Minding my P’s & Q.
What does that mean? It’s simple:
The majority of homework is given to the couple, but the goal of their assignments is to allow you, the entertainer to do just that. Entertain. I’m sure each and everyone of us can walk into a venue without knowing a thing about the couple or their guests and provide them with a good time. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want to provide them with a good time, I want to provide them with a great celebration. And the way I accomplish that is by giving homework, asking better questions, gets me better answers.
I also give myself homework that allows me to help create the reception of their dreams.
These are things we take for granted but never think to do.
Part of my self imposed homework assignments includes reaching out to the other vendors i’m working with.
You should contact the venue, even if you have worked there before, and touch base with the banquet manager to find out the hall’s requirements. Do they need a certificate of insurance (which you should supply anyway)? What the load-in is like? What room(s) are you in? If needed, do they supply a table? What time you can access the room(s)? Is there an event ahead of yours? Who is the scheduled room captain. Also, ask for a layout of the room to see exactly where you will be setting up. That would be the time to find out if you are going to be behind tables or in a corner far away from the dance floor. Then you can speak with someone from the venue and more importantly, the client, to discuss options and the benefits of positioning the DJ by the dance floor (volume, centralized, etc.).
This should go without saying, but I will say it anyway; make sure your vehicle is maintained and gassed up. Directions to the venue and back should have already been secured. Be sure to check the weather and research your route, taking into account any construction, sporting events, concerts, etc. Give yourself enough time to get there, set up, and change into your proper attire.
Contact the photographer to introduce yourself to them as well as hearing what their approach is for that day. Will they be taking the couple out of the room and when. Will they be doing table shots? Even talk to them about setting up some shots and positioning etc. The Videographers to find out about their needs, do they want/need to patch into your system will they be bringing people out of the room for interviews. Are you providing screens and utilizing your own staff photographer? You can avoid any headaches by talking to the photographer and videographer explaining how you will be utilizing them and not getting in their way.
The reason you prepare this ahead of time is so everything comes off as organic.
Take into consideration the amount of unskilled “professionals” that they/we deal with on any given week. It poisons our minds and we tend to have a bad taste in our mouths even before we meet. Approach each week, and each vendor, with a fresh outlook. Have an open mind and believe that you are dealing with others that have the right experience and the couple’s best interest at heart, unless proven otherwise.