Event Planning FAQs
Watch these valuable Learning Videos
Event Planning Questions
0001 Event Prep, the Bar, the Photo Booth, The DJ
0002 When to Book Vendors and Venue
0003 Event timing. The length of your Celebration is important.
0004 In Advance, Divide your wedding Day into 3 parts
0005 Timeline for your Event
0006 First Look
0007 Ceremony: Key Components
0008 Cocktail hour, Cocktail music, Cocktails
0009 Grand Entrance - Pose and Routine
0011 Bride and Groom Thank you Speech
0013 Cake Cutting
0014 Special Dances
0017 Group Photo
0018 Sweet Caroline Dance Floor Opener
0019 Bouquet and Garter toss
0020 Bride, if you want dancing, dance
0021 Hiring Vendors. Trust the good ones
0022 Last Dance
0023 Your meeting with CKE: Just give us “today’s answer”!
0024 Your Final Meeting with CKE: Is that your “final answer?”
Am I supposed to tip my DJ?
Some do. Some don’t. The DJ does not expect to be tipped. By our rough guestimate, about 30 – 40 percent of our esteemed clients choose to tip. It does not mean you are cheap if you don’t. If you choose to tip, the most frequent tip we get is $50, and there is the occasional $100. Again, it is not expected.
Should I have Karaoke at my event?
Karaoke can be a great segment, with beautiful voices, loving dedications and boundless love in the room… or a disaster, with drunk idiots, singing out of tune and using profanity over the mic. And you usually will not know which way it is going to go till your event is over. When you interrupt a dance floor to begin Karaoke performances, many people wince and want to go home. It can also be very entertaining and add a live element that will be remembered fondly for years. If you do decide to have Karaoke, our collection and presentation is superior in every way. Weigh this decision carefully, and ask for more input if you like. We are here to help.
Will my DJ take requests?
Yes we will. We are happy to, but…requests can wipe out a dance floor quickly, and sometimes you can never get your dance floor raging again, after you have lost it with a dud song. A good DJ knows when a request is going to make your friends and family sit down. If you tell us to handle requests the way we think best, we will tell people who request questionable songs that we will play it later on in the event, if possible, when there is a lull in the dance floor. This way, we do not risk slowing down the great celebration that you have orchestrated. If you tell us to take all requests and play them immediately, as they are asked for, we will do it without question. We just want to be sure that you know what can happen.
Will my DJ play CD’s and songs from Flash drives that my friends, family and I bring?
Yes, if that is what you want. Note: Cd's have become largely extinct so most DJs do not have a CD player We make sure you have approved it, before we agree to play anything that is handed to us. This way, if there is any questionable content, it has been approved by you, in advance.
How many songs will my DJ play?
The DJ speed limit is 15 songs per hour. Four hours = 60 ish songs. Five hours = 75 ish songs. Also, of interest, the party / dancing / fun segment of most wedding receptions is the final 2 hours. Two hours = 30 – 35 songs.
When should all of my song choices be finalized and sent to your office?
No later than 2 weeks before your event. It’s important. In order to serve you well, we need time to go over all of your notes and requests, try to figure out every little detail you have indicated, and more. We often do 25 or more events in a weekend. We need several hours to do the music for one event. When we get 15 song lists in the mail on a Thursday, we sometimes have to go on very little sleep, in order to have all of those events ready for Friday and Saturday. We frequently have to pull an “all nighter”, doing research, finding songs, making CD’s and completing packages for the DJ’s to take to their respective events. We need time to do the job right. 14 days, minimum please.
Should I pick the music for my event?
The best DJ’s on the planet will tell you that they do not proceed with a predetermined play list. They read the crowd, and then they experiment and change directions many, many times, throughout an event. For someone to try and set the play list in advance, is very risky. We have an expression: “If you pick your music in advance, your friends and family will not dance.” We feel it is best to give us a list of music that you would like to hear, if it fits the mood. Of course, if you want to pick every song, we are happy to accommodate you.
