Whether 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.
The company holiday party is supposed to be a night of appreciation, networking and entertainment. Somehow the entertainment part always seems to be neglected, leaving employees and their families with a real snoozer of an event. Turning on a radio in the corner just doesn’t count when you’re supposed to be hosting a night of appreciation. What’s worse, there are so many options for entertainment: carolers, DJs, the big, jolly guy himself.
So what’s the advantage of a DJ for entertainment? There are a few key benefits of having a DJ—things the DJ can bring or do at your holiday party:
Background music quiet enough for networking. One huge benefit of having a DJ for entertainment at your party is volume control. Having soft background holiday tunes when you need it (and loud dance music when needed) is invaluable for providing a fun, networking event for employees and their families.
The ability to make requests of any kind—even in advance of the event. Yes a cover band can take requests, but they are limited by their style of music. Having a DJ allows you to take requests at the event, and even in advance by asking guests on the invitation if there is a song they would like to hear. There’s no limit to what a DJ can play.
Fun holiday games and dances. Musical holiday chairs? Freeze games? Classic holiday tunes while Santa gives out presents? A DJ can keep your guests moving with music and games for employees and their families.
Gives you an impromptu emcee for your evening. Do you need someone to give instructions for seating guests? Or call out the winner of contests and raffles? Ask your DJ. The DJ can make announcements, direct guests’ attentions to a certain area or assist with event directions.
More room for guests. When you’ve got a big crowd and you’re tight on space, a DJ takes up less floor space than a band. That gives you room for your holiday tree, food and any other festivities you dream up.
If you have specific requests for your evening, or have a general idea of the event timeline and festivities in advance of your event, discuss it with your DJ in advance so they can plan accordingly. However, if your event takes an unexpected turn, know that a DJ is flexible enough to roll with your event—and provide entertainment that all your employees remember, and appreciate.
Company holiday parties have got a bad reputation, eliciting the image of the hungover employee waking up to termination based on a loose tongue or a lame affair employees are forced to attend. If you want your employees and co-workers to develop a new image of your company holiday party, don’t procrastinate. Planning early for your corporate party is not wasted efforts, it’s essential—and for very good reasons:
Holiday party planning takes time. This isn’t an idle warning. Whether your party is for 50 or 5,000, planning for a fun, memorable holiday party requires research and planning. The caterer, DJ, decorations, accommodations for guests with special needs, parking…every detail takes careful research, phone calls, emails and time.
Venue decisions need to be booked well in advance. Deciding the right location for your holiday party is essential to finalizing other party details, and popular venues are typically reserved well in advance. If you don’t have a final date, you can set that detail based on open dates at your preferred venue. Remember, you need to know the location to tell the printer for the invitations, the caterer for food and the DJ for entertainment. The cost of the venue is also a large part of your budget, so once you know the final cost you finalize other details based on the state of your party budget.
Save money by booking early, and get the best value for your company budget. Booking details well in advance means you can get early bird rates and discounts. Even if your party isn’t until January or February, vendors tend to run holiday specials now to accommodate December customers. Get the most for your budget by locking in the deals now.
You can still reserve the best DJ. If you want to create a pleasant holiday atmosphere for networking or a dance party that your co-workers and their significant others enjoy, contact the in-demand DJ’s now. The best DJ’s are booked early simply because they’re excellent at what they do.
You have high expectations to meet. A holiday party is more than an excuse for a festive event, it’s an opportunity to show appreciation to your employees and co-workers. Consider an enjoyable company holiday party a retention benefit. Create a fun night they won’t forget, and give them another reason to keep working for your company.
You’re planning the next school dance, and you’re feeling like a rookie on the first day of training camp. No worries. You can put together the ultimate, fun dance party. You got this. Take a deep breath and use this handy school dance planning checklist we’ve put together for you and your dance planning committee:
Date. You may be given a pre-approved date. If you have to set the date, do it early. You may have to get approval from a school board or administrator to get the date on the school calendar.
Space & Location. If you have to use the school gym, make sure that the gym has been reserved (don’t assume!). For dances held off school property, do your research. Does the school need to be concerned about liability and insurance? What are all the expenses involved with each location?
Approval (if needed). If you need to get approval for a date, location or budget, don’t procrastinate. Submit your proposal early to ensure that you can make all the important reservations early: hall space, DJ, after dance party entertainment, caterers, etc.
Budget. Set your budget, or use the budget given to you. Remember that you can negotiate prices with many vendors. Share your budget numbers with everyone on your dance committee so they know their financial parameters before they research locations and vendors. Doing so will save you precious planning time, and minimize wasted energy.
Ticket prices (if applicable). If you have to set ticket prices, settle on a number as soon as you know your budget. You may also need to get approval for this aspect of your dance as well.
