Tips

Got My Date… Where Do I Begin?

What an amazing feeling! It’s exhilarating… a combination of excited and nervous. We know why you’re excited. This is a day we’ve been looking forward to for many years! Let’s talk about the nervous part for a second…

The temptation is to run around looking at potential venues for your Mitzvah celebration. And we’ll call NYX to lock in our Emcee, DJ, and photobooth. Then we’ll call some caterers and other vendors. And what if everything costs way more than we expect? That could derail our planning completely!

Hang on a second. Don’t drive yourself crazy!

Here’s a quick guide for the best way to begin:

When you get your date, have a meeting with your spouse and agree on how much you can afford to spend on this party. Once you have your total budget, the next (and most important) step is to allocate that budget to the different expenses you will incur. With over 30 years and nearly 20,000 parties of experience, our certified event planner MC Howie T says, “The most important thing to remember is that your party’s success is tied directly to how you allocate your budget. It’s not what you spend, but where you spend it.”

Howie has given us a typical Mitzvah budget allocation, in order from high to low expense:

  1. Food and Beverage/Catering — Venue
  2. Entertainment/Decor
  3. Photographer
  4. Miscellaneous – Novelties, Invitations, Yarmulkes, Parting Gifts
  5. Attire

There’s a very good chance that you’ll go over budget. That almost always happens, especially when you’re planning the celebration of a lifetime! So expect to plan for slight overages and leave yourself a cushion so those inevitable overruns don’t affect the entire event!

If you would like to discuss how several different factors affect the overall cost of your event — such as guest count, day of the week, time of day, time of year, vendor reputation, etc. — drop us a line at 301.984.0500 or howie@nyxevents.com

The Mitzvah Times are Changin!

Are you changing with them?

Once you receive your date, the common practice has been to book your venue, caterer, then entertainment and photographer. That was the old way…

The first thing to do when you get your date is to set your budget with your spouse. Your budget will determine the financial allocation for each element of your party. Once this is done, the order in which you book the services, in most cases, is irrelevant. You certainley wouldn’t book color- or theme-specific items before you decide on a theme. But when it comes to major components of your party like venue, entertainment, and photography, it’s wide open!

Keeping an open mind is important because you may come across an amazing vendor that can deliver exactly what you want at the right price. The sequence in which you book your vendors is not nearly as important as it was under the old tradition!

A perfect example would be… when you find a great DJ (*wink* *wink*), it might be number three on your list and you might only be working on priority number two. We recommend you shuffle priorities and get your date locked in with that perfect vendor. If you choose not to book at that time in order to stick with your traditional booking order, you risk losing out on your first choice who is the ideal fit! It’s important to remember that you’re not the only family in the area planning their Mitzvah on your date, and there is only one perfect solution for you.

So don’t sweat the order in which you check things off your list. With each locked-in detail and accomplished goal, you reduce your stress level and move closer to having fun, which is what a party is all about!

Follow us on Facebook (@nyxevents) and we’ll let you know when the next planning advice blog goes live! And if you need someone to bounce ideas off, drop us a line (howie@nyxevents.com). We would be honored to help! MC Howie T is your secret weapon… a tremendous resource with over 30 years in the Bar & Bat Mitzvah industry and a certified event planner! Let us help make sure the planning process is fun, too!

Mitzvah: Not Just for Kids Anymore

Excitement is in the air, let the planning begin! “We’re having a Bar/Bat Mitzvah so we’re looking to throw a great party for the kids!” This is the perfect mindset for a kids-only party at your local bowling alley, swim club, or recreation center. But if you’d like to have adult family & friends involved in the festivities, let’s re-think that approach…

Include Your Adults

Your family, and friends have been looking forward to this occasion and hope to share in the celebration. They want to pay their respects on the big day! This is especially true if you’re looking forward to their participation in celebratory activities like Hora, Candlelighting, or dinner with Hamotzi. Once the guest list is finalized, the age breakdown tends to be around half & half or even 3-to-2 adults to kids!

Although your guest ratio may be slightly different, the principle is the same. Let’s plan your entertainment with the kids AND adults in mind and avoid having half (or more) of your guests bored and/or disconnected from the fun. Yes, the adults understand that this event is centered around your child’s rite of passage. And they legitimately enjoy seeing your kids (and theirs!) having a great time. But you will be a far more gracious host if you build in some fun for the adults, too!

“MUST HAVE” DJ Traits

The single best way to go about including your adults in the fun… Pick a DJ with an extensive knowledge of music and the discipline to use it. Discipline — how does that apply to your choice of DJ? We have all heard the horror stories… “Our DJ played hip-hop and techno* all night and our guests left early!”

