Ask the Expert: Tom Pluister | Pluister Entertainment

Tom Pluister of Pluister Entertainment is an industry veteran. I recently had a chance to interview him about being a DJ, and his recommendations for engaged couples as they choose a DJ and music selections for their big day.

How Many years have you been in the industry? What initially drew you to being a disc jockey?

I’ve been a wedding Disc Jockey for over 32 years now. I did my first wedding in 1979 for a friend of mine.  I didn’t have enough of the right music, I wasn’t good at my announcements, I needed better sound reinforcement and I didn’t do enough preparation. SO- I thought to myself in the weeks that followed that I would either: never do that again –or- get good at it.

I decided to get good at it!

What is your favorite part about being a DJ?

I’d have to say that I love when the tension in the room builds up to a release. For instance: Every song I play during the later part of dinner is a prelude to the Formal Dances. When I finally bring the Bride and Groom onto the floor for their first dance there is a slight release of tension whereas everyone get’s focused on the newlyweds. Then a perfect short slow song where everyone get’s invited to bring someone to the dance floor… the big release is the first fast dance song- everyone’s hands go into the air, polite smiles turn to outright laughter and joy! It’s very important to know the right song to play, typically one of the bride’s favorites – a song that means something to her and her girlfriends.

Another favorite thing are the people that I get to meet and serve. There have been a number of families over the years that have chosen me for every wedding or anniversary party that they’ve had. I am truly honored and humbled to serve.

Tell us a bit about how Pluister Entertainment is a family operation.

My wife, Barbara has a Business Degree so she has taken the roll of President/CEO of Pluister Entertainment, Inc. She runs the office and will often accompany our daughter Lindsay to Ceremonies and Receptions as an assistant. I manage the daily marketing operations and also program most of the music for weddings. I am the chief engineer, keeping our sound and lighting equipment in top shape. Our daughter Lindsay (aka: DJ Sunshine) is currently my best trained and most experienced Disc Jockey. She traveled with me to weddings for around 8 years before I ‘let her go’... her apprenticeship has ended and she now performs with confidence and enthusiasm. Our son, TR also helps out as an assistant at weddings and other events. TR also helps me with internet technology around the office.

What, in your opinion, is the most important role of the Disc Jockey at an event?

Our most important role is to meet our client’s needs… explicitly. When we get to know the couples we serve, they’ll tell us what they want and don’t want. They’ll convey their expectations for us… we listen, we plan and we deliver.

I know music selection is always very important to engaged couples. What are your recommendations for how to approach music selection at an event?

For cocktail and dinner music, select some songs that mean something to you and your family. Choose a few tracks that express your individuality.

For Formal Dances, listen closely to the lyrics to be certain that the songs are appropriate for the dances, but again express your individuality.

For dancing songs, give me a list of tracks that you and friends have partied and danced to over the years. Typically a good mix of older and newer songs that are fun and full of love.

I will always share a proprietary music list with my clients that has songs categorized by Bridal Dance, Father-Daughter, Mother-Son, Entrance songs, etc. This is a good starting point for many couples to begin their choices.

Some couples simply choose a few songs for their formal dances and let me tune in to their guests and take requests. Other couples will give me very detailed lists and ask for mash-ups of certain songs and artists. Whatever they want is exactly what they get!

Couples are often overwhelmed with the details involved in planning a wedding. When the actual day arrives, what details do you feel are the most important?

Timing and vendor communication are the most important details on wedding day. Our saying around here is: proper prior planning prevents poor performance!

If you could give one bit of advice to engaged coupes about hosting a successful event, what would it be?

Hire an experienced Professional Wedding Disc Jockey/Emcee. It will make all the difference in the world. Hire someone who is highly recommended by the venue you’ve chosen. Don’t let your cousin, uncle or aunt convince you to save money and let them be your DJ with their brand new Ipod and a rented sound system.

Also- for your wedding Ceremony. Your guests need to hear the Pastor and your Wedding Vows. It’s important to have a professional working the microphones and sound system. A Professional will have the knowledge, sound system, microphones and wind-screens needed to reinforce sound for your Ceremony. They can play recorded music or work with musicians. They will be at your rehearsal to get the timing right and to meet everyone in the wedding party.

Successful events happen when you’ve connected with the right professionals. Not just hired them, but connected with them. Open up to them, they will serve you best after they get to know you.