Pick a theme. Selecting a theme gives your dance committee direction for every aspect of your dance. Use your best judgment as to the appropriateness of the theme for your school.
Food. If you have to find a caterer, start contacting local caterers now. Make sure you know your budget, amount of food needed, dance date and time and the availability of a kitchen if one is available. Don’t know what kind of food you need? Ask the caterer for suggestions. Select your food based on your theme (i.e. candy beach balls for a beach theme, neon cupcakes for your glow-in-the-dark party, etc.).
Lights. Usually the lights come with the DJs, but make sure you ask. Find out what school dance packages include lighting. If you need lights for the chaperones, look around for the best deals. You don’t want to waste your whole budget on flashlights. Find out before the night of the dance how to turn off your gym or event location lights.
Decorations. Select one of your most reliable dance committee volunteer to cover your decorations. Give them the theme and budget so they can find deals, while still setting the atmosphere. If the DJ is providing lighting, let them know so they can factor the lighting into their decoration purchases.
Set the play list. If your school wants input on the play list, contact the DJ before the party and give them your play list or parameters for songs that can be played.
After dance entertainment (if applicable). Outdoor movie? Gaming party? If you need after dance entertainment, talk to your DJ. Many DJs offer after dance entertainment packages perfect for your occasion.
Chaperones. Put the word out early so parents can get the date on their calendar. Make personal asks for the best chaperone turnout.
Set up. Plan for the worst, celebrate the best. Plan to set up earlier than you think is necessary to accommodate emergencies. Early set up is essential to a successful dance.
Dance, dance, dance! Your work is not done. Once you’ve got everything set, make sure that you have volunteers willing to talk to vendors to make sure all your planning is being executed smoothly. Having someone for each part of your dance—DJ, caterer, chaperones—ensures that you are not trying to fix all the emergencies at once. When all the pieces of your dance puzzle fall together, relax and dance, dance, dance!
Starting off your school year with a dance? Here’s a piece of advice from a company that has seen tons of high school and middle school dances: start early with the preparations.
You don’t have to hang the decorations, or set the play list yet. But you do need to get on the calendar of the right DJ service to guarantee school dance success for your Homecoming or Back-to-School dance (perhaps even think ahead to Prom to save money). Anybody can play music, but selecting the right DJ that has the rockin’ play list that keeps your school dancing for the whole dance (because we’ve all seen those dances where kids fade early) is important. Contact your DJ right away, because the best school dance DJ’s calendars fill up fast.
Now is also the time to find out what school dance packages are offered, and how they fit in with your budget. You want a package that fits the size of your dance, and the gym or venue that you’re using. Selecting the right package also means making sure you have enough money in your budget for refreshments and decorations. If you have to set a ticket price, researching your dance expenses ahead of time ensures you set the right price so you’re not left in the red.
Want to save some money? Check to see if your DJ service has a referral discount. Often, DJ services will charge you less if you refer other clients that book their services. For example, Post Prom DJ offers a 50% discount for your party when two other schools, corporations, family members of friends confirm their party. So think BIG within your network. Save money for your school dance by asking your company to book with the same DJ for their corporate Christmas party, and ask one of the previous school classes to book with that same DJ for their 20th Class Reunion.
Doing your homework ahead of time means a memorable school dance with the right DJ, right ticket price and even cost savings with referrals. So don’t procrastinate like you did on last year’s book report, prove you’re the head of the class by planning your school dance before the due date.
Ever realize that you’ve been living in your neighborhood for years and don’t know the people around you? Or did you just move in and want to get to know the people around you?
Before you get caught up in school activities and our Midwest weather gets too cold, seize the day and get to know everyone around you with a rockin’ block party. It will take some preparation, but is worth the effort when you’re rockin’ the night away to Sweet Caroline. Don’t worry, we wouldn’t make a suggestion for a party like this without giving you the steps that will make your party rock:
Get the buy in of your neighbors (Remember the homeowner’s association can’t be mad if they’re having fun!). Pick a date that works for most of you, and create a 8 ½ x 11 flyer. Your invitation doesn’t have to be fancy, especially if you have to mass produce it to pass out to a LOT of neighbors.
Themes. Need a theme for your party (remember, themes are optional)? How about a pool party (think plastic flamingos), retro party or glow-in-the-dark party? Make sure your guests know your theme. If you’re hosting a retro party, set up a play list with your DJ that fits your decade. Suggest your guests come in attire appropriate for your decade. For a glow-in-the-dark party, think glow sticks and lighting. Make name tags that tie into your theme, and have your neighbors’ names and addresses on them, so you know who they are and where they live.