If your DJ lacks maturity or professionalism, their top priority may be showing off or “looking cool” for the kids. If that is the case, they will be tempted to weight their song selections toward music that may not be enjoyable for the majority of your guests. Don’t allow yourself to be put in that position. Make sure your DJ knows what music will fit well for all your guests. Your DJ must recognize the appropriate time and place to focus on kids’ music in a traditional mitzvah.

The ONE Mitzvah Takeaway from This Article

Interview your DJ and MC in person at their office! Be sure they understand how to incorporate all your requests while still appealing to various ages and musical tastes. We train our DJs rigorously to put forth a happy mix of music for everyone from eight to eighty. Everyone should leave your party having heard their favorite song!

If you would like to talk music for your upcoming event, reach out to us at at info@nyxevents.com

The Night of Your Dreams (on a budget)!

Since you’ve been anticipating this event for many years, you likely already know your total budget. But once you start reserving services for your party, it’s easy to get caught up in the creative and artistic side of planning. That might leave you getting carried away with one aspect of your event and finding yourself in a bind when you have to take money from another. To avoid that situation, here are some ways to make sure your budget turns into the night of your dreams!

1 – Budget Your Budget!
Be sure to have your total properly allocated to the appropriate vendors before you go to meet them. All vendors will need to have some idea of your budget in order to give you the most for your money. Top industry vendors will also want to clearly communicate what they will deliver for that price so that your expectations are met.

Be prepared with your expected guest count and allocated funds for their particular area of expertise when they ask. Much of your allocation will be defined by what is most important to you. But if you would like some advice on what a typical allocation looks like, feel free to give us a call and we’ll gladly walk you through some case studies with similar budgets to yours.

Traditional wisdom says you will not get as good a deal if you disclose your budget. But reputable event professionals already have pricing established for their services. Discussing your budget will allow them to put the best package together for you knowing the guidelines with which you’re comfortable.

2 – Deal or No Deal!
To quote the old adage, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Sometimes in an attempt to be cost-conscious, certain aspects of your party can suffer. It’s important to educate yourself so you know where that line is. There’s nothing wrong with getting a good deal, but the good deal has no value if the service you hire ruins that aspect of your party.

A true professional that can deliver quality results consistently, and has the reviews and reputation to back it up, will only discount so far. They know the value of their service. You will find that if you compare several high-level vendors, their prices will be similar. Once you’re convinced that the vendors you’re considering will definitely provide great performance and value, then your selection of a vendor becomes a matter of personality and service.

3 – Packages Provide Prudent Pricing!
Check with your vendors to see if they specialize in multiple areas of need for your event. It is good for your bottom line to minimize the total number of vendors for your event, because each vendor will have delivery and setup fees associated with the items or activities they provide. For example, if your DJ is already bringing sound, video, and lighting equipment, it is likely cheaper for them to supply your lounge than securing a separate company, as they already have labor and trucking reserved for your date. Ask your vendors about package deals!

More info…
If these quick budget tips were helpful, let us offer advice in other aspects of your Mitzvah celebration. If you have any questions or need help with any part of your party, we’d be glad to assist. Email info@nyxevents.com or drop us a line at 301.984.0500 anytime.

LGBT Weddings: Forms and Formalities

Image credit: KRISTA GUENIN/FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS

Our Experience

As a company that embraces our amazing friends and clients in the LGBT community, we’ve been honored to be a part of many elegant same-sex weddings. As part of our evolving communication with engaged couples, we’ve invested the time into creating some forms which take into account the feedback they’ve given. We offer them here as a gift to the community, wedding planners, wedding venues, officiants, and other DJs. Feel free to use them and/or change them to suit your company or your clients.

So What Has Changed?

Language. We’ve asked our same-sex couples how they’d like to be formally presented to their family and friends, and the response has been “newlyweds”.

Formalities/Activities. Most of our same-sex couples aren’t interested in activities like the garter removal and bouquet toss, so we’ve changed those sections of our document so that they can write in these kinds of activities if they would like them.

Besties. Traditionally, most of our grooms have had a best man, and most of our brides have had a maid or matron of honor. However, one of the greatest toasts I’ve heard in my 24 years as a DJ was by the female best friend of one of the grooms at a recent wedding. This client asked for her to be presented as his “Best Person”.

Special Dances. The father/daughter and mother/son dances still play a very important role in paying homage to loving relationships with our clients’ parents. Recently, we’ve hosted some partners who have chosen formal dances with special people other than the opposite sex parent. Our planning tools now reflect those wishes.

How can we help?

