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Posted by Elite Entertainment on 08/27/2014

Suggestions For Booking Entertainment | Elite Entertainment | New Jersey DJs

Suggestions For Booking Entertainment | Elite Entertainment | New Jersey DJs

Try to remember the last wedding you attended. Was it six months ago? A year? Perfect. Now try to remember what hors'douvres were served during cocktail hour. Tough one, right? How about this, do you remember the favor you got? Maybe, maybe not. Now here's an easy one: Did you have a good time? Did you dance all night? Was the entertainment great? Or was it horrible?

If you are like most people, chances are you'll remember the entertainment more than anything at a party. Entertainment leaves the most indelible memory after any affair. So it only stands to reason that the guests you invite to your wedding will have the same impression. Long after the memory of how your flowers looked has faded from their minds, long after they've forgotten about those invitations you sent out, they'll remember how great a time they had, dancing and celebrating with the Bride and Groom.

It is for this reason that you should book the entertainment for your wedding reception early. You should be very clear about what you want and how you want your day to run. You should shop around. You should call references. You should see your Band or DJ live, not just on videotape. You should insist on guaranteeing a specific person or specific players once you reserve your entertainment. And, it is for this reason, that if you're going to cut some financial corners at your reception, you should try someplace else. Don't order match books for example, or go with the three hour open bar instead of five.

Spend your money wisely on your wedding day for entertainment, and you are virtually guaranteed to have a memorable, fun, exciting day. The following are some tips to help you when "shopping around" for entertainment. Many of these suggestions apply for other services as well, your photographer or videographer for example, but for the purpose of this article we'll deal strictly with Entertainment services for your reception:

1. How early should you book?

As a rule of thumb, 12 -18 months prior to your date. This varies based on the time of year and day of the week. If you are planning a Saturday in the Spring or Fall, 12 months might be too late. If you are planning a Friday night wedding or even a Saturday in an off month (January and February) then 6 -12 months is more appropriate. Most companies you deal with will ask for a small deposit (about a third) up front.

2. How can you see the company perform?

You should either be able to attend a showcase or watch a video demo. If a company invites you to another person's wedding to "peek" in, be a little leery. Do you really want that to happen on your wedding day? And if that's how a company displays its talents, chances are they'll do that when your reception comes up. Any company that's professional and experienced will have many opportunities for you to see them.

3. Is there a variety of entertainers and packages to choose from? (Is there someone for YOU?)

If a band company represents a number of bands or if a DJ company has a few entertainers on staff, chances are they are all a little different. Check each one out. Once you're happy with a company's reputation, find out who in that company is perfect for you.

4. Make sure the company will allow you to choose an entertainer or specific players.

If you fall in love with a band because of the lead singer, or if you are interested in a specific emcee from a DJ company, make sure the company will guarantee that specific person by name. Most companies will do this and it gives you the piece of mind that you know who you are getting.

5. Do not assume that all companies use state of the art equipment.

The fact is, some companies cut costs by purchasing cheaper equipment. This will come back to haunt their reputation but you don't want it costing you on your big day. You don't have to know brand names but you should check out the equipment to make sure it sounds good, looks new and is taken care of. If you are looking at a DJ company, ask if the DJs own their own equipment. This is actually a good thing because he or she probably takes better care of that equipment than he would company-owned gear.

6. Try to get a feel for whether the company is truly a company.

A true entertainment "company" (and not a small operation that works out of a home or a "mom and pop" company) has many benefits. For one thing, there's a much better chance they'll still be in business 12 -18 months later when your wedding comes up. Many individuals, especially in the DJ business, get started part time, find out it's not all fun and games, and get out of the business quickly. Also, companies will have backup entertainers on staff and backup equipment readily available. Companies will be fully insured (and many banquet halls insist on this.) And finally, more than likely, a company is a company because they are good. Most entertainment companies grow from a smaller, very talented core and as long as they maintain their reputation with quality they will continue to grow.

7. Are you happy with the customer service you received?

If you do not feel like you are being treated well in the initial process of getting to see a company, during the time when they are trying to "win" your business, how do you think they'll treat you once you've booked them? Will you get the one-on-one attention you deserve? You should insist that a company is flexible and work with you to create the exact atmosphere you are looking for on your big day. If you hear things like "you can give us a few requests," or "Can you bring that CD along? I don't think I have it," you should see the warning signs. Answers like, "we want you to tell us everything you want to hear," or "We can learn to play that, no problem" are what you should hear.

8. How helpful will the entertainer be in planning the reception and music for special activities and dances?

This probably goes to experience more than anything. An entertainer who specializes in weddings and who has done many of them will be able to assist you in selecting music, creating the right atmosphere and finding the right song or songs for special moments in the reception (like dancing with a parent). You probably won't be able to truly judge this until right before your wedding when you meet with your entertainment company to discuss specifics but you should ask a few questions up front and pay careful attention to how informative the answers are.

9. Feel out the company's reputation by asking people in the wedding industry about that company.

Any entertainment company that does a decent amount of work will develop a reputation "in the industry." Photographers, videographers, and banquet people, just to name a few, will work with and see the same faces all the time and they are a great source of news, both good and bad. Ask the people at your reception site (and not just the banquet manager who may receive a commission for referring a certain company but also servers and bartenders) what they think of a certain entertainment company. Try this with photographers and videographers and you'll probably begin to see a company's reputation, whether good or bad, develop before your eyes.

10. When you're ready, book it.

The process can be long and exhausting but once you've decided, do everything you can to reserve the company you've chosen as quickly as possible. Nothing will disappoint you more than going through the whole process, setting your heart on something and then waiting a week to call and finding out they are booked on your day. It happens, but don't let it happen to you. Once you've decided, pick up the phone, get a check in the mail, sign a contract, reserve the date. And then don't second guess yourself. If you followed these steps, rest assured you'll have great entertainment for your reception.

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