Coordinate refreshments. Depending on the size of your party, get snacks that are easy to make and come in big sizes. Think of things like snack mixes, veggie platters, candy bowls and popcorn. If you have a theme, play off it. For example, if you’re throwing a pool party, get some round colorful candy for beach balls, and use licorice for noodles. If you’re hosting a REALLY big party, ask your neighbors to bring their own beverages.
Set your entertainment. We have fond memories of our neighbor’s annual karaoke parties growing up. It was fun, and great to meet people and hear them sing karaoke to their favorite song (well, some of them). If karaoke isn’t your thing, rent a jump house (read why here), host an outdoor movie, or get a dj for the evening.
Decorations. You don’t need a ton of decorations, but make sure you have fun with them. If you’re hosting a pool party, add arrows to the pink flamingos to guide your guests to the party. Hosting a retro party, make up little cards with facts about the decade and add them to the tables. Glow in the dark party? Think glow in the dark cups and accessories…everywhere! You can even make your decorations into games, like a scavenger hunt for the kids or a trivia game for the adults. Hosting a dance party? Make request cards, and have your neighbors pass in their requests throughout the night. If they pick the music, they have to dance to it!
Most importantly, mingle and have fun! Ask an outgoing neighbor to talk to all the neighborhood newbies so they feel welcome (don’t forget the name tags either, see idea above!). Enjoy your evening, and get to know the people you drive by every day—but probably have never met—in a social, relaxed, and, if you’re having a DJ or karaoke party, rockin’ party atmosphere.
One of our favorite highlights of any party is a jump house. That’s right, a jump house—those inflatable play houses that kids swarm to like bees to a perfume bottle. These inflatable fun houses are often overlooked by event planners (probably because they’re not 5, then they’d always be remembered!), but can make any event successful and enjoyable—by kids and parents!
Best yet, jump houses are not an investment that you have to delay retirement to afford. So, if you’re planning one of these events, don’t forget to include renting a jump house on your list of party must haves:
Birthday parties. Amaze your kid and their guests by surprising them with a jump house. You’ll be their hero. They’ll talk about it for months!
Block parties. Even if they weren’t planning to come, your neighbors will flock to your Block Party if they see a jump house.
Anniversary parties. Give the kids at your party something to do while the adults talk.
Retirement parties. If you’re hosting a family party at your house, protect your house and flower beds from kid destruction. Distract them with a jump house.
Casual wedding parties. Having a pig roast? Give the adults fun games (card games, horse shoes, bean bag toss, etc.) and give the kids a jump house. Make it memorable by giving everyone, young and old, something to do!
Community events. Planning a school fair or a Family Fun Day? Nothing says ‘fun’ like a jump house.
Church picnics. Want to give your little church members something to do, and draw in families from your community? Rent a jump house.
So don’t be afraid to advertise that there’s a jump house at your next event (think big block letters and bright colors on your poster or web page!). Kids flock to the mere mention of them, as do their parents. And they’ll both thank you, in between smiles and giggles!
Have a teen that can’t celebrate his or her birthday with friends because school’s out? Wow your teen and their friends with an unforgettable night they won’t forget. We’ve all seen those boring parties, so use these themes to kick your teen’s party up a notch:
Under the Stars. Remember, your kid is a teen, so you can’t cheap out with those cut out paper stars. Think lights…Christmas lights. Drap LOTS of lights over a table, and scatter candles across the table for mood lighting. Be creative with your refreshments and use lots of glitter. Finish the night off with a dance party or outside star-studded movie they’ll never forget.
Glow In the Dark. Make sure you tell your guests to wear black and white, and purchase lots of glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark jewelry. Use glow-in-the-dark plates and cups, and make your centerpiece a chocolate cake (or cake pops!) with neon frosting splatters everywhere! Make the night unforgettable with a glow-in-the-dark dance party, including lighting that makes their jewelry and glow sticks look awesome!
Retro. Pick a decade. 50’s sock hop? 80’s big hair? Make invitations that tell your guests to dress in poodle skirts or parachute pants. Use grease or lots of hair spray. Bring out your old jewelry or browse through a thrift store for decorations. Get an old soda fountain and serve ice cream for your sock hop, or find some Tab cola, pop rocks and nerds for a neon array of rad refreshments. Arrange the appropriate playlist with your DJ, and dance the night away!
Beach Party. Make it a pool party to remember. Plastic flamingos, cake shaped like a surfboard and a couple of palm trees. Use licorice for your pool noodles refreshments. Turn on the music while everyone’s in the pool, or watch an outdoor beach-themed movie.
Where do you start? Make or buy a personalized invitation with one of these themes, and contact your DJ with the date. Plan your refreshments and decorations, and set a playlist or movie that fits your theme. Parents, rent a movie so you can stay out of your teen’s 80’s big hair, and let your teens have fun!