How involved should I be in planning my event?
There are a few schools of thought. Here are two: 1) You can make all of the schedules and lists, pick all of the music, and be the hands manager of every detail of your upcoming celebration, in advance, and on the “day of”…or 2) You can tell us that you “don’t want to deal” with all of the details, and we are happy to handle the lion’s share of the music selection, making announcements, handling the flow of segments and events, so you can just sit back and enjoy your happy celebration. You can also fall somewhere in the middle, and specify certain things that you want, and leave the rest to us. At most of the events we do, we delicately and sensitively handle nearly every aspect of the presentation of the event.
Should I book more time than I anticipate needing, just in case?
No. Shorter is almost always better than longer when it comes to the length of an event. Our overtime ( $50 / half hour per DJ ~ $100 / hour per CKE Team Member ) costs the same in advance as it does on the day of your event. So we recommend that you commit to an appropriate amount of time, and then add over time in increments of ½ hour, if you want the celebration to continue. We are happy to stay as long as you like, and we have often done events where they continue celebrating for as much as 4 hours of overtime.
How long should my event be?
A party, like a birthday or an anniversary, can normally sustain interest / excitement for 4 hours and then begins to thin out – usually. A wedding reception should last 5 hours if cocktail hour is one of those hours. If the ceremony is to take place “on site, add one hour for a total of 6 hours. It’s always better to “get in, make your mark, and get out” before your guests get restless, bored, uncomfortable, etc. “Always leave ‘em wanting more !” There are exceptions, but these are basic guidelines.
What are the benefits of having 2 DJ’s?
Picture a DJ standing in the middle of the dance floor making announcements, or playing a game, or having a bride throw her bouquet. As the segment progresses, song after song will play, seamlessly – one right into the next. The music is being controlled by the other DJ, that is running the equipment, while the emcee is free to travel through the room, without having to worry about running back to the equipment to change songs or turn mics up and down for toasts, etc. If you can easily afford the 2 DJ price, it’s a nice thing to have, but if you are watching your budget, it is not necessary (about 100 out of 1500+ clients per year choose a 2 DJ package). F Y I the Curtis and Anna package, although most expensive, is the most requested package at CKE.
Should I make arrangements to feed my DJ and other Vendors?
Yes. Your Vendors and your location / food make or break your event. The DJ plays a big part in how your event is enjoyed by your friends and family. It just makes sense to feed the DJ as well as Photographer, Videographer, Photo Booth Attendant and Uplighting Designer. If you tell us in advance that the CKE Team Members will not be fed, we are grateful. This way we can send a lunch with the CKE Team Members . It’s a small price to pay, to make your Vendors “feel the love”. They will do their best job whether they are fed or not.
Will my DJ act as an emcee / master of ceremonies?
Absolutely, if that is what you want. Every Curtis Knight Entertainment DJ is trained to play great music and to act as an emcee to the degree that you wish. You tell us how involved you want the DJ to be. We will be happy to run the entire event and control the flow, or stay in the background and simply play good music., Just let us know what you would like to see.
How will my DJ proceed at my event?
We ask you, up front, what type of presentation you would like to see - Low, Medium or High Energy - and then we’re are as involved or reserved as you like. If you simply turn us loose, ( recommended ) we read your friends, family, co-workers and feel the mood, and play the right music with the right amount of interaction – Never over the top or obnoxious.
What does my DJ need to do his/her job?
We need one electrical outlet to plug into, and a 6’ or 8’ banquet style table to set the equipment on. Two tables is optimum for us, but it rarely happens. For an added touch of class, you can make sure that a table cloth and skirt are provided, if applicable and desired.
Where should my DJ be set up?
At the exact edge of the dance floor or dance area. If you stick your DJ far away, in a corner or back against the wall, it directly impacts the connection that the DJ is able to make with your friends and family or co-workers. The closer to the guests your DJ is, the more of an impact the DJ presentation will have. This is a very important detail that often goes overlooked.
