Category Archives: Party Planning

10 Events & Parties Perfect for an Outdoor Movie (Screen)

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outdoor movie screenWhen you think of an outdoor movie, it probably brings to mind nostalgic pictures of those old drive-in movies with the grainy pictures and classic cars. It’s time to replace those pictures with images of today’s outdoor movies, huge screens surrounded by people on blankets in your backyard or at a community summer party where people can watch from the comfort of their cars, on bleachers, in lawn chairs or on blankets. Right now outdoor movies are all the rage across the Midwest, because (most importantly!) they’re fun, the huge movie screens attract teens, families and everyone to parties and events, and outdoor movies give any party or event a unique form of outdoor entertainment—any event or party, such as our 10 favorites:

  • Baseball or softball game. Host a movie after or before a game as an extra incentive for your fans, a great way to end a softball tournament, a way to generate revenue with a movie in the parking lot or as a draw to your festival.
  • Summer festival or Fireman’s Picnic. Hosting a street or community summer festival? Preparing for your annual Fireman’s Picnic? Draw families down with a movie in the park, or end your summer festival with an outdoor movie so you can sell out your concession stand or host a movie at the pool in your park. Advertise a dinner and movie in the park for a fundraiser at your Fireman’s Picnic. The sky’s the limit for ways that you can use and market your outdoor movie.
  • Parking lot or ice cream drive-in movie. Want a way to say “thank you” to patrons of your restaurant or ice cream stand? Need a unique form of entertainment for your grand opening? Need a way to draw families in for more night business? Host a drive-in movie in your parking lot, and make sure you serve refreshments. Or make your drive-in movie a regular event, with regular revenue coming in.
  • Waterpark or pool party. Host the ultimate pool party at your pool. Keep everyone in the shallow end, and open up the refreshment stand so people can enjoy treats on the pool deck.
  • Block party. Want to meet and mingle with your neighbors? How about a pool party (think plastic flamingos) or glow-in-the-dark party with an outdoor movie? Make sure your guests know your theme. For a glow-in-the-dark party, think glow sticks and lighting that everyone can wear while watching the latest summer flick.
  • Birthday party. Looking to throw the next Sweet 16 birthday party that makes you a hero? Want to plan a birthday party that your friends text about all summer? An awesome birthday party requires more than good food, more than a lot of guests, more than free wi-fi. No, an awesome teen birthday party requires a “go big or go home” mentality (and we’re not just talking about the movie screen). An awesome birthday party requires the whole teen birthday party package: food, accessories and outdoor movies that keeps everyone going through the night.
  • Lake association party. If you’re looking for a way to get your lake association together, host an outdoor movie that people can watch from their boats. Choose an area for your movie, and spread the word. It’s a good way to get people’s attention, and let them know the benefits of your association.
  • Teen hangout. Want something fun for your church youth group to do? Do you need entertainment for your next teen group ice cream social? You provide the ice cream, and we’ll provide the big screen and AV equipment that’ll blow your teens away.
  • Sports team last game. Want to end your season with a bang? Have a get together at someone’s home, on the court or at the field after your last game of the season. Have someone make some popcorn and pass out glow sticks to the kids to your end-of-the-season outdoor movie.
  • Company picnic. If you want unique company picnic entertainment that shows your employees and their families how much you appreciate them, host an outdoor movie. Set up an ice cream sundae stand nearby and have your company managers serve, or hand out glow sticks to the kids. If you want another fun way to entertain the kids, rent a bounce house for some pre-movie entertainment. All together, it’s a sure-fire recipe for company picnic success.

Have any questions about how to make your outdoor movie night a reality? Ask us. We can answer any questions you might have, and can make sure that we fit your event with the outdoor movie screen that fits your party or event and budget. Best yet, we can make your vision of an outdoor movie a reality—and fun!

Tips for Choosing the Right Wedding DJ

outdoor wedding dj set upJune is the most popular wedding month (as you can tell from looking at our calendar), and also a great time to answer any questions you might have about finding the right wedding DJ for your wedding day. Whether you’re planning an outdoor wedding, a destination wedding on a lake or a more traditional wedding at a local reception hall, a DJ can give your wedding celebration the ending that caps off your special day. They can also give you a master of ceremony at your reception, light dinner music, lighting, ceremony music and anything else your wedding needs. So how do you choose the right wedding DJ for your big day? Start by asking us the right questions so you can make an educated decision and choose the right wedding DJ (plus we’ve also included other common questions that brides-to-be and grooms-to-be have asked about our wedding DJ services):

What questions should I ask the DJ at our initial meeting?

