How Music Can Make or Break Your Event

How Music Can Make or Break Your Event

From background music during cocktail hour to post-dinner dance party, music plays an important role in the success of your event. We sat down with DJ Jon Wiley to learn more about just how critical this element is and the role of a DJ at your event.

Jon Wiley

Everyone knows a DJ’s job is to provide music, but as behind-the-scenes professionals, we know there’s much more to it. So, what else does a good DJ do at an event?

“A good DJ is paying attention to what is working for the guests through physical cues,” says Jon. “What music is making people bob their heads or tap their feet. Usually you have a playlist prepped, but you will need to adjust based on what the guests are connecting with or what is being requested.”

From your perspective, how do the event planner and DJ successfully collaborate on an event? In your experience, has an event planner been an important partner to you?

“A good Planner is instrumental in making sure that the client’s expectations are being met and we’re all on the same page. Also, the Event Planner can suggest add-on things like up-lighting, video screens and dance floor lighting that can liven up an event significantly. The goal is to make the client happy and all of those things can help elevate the evening.”

How much preparation goes into an event for you?

“At least 4 hours of music prep – and that’s not including emailing the client back and forth. There is usually a ‘Don’t play’ list, familiar favorites I will suggest, setting the mood and then mixing up the decades from there. If the event has a specific theme or time period representation, like a ‘Great Gatsby’ party, then it becomes challenging to find music and prep time increases.”

DJ Jon Wiley working a Great Gatsby party!

Any other tips in working with a DJ on a company event?

“Keep it current and the DJ will make the event as fun as possible. A top DJ will ‘work’ the party and your guests will be pleasantly surprised to have a good time!”

We’d like to thank Jon for his time and for sharing some great insight when working with a DJ on an event. Some key takeaways: trust your DJ to read people and adjust music accordingly, event planners are essential (hire Swank today!) and stick with current tunes and rely on your DJ to handle the rest!

Contact us for more tips regarding music at your next event.

Beth’s Surprise Birthday Party at the Connors Center

At Swank Events, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to work with such amazing clients.  And every once in awhile we find ourselves fortunate enough to work with the friends of former clients, and the fun starts all over again!

A few years ago, Kelli had the pleasure of helping Mary Beth plan her sister Judy’s surprise birthday party (and WHAT A PARTY that one was)! We were thrilled to hear from Mary Beth again in April, however this time she was referring her good friend Mike, who was trying to pull together a surprise 50th birthday party for his wife, Beth. After talking to Mike, it was clear that Beth was a pretty spectacular individual and he wanted to throw an equally spectacular birthday party for her. Unfortunately, Mike’s original venue cancelled on him just a month before the party date. With a busy schedule and family vacation coming up, Mike knew there was a lot of planning left to make this party happen, and very little time to do it! We are so glad he called in the Swank team to help pull together all the details!

The venue for this top secret affair was the Pavilion at the Connors Center in Dover, MA. The simple, open air Pavilion provided a nice, laid-back feel and the perfect atmosphere for this party.


Coral and lilac tones brought color and warmth into the Pavilion, and globe lights contributed to the ambiance of the evening.

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The Grits and Groceries Orchestra not only provided an excellent assortment of funk and soul music, but also provided the cover story that made the surprise a success! We had a friend of the birthday girl invite Beth and Mike to hear the G&G Orchestra play a concert nearby that night. Little did Beth know that the “local concert” she thought she was going to was actually a fantastic party with 50 of her nearest and dearest there to celebrate her!

Bone Daddy’s Burgers food truck catered the party, providing a great assortment of fresh burgers, truffle fries, vegetarian options and tasty basil lemonade.

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Using photos provided by Beth’s sister and friends, Kelli created customized image boards spelling out Beth’s name with pictures of her with family and friends over the years.



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Mason jars doubled as guests’ customized drinking glasses for the evening and favors.

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Mike wanted this party to have a sentimental factor, so Kelli suggested doing memory letters. Mike secretly reached out to all of Beth’s family and friends, and asked them to send him their favorite memory of Beth. The response was overwhelming and the memories that people contributed were HILARIOUS! After reading those letters, we absolutely understand why so many people love Beth! The Swank Events team printed out the letters and placed them in sealed envelopes for Beth to read later. We also included extra paper and envelopes for any of the guests at the party who didn’t have a chance to send in their memories beforehand.


This fantastic surprise party was definitely one of our favorites. Mike and Beth, thank you SO MUCH for letting us be a part of this big night! We can’t wait to celebrate with you and your friends again soon!


The Swank Team