After the craziest May & June in my company’s history, I can now take a breath as July simmers down a bit. This was the first time I had seen Bar-Mitzvah season, Wedding season, School Dance-Mania, and Grad Season all crash together, making us not only busy on the typical Saturdays & Sundays, but all the weekdays too…
All I preached to my crew this year is that: Grad Parties are a completely different animal than School Dances. Ever think about that??
Sometimes a school dance can be as tough as it gets. You’re given your 3-4 hour time slot and you have to get kids dancing the whole time without a break. Just straight music. These are kids who maybe pay $5-$10 to come to a dance, but maybe it’s just to socialize; maybe it’s to Snapchat the party or maybe, if you’re lucky, they came to dance.
In my opinion Grad parties can be way easier if you help yourself and your clients to make them that way. Just like on some Weddings or Bar-Mitzvahs there is no planner…Therefore, it’s your job to step in and guide your client with the correct timing for a party. Same thing with a Grad Party.
Who wants to play 3-4 hours straight, like at a school dance??? No one. How can you fix this?? One word. Food. 99% of the time there is some kind of food and dessert served at your party. Sometimes you’ll even have a video montage prepared by the client (recapping the kids time at that particular school together) that they want to show before the night is over. Use this to your advantage.
So here’s a few recommendations to make those Grad parties rock!
#1. Create a light timeline with the client. (Sure it’s not a wedding, but every event needs structure.) So instead of parents serving food from the get-go, suggest an arrival time, then 15-20 minutes of walk-in, greeting their friends and THEN getting pizza, hot dogs, or whatever is being served.
#2. Pizza & Dessert Don’t Mix! – At home they do, but for our purposes, don’t open the buffet and have dessert on it. Kids only eat for 8-12 minutes as it is…so if you are working a 7pm-10pm Grad Party, space out the food (just like you would at a normal event.)
#3. Use that Montage – Most of these parties that I do have a video tribute to all of the kids as they go on to a new school. I generally use this as a hook. Put that montage right after your cake, that way everyone is in the room to watch (including all of the parents.) Then you have the rest of the party to dance.
#4 Get the moms in there! Whether you have a montage or not, usually after cake/dessert, find a way to get all those amazing moms involved in the party, even if it’s for one dance. Get interactive!! Ask the kids to make some noise for all the amazing parents who put on the event, and give those parents one “token” song to dance with the kids. It gets amazing reviews and always makes the moms think about booking us the next year.
7:00 Kids Arrival/Fun Background Music/Greet Kids
7:20 Pizza/Buffet Food Opens
8:50 Tribute Montage
9:00 Mom’s Dance with Kids (1-2 songs)
9:10 Dancing and Fun
10:00 End to a Great night!
Structure always wins…See how everything is nicely spaced out??? This can make your life a whole lot easier when you’re trying to DJ tons of Grad Parties in the midst of the craziest time of the year–May & June.
Happy 4th to all you amazing entertainers and DJs out there!!!
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