the perfect reception Floorplan

Not only do you want everything to go smoothly on your wedding day, you also want great energy, happy guests, and a packed dance floor! Don’t underestimate the role your floor plan plays in creating the right setting for an amazing party.

 

1. Make the dance floor your center stage.

 

The bride (and groom) might be the center of attention, but the dance floor’s the center of the party. If you hide it around a corner, in a separate room, or at the very end of a long hall, it’s going to be difficult to pack it. Also, guests might miss or feel left out of traditions that usually happen on the dance floor, like the cake cutting and bouquet toss. Easy access to a central dance floor makes for a much more involved crowd.

 

2. Keep the dance floor small.

 

Consult dance floor sizing charts, and don’t let your venue convince you that bigger is better. Adjust size according to guest number. If the floor is too large for the party, it will look sparse no matter how many people are dancing, which discourages joiners and makes party pics look lame.

3. Place the DJ right by the dance floor.

 

This sounds obvious, but some people (or venues) try to put the DJ in a corner. Your DJ’s job isn’t just to play music—it’s to motivate your guests to get (and stay) on the dance floor. DJs need visibility to gauge the crowd, and they need to be able to interact with guests. You wouldn’t dream of putting the band in a corner!

 

4. Don’t position tables right by the speakers.

 

If your DJ’s in a corner, there’s usually a table (or more) between his speakers and the dance floor. So there are two options: either the music is way too loud for the guests seated at that table or way too soft for a happening party. The dance floor itself can act as an excellent buffer between seated guests (especially elderly ones) and the speakers.

5. Arrange tables thoughtfully.

 

Before you stress about who sits with whom, consider the arrangement of the tables themselves. Ideally none is too far away from center stage (aka the dance floor), as visibility and access are important. If you can, arrange tables in a “U” around the dance floor, with the head table opposite the dance floor from the DJ. And if you have space, a few cocktail tables by the bar will encourage guests to mingle.

6. Consider how people will move through the space.

 

Guests need to be able to move around comfortably if they’re expected to circulate and get up to dance. Don’t make them squeeze and pardon their way onto the dance floor! Do make a clear path directly from the entrance to the dance floor. Also think about the flow of foot traffic to the buffet, restrooms, and bar. If you put the bar right by the door, people will congregate at the entrance.

 

7. Cluster all the fun stuff.

 

You may be tempted to spread out the bar, the cake, the photo booth, the lounge area, and whatever other fun stuff you’ve planned for your guests. It might get guests to circulate, but you don’t really want them circulating too far away from the dance floor. The last thing you want is a packed floor to disperse to the other end of the room to watch you cut the cake! Plus, you want your guests to interact: the drinkers with the dancers with the photo geeks, so locate the “fun stuff” together.

The value of Experience

This past week, I had a real world situation occur that really drove home to me the true value of experience in a profession. I was heading to a Saturday performance when the “check engine” light came on in my van. fortunately, it was a local show, so I got my brother in law to take my van down to the local tire and service shop to have it checked out. I had used this shop for service and maintenance on
the past 3 vehicles I have owned.

The shop manager called me and said that I had multiple cylinder misfires, and that I should probably have the spark plugs replaced. The van had 73,000 mile on it and it was about time to have that done anyway. I agreed. Of course, my particular engine has to have the intake manifold taken off just to get to the spark plugs. So it is a $500.00 repair. But i had to get my van back into service so I had it done. And of course, it took special spark plugs that had to be gotten from the dealer. So, a couple of days later, I go in, pay for the repair, and go merrily on my way. About 30 minutes later, the “check engine” light comes back on. So I head back to the shop. The same issue is still coming up on their computer. they are not sure what is going on. they figure that there is carbon in the fuel system that could be fouling the injectors. So they recommend a fuel system cleaning.

Let me cut to the chase. After a week of trying different remedies, they still could not identify the cause. After a compression test, they said it looked like a head gasket needed to be replaced. this would cost around $2500.00. I thought it was time to get a second opinion. Obviously, this issue was beyond their experience level. So I went to the Dealer to have the problem diagnosed. I sat in the waiting room sweating bullets for 2 hours. The technician came in and told me that one of the heads on my engine would need to be replaced, but that I shouldn’t worry. It would be covered under the Manufacturers power train warranty. I almost fainted.

Moral of the story? The local shop tried. I can’t fault them for that. And they do a fine job with tires and basic maintenance. But even though they had the equipment to diagnose the problem, they did not have the experience to accurately solve the issue. And it cost me almost $600.00 to find that out.
There is definitely value in experience.

Choosing the right Wedding Songs

There are so many details that pop up when planning a wedding, it can quickly become overwhelming. an area that I specialize in is entertainment. And more specifically, music. If you want to know how important the music is to your ceremony or reception, just imagination having either with no music at all. Just the sound of coughing and clearing throats. Perhaps some low mumbling. Not very entertaining. You get the idea. Music plays an important part of your special day. And there are particular events during the ceremony and reception where the right song is absolutely key. I mean, not every Bride wants to walk down the aisle to the Traditional “Here comes the Bride”. More and more couples are taking the time to select special songs for their different ceremony and reception events. This is an excellent way to personalize your big day. but many couples have a very difficult time with song selection. they know they want something different, but they don’t know what.

