Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Over the years, I have read many event tip articles. Some good, some not so good. The one thing I feel some of these articles is missing is the experience behind the tips being given. Having been in the industry for over a decade, we have seen many fads and themes come and go. One trend that never gets stale is having great entertainment for your guests. So how do you find that TOP NOTCH Entertainment? Well, the first deciding factor is what type of event are you having and what type of entertainment do you want? One thing to keep in mind, is the personality of your guests.
How many guests are you having? Are they dancers? Do you have many from out of town,if so are they going to spend more time talking or dancing? Do you want open dancing or background music? AVpartners.com makes a good point on a topic that is often overlooked, making sure your entertainment is age appropriate. They say “You’re not going to have a ballon artist at a conference for CEO’s, just like you’re not going to hire Brazilian dancers for a children’s event”. This is just as important as choosing the right music for your audience. Grandparents and parents probably don’t wanna hear WAP by Cardi B and twenty year olds don’t wanna do the Hokey Pokey….or maybe they do?
Something else to be aware of is that the size of your guest list goes hand in hand with the right amount of equipment for your event. For example, having 50 guests all in one location for a cocktail party requires much less equipment than an event of 100+ in a multi-room event space. Larger spaces that accommodate more guests could require larger or additional equipment to produce adequate sound. Guest count is even important with event lighting. A single dance light could be impactful to a dance floor of a few people, but if you add twenty more people that same light will become nearly invisible. If you planning a cocktail party or corporate mixer, you likely want the entertainment to be more laid back and maybe just have background music or a live string quartet. With having many of your guests conversing at these event types, they wanna be able to talk and catch up without having to leave the room to hear one another. If your vision is more of a party environment, consider having an additional conversational cocktail area. Are you planning games or activities? Are there going to be any speeches, if so would a microphone be needed? Photo booths are also a great option for your guests, with custom prints can be a great way to show off your company or event. No matter what you have planned for your event ensure that there is someone to guide the event. These are all things to keep in mind when planning an event. Another thing to keep in mind is, if you're planning a wedding, Is it a room flip all in one location, or is your ceremony at one location and the reception in another? This is something that you want your entertainment company aware of so they can provide you with the right equipment for your space/spaces. Be clear with what you want! The last thing you want is for your entertainer to show up with enough equipment for your reception but not your ceremony due to miscommunication. Ask your entertainer what their backup plan is, and what experience they have, you’d hate to find out that your event was their very first. Are you having dancing, if so consider having dance lighting to elevate your event.
So maybe you’re in charge of setting up a space for a corporate presentation. If so, what is required for the presentation? Is there information that needs to be displayed? Does the presenter need amplified? The first thing an AV specialist needs to know is how many guests you’re expecting. Let’s say you have 25 guests in one location, the presenter would like to be amplified and has visuals for the audience. In this case, you likely don’t need a huge sound system and display. A microphone on a podium and TV on a stand may work for you.
However if you’re event is going to be 100 people, with a visual presentation and multiple presenters, then you will need a much larger setup. You may opt for multiple 144” projection screens with several microphones and a more robust sound system. I attended a seminar one time and the setup looked phenomenal, but the presenter was right in front of the screen the entire presentation. There’s also been times where someones giving a speech and moving around and they walk right in front of the speaker with the microphone causing that loud feedback that will leave a poor impression on your guests. So, always make clear to the presenter where the should be and areas to avoid. The best option would be to have a stationary podium off to one side of the screen or in the center of two screens. Now, notice I have mentioned a few different event types with different scenarios. Yet I’ve yet to mention the term DJ. That’s because there are many forms of entertainment and a one type of DJ may not be right for you where another type of DJ could be. There are different types of DJ's including karaoke DJ's, Club Dj's, or maybe just a very Boisterous individual. I find that one thing a DJ has a hard time doing, is telling a client that they’re not right for them. We have had instances where a client has come in for a consultation, and after gathering all of the details for their event we find that we aren’t a good fit. We would then recommend them to another industry pro who can fulfill their vision, instead of trying to piece together their event which we may not be successful at. A vendor needs to know their limits, and we have no problem directing a customer to someone who might be a better fit. So, what types of entertainment should be considered? Live music- Your event type will help determine wether you want a live band or a string quartet, or maybe even both. Live music is a great option and has a vibe that is difficult to replicate. However is does have its flaws. Some things to consider when having live music would be their repertoire of music and breaks between songs. Also are they only playing music or are they making announcements for your guests as well? Are they putting on a show or are they in the background? Like I said, there’s no doubt that live music is cool but sometimes it can leave a void in the coordination of the event, so just make sure you have that aspect handled. DJ - Now this is where it can become a little tricky. The term DJ is often over used. They are many people coming into the industry who may have music knowledge but maybe don’t have much show experience. I have attended weddings where the music may have been great but the experience leading up to open dancing was poor. I’ve even been to an event where the DJ introduced the Bridal Party but forgot to introduce the NEWLYWEDS!!! HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN!?!?! Well, it happens because not all DJ’s are event professionals. Most of the time, the DJ is a one person operation, and that leaves room for error when it comes to the day of coordination.
DJ/Emcee- Some companies provide you with a DJ/EMCEE, this could be just one person taking on all of the tasks. In my experience, this can be too much for one individual to handle. Once again, doing all the expected event tasks and preparing guests for events while managing the music could be a lot to ask of one person depending on how much your event relies on coordination.
DJ/EMCEE Combination - This is Legacy Event Group’s speciality. We find it important to not only have great music but also to provide our clients and their guests with a seamless event. We achieve this by providing you with two wedding professionals with completely different roles. One being a DJ to provide you with all the right tunes, and another being your Emcee who will keep your guests informed and prepare every event before it happens to insure everyone involved is ready when the moment comes. When you choose Legacy Event Group, the process is simple. We guide you through the steps and even provide you with in-depth planning forms to help you plan any event type. We go over all of your event details and help you choose the equipment and options that are right for your vision and event space. Other than music, there are many additional options that can be entertaining for guests. Any thing from Photobooths, A/V Presentations, Fire Breathers, Rock Walls, Ziplines, or Caricature Artists can be a success for the right audience. I’ve attended events where a team mascot would introduce the guests of honor and take pictures and dance with guests. It was pretty cool but being an event professional when I witnessed it, I imagined what it would have looked like with cool lighting and spark machines. Entertainment can be amazing, but it needs to be properly planned, coordinated and executed! Choose the right entertainment for your event type, know your audience and event space, ask questions, express your vision, be clear with what you need, and plan plan plan!