When going through the quoting process, so many of my clients initially express concern around not knowing what all they’ll need for their event. They’ve got an idea that they want some sort of entertainment (a DJ, cover band, live musician, etc) but generally that’s about it. A larger part of my job when initially working with a potential client is to envision what they’re going for and then put the logistics in place to make that happen. I find one of the easier ways to do that is by asking a series of questions to draw out the event details in the initial consultation. By asking and explaining my reasons to the client, I find that I get the information I need to help create their dream event, and they get a sense of ease and control with knowing that all of the details are touched.
Below, I’ve shared a list of details that you should have in mind when hiring entertainment for your next event. Give these details to your vendor or event planner to make sure you feel confident that you’re getting exactly what you want going into your next event.
- Event Type – Let your DJ know the event type so that they have an idea for the flow of your party. A birthday party flows completely differently than a wedding or a corporate promotional event.
- Event Date – Having the exact date is necessary to be able to confirm vendor availability.
- Event Location – Many Event Djs will need to add additional pricing if your event is outside of their standard service area.
- Event Start Time – What time is your event supposed to start. Keep in mind what you’ve got listed on the invitations.
- Guest Arrival Time – This is especially important because ideally you’ll want your DJ and vendors in place and set by the time your guests begin to arrive. Many people like to cut costs here and schedule the DJ to start after the guests arrive. Keep in mind that it isn’t a good look for your guests to watch vendors dragging in and setting up equipment. Cutting costs is fine, but definitely splurge for the extra 30 minutes to allow your DJ to be ready when your guests arrive.
- Requested Timeframe – How long will the event run? 6pm-10pm? 12Pm – 2pm. Note – many djs have a hour minimum meaning that you’ll need to book them for at least x hours. Mine is a 3 hour minimum. I’ll come out and perform for shorter events, but they are priced differently.
- Number of Guests – this helps the DJ to determine the appropriate sized sound system for your event. For events with smaller turnouts, 2 top speakers are fine. For larger events, a sub woofer or additional speakers may be needed to give a good quality of sound.
- Age Range – This will help your DJ to determine what sort of music will be needed/appropriate for the event.
Equipment / Services
- Entertainment Services – For Example, you’re looking for an Event DJ to play current top 40 music that’s family friendly. Having an idea of what sort of music you want or what format it should be presented in – like a band or a DJ – is helpful when planning your event.
- Host/MC – Many times if you’re booking a DJ or a Band, they will also be able to act as an MC. In some cases you’ll want to bring in an MC separately – depending upon their role in the event. Let your vendor know what you’re intending to have the MC do and they’ll be able to help direct you to the appropriate solution.
- Sound System – You’ll need this unless the venue already has one. (most do not) Let your vendor know the estimated head count so they can make sure to get you the appropriate set up.
- Wireless Microphone (s) – You’ll need a microphone is someone is planning to speak over the PA system. A wired microphone will work but you’ll be limited to the range of motion of the cord. A wireless option is great for weddings and corporate events where someone will want to walk around with the microphone or pass it around to several people. You’ll only need multiple wireless mics if you plan on having multiple people speaking at the same time like on a fashion show panel.
- Dance Floor Lighting – In my experience, people don’t like to dance in direct light. It makes you feel vulnerable and looked at. These set ups are really helpful for livening up a dance floor. Each DJ will have different lighting options. If you want to add lights to your dance floor set up, ask your DJ for options and quotes.
- Up Lighting – These are stationary lights that help change the feel and color or the room. Add a few to highlight a specific area or several to change the entire feel of the space. They generally cost around $20 and up per light, but can take your event space to the next level, visually. Ask your event DJ or AV Vendor for pricing options</li>
- Custom Logo / Monogram – You’ll want this if you want to project your company logo or custom monogram onto the walls or the dance floor. Not all DJs offer this option. Check with your DJ for availability and pricing.
- Photo Booth – This is a fun way to liven up your event. Especially enjoyable for corporate events and promotional and branding events, as most photo booths will allow for custom logos and some even allow you to post instantly to social media. This is a fun way to encourage guests to interact and capture the memory of your event
- Is the Event Inside or Outside? This is important for vendors to know for the purpose of staging equipment. Many times I’ll bring different gear with me to an event that’s outside because I don’t want to subject my more expensive equipment to the elements.
- If Outside, will the DJ Booth or Stage be covered? This will also be important incase the DJ or Band requires a tent or cover for their performance space. You’ll want to communicate it to the vendor either way as requirements will vary.
- If Outside, is there a weather contingency plan? Weather is something that can change on the drop of a hat. I’ve played several outdoor events where the weather turned in the course of the event and it was a scramble to protect the gear and move things around. You’ll want to have your weather contingency plan worked out ahead of time so as to keep the event running smoothly in the case of a change or weather. Be proactive and provide this information to your vendors before your event.
- How far is the DJ Booth or stage from the nearest power source? This is the one that everyone seems to forget. In order for electronics to work, there has to be a power source in place. Especially if your event is outdoors, you’ll want to consider the location of the nearest power source. If power isn’t available, vendors can run off of generators and battery packs, however, in most cases those will be an additional cost.
Having these details in mind when you discuss your event with your vendors will help things to move more smoothly and will help to ensure that you get exactly what you’re looking for.
If you found this article to be helpful, make sure you CLICK HERE to download the DJ Hiring and Event Planning workbook. It’s full of worksheets that will help take you from sourcing and finding a reputable DJ to getting the most accurate quote, and finally to basic event planning and music selection.