I hear this quite often in my conversations with clients. So I have compiled several lists from around the web that should help kick start the idea process for that perfect song for your big dance. Be it Father/daughter, your first dance, bouquet toss, or whatever. With any luck, one of the songs may spark inspiration for a new selection that is the perfect reflection for the moment. check out these lists.

First Dance ideas

Garter Toss songs

Mother Son wedding dance songs

Top 100 Father daughter dances

Come on, every DJ is the same right? Why should you cost more

Of course they are.  Just like every actor is the same. Every NFL Quarterback is the same. Every lawyer is the same.  I mean, they are, aren’t they?  they all do the exact same job right?  So how come some actors spend their life making TV commercials while others go on to make multi national block buster movies?  why do some Quarterbacks sit on the bench as relievers while others win championships and make millions?

Obviously not all DJs are the same.  So obviously, not all DJs will charge the same.  But what they charge usually depends upon what type of DJ they are.  And believe me, there are a lot of them out there. with today’s technology the way it is, everyone who gets the itch can go down to Best Buy, pick up a laptop and a pair of powered speakers and instantly they are a DJ.  That is actually the way many people think.  Well I have a garage full of tools, but that doesn’t make me a mechanic.  Yet some of these people will go out and offer their services for house parties and Quinceaneras and receptions. They charge very little because they offer very little. I call these DJs the amateurs.  Nothing wrong with that. We all had to start somewhere.   with enough practice and experience, many of these DJs graduate to the next level.  I call them the weekend warriors.  they have a regular daytime job and pick up an occasional weekend party for extra money. If they stick with it then in time they become what I call “Part Timers”. They still have their day job, but they work fairly regularly on the weekends. This group makes up the majority of DJs that you find on most any google search. Some are quite experienced and skilled, and could probably hold their own with most professionals.  some of these will take the plunge and become professional.   So now that we have identified the different types of DJs ( and i am not including club DJs here, that is for another blog), let’s get into price.

I am sure everyone is familiar with that old proverb, “You get what you pay for”.  Well think about it. it is not meant to be sarcastic.  It is actually a very wise statement.  There is a reason that a Lexus costs more than a Toyota. Even though they come from the same company.  Higher quality and greater experience comes at a higher price.  This does not mean that you won’t find a great deal once in a while.  but you are always going to have to balance quality with cost.    If cost is your only consideration, then buy the cheapest that you can.  But you have to figure out what is important to you.  We have all gone to the discount store and picked up a cheap pair of shoes.  No big deal. but would you were those shoes to your wedding, or a funeral or to a job interview?  Do you look for the cheapest Doctor, or Attorney?  Or a DJ?  Ok, maybe you do.  It all depends upon what is important to you.  but let’s say for arguments sake that your party or reception is important enough to hire someone good.    but why are some DJs so much more expensive than others?

First experience.  Experience is very valuable.  Think of a pilot. A newly licensed pilot is certainly qualified, but the experienced pilot has seen it, done it, overcame it hundreds of times.  Personally, I have been performing for over 35 years.  That is longer than many DJs have been alive.  Don’t expect me to come at the same price as the guy who was in grade school the last millennium.

Second would be reputation.  reviews are a wonderful and terrible thing.  Nothing is more satisfying than getting a glowing review from a satisfied client. And nothing is more destructive than getting a bad one.  This is an area that the professional takes very seriously.  Unlike a part timer, a professional makes their living as a DJ, there is no day job to fall back on.  They have to make sure that the client is happy or their income will dry up and there is no day job to fall back on.

I have had potential clients mention that they have found other DJs who charge as little $50.00 per hour or less.  All I can say is I do not know how they make a living on that rate.  Let me explain.  If I were billing 30 to 40 hours a week of performance, then I could live like a King on that hourly rate.  But I average perhaps 8 to 12 hours a week.  Less during the off season.   Of course, most of the DJs who charge this rate are part timers who work a regular daytime job and perform on the weekends for extra cash.  But this is my day job.  This is how I pay the rent and put food on the table.  Because of that, the 5 hour performance my client paid for came with 30 or more hours of preparation, consultation, and rehearsal.  the kind of professional preparation that the Part Timers normally can’t provide.  As a professional, I have to charge more than most part time performers.  if I don’t, I won’t be here next year.  but I also have to make sure that my clients are happy to pay my price and happy with the service I give them. because if I don’t , then I won’t be here next year.

 

 

Talking out of my Hat!

My new Blog page!  Here I can put into words many of the ideas and opinions I have formed from 35+ years of performing as a Magician and DJ.  I will also occasionally provide links to posts and articles I come across that relate to the fields of Magical and DJ entertainment.

Let the adventure begin.