By Brian Buonassissi:
I may have misspoken at the end of my last post. I had said that the first five tips were the foundation and made it sound like these aren’t as important. After thinking more about my own process, they all carry equal weight and I pay just as much attention to #10 as I do to #1. With that in mind, here’s the rest of my playbook for a great event.
Tip #6: CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP…Never put your event on auto‐pilot or take a time‐out. From the time it starts until the time it ends, make every moment, every song, every announcement count. I often hear how some DJs will play the same cocktail hour for the season or they’ll put on a mix for dinner while they go eat — or worse play the same dance sets at every event. The longest wedding I’ve ever had was 8 hours but generally they are between 4‐6 hours. That’s a relatively small amount of time to be “on.” You owe it your clients to stay completely engaged the entire time. You ask your clients and their guests to be engaged for the full event. Shouldn’t you be leading by example?
Tip #7: JUST EAT IT? The pushback I get for not eating at the event is that you get hungry (especially if you follow one of my first tips of arriving super early). For me, the cocktail and dinner music I play is critical and if I do it right, it makes the dancing portions easy. Every event is different and even if I know the couple extremely well, I am constantly tweaking in real time what I’m playing based on the dynamic of the room. The guest count, weather, time delays, energy/mood of the crowd all play a part in what selections I chose. I can’t afford to take one song off to eat. The other pushback I get is that the client paid for your meal and it would be rude NOT to eat. Here’s what I do – I eat a protein filled lunch and then an energy bar 10‐15 minutes before the event begins. Not only do I stay full but it keeps me away from eating non‐ healthy foods. If the main course looks amazing, I’ll ask the catering staff to make me a “to go” plate. I’ve never had a caterer not offer to do that for me. Bonus: I get an amazing meal the next day.
Tip #8: I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU…I’m referring to your vendor partners. Make sure you support them as much as possible. Never let anything happen (you control the mic, right?) without making sure they know what’s happening and that you’re about to do something. Also, if you can help them out with something (even outside of your job scope), do it. Help a planner/venue staff move chairs, corral the family/wedding party for the photographer if they ask, be flexible with their requests, etc. DJs have a terrible reputation of being hard to work with, on a power trip and not willing to do anything that is not in their job description. I’m constantly fighting against this stigma and the vendors I work with comment that they love working with me because I consider us all on the same team. Not only will they refer you when asked for recommendations by potential clients, but they generally offer to give you professional images/video to use for self‐promotion, give you an early load‐in time, etc.
Tip #9: YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND…This is the separator between the good and great DJs and has nothing to do with your skills. I call it “surprise and delight.” It’s customer/client service. A week before the wedding, I call both sets of parents to see if there’s anything I can do to make the day extra special for their son/daughter. The morning of I send my clients a quick text (separately) just letting them know I’m thinking of them and excited for their day. At the reception, I bring them mints during dinner because I know they’re going to be talking to a lot of people. I try and snag a quick pic of their first dance and e‐mail them a thank you with it attached immediately after the event. I may create a snapchat GEO filter at no cost to them. Sometimes, those things mean more to clients than what I do DJ‐wise because it’s unexpected and something I don’t telegraph until I do them.
Tip #10: GIVE ME EVERYTHING TONIGHT…This also doesn’t have to do with your skill‐set necessarily. It’s about effort. I treat each event like it’s my last and I leave it all out on the floor. I don’t want there to be any regrets on my part. I am going to use every tool in my arsenal (as the events call for them) to put on the best event I possibly can. A successful event to me is where I’m so worn out that I need the next day to recover. Never short‐change your clients or the guests attending the event. That’s the reputation you should strive to have.
Hope these tips give you some things to think about. Have great events. You can do it!
Based out of NYC, DJ Brian B is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury private events. He runs a multi‐city mobile DJ/event business with offices in Southern California, Destin, FL and New York City. You can check him out at djbrianbofficial.com or bboyproductions.com