How will my DJ be dressed?
By default we always opt for Tux / Gown. If you tell us that your event is a barbecue in the back yard, we will ask if you want the DJ to be in a Tux / Gown or Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts. We want to be attired the way that makes you most comfortable.
What time will my DJ arrive?
On the day of your event, unless we are given information that impacts our set up, we arrive one hour before music has to be playing. It takes us about 20 – 30 minutes to load in and set up. We allow the extra time, just in case there is a long access route to get from the curb to where the event is, i.e., a zillion stairs, elevators, etc.
Do you need to speak to the event coordinator at the event location or see the location in advance?
No. We have been in the business long enough to know our way around. When we arrive at the location, we take a quick look at where to set up and have a 3 minute chat with the coordinator, to be sure we are on the same page, and then we are ready to go. It really is that simple.
How long before my event should I book my DJ?
A year to a year and a half before the date, if possible. The good DJ’s are requested and frequently get booked early, and many clients call us as much as 2 or more years before their event. In contrast, we frequently have a client call us for the first time on the day before their wedding and ask if we have a DJ available to do a wedding “tomorrow”. With 42 DJ’s on the roster we have a DJ available 99.9 % of the time.
General Event Questions
Do you have music for non traditional events like Spanish, Latin, Portuguese, Asian, Arabic etc?
Well…yes, we do have some music for just about any ethnicity, but in truth, we are not experts at it. If you will help us pick the music, send us links to where we can buy it, or loan us a few CDs or flash drives we will do a wonderful job for you.
What if my DJ cannot attend my event due to ill health or personal tragedy?
Over 25 years and more than 50,000 events only once, ( fingers crossed ) did we have DJ miss an event. He, in his car, was hit by a tractor trailer and injured severely. Because we keep your event notes on file at our office, and only allow copies to be taken from our office, we assigned the event to one of our other ( 41 at the time) DJ’s and he did such a great job, the client called back a year and a half later and requested the DJ that had filled in (the injured DJ healed and came back to work, and is 100% healthy, today).
Do you have a snow or inclement weather cancellation policy?
Yes we do. We never, ever cancel for any reason. No matter how deep the snow gets your DJ will be there – absolutely. If you reschedule the date we do not charge you again. We simply change the date at no extra charge.
When do I meet with my DJ? (meetings are with Wedding and Mitzvah clients only)
You can meet with our DJ, at no risk or obligation, immediately. Once you have hired us, you can meet with that DJ again, just before your celebration. If you already know that you will be using our company or one specific DJ, there is no need for 2 meetings. You can simply put a deposit on the DJ of your choosing and then have your first meeting 2 weeks before the wedding. Either way is fine
How do I know which of your DJ’s is right for me?
Any of our top, well trained, professional DJ’s will do a great job for you. If you do not have a certain one in mind because of a referral or an event you were at, let us speak with you for a bit, and then assign a DJ to meet with you or simply do your event. Your satisfaction is assured and guaranteed.
Do you use a DVD or videotape that shows your DJs in action?
No. We used to, and it carried problems along with all of the sales it made for us. If we made the presentation real and true, the videos and DVD’s were not as slick as other ones being used in the biz, so people hesitated to hire us because the sound track wasn’t perfectly mixed and the lighting wasn’t breathtaking. So we made a souped up, turbo version, which made every DJ look like the ultimate emcee and “dance floor doctor”, taking tiny snippets from here and there and linking them all together, along with a lot of studio wizardry. This backfired because the clients expected the out of control packed dance floor with the bright flashing lights and perfect sound track all night. When it didn’t happen, event though they had a wonderful event, they felt as though their event had fallen short because the dance floor wasn’t packed all night. They just could not get the vision of the perfect DVD out of their heads. So, we then moved to the face to face meeting, which does not “sell” as many clients…but the clients who do allow us to serve them are thrilled and we sleep better at night.
Can I see your DJ at an event?
