Hi everyone! Hope your spring has been full of lying in the grass, working in the yard, beers on the front stoop while airing out your toes. I’ve got some good photo blogging coming up, but in the meantime, for something a little different…
I know that when you first sit down to think about planning a wedding or a bar mitzvah, it can be a little (or a lot) overwhelming. So I thought, why not interview someone who does this all the time, an expert if you will, and pass the advice on to you?
A few months ago I had the opportunity to talk to Ava Conoval, who works as the director of event coordination at an entertainment company. For those who don’t know, in the event industry an entertainment company is a one-stop shop for all things entertainment-related at a party, such as DJs, MCs, dancers, live music, lighting, multimedia, photo booths, gaming and other activities.
Here are Ava’s answers to the top three questions clients have about working with an entertainment company.
- 1. What should I splurge on, and what should I cut back on?
Invest in something that will transform a space and give it energy. Lighting, for example, changes the ambiance of a room in a heartbeat. You could also invest in something that will create an interactive experience for the guests, such as plasma screens that display zap shot photos & live simulcast of the event.
A party should be entertaining; it should encompass the right combination of entertainment elements that will naturally draw people together. We want to bring them into a space that makes them feel welcome and excited! Therefore, it is important to invest in the items that will make this happen.
Most importantly, you want the various elements of your party to complement your personal style! For brides and grooms, it is important to create a feeling in a space that is true to who you are; it should be a reflection of your two personalities as well as your individuality.
The same applies for Bar/Bat-Mitzvahs; you want all of the entertainment elements to complement your child’s personality as well as complement the dance floor (not compete against it). Talk to your child about what they envision for their party. Your entertainment provider can then guide you in the right direction of which activities and entertainment items will best suit your child’s personality (or the bride and groom’s personality), the crowd that is attending your celebration, and the space in which you are having your event.
- 2. What should I look for in an entertainment company?
First and foremost, look for a great MC whose style you like. The MC and DJ set the tone of the party, and when done right, they help people loosen up and have a great time. A great MC/DJ team can elevate a dance floor to the next level, and as a result, can turn a mediocre event into an incredible, memorable one.
Second, your contact at the entertainment company you hire for your event should be someone you feel comfortable working with long-term, since often planning a party begins a year in advance. Great service doesn’t start when your party starts; it starts when you start planning. So be sure to select a company that is focused on service and details, and can walk you through the entire planning process.
You should feel comfortable calling him or her up to ask questions. Creativity is key! He or she should listen to your thoughts and ideas, and then expand on them to turn your vision into a reality. He or she should guide you – not push you – in the right direction, by offering you great entertainers and entertainment options that suit your taste and your budget.
Third, if you are not working with a party planner, ask your entertainment company if they have event coordinators to be on site during the event. This can give you the comfort you need to know that all of the entertainment elements will be seamless, so that you can relax and enjoy the party you worked so hard to put together!
Finally, find someone whose business model you love. There are big name companies that do 20 events per weekend, there are boutique companies that focus on very personal attention and customizing the event to be as unique as the client who is hosting it, and then there is everything in between. Find what’s right for you.
And, of course, any great company will give you great references from past clients.
– 3. What should I avoid at all costs?
Avoid hiring a different company for every aspect of the event. There ends up being too many moving parts on the day of the event. Instead, hire one entertainment company who can provide all of the entertainment elements for you, as well as can recommend other vendors (ex: photographers, florists, decorators, venues) who provide the same level of quality customer service. As a result, you will have a seamless experience on the day of the event, rather than one that feels disjointed & fragmented.
A great entertainment company will make you feel like you are well taken care of from the very first phone call. We are here to make your planning experience as simple and as fun as possible, so let us help you plan the best possible event for you and your family!
Ava Conoval is the Director of Event Coordination at Shine Events, Inc., a boutique entertainment company, located in West Nyack, NY, that provides entertainment for events throughout the tri-state region. She has 10 years of experience in the event industry, and she says she loves how each and every event feels like she is producing a performance. She enjoys the challenge and satisfaction of putting together different entertainment components for each event, to make it a memorable, unique experience for each of her clients.