How many times have you heard it said, “The entertainment can make or break a party”?
It is unfortunate, the reason that quote exists is because of the truth in it. In my opinion, if the napkins are the wrong shade of blue, the flowers don’t come out perfect or if there are a few lumps in the mashed potatoes, it won’t have your guests heading out the door. However, if your guests (and yourself) are expecting a fun and entertaining time with music & dancing and the first 2 hours they are subjected to elevator music because your DJs music library is very limited or that’s how they have always done it, guests are not going to stick around for the remaining 2 or 3 hours! It does not matter how much time and money you have spent on the hall, the limos, your dress, the flowers, mashed potatoes or anything else. If your guests are not enjoying themselves they are going to leave the first chance they get! Even though you may gotten a “great deal” or spent top dollar for your entertainment, remember, not all DJs are created equal!
Today, “DJs” are a dime a dozen. Ask around, you will find that just about everyone you know has a friend or relative that is a “DJ”. In today’s technologically advanced world it doesn’t take much more than a computer, a couple of speakers and a mic. Sometimes not even that much. Just about anyone from ages 8 to 80, can put their name out there and claim to be a “professional” DJ. What then, do you do when looking for the right entertainment for your event? There are many tools that you can use to help weed out the TRUE professionals, the REAL entertainers, who really care from those that just want to make a quick buck and potentially ruin your event.
So here are a few helpful ideas to assist in the search for the right entertainment for you.
First, determine how important the entertainment will be to your event and set your budget accordingly. Do not just think every DJ is the same and will have all your guests on the dance floor all the time. Different DJs have different personalities. We do not all do the same thing. Some are more reserved, some more boisterous, others are balanced between. If having all of your family and friends up on the dance floor, engaged in the party and having a great time is important to you, consider allocating a little more into your entertainment budget. You might have to cut corners somewhere else but in the end it could be the difference between a GREAT party and an ok one (or worse). If all you want is a DJ who just stands there playing song after song, almost in the background, you can budget a little less. How important you consider your entertainment to be and how you budget for it, not only “could” but “WILL” have a large impact to the outcome of your event. You do get what you pay for, to a certain point. When hiring entertainment there is more than just spending top dollar to get great entertainment also. What your budget is will have an effect on the quality of entertainment you receive but it is not the only thing to consider.
Next, don’t reinvent the wheel. Ask your family and friends for recommendations. The easiest way to do this is by using a social media platform like Facebook. Just toss the question out there and you will quickly be receiving many responses from friends and family that have seen or used someone before. This is probably the quickest way to find someone. Use the positive experiences of others to help. Get at least 5 recommendations.
Now, go to your potential entertainer’s website and check it out. Here you are looking for the basic information. Do they offer services for your needs? I highly suggest you see if they have videos. Not just one or two but many different ones. Also see if there are a number of video testimonials from clients. You want to look for more than just one. The more videos you can look at, the better. Videos can often give you insight to the personality of an entertainer, how they carry themselves, what kind of speaker they are, how they interact with a crowd and if they connect with guests by looking for the crowd’s reaction. If what you see on the website in descriptions and video gives you a good impression. Contact the entertainer and set up a face to face meeting.
Here is probably the most important step in the process. Set up a meeting to “interview” your potential entertainers. Remember this is the person that will represent you at your event. Any serious DJ will have an office or at meet with you at your home. I know a LOT of really good DJs that will meet clients at a restaurant or coffee shop. I have always had misgivings about this because, in my opinion, it is not professional. No matter how serious they may be about what they do, it does not show how serious this person is about being a professional entertainer. Would you meet a doctor at a coffee shop for a checkup? Your vet? Your dentist? Of course not. Then why would you meet the person you are entrusting the success of your event in a coffee shop? At a minimum, if they are serious about what they do and what they are trying to sell you, they will come to your home, at your convenience, dressed professionally, willing to go over all details of your event and answer all questions. Likewise, most DJ’s will discourage you “checking them out” at an actual event. Many events are customized to the specific style and taste of the individual client. Unless you are a guest and can stay for the entire event, just seeing a small snippet of a party will not give you the entire picture of that DJs style, personality and skills. The best thing to do is set a plan to meet, in a professional setting, where you can exchange ideas, experiences and hear what they have to offer.
Once you have whittled down your list of potentials, compare what they have to offer. Personality, what you see in their videos, how they carry and present themselves, if they are insured, what others have said about them, price, over all likeability and other factors will all go into the decision making process. Most of all, go with what you feel. You have to be 100% confident and comfortable with this decision. Once that person shows up for your event there is no changing your mind. Do some research, do your homework and you will find the right fit for you.
Side note: There are also, “Event Centered” websites that are a clearing-house of everything one would need for an event. Sites like “Wedding Wire”, “The Knot” and “Gig Masters” are just a few of the more popular national sites. There are also smaller local sites that may have others to choose from. Go to these different sites, pick out a few and go from there.