Recently, we had a wedding venue coordinator bring us into the room of a well-known wedding reception hall over in Albany, NY. The room was beautiful, as always. This particular venue has great lighting, superb decor, and has a really nice dance floor entirely surrounded by well-decorated tables. Everything on this particular day was just great, except for one common thing…
…Poor Placement of The DJ booth.
The DJ table was about 75 feet away from the dance floor. The entertainment was buried by at least four dinning tables, off in a distant corner of the room.
“Uggghhh!” I thought to myself before speaking. “Is there anywhere else I can set up?” I asked, as politely as I could.
She answered, “No. That is where we ALWAYS put the DJ.”
“If the wedding party has a band, do you put them in the same place?” I asked.
“Well, not really. We usually put them right next to the dance floor.”
This is a common problem with wedding venues.
OUT OF SIGHT – OUT OF MIND
There is also a very popular wedding hall in the Schenectady, NY area that likes to put the DJ way up high on a balcony. This looks great to your venue hall, and may look neat in the final pictures too. However, this idea is all about visual. It doesn’t take sound quality or guest interation into consideration. Therefore, in a number of words, this option on an entertainment perspective actually totally SUCKS!
Just a tip… treat the DJ as your entertainmant for the night, as you would any other performer that interacts with your crowd. It really is best to have what ever entertainment that you choose to provide for your guests very close to the dance floor. This is important for a number of reasons.
Make sure and discuss this request with your venue provider’s event organizer. Quite often, their agenda is very food & service-driven. This means they do not always have in mind the best interests of optimal entertainment requirements.
Here is a list of things to think about when making your seating plan and placing your entertainment spotlight for the night:
1) IS THE DJ CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE DANCE FLOOR? – No matter what your hall organizer says, the entertainment should ALWAYS be right near the dance floor, period. They should also have a clean path with no seating in front of them.
A wedding venue knows food, and knows how to treat their guests, but they are not entertainers, nor do they know much about music equipment placement. Ask any good DJ and they will tell you it is not a good idea to be far away from the dance floor.
2)NEVER PUT TABLES IN FRONT OF THE DJ – First off, the sound quality will be terrible when ever you put something in front of a speaker. Obstacles will hinder the sound from reaching the dance floor properly. Secondly, the guests sitting in front of the DJ booth will be blasted by sound all night. Those will then be considered the worst seats in the house.
3) CAN THE DJ BE SEEN BY ALL? – The DJ or band often makes announcements. You don’t want your guests wondering where this mystery voice is coming from like a blue light special announcement at K-mart.
4) CAN THE DJ CONNECT WITH THE CROWD? – It is very important for the DJ, much like a band, to connect with the crowd. Seeing what is working and what is not is a huge part of being a mobile disc jockey.
5) WILL THE DJ BE ABLE TO INTERACT WITH THE CROWD ? – If your wedding DJ is placed far away, requests become very difficult, or sometimes almost impossible.
A balcony set up typically doesn’t work well for a mobile DJ. (Balcony DJ booths only work in night clubs because the place is hard wired with smaller speakers everywhere in the hard to reach dead zones.)
BELOW IS AN EXAMPLE OF A BAD WEDDING HALL LAYOUT:
In the picture above, I would have just switched the table to the right of the DJ and the cake. This would leave enough space so that the DJ booth could have been strategically tilted so that the soundwaves travel to the dance floor with no hindering obstacles.
In a big hall, it is impossible to do a 75 feet away corner set up, facing the back of your guests with tables in front of you blocking the sound. In the picture above, 24 people are being blasted by the DJ. They wouldn’t be happy either.
Overall, in a wedding reception setting, your DJ/MC placement is critical. Do not let the hall put your entertainment in a closet.
When it comes to dancing, “The King of Dirty Dancing” Patrick Swayze once said, “Nobody puts baby in the corner.” The same should go for your wedding DJ.