This believe it it or not can make or break your evening and I've performed at venues that are just not suited to the event, for example.
Room size. too many guests or not enough to fill the room.
A small room with too many guests will ruin your evening, believe me I've seen it. if your guests have'nt got somewhere to sit, they'll go home early. (right after they've had some buffet) Ha Ha
Too big of a room not enough guests will leave you looking like Billy no mates, and this is the most common, I've encountered.
I've spoke to the hosts at the end of the night who have said "I can't believe it, we invited 150 tonight and we catered for 200 Just in case and there's loads of food left, take some home with you". Well the rule of thumb is invite double you wanted to be there, because guess what, Aunty Joan & Uncle Fred who never let anyone down have both been ill in bed and don't want to pass it on. excuses for not turning up, I could write a book. I know this is being very blunt but it's reality and you will have to face it as it happens to everyone. So let's get the venue right first time around and make this party the best.
Or should we call it, A waste of time? Well in most cases this is true and could cost you good money for little more than 20 min's more time.
I know of venues who charge for a late bar but would tell you not to bother. here's an example.
You've found the venue and you have the room untill 12.00 am and everyone has to be out for 12.30. They ask, do you want a late bar? this sounds good at the time untill you weigh it up.
Dj calls last orders at 11.20 for 11.30 bar
Bar closes at about 11.40 ish (by the time everyone has been served) with 20 min's drinking up time. leaving us at 12.00 and the Dj has 10 - 15 min's to finish. Everyone must be out of the room for 12.30
Now then here's the so called late bar.
Dj calls last orders 11.40 for 11.50 bar
Bar closes at 12.00 ish (watch how quick they are with the shutters) with 20 min's drinking up time. leaving us at 12.20 and the Dj has already finished at 12.15. you still have to be out for 12.30
Keep your money in your pocket untill you have worked out weather your getting a good deal, as in most case like the above mentioned , your not.
Bar Prices. A quick word of advice, check this out before you book as guests don't relax untill they've had a few drinks and if they're paying £10 for 2 drinks believe me, it'll be the only 2 they have right before they have the buffet and go home. bear in mind if they have kid's, they'll want soft drinks and some venues cater for them with cheaper drinks. I myself was at a wedding where I bought 1pint of beer, a half of beer and 2 cokes for the kid's and it cost me £15. well we had the buffet then went home, Ha Ha (only joking) but seriously bear it in mind.
Ever been to a party where it takes you hours to get there and it's in the back of beyond? Some upmarket country manor in the middle of nowhere? Yeah me too. You can't drink because your driving and there's no local B&B's or Hotels within a decent distance.
I say this to everyone who asks my advice on planning a party. It's your party and you can have it where you want but the fact is this, if you want your party is to be a success you need guests and plenty of them. Quite simply it's a numbers game, the more guests you have the better the event will be. also you need a good mixture of young and old.
So next time your looking at venues for your event, whatever it may be. Ask your self the question, will my guests travel to here?
Well what can we say about the surprise party? Probably quite a lot but I'm going to keep it brief.
I've done surprise party's where there's been 3 people in the room to surprise the person when they arrived. I'll tell you it was'nt nice at all and I felt for the person concerned, as it did'nt get a whole lot better as the night went on with a total of 12 people there all night, it was even harder for me to even start to entertain these people.
If your the person organising one of these events, Please Please Please make sure you tell your guests to arrive in plenty of time before the person your suprising turns up. Blag your guests, tell them there arriving at 7.30 when really it's 8.00, so you'll have them all there, this way hopefully you'll have a full room. Tell your guests if they can't make it for that time to come 20 min's after to avoid everyone turning up at the same time and ruining the whole thing. (believe me it happens) also have someone inform the entertainment of there arrival so they can have the music ready to play.(music you have chosen)
Get this right and the night will be one to remember, get it wrong and you'll not want it mentioned ever. Trust me
Get this wrong and you'll know about it. there's a lot to cover here but believe me take note and you'll have a good night.
Alright let's start with a typical party who hire a Disco.
You've booked the disco and the night as arrived, you told the DJ all the times, you agreed a price and briefly talked about music you would like to hear. then your worse nightmare comes to life. The DJ is late your guests are arriving and you can't contact him, What are you going to do?
Wait a bit longer? Ring Him? Hang on see if he arrives? To be honest you shouldn't find yourself in this position ever. I've been contacted more times than I can remember because the DJ they had booked didn't turn up. This is bad and reflects on all DJ's, giving the rest of us bad press. I personally don't go out to venues where the DJ hasn't turned up, for the simple reason it can make me look bad, let me explain. I have done it in the early days last minute phone call to bail a party out and have received the worst reception ever, purely and simply because they think I'm the DJ who couldn't be bothered turning up on time.
Here's what to do, to stop this happening.
When booking get written confirmation sent to you, make sure you have all contact numbers. Land line and mobile are essential anything else like Home address and email address's are a bonus. ring the DJ a week prior to the event just to be safe. Really they should ring you to check everything is still OK.
Music for your event is another topic which I myself have high on my list of priorities and you need to get this right but this doesn't mean giving the DJ 20 A4 pages with times of every track you want playing. I've seen it believe me and it rarely works. I don't mind client input and encourage it 100% but if someone puts a playlist together for me and I have to play it in the order it's set out, then I'm little more than a juke box and to me you've wasted your money and doubted my Knowledge and experience. so when booking a DJ ask them what music they play first and see what they say. my answer and other DJ's I'd recommend would be "I play to the crowd with a good mix of music also inviting requests from the guests" if the DJ said "well I love a bit of Rave" and it was my mum's 60th I guess I'd not be booking him.