I wish the answer was yes. We protect the privacy of our clients fiercely. We cannot tell who is who, and who is going to help themselves to free drinks at the open bar and then fall into the potato salad, or even worse. [ I could tell you stories you would not believe. ] It is an invasion of privacy and a breach of faith to send some one to your event to sneak a peak, and it is improper and impertinent for us to ask you if it is okay to send a perspective client to have a look at your DJ at your special event. So we simply won’t do it.
If I play a slide show or DVD can you amplify the sound track?
Yes, we do it all the time. Just tell us what kind of equipment is being used to make the presentation or put us in touch with the person who will be supplying or running the presentation. We will take it from there. We have all the cables and connectors.
What if I want extra mics, stands, speakers, mixers, amps, etc for my event?
Because we have rooms and rooms full of audio gear, we always have whatever is need for special requirements, and we know how to hook things up and “jack” instruments in to consoles and mix good sound. We do not charge for extra Microphones and stands.
What if the DJ equipment fails?
Redundancy is our buzz word. We build in 2 of virtually everything to our systems. 2 discrete power amps. 2 speakers, 2 Lap Tops, 3 microphones – one wireless and 2 hard wire – and on and on. That being said, if the unthinkable happens the DJ’s are instructed to call the office or office cell phone, and if that cannot produce what is needed they are told to go to any store anywhere and pay any amount of money for what it takes to make the event happen. And we are not kidding. We will do whatever it takes to be sure we are not responsible for anything that impacts your special event negatively, even if it costs us 4 times what you paid us to DJ your event.
How good is the equipment you use?
We were an audio production company before we entered the DJ biz. We have done concert shows for Dokken, Warrant, Slaughter, Quiet Riot, Great White, Brad Delp and many many more. We do shows for up to 30,000 people, and our equipment has to work or the show can’t go on. The point is our roots are in professional audio. We order bulk cable in thousand foot rolls and make our own speaker and mic cables. We know good sound and we know what the top brands of gear are. And we know what gear has a high MTBF ( Mean Time Between Failures ) , and which equipment is prone to frequent failures. We use Shure Mics, QSC Amps, JBL, QSC and Yamaha speakers, Ultimate Support speaker stands and so forth. These are among the very best names in sound equipment. Simply put, we are audiophiles.
Photo Booth Questions
When and How should I give you my Photo to be used on my 4-Photo Strip ?
Attach it to an e-mail or put it on a flash drive ( thumb drive ). Any way you can get it to us is fine. Jpeg is our preferred photo format, but we can use just about any format. You can bring a paper photo to our office and we will scan it for you at no charge
When should I use Curtis Knight Entertainment’s Photo / Video Booth ?
Wedding Receptions, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Corporate Parties, Holiday Parties, Promotional Events, Graduation/Reunions, Birthday Parties, Anniversaries, High School Dances/Proms, Trade Shows, Fund Raisers, Baby Showers, Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties, Sweet 16′s and many more special events…The photo booth is always …always a good idea. it always works in every conceivable setting.
How does the process work ?
First, you, the host, will have your picture taken if we have not been given one in advance. We like to have your engagement photo if you don’t mind sending it to us ! Next, your guests use the booth for the length of your event and fill your album with priceless gems !
What are the dimensions of the Photo / Video Booth?
Our contemporary Photo Booth requires approximately 15’ wide by 7’ deep. The absolute minimum is 11’ x 5’ if there is a crucial lack of space. The booth measures 5’ x 7’, and there is also the 6’ banquet table beside it which holds the printer, photo album and props. When coordinating an area for the photo / video booth, keep in mind that we need space for the table and the booth. Safe dimensions are 15’ x 7’ when planning.
Can we have a special message given to our guest’s?
Absolutely! That is our standard procedure.
Does our event include an attendant?
Yes. A professional attendant will be present during the entire period to help your guests operate and enjoy their Photo / Video Booth experience. Attendant will wear a CKE Monogrammed Golf shirt, unless you prefer a tuxedo or suit. Just let us know.
