep track of to make sure things run smoothly (making sure the photographer and videographer are ready before an important moment, shutting down any side entertainment before a candle lighting, being by your son or daughter’s side during the candle lighting to name a few). A separate DJ should be playing the music.
Another thing that can help engage the kids and the adults together is the use of motivational dancers. They are available through most DJ companies that specialize in Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Their high energy style and dance expertise is appealing to all ages. During the follow-along dances, they are there to instruct and motivate right alongside the MC. This should be done in a tasteful manner.
Colorful lighting and special effects are available from many DJ companies. They add to the energy of the room and can transform an elegant dining room into a trendy nightclub environment at a moment’s notice.
Some DJ companies offer dance stages that can help to spotlight the Bar or Bat Mitzvah. While on stage he/she will be raised above the crowd for all to see. Even the grandparents in the rear of the room will be able to see the guest of honor.
How do you know if the DJ company you are considering does all (or any) of this in a way that is a proper reflection of you and your family? Through their website. By visiting the website of any potential companies you are you can often times view party pictures, read past client testimonials, and even download video footage all from the comfort of your home computer.
The earlier you start the process the better. It is common for some of the more popular companies to book 2 years in advance or more. When you have narrowed your search, call to set up appointments to meet in person and you will feel confident that you are on your way to selecting the right DJ Entertainment.
Choosing a DJ for your School Dance
If you have been planning a dance for your school, you probably have noticed that you are getting a vast range of different quotes from different disc jockeys. However, before we get into that, let’s take a look at some of the costs of some typical weekend activities:
Plain Taco (Taco Bell™) $0.79
Video Movie Rental (Blockbuster™) $4.49
Value Meal (McDonald’s ™) $5.99
First Run Movie (AMC Cinema™) $9.50
Teen Dance Club $10-$20
Concert Ticket $25-$50+
You will be able to find a DJ for $200 regardless of the type of dance you are having. However, if 250 students attend the dance, can that hired DJ service that costs as little as a $.79 taco return the best results for your school and make your dance successful and profitable? Let’s take a look.
Attendance at school dances varies from 50 to over 2000 depending on level and size of the school. So for argument’s sake, let’s use a figure of 300 students for the following example.
You plan a fantastic dance for students and charge $6 per student netting you $1800. The DJ service cost only $200 ($.66/student) leaving you with $1600 profit excluding any decorations or refreshments. This is a wonderful little profit for the school. However, after the dance, you hear several complaints from students and administrators alike. Students weren’t really dancing, some lyrics were inappropriate, the music skipped, used home stereo equipment, and the DJ had to work off of only 1 cd player for the whole night because his other one broke the other night.
For the next dance, you decide to keep the same DJ because you got such a deal for the last one. You did talk to him about music content and other concerns. The night of the dance arrives and only 200 students show up. You net $1200 minus the $200 ($1/student) you paid the DJ and other related expenses. You feel the event was okay, but nothing special while noting you had 100 fewer students attend.
Word spreads quickly among the students the DJ didn’t play their requests and wasn’t good. The 200 students at the last dance decline more for the next dance until eventually they stop showing up and your school’s dances are canceled.
So what happened? Many schools fall victim to the cheap DJ service that offers a less than adequate sound system, limited or unedited music library, poor light show (if any), inexperienced DJ, or someone who is “just doing it on the side.” As illustrated by the above example, hiring a cheap DJ service can have lasting effects on school dances. Not only can the dance be ruined, but also the fate of future dances. If the students weren’t happy at the dance, they may not attend future dances affecting the profit level.
You can actually keep the cost down with the more students that attend. Some area high schools have as many as 1000+ students attend their dance. For less than $2 a student (remember, half the cost of a video rental), you can bring a full club-style atmosphere into your gymnasium. Only have 100 students attend a dance? For barely the cost of a value meal at McDonald’s per student you can hire a professional, quality disc jockey service. How long would a hamburger, fries, and drink entertain your typical teenager on a Friday or Saturday night? Certainly not for a non-stop, high-energy, interactive 3-4 hours.