You also want background music on when your guests are arriving, now let's get this straight before we go on. I said background music, not deafening dance music. you and your guests need to be able to hear yourselves speak and maybe you haven't seen some of them for quite a while, so a lot of catching up to do. if the music is too loud, tell him to turn it down, after all it is your party.
You'll also require background music during the buffet, to keep the night going. There is nothing worse than a silent room when a buffet is on (sounds like a school Dinner Hall).
When the night starts back after the buffet you'll probably have been in deep conversation with an old friend or family member and totally forgot a few things. Let's see if I Can jog your memory!
The flowers or gifts for the Bridal Party (unless you've done this during the Meal) they should be close at hand so the DJ can pass them to you, it makes life a little easier.
You may have also forgotten to cut the cake! My suggestion on this is to have the caterers bring it to the front of the stage or centre of the dance floor, so it's easy for your guests to take pictures and for the caterers to take it away again, if your having one of the tiers cut up for the guests.
Did you pick your first dance?? you may well have done and the DJ said yes I have that one for you. Then to your horror the track starts and guess what? it's the wrong version **** I hear you Cry, I never thought of that. best thing to do is bring your slow dance on a disc and hand it to the DJ at the beginning of the night, mission accomplished.
Now you may not agree with what I'm about to tell you but bear with me.
I've been around the entertainment business for a long time and gained a lot of knowledge and experience along the way so I'm comfortable with etiquette which goes with the profession. Now the point I'm getting at is this, not every DJ out there is the same and may need prompting by you, they should'nt but in the real world they do.
I'll start with appearance first as the way I've seen some DJ's present themselves, is absolutely appalling. unshaven, untidy hair, un ironed shirt and trousers, muddy shoes, Bad Body Odour. Now I'm not kidding these things are bad and you should not be faced by this. some DJ's I've seen have wore Jeans and a T-shirt and when anyone has said anything they get, these Jeans cost me £300 mate. Look it's like this, when booking A DJ (or any Entertainment for that matter) tell them the dress code, if it's shirt and tie, tell them after all it's your celebration and don't let them ruin it.
Good etiquette goes a long way and isn't just about dress it's about the way people conduct or behave themselves. When booking A DJ he should know these things and and make you feel at ease. your DJ if experienced enough should be able to keep your night running smooth with no hiccups, liaising with the caterers for times of the buffet, the photographer or the videographer, so it leaves you free to enjoy your night. I'll give you an example. I was at a wedding not so long back and I was setting up when the videographer came up to me, the first thing out of his mouth was "I'm knackered me mate, can we do the first dance when you've set up as I've been at it all day and want to get off" (bearing in mind this is about 18.15 and I'm still setting up) so I said to him the first dance is after the buffet and that's also when the bride & groom would like it. Well he winged and moaned and had a face on him for a while. I also explained to him the importance of why it's done that way, so the bride & groom can speak to the guests arriving for the evening without being interrupted and that by the time the buffet is over any guests arriving for the reception would all be there by this time and be able to see the bride & grooms first dance. (it's a tried and tested method also good etiquette) The videographer did no more than approach the bride & groom and pester them that much, that they gave in because they wanted it on video and feared he would leave before the buffet was over. half of the evening guests had not arrived and missed this, so we ended up doing it again after the buffet when everyone was there. I would have told the Videographer he can wait and to be honest if he was professional he wouldn't have put them in the position in the first place. Your DJ is also your MC for the evening and always last to leave, so it makes sense when you book a DJ to bear this in mind.
How many times have you been to a party or celebration and there is more entertainment, than just the DJ? Me personally, loads of times but this next bit is important reading for you the client, when hiring extra entertainment.
First the comedian:
He turns up 10 minutes before he's due to go on introduces himself to you and makes his way to the DJ and says "have you got a mic I can use"? Well the answer is yes I have a mic but to be honest why haven't you brought your own? And you also need a PA to plug it into!
Now this sounds harsh but in reality, it's not. Comedians have done this for years and have charged more than your paying the DJ and he's the one with all the gear. I personally don't let third parties use my equipment without prior arrangement and cost. And the reasons for this are simple, what if he swings, drops, bangs the mic resulting in breakage? Who’s liable? Well it's sad to say but it's you. So the next time you book a comedian ask him dose he have his own PA or Mic, because a comedian without a mic isn't going to be very funny.
Without equipment they're not much of a performer are they?
The old chestnuts
I've had all my equipment stolen and I'm supposed to be performing here tonight Can I use your PA if I bring my player in or even worse can you give me a line in for this CD player? Or my favourite, Hi I'm (their name) I'm a friend of the family and they would like me to sing for them tonight, have you got (song name) on backing track or Karaoke?
By this time I'm usually laughing hysterically trying to control myself. How cheeky is that, I mean it would be like me turning up with a box of CD's and saying where's the equipment I'm using tonight? It just wouldn't be fare to do it and as DJ's we don't.
As a singer myself I wouldn't turn upto a gig with no equipment, without prior arrangement.
What I'm trying to say here if you’re just not getting it or you think it's a little extreme.
Speak to the DJ before hand and don't have any hidden agendas, we're all human (well most of us) just keep us informed and we can make your night run smoothly.
Thanks For reading