Do you charge extra for setup and teardown time
No. If you have hired us for 4 hours, 8:00 – 12:00, we will be completely set up and ready to go at or before 8:00. If you decide your guests are having too much fun making monkey faces in the Photo / Video Booth, we charge $200 per hour for overtime.
Is the deposit refundable?
If you cancel your booking 180 days or more prior to your event we will refund your entire deposit. Otherwise, we have to decline many potential customers when holding a booth for a client and people log on to see the availability… and then do not contact us if the booth shows “reserved” for a date. It really does make good sense.
How much of a deposit is required to reserve my date?
We require a $300 deposit to formally book your date.
How Much Does It Cost?
Photo Booth costs $1000. Travel fee applies if venue is more than 50 miles from Billerica, MA. Basically it comes to $1 per mile, one way, if over 50 miles.
Is my deposit refundable?
Our paperwork states that your deposit is non-refundable. This due to the amount of work we do to set up your account, spend office time on the phone with you, schedule meetings, send resource materials, etc. It really does take a lot of time to serve a client well. It also needs to be said that when we are told that there is a family crisis, health problem, etc, we send all money received back to the client immediately, regardless of what our paperwork says.
When should I pay my balance due for my DJ?
Two weeks prior. On the day of your event, usually things are pretty hectic and crazy. We find it is better to take care of as many details, in advance, as is possible. Two weeks is usually far enough away from the event, so that you are still focused and calm and can take care of details easily
Why is their such a wide range of pricing in the DJ business?
Great question. You can pay as little as $200 for your DJ or $6500 as one of our colleagues in New York does. It comes down to each company owner. We charge a price that helps us grow our business, but is not unreasonably high. Often we are asked to explain why 2 companies in our area charge more than twice what we charge. We are asked what they will get from the higher priced DJ company that they will not get from us. I am never sure what to say, so I just shrug and smile.
Why is there a price difference between a Party Package and a Wedding Package?
Great question. When we provide a DJ for a party, the client calls, we send a quote, they call back, give us a deposit, and we send a DJ to the event. Done. If the event is a wedding. We 1) spend a lot of time on the phone, taking volumes of notes about the wedding day, and every aspect – from song selection to presentation and more. Also we 2 ) set up one or more meetings for the bride and groom and the DJ that will serve them, so they can go over the details, item by item, face to face. 3) If the bride and groom have song requests that are not on our published song list, we spend hours and hours ( and hours and more hours J ) finding all of the music they want and preparing it in a logical cataloged order, on CD, in preparation for the big celebration ! A LOT more service and preparation goes into the wedding experience that requires a higher ticket price.
Do I pay for set up, tear down, travel? Set up and tear down ?
No. There will only be a travel fee if your event is more than 50 miles from our office in Billerica , MA.
Do you charge a travel fee?
Yes we do. If your event is 51 – 100 miles from our office in Billerica , MA , we charge $50. If it is 101 – 150 miles, we charge $100, and so forth. This makes your event more attractive to our top DJ’s who can opt to stay close to home, if they like.
How far will you travel to do an event?
Anywhere in the world, as far as you like. The cost for the event stays the same. You simply have to arrange our travel and accommodations. We currently operate in the 6 New England states and Eastern Canada – The Maritimes and New Brunswick .
Wedding Specific Questions
What if my ceremony and reception are in two different places?
We can provide music anywhere. Whether your ceremony is 25 miles from your reception or just down the hall, we can do 2 set ups, or run a long speaker cord if the ceremony is close enough. It’s never a problem.
Will my DJ provide music and protocol for my wedding ceremony?
Yes, it is an area of expertise for us. We will offer you all of the options and possibilities for your ceremony. You simply accept the options you like and reject the ones you do not like and together we create a beautiful ceremony. We know al of the components and fine points and we will help organize and execute the flow, so it turns out wonderfully.