More work is still needed to address same-sex couples with the level of dignity and respect they deserve on the most important day of their lives. NYX Entertainment & Events is working toward that goal and if these documents can assist you, it is our honor to present them. We’re open to your feedback on how they can be improved, and what other considerations we can make to produce for all of our couples their #BestDayEver.

Download:

http://bit.ly/NYX-Events-Same-Sex-Wedding-Docs – zip file contents are virus-free .pdf files.

Top Tips for the Perfect Party

A lifelong entertainer and certified event planner with over 25 years experience, NYX Entertainment & Events CEO and Creative Director Howard Teger knows a thing or two about throwing a great celebration! Here are his Top Tips for the Perfect Party.

1 – Timing Is Everything!
Spacing out food, formalities, and dancing is the key to a party that flows naturally for the best guest experience. It is essential to balance these three main elements of your party. Fight the urge to have all of your formalities at the beginning. While these moments are critically important to you, making sure all your guests have fun should be important as well.

2 – Meet and Greet!
You absolutely need to go meet your vendors at their offices! There is invaluable peace of mind in shaking hands with the people you’re counting on for one of the most precious days of your life. Referrals from your friends and reviews from websites like Yelp! are valuable, but they are only part of the equation. Friends and reviewers may not know which parts of your big day are the most important to YOU.

In addition to being able to see the professionalism of the environment in which they work to prepare for your event, you should get a feel for whether a vendor’s personality is compatible with yours. You will be spending a lot of time working on event details with these people. Meeting them at their headquarters will reveal crucial insight on the scale and scope of their operation as well as the level of time and attention they will devote to making your event a resounding success!

3 – For A Good Time, Call… A Professional!
Just as you wouldn’t go to a part-time doctor if you needed surgery, you shouldn’t go to a part-time vendor for your once-in-a-lifetime event. Full-time professionals often have years more practice and experience under their belt, which helps them deal with the inevitable curve balls so smoothly that your guests never even knew there was an issue! And should your part-time vendor strike out, you may have very little legal recourse.

When someone’s livelihood depends on making sure your event is flawless, you will get a much higher standard of performance and customer service. This applies to florists, caterers, photographers, entertainment, party planners, and decorators. We would be happy to point you in the direction of the industry’s finest professionals in all of those areas (and we recommend you go meet them! – see #2).

More info…
So there you have some quick tips that will help for your first interactions with potential vendors. If you have any questions or need help getting started, we’d be glad to help you. Email info@nyxevents.com or drop us a line at 301.984.0500 anytime.

The Best Playlist Ever Made!

One of the most important aspects of any great party is the music. With guests ranging in age from 8 to 80, multiple cultures, religions, and personalities, the best playlist ever made must not leave anyone out.

No one understands this better than the DJs at NYX. When you combine the talent and experience of our seasoned professional DJs with your personal favorite songs, the result is your perfect playlist.

Our state-of-the-art online music portal allows you to engage with your NYX DJ 24/7. In addition to the ability to manage all the details of your event, you’ll be able to browse our library of hundreds of thousands of songs and create the dream musical landscape for your occasion using the following categories:

1. The “Must Play” List
These are the important songs that must be played. They’re the songs that we’ll use for special introductions and any other formalities you may have planned. They’re the songs that aren’t negotiable. Think about the anthems of your generation that you’ll adore hearing throughout the night or maybe songs that take you back to a specific, happy time of your life that you want to share with your guests.

2. The “Do Not Play” List
We like to keep you and your guests happy. We know your NYX DJ will only play the best tracks, but we want YOU to know that, too. Just to be sure we’re on the same page, we offer you the “do-not-play” list.

3. The “Play Only if Requested” List
These aren’t your favorite songs, but you wouldn’t mind hearing them if your guests would like to. Often what makes this list are songs that have choreographed line dances. Your DJ will only visit this list when your guests ask for something, it’s clear that they will have fun dancing to it, and it fits appropriately into the schedule and flow for your event.

4. The “Dedications” List
These are the songs for which you would like your DJ or MC to make an announcement. Is someone at your party celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Perhaps you’d like to have a special dance for someone that has traveled particularly far. Maybe you’d like to rile up your rowdy college friends or sing along to your team’s fight song. Let’s be sure we note it in this section so we don’t miss that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Make It Memorable
Our goal is to deliver a happy mix of music ensuring that every guest leaves your party having heard their favorite song. Our experienced DJs can read the crowd and will intuitively know what to play to keep your dance floor moving. The best playlist ever made is the one you will make with us… The one that will make your #BestDayEver memorable for years to come.

Need Suggestions?
The soundtrack to your event is a huge part of what makes it memorable for your family and friends. Need help getting started? Call us today so that we can begin creating the best playlist ever made.