Planning music for your function is important when considering what kind of atmosphere you want to provide for your guests. There are a number of choices that will depend on your budget and of course the venue’s facilities. Function venues are generally set up to accommodate live DJ’s or for you to provide your own source of music through IPOD or CD’s. Many venues have Dj’s who they can hire on your behalf and the advantage of this is that they will know the equipment and the space. If you are set on having a live band, this will limit your choice of venue but will definitely create a lot of atmosphere.

Hiring a DJ is always a good choice when planning a function as its relatively inexpensive and will create a great atmosphere for your guests. A professional DJ will have a wide variety of music to play and will mix it seamlessly without delay or interruption. A good DJ is often able to read the mood of a room and can determine what kind of music is required at different times in the night. The job of a DJ is to please a crowd with music and they can be briefed by you, (the client), ahead of time so that they play within genres of your choice. Party guests enjoy seeing a DJ performing live, rather than listening to CDs because the music of a DJ is composed, not simply played. They can manipulate popular music by mixing tracks in a unique way and bring something extra to the experience of listening. The other advantage to hiring a DJ is that you will never at any stage have to worry about the entertainment throughout the night. If you brief your DJ at the beginning, then you can usually be rest assured that he will look after the entertainment side of things. Even when the DJ is not playing, they can organize music to be played in between sets. DJ’s can sometimes act as an MC for the night as well. This will obviously depend on the DJ but some enjoy talking with the guests and introducing speeches etc. Function DJ’s can cost anywhere between $70 and $150 an hour and most will do a minimum of 3 hours to make it worth their while. Some have their own equipment and some are happy to use the venue’s equipment but these are technicalities that need to be resolved with a DJ and a venue ahead of time. With DJ’ing, being a popular hobby for many, you may know someone who is willing to DJ at your function for a fraction of the cost. This is always a good option if you’re on a tight budget but make sure you hear them play ahead of time and investigate how much and what music they have. Its important to remember that some people may label themselves as a DJ because they like music and can work a mixing desk, but these people may not have much experience playing to a crowd. Good DJ’ing involves an extensive knowledge and range of music, good mixing skills and the ability to read the mood of a room.

If you do decide to hire a DJ through a venue, then you don’t really have to worry about much in terms of organizing. DJ’s that work with a venue will know the drill and will simply need the time of the function and perhaps a set list from you as to the music you prefer. This information can usually be passed along through the function coordinator of the venue so you will usually only need to deal with one central person.

Bringing your own CD’s, USB’s or IPOD
Supplying your own music will be the most inexpensive option of all and will give you complete control over what music is played at your function. This is fine if all of your guests have the same taste in music but this is usually not be the case. Organizing your own music can take a lot of effort as well. You will need to organize tracks to suit different stages in the evening and someone to change the CD’s or IPOD songs when tracks run out or get repetitive. Songs often have lengthy fade ins and fade outs and without a DJ to seamlessly mix these in with other songs, this could leave your guests standing in the dance floor without music for a short time. There is no quicker way (other than a dispute perhaps) to break the mood of a party than a bad choice of music or no music at all.

By using an IPOD, CD’s or a laptop, you also run the risk of intoxicated guests monopolizing the music choices. This might annoy other guests and limit their enjoyment of the night. Unless you have a chosen person to control your music for the evening, you might find that this will not simply affect your party atmosphere but be a constant annoyance to you, the person responsible for entertaining the room.

Venues will normally supply equipment for DJ’s but it won’t always be of the quality that some DJ’s are used to. It’s always a good idea to check with your chosen venue ahead of time, what equipment they have and if your DJ can bring their own if necessary? Some venues charge extra for use of the DJ equipment, some include it in the general room hire cost. This is another technicality worth investigating early on.

If you do decide to bring your own music, make sure you have all the necessary cords and connections to link your IPOD or USB with the Venue’s P.A system. Often a venue will require you to bring your own connector cords for IPods and some will not be able to facilitate USB’s. These are all questions worth asking the function coordinator of the venue to be as organized before the night as you can be.