10351650_702289986484692_8804590706548801766_nOne of the top questions should be, “are you available on the day of my wedding?” Other questions to ask your DJ during your initial meeting should include:

  • “What is your pricing?” “How much of a deposit is required and when will the balance be due?”
  • “What do you offer as part of that price?”
  • “Do you offer lighting?”
  • “Can you do….” (Ask this question if you have a really special request)
  • “Will you travel to our reception location without a travel charge?” (This is a common question you should ask if planning a destination wedding.)
  • “Can you provide us with any references?”
  • “Do you carry Insurance and can you provide proof of insurance?”
  • “When do we meet with you to discuss details of the wedding?” (If you use our services, you will meet with me (Charlie) personally once or twice during the early planning stages, and then again at least once or twice about a month before your wedding date.)
  • “Do you have back up DJ’s and equipment available?”
  • “Is dinner music included in our package?”
  • “Will the DJ’s be in formal attire?”
  • “Will one of the DJ’s act as Master of Ceremonies (MC)?”
  • “How many years wedding experience do you have?”
  • “How do we contact you?”

When should I make special requests?

If your special request for your wedding is unique, ask the question as soon as possible. For more common questions, such as songs for dances, names and other information, give the information to your DJ when they ask in planning meetings or via email.

How soon should I book my wedding DJ?

wedding dance floor w/djThe simple answer to this common wedding dj question is: as soon as possible. Some couples book a DJ more than a year before their wedding, so make sure you get on their calendar as soon as you have your wedding date set and are ready to make the initial payment to reserve the date.

What other ‘extras’ come with a wedding DJ?

You name it, we can probably do it. A wedding DJ can offer lighting, projector screens, audiovisual equipment, light up dance floors, inflatable screens, party decorations…you get the idea. We can even provide a bounce house for your outdoor wedding. If you have an idea of a party extra that you want, or need inspiration, ask your dj via email or Facebook what they recommend to make your wedding reception a night to remember.

How much does a wedding DJ cost?

wedding dj dance floorContact us, and give us the details of your wedding reception. We can give you an estimate of the cost of our wedding DJ services. Be sure to mention any lighting or audiovisual needs you might have (such as if your wedding is being held outdoors) so we can give you an accurate quote.

Did we answer your question about a wedding DJ? If not, send us an email or ask us on our Facebook page. We’ll be happy to answer your questions, and to make your wedding reception and first dance an awesome dance party that you’ll remember for years after your wedding day.

Backyard Party Planning 101: From Planning Until Awesome Party End

backyard partyIt’s a great time to plan a backyard party to celebrate an anniversary, mitzvah, birthday, new neighbor, new puppy, old friends, home owners’ association or really, anything. Any day is a good day for a party with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers…you get the idea. But do you have any idea where to get started with your party planning?

Date. For a backyard party, set the date that works for your immediate family and closest friends. Reserve a tent if needed. If your backyard party requires use of your street, such as a neighborhood block party, contact the authorities to find out what dates you can shut down your street.

Theme. Select a theme, and use it to plan your refreshments, decorations and entertainment, even if you use it in subtle ways.

Food. Food is an integral part of every party (you’ve heard the expression, “come for the food, stay for the party” right?), with many different options. If your party is being held in mid-afternoon, a luncheon, or a late evening affair, make your party an assortment of finger food and appetizers that fit with your theme. Having a party that spans the afternoon? Host a buffet meal, so you can have warm food for all your guests as they come.

Decorations. Choose decorations that fit the occasion and theme. If it’s lighting you wish, check with your deejay about dance party packages with bright lighting that sets the mood of your party.

Entertainment. Want a rockin’ party? Hire a deejay to set the mood. Deejays also have a few more benefits for a party, and can also provide lighting, jump houses, outdoor movie screens and glow sticks for a fun, entertaining night.

Keeping all your details organized is the key to successful party planning. Create a checklist and timeline so you can stay on top of things, or use one of these party planning apps. If you have questions about audio visual, lighting or entertainment, contact your deejay. An experienced deejay has seen a party or two (or three or a hundred) and can make recommendations about what they’ve seen work best. They’ll do their best to help make sure that a great time is held by all—from party planning until the last party guest leaves.