Call Celebrity Productions DJ’s today to talk about the entertainment alternative. Office: (616) 633-1392
How to Plan a Successful Prom or Homecoming
The biggest social event of most teens’ high school careers is the Prom. Indeed, the Prom has become so important over the years that it has become a mini-industry of its own. With almost $1.8 billion spent on prom-related purchases and regular reporting on the industry from Wall Street analysts, the Prom is indeed the paramount high school social event.
With respect to planning, a typical Prom breaks down into the following areas that require attention.
The venue is by far the first thing you want to take care of. All other things flow from the choice of venue. You cannot set the date, hire entertainment, hire security, or plan a budget until your venue is set.
A good rule of thumb is to start looking at your possible venue choices as early as possible, and no later than at the end of September before your spring Prom. Early planners will usually get the dates they want, while Prom committees that start the planning process later in the year usually have to juggle their schedule to accommodate the venue they want or stick to their date choice and settle for a venue of lesser caliber. Looking at venues even a year ahead of time is not inappropriate, especially in areas where there is competition for the best sites.
The decor choices you make have only one major limiting factor: finances. If your budget allows you to create a virtual movie studio, then, by all means, go for it. If your budget is more limited, then you must figure out what part of your budget you can spend on decorations and make sure you do not exceed this amount.
Food is usually tied to the venue, in that, almost all hotels and banquet halls have either an in-house catering department or a preferred list of caterers. As with décor, your limitations are primarily financial, with special consideration being given to nutritional concerns. Use your free school resources-your school district will usually have someone on staff who is knowledgeable about dietary issues and can advise you on subjects such as vegetarian meals or special dietary restrictions that some students may have. Your main decision about food will be whether to have a sit-down dinner, a buffet-style dinner or just serve appetizers and desserts. Local custom usually dictates your choice in this area. In areas where most people favor restaurant dining before the Prom, it doesn’t make sense to spend the money to serve dinner.
Entertainment – Very Important!
The subject of entertainment is greatly misunderstood when it comes to budgetary planning. The mistake some groups make is to blow their budget on the venue, décor, and food, and not have enough left for quality entertainment. This is the biggest mistake that a Prom committee can make, as the choice of entertainment will determine the quality of the evening.
If your Prom DJ is great, people will say they had a great time. If the entertainment is bad, your teens will remember the event as a dud. I’ve seen plenty of Proms where the food was not up to scratch but the attendees still considered it a success because of the quality of the entertainment. I’ve never seen an event with good food and bad entertainment that was considered a great time. The trick is to find a DJ company that specializes in high-end events – such as your prom. Although interesting, chances are you wouldn’t hire “McDonalds” to cater your prom. You would leave that to an experienced caterer. You should pick your entertainment the same way. Find an experienced DJ company that will provide you with the world-class prom entertainment that you require. Don’t settle for less when you deserve the best.
In the last two decades, schools have begun to run after-Prom parties, where all Prom-goers are locked into the school building or other community building for the evening to enjoy a variety of activities such as dancing, casino-type games, movie rooms, fortune tellers, caricature artists, breakfast, and raffle-type events.
Indeed, in schools that sponsor such events, they have almost eliminated Prom night drinking fatalities. I’ll save the major discussion about these events for the May article on overnight lock-ins, but just remember that almost as much planning goes into this event as the Prom itself.
Some sort of a security team is always a good idea at your Prom. My best recommendation is for your group to hire off-duty police officers and have them show up in uniform. A good show of force will eliminate a lot of the problems before they even start, and for those problems that still occur, the officers are there to solve them.
The major overriding concern of every planning decision you make will be whether you can afford to do it. After fundraising efforts by your class, the major source of revenue for Prom expenses is your ticket sales. When making decisions about cost, you need to decide whether or not the incremental increase in the price of the ticket is worth the expense.
For example, let’s say you have 500 people coming to your Prom. You have a choice of an okay DJ company for $750 for the night or an amazing DJ company for $1,500. Your incremental ticket price for the okay company is $750/500 = $1.50 per ticket, and for the amazing DJ company, it would be $1,500/500 = $3.00 per ticket. Base your decision on whether the increase from one cost per ticket to the next is the best decision for your group.
Call Celebrity Productions DJ’s today to talk about the entertainment alternative. Office: (616) 633-1392
This information courtesy of http://www.premiumdj.com