10 Ways That DJs Can Work Better With Event Pros

Last night, I attended a seminar organized by the New Jersey Disc Jockey Network titled "From Your Perspective - A Candid Conversation Between Event Professionals." The professional team for life celebrations such as weddings, Sweet 16s and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs typically includes a banquet manager, event planner, DJ, photographer, videographer and Photo Booth operator. How can we work together to produce the best outcomes for clients?

Many thanks to the panelists - Corey Hrubash, Assistant Banquet Manager at The Mill at Spring Lake Heights, Deirdre Luster, Event Planner from Divine Elegance by Deirdre LLC, Flimmaker Damon Dietz from Absolute Media Productions, Joseph K. Brown from Joseph K. Brown Photography, and DJ Mike Kazis from Dynamite Party Productions. We enjoyed a productive and educational conversation.

10 Ways that DJs Can Work Better with Event Professionals

  1. Upon arriving to an event, DJs should check in with the banquet manager, determine the preferred load-in, and be extra careful not to bang up doors or elevators.
  2. DJs should realize that using tape may damage the facility's carpet or walls. Banquet managers should realize that DJs use tape either to (a) prevent a guest from tripping, or (b) to keep a cord from popping out of a loose outlet. The venue should consider checking outlets periodically for looseness, and supplying a carpet/mat so that DJs can secure wires under the carpet/mat without tape.
  3. DJs should be cognizant of feasting during cocktail hour, particularly before the guests have eaten. Later on, DJs appreciate being served their vendor meals early in the dinner service, because if served last, there is little or no time to eat (the guests are finished eating and ready to dance!).
  4. When an event planner is in the mix (common for high-end events), DJs should reconcile their timeline of events with the planner in advance of the event. At an event, professional event planners should not micro-manage the DJ entertainment so long as they are following the script. The event planner, banquet manager and DJ should work in a collaborative fashion at the event. Communication is key! There is no need for a regimented chain of command, so long as important information is communicated one way or another. When an event planner is not involved, DJs can make themselves look professional by presenting the banquet manager, photographer, etc. a typed up copy of the timeline of events.
  5. For cake cutting, bouquet & garter, and other formal elements of a reception, DJs should inquire with the photographer and videographer about the optimal placement of the bride and groom. Let these professionals stage the action!
  6. Common sense but important - DJs should cue the photographer and videographer in advance of any memorable moment at a reception! If these "Kodak Moments" are inadvertently missed, it's a huge problem for the photographer/videographer. DJs appreciate photographers giving them advanced notice if they must take a couple out of the room for sunset photos or similar. DJs also appreciate an accurate timeline from the banquet manager regarding food service so that we can properly pace our dance floor action.
  7. Videographers expect that DJs know their mixing board and speakers sufficiently well so that they can recommend to the videographer the best quality "audio feed." (i.e., the videographer is recording the sound being run through the DJ's mixing board). Some common audio-outs on a mixing board include AUX-OUT, MASTER-OUT, BOOTH-OUT; and on a speaker - XLR-OUT. Videographers are expected to bring a variety of wires to interface with these jacks. Some DJ mixing boards are enclosed in a case/coffin that makes it difficult or impossible to access these jacks. Videographers are well-advised to check in advance with the DJ. Low quality audio in the client's video due to feed problems can reflect poorly upon the DJ. Excessive Emcee chatter or too quickly segueing into music/announcements after a special moment - for example, during or after a touching speech, may have a detrimental impact to the video as well. Videographers/photographers prefer to have these moments occur naturally. DJs and bands should never play music while a speech is taking place as it is intermingled in the audio feed and difficult to remove.
  8. A clean and elegant presentation (e.g., backlit facade, Scrim Covers for stark speaker poles) and cool dance floor lights make a photographer/videographer's footage shine. A spotlighted first dance makes photos and videos pop.
  9. After a party, event pros from all categories are encouraged to follow up. Give each other a shout-out on Social Media, share a photo or video clip. Not only is it good manners, it's good business!
  10. Despite how busy we get during wedding season, it's a smart idea to check in with other members of the event team prior to the event to communicate any special needs or even say hello. We're all in this together!

About The New Jersey Disc Jockey Network

The New Jersey Disc Jockey Network (NJDJN) is a regional organization of professional disc jockey's, and New Jersey's largest and premier professional DJ organization. The membership meets monthly for networking, and to enjoy educational topics enabling our members to deliver high-quality and innovative entertainment while adhering to best practices in business. For more info about becoming a member, visit us on the web at www.njdjn.org.