5 Graduation Party Ideas that Save Your Guests from Boredom

graduation dance partyWe’ve all been there: your third cousin twice-removed is having a graduation party, and everyone is standing around. There’s another relative you don’t know in the corner looking bored, and a group of teens in the corner on their phones. Everyone’s bored.

So how do you avoid that scene at your graduation party? The easy answer is entertainment. Give everyone something to do. Whether you’re hosting a graduation party with all of your friends or a family affair, provide some fun:

  1. Jump house. If you’re inviting kids to your party, give them an outlet for all that energy—and an extra incentive not to play in the mud puddles. A jump house, or bounce house, is the answer and it’s a budget-friendly party option.
  2. Big screen movie. Bring back the feel of the old drive-in movies. Set up a big screen in your backyard with a movie, or up the ante by hosting a movie in your pool. With a 12’ movie screen and a sound system that can blow your guests away, you’re sure to enjoy your graduation party.
  3. Karaoke. Who says karaoke is dead? Give your Aunt Jane a reason to belt out her favorite 80’s rock hit, or your friend a chance to show off her dance moves.
  4. DJ. Serve up the ultimate graduation dance party with all your friends. Choose your favorite songs, and add some cool glow stick jewelry to give your party a cool glow. Pick your favorite theme and your favorite songs to make it a night everyone remembers for a long time.
  5. Gaming. Another option is a gaming party with a Wii or Xbox. How much fun would it be to set up the ultimate Mario Kart tournament with your friends at your graduation party?

Another fun option for a family party is yard games such as bean bag toss or yard dice, depending on your guests. Mix it up. Contact a party company for rentals and choose your favorite entertainment options, such as a jump house and yard games or a big screen movie and a pool to make your graduation party an event to remember—and a party where no one is bored.

5 Summer Party Details to Nail Down BEFORE You Call the DJ

summer partyYou’ve got a lot to do to get ready for your summer party. Though this cool spring weather may not have you in the mood for discussing outdoor entertainment, now is the right time to efficiently check those details off the party planning list. Don’t delay; whether you are trying to reserve a teen tent for your younger festival goers, a drive-in movie for families attending your Fireman’s picnic or a DJ for your wedding, booking your DJ now ensures that you have quality entertainment confirmed now so you don’t have to worry about it later.

So what do you need to do to book a quality DJ? Know the signs of a good DJ, and what details you need to have secured (or at least a general ideas) before you call the DJ:

  • Date. This summer party detail should be a bit obvious. A DJ cannot tell you if they are available unless you have some idea about the date (or possible dates) of the event.
  • Location. If you only have the date and location, be sure to call the DJ and get on their calendar. The best DJ’s calendars fill up quickly.
  • Event timeline. What time is the dinner or lunch? Will you need background music or announcements at your summer party? When will the dance start? These are all details that need to be set in advance.
  • Requests. If you have requests for songs or have asked your guests for requests on the invitation, send or discuss the list with your DJ in advance to ensure that your songs are played.
  • Event formality. Want your DJ to dress appropriately? Discuss it with them before the event.

Another tip: if planning an outdoor summer party or festival, contact your local municipality for information about laws concerning curfews and volume. You don’t want neighbors complaining and tickets to put a damper on your summer party. What you do want is a quality entertainment; contact a good DJ to get your summer party finalized so you don’t have to worry about this important party detail later.

When Luck is Not on Your Side: Signs of a Bad DJ

LightspacePlayYou shouldn’t need the luck of the Irish, or a rabbit’s foot, to find a good DJ, right? Wrong. Truth is there are bad DJ’s playing bad music at birthday parties, school dances, proms, mitzvahs, summer festivals and any other kind of event in Wisconsin and Illinois. Don’t be the unlucky party organizer stuck with a bad DJ. How can you tell the good from the bad DJ? Here are signs you shouldn’t hire that bad DJ:

  • No dancing. If the DJ can’t get the guests dancing at a birthday party, summer festival, wedding or school dance, what makes you think your party will be any different? The right DJ has a good mixture of songs, personality and entertainment that can get a party going, and the guests dancing.
  • No volume control. You don’t need a DJ that shakes your dinner plates at all the wrong times. Part of being a DJ is knowing when to rock it, and when to be the background. Choose a DJ appropriate for your affair—that can be background music at your business dinner, company holiday party or wedding and rock it when the dance floor is open.
  • No good songs. Everyone’s version of “good” songs is different, but it’s up to the DJ to ask about the demographics of your guests and adapt accordingly. A bad DJ approaches a party with a “one size fits all” mentality.
  • No “extras.” What separates a good party from a great party is the atmosphere. Beyond the guests and DJ, what sends a party over the top is lighting, laser light shows, party supplies, and even big screens that are interactive. If your DJ doesn’t offer these “extras” that could elevate your party, the alarms for “Bad DJ!” should go off. Find a DJ that can.
  • No questions. The right DJ for your party is the DJ that asks questions and plans accordingly. If your prospective DJ is not asking questions so he can wear the correct attire, play the right songs and create the best party experience possible, that DJ is not the right DJ for you.

Want to find out if the DJ you’re considering is a bad DJ? Ask for references and dates when you can stop in and check out their play list and party protocol at one of their bookings—at a wedding, prom, school dance, mitzvah or party in your area. Check out their social media sites to see what they’re up to. Ask your friends, neighbors and family for information. Then, put that lucky rabbit’s foot away and call a DJ with experience, an awesome play list and all the extras you want. You shouldn’t need luck to figure out if your DJ is a bad DJ.

5 Signs of a Lame DJ

School danceWhether you’ve hired a DJ for your New Year’s party, school dance, wedding, or prom, the last thing you want is a case of buyer’s regret. So how do you find a DJ that can rock the party and keep your guests dancing? Asking for references or attending another event that the DJ is at is one way to select the right DJ for your party. Whatever you choose, be alert for signs of a lame DJ:

  • No dancing. If the DJ can’t get the guests dancing at a wedding or school dance, what makes you think your party will be any different? The right DJ has a good mixture of songs, personality and entertainment that can get a party going, and the guests dancing.
  • No volume control. You don’t need a DJ that shakes your dinner plates at all the wrong times. Part of being a DJ is knowing when to rock it, and when to be the background. Choose a DJ appropriate for your affair—that can be background music at your business dinner, company holiday party or wedding and rock it when the dance floor is open.
  • No good songs. Everyone’s version of “good” songs is different, but it’s up to the DJ to ask about the demographics of your guests and adapt accordingly.
  • No “extras.” What separates a good party from a great party is the atmosphere. Beyond the guests and DJ, what sends a party over the top is lighting, laser light shows, party supplies, and even big screens that are interactive. If your DJ doesn’t offer these “extras” that could elevate your party, find a DJ that can.
  • No questions. The right DJ for your party is the DJ that asks questions and plans accordingly. If your prospective DJ is not asking questions so he can wear the correct attire, play the right songs and create the best party experience possible, that DJ is not the right DJ for you.

You can also ask friends, family or business associates for recommendations for a DJ. Inform them what you are looking for (and what you’re not looking for—use the signs above). Ask them about what they’ve witnessed at events where the DJ was at. Then, book early. Don’t wait to get on the calendar of a good, experienced DJ. Contact a good DJ ASAP. The best DJ’s calendars fill up quickly, and you don’t want to be stuck with a DJ that shows all the signs of a lame DJ.

Are you ready for your rockin’ New Year’s party?

homepage2Though everyone is focusing on buying gifts for the holidays right now, you’re looking forward to your New Year party…the noise makers, drinks, crazy jewelry, dancing all night. And though it seems to be far away (it is still only 2014!), now is the time to purchase all the items you need for your party—especially so you can cash in on special deals like free shipping and discounts, plus you can make sure to book the right DJ for your party. So don’t delay, look over your New Year’s party checklist and start checking off boxes of all the important items you need for your party:

  • Venue. Whether you are a business owner who is hosting on-site, a homeowner willing to hold a rockin’ New Year’s Eve party or a family looking for a venue to rent for your New Year’s party, the first step is to ensure that your venue is reserved and fits all your guests.
  • Invitations. In today’s world, this is an email, social media invite or an announcement on your website or business page.  But if you want to go old school, make sure you order the invite weeks in advance.
  • Refreshments. Two options: make the food or hire a caterer.  The answer depends on your ease in the kitchen and the number of people you are inviting.  We found some great recipes on the Food Network New Year’s Eve party page, or you can pull your guests’ favorites from past parties out of the kitchen. If you are catering, make sure you call them in advance to make sure your menu is finalized.
  • New Year’s Party supplies (glitter glasses, anyone?). Now is the time to order your barware, glitter glasses, noise makers, hats and party décor.  Websites like 4funparties have discounts and free shipping so now is the time to stock up on all the decorations and fun supplies you need.
  • DJ. Contact a DJ about your party now before their calendar is full. If you are a business or a family hosting a party at a venue, don’t rely on your juke box to make your party fun. Hire a professional to rock your party, and draw in guests.
  • Large screen & lighting. Want a party that is a step above your normal New Year’s Eve celebration? Look into a large screen with cool graphics, a New Year’s countdown and lighting.

New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, and so is your chance to host a rockin’ party that draws and entertains your guests. So don’t delay. Get the party planning started, venue and DJ confirmed and party supplies that separate your party from all the others.

The Right Equation for Party Planning

DSC00036_350_195Planning an engagement party? Mitzvah? Birthday or anniversary party? No matter what kind of celebration you’re planning, the equation for a successful party is comprised of the same parts. How you put all the parts together can be the difference between a rockin’ success and a ho-hum gathering. Get started early. Use our party planning equation as your party planning checklist so you can coordinate the perfect, rockin’ party that everyone enjoys:

Date. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Just set a date. However, setting a date is far more complicated. Choose several possible dates that work, and contact your deejay and venue to see which date is available. Or contact the venue for available dates within the time frame you need. If you want to save money, hold your party on an “off day”—a Friday or Sunday when events are typically not held—when venues offer discounted rates.

Venue & location. Booking a venue is all about your guests and preferences. Choose a venue that fits your style and budget, and has ample space for your guests and a large dance floor with space for your DJ. If you have out-of-town guests, consider venues attached to or near a hotel.

Theme. A party without a theme is an event without direction. Decide on a theme, and use it to plan your refreshments, decorations and entertainment, even if you use it in subtle ways.

Food. Food is an integral part of every party (you’ve heard the expression, “come for the food, stay for the party” right?), with many different options. If your party is being held in mid-afternoon, a luncheon, or a late evening affair, make your party an assortment of finger food and appetizers that fit with your theme. Having a party that spans the afternoon? Host a buffet meal, so you can have warm food for all your guests as they come.

Decorations. Choose decorations that fit the occasion and the theme. Make sure you check with the venue if you want to put up decorations that attach to the wall or ceiling. Many venues have specific guidelines for decorations. If you can’t hang decorations, consider décor like table centerpieces and lighting. If it’s lighting you wish, check with your deejay about dance party packages with bright lighting that sets the mood of your party.

Entertainment. Want a rockin’ party? Hire a deejay to set the mood. Deejays also have a few more benefits for a party, and can also provide lighting, jump houses and glow sticks for a fun, entertaining night.

Keeping all your details organized is the key to successful party planning. Create a checklist and timeline so you can stay on top of things, or use one of these party planning apps. If you are party of a committee or group planning a party, make everyone aware of their assignments and give them a clear deadline. Once you’re done with all the party planning, kick your feet up and enjoy the fruits of your party planning efforts.

5 Party Details You Need to Book a DJ

School danceWhether you’re hosting a holiday party, bar mitzvah or school dance, it pays to be organized. After all you have the coordinate A LOT of details—food, venue, entertainment, invitations. You don’t have time to make numerous calls to vendors, giving them bit by bit of information. You need to be efficient, and can start by having these party details set and ready for discussion with your DJ:

  • Date. This detail should be a bit obvious. A DJ cannot tell you if they are available unless you have some idea about the date (or possible dates) of the event.
  • Location. If you only have the date and location, be sure to call the DJ and get on their calendar. The best DJ’s calendars fill up quickly.
  • Event timeline. What time is the dinner or lunch? Will you need background music or announcements? When will the dance start? These are all details that need to be set in advance.
  • Requests. If you have requests for songs or have asked your guests for requests on the invitation, send or discuss the list with your DJ in advance to ensure that your songs are played.
  • Event formality. Want your DJ to dress appropriately? Discuss it with them before the event.

Having all your ducks in a row, as the old saying goes, is the key to a successful party. If you want a mobile organizing solution, download one of these party planning apps for reminders and record keeping. If you need to charge for tickets, contact a DJ before you have your event details confirmed so you have a list of all the party costs.