What You Should Know
You Book Your Venue
|When you book a Banquet Venue, you are buying both the food and the atmosphere. Most Venues will provide you with the opportunity to taste their food prior to booking. But what about the atmosphere?
Recently, many Banquet Venues have been installing their own sound and lighting equipment. Some locations not only insist that you use their equipment, but they charge very substantial fees for the use of their systems.
Unfortunately, the importance of good sound quality and proper ambient lighting are often taken for granted and therefore overlooked.
A number of Halls have gone to the expense of buying quality DJ sound and lighting equipment. Some venues have also wisely hired full-time professionally trained audio and lighting technicians to assist their clients and to provide the necessary maintenance.
Unfortunately, in order to maximize profits, some venues are installing less than adequate equipment – and are failing to provide the necessary technical support and maintenance.
The CPDJA has created this list of questions and comments to help you understand what each potential venue will provide. Don’t be shy. Ask these important questions to ensure your event has quality sound and lighting that will create the perfect atmosphere for you and your guests.
Q - Are you including a DJ Sound and Lighting System?
Q - Will I be charged extra for the use of installed sound and lighting equipment? If so, how much?
Q - Will I be given the opportunity to listen to the sound system quality for all aspects of my event, including Cocktails, Dinner, Speeches and Dancing?
Cocktails - Will the sound from the DJ be heard in the area where my Cocktails are being served?
Dinner - Will the sound be distributed evenly throughout the hall?
Speeches - People speak at different volume levels on microphones. Will my guests be able to hear every word spoken clearly in every section of my room? If the volume is too loud or quiet, will your technician be able to adjust the volume accordingly for each presenter?
Dancing - Will the sound be concentrated on the dance floor to allow conversation at the tables?
Ask for a Sound Demonstration and walk around the room to ensure proper sound coverage for both your Speeches and Dancing.
Q - Will I be given the opportunity to preview the venue lighting for all aspects of my event, including room lighting for Cocktails, Dinner, Speeches and Dancing?
Nothing hinders dance floor participation more than bright light. Can the room lighting be easily adjusted by anyone on your staff, or is a technician required to manage your lighting system?
During the Dance, can the lighting be dimmed over the dance floor and turned up quickly when required to facilitate special events during the event? (ex: Bouquet & Garter Toss)
Ask for a Lighting Demonstration to ensure you’re happy with the room lighting and the atmosphere it creates.
Q - Is my room divided by a folding wall?
No matter what you’ve been told, folding dividing walls are NOT soundproof! During the speeches at a recent Chinese wedding, guests came to the DJ in room #1 asking why he was playing Greek Dance music while the Bride and Groom were delivering their speeches. The DJ’s sound system in room #1 was actually turned off. The sound was bleeding through the folding wall from room #2.
Q - Do you have a qualified on-site sound and lighting technician who will be dedicated to controlling and adjusting the sound/lighting for the entire duration of my event?
Many venues may have someone on-site before the beginning of the event, but they leave once the initial equipment connections are made. Although they will often provide an emergency phone number should there be a problem, if the music stops during the party – 30 seconds of “Dead Air” can seem like a lifetime – especially if it happens in the middle of your first dance.
Q - If the venue has multiple rooms, is there a technician for each room or is one person expected to cover the entire venue?
If your technician isn’t in your actual room, they can’t respond immediately to time sensitive issues. They also can’t fix a problem in two rooms at once.
Q - Does your venue have easily accessible backup sound and lighting equipment on-site and what is your Back-up Plan in the event of a system failure?
Banquet Halls normally install their equipment in the ceiling. Although it may be considered aesthetically pleasing, it can create a repair access issue. If you can’t reach it… you can’t fix it!
Q - What is the expected repair time should there be a sound or lighting system failure?
Most Mobile DJs carry back-up cables and equipment with them to minimize "downtime" due to equipment failure. Furthermore, as many DJs actually design their own systems, they can troubleshoot their own systems quickly.
Q - If there is any type of failure with the sound and lighting equipment during my event, will I get my money back?
Q - Will I be charged extra for not using the sound or lighting system?
Q - Can I bring in my own DJ?
Your choice of DJ can make or break your celebration. It’s your day! Never let anyone take away your right to choose an entertainer that you’re confident has the skills to create your idea of the perfect party. Remember, always meet and interview your prospective DJ before you hire them.
Q - Can my DJ bring in their own sound and lighting equipment?
Professional DJs spend a lot of time researching their equipment. They take the time before your event, when they are not under pressure to perform, to become very aware of the intricacies of their own gear and what to do if it stops working. Most Mobile DJ Companies are fully equipped to provide everything you need for a successful party. They also carry backup gear in case of emergency.
Q - Can my DJ plug their mixing system into your sound system?
Some halls try to insist that your DJ use the in-house music “mixing system”, even though the DJ may be completely unfamiliar with the venue’s equipment. A DJ’s “Mixing System” IS their musical instrument – Equipment familiarity is VERY important! Would you let a Laser Eye Surgeon operate on you with unfamiliar equipment?
Q - Do I have the choice of where to place my DJ in relation to the Dance Floor whether they are the in-house DJ or my own?
In order to effectively control the sound and entertainment aspects of your event, your DJ should be placed at the edge of the Dance Floor where they can be “in the party”. This makes your DJ accessible for requests and gives them the ability to properly monitor sound levels on your dance floor. By placing your DJ away from the dance floor, you are removing them from the action, minimizing their interaction with your guests and creating a situation where your DJ won’t be able to monitor their volume levels.
Q - Are there any additional charges pertaining to the entertainment at my function?
Many venues charge extra for hydro, fire alarm system monitoring, staging or the removal or set-up of the DJ’s playing area. Be sure to get any extras clearly stated in your event Contract.
Click HERE to download the above questions and comments
so you can print them out and take them with you to your Venue meetings.
Click HERE for a more detailed article about In-House Sound Systems.
The Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association Inc.
Toll Free at 1-866-964-2299