Cory Leonardo, owner of PartyZone Productions, shared some knowledge on DJ-ing and his company. Starting PartyZone Productions nearly 30 years ago, Cory has seen and done it all!
PartyZone is seasoned in weddings and events, we hope Cory's advice will answer a lot of your questions regarding DJ's!
How long have you been in the entertainment business?
This question will date me, ha! When I was in high school we had a 7th period dance and they needed a DJ on the cheap. Needless to say I gathered ALL of the music I had and that started it all. That was 28 years ago.
I can say that DJ-ing has taken me all over the United States and allowed me to do and see things that a lot of people dream of. I’ve spent six months on the road with George Strait, opened for Robin Meade and Kellie Pickler, destination weddings all over the nation, nite clubs all over the state, emcee for Hawaiian Tropic for 5 different states and so much more. There’s no other feeling in the world than that tickle right before you go on stage. I’ve never really worked a day in my life.
What is your favorite thing about DJ’ing a wedding or event?
One of my favorite things about a wedding is to see a bride and groom on the dance floor surrounded by their friends and family and they’re having the time of their lives. The release of stress from all of the planning the day itself and they find themselves truly enjoying all of the celebration and fruits of their labor. DJ-ing corporate events- whether that be a holiday party, fund raiser, trade show or something else is always different. You really need to be in touch what that client’s goals. Sometimes a dance party isn’t exactly what they want. They just want people feeling the “vibe”. Sometimes they want just background music etc.
We produced background for a corporate client trade show. They wanted people happy, they wanted energy in the room, they wanted people to stick around and talk to the vendors in the room. We made it happen. We had vendors dancing with future clients in the aisles and making sales. We were invited back to take part in their next trade show in Atlanta, GA.
What popular trends are you seeing right now?
Trends in events are all over the place. No two events are the same. It really depends on the taste of the Bride and Groom or theme of the event.
- Wedding backdrops - They’ve always been there in the since of an arbor or something simple. Now we’re seeing a lot of draping and specialized lighting.
- Fabrics - Room draping, entrances, dance floor, ceiling swags etc. Transforming your room from what it looks like to something totally custom and beautiful.
- Uplighting - New technology in the LED industry allows us to make any color imaginable. Muted colors seem to be the hot thing this season. Champagne, Blush and Tiffany Blue’s seem to the HOT colors.
- Cake Lighting - Simple little lighting on the cake makes it really pop and become a centerpiece for the room.
- Cake Mapping - Disney really marketed this well. Their Tinkerbell video flying to the top of the cake, touching it and a waterfall comes down the cake. Several other animated segments to follow. This allows the Bride and Groom several options. Slideshows, Custom monograms or animations on the cake just for their wedding. They can use a larger fake cake stand in and they have a small cake behind to cut and feed each other. Then the guests can have cupcakes, pie, cookies or even a sheet cake from the back for much less. Fair warning for all brides that want this process. This isn’t just a projector shining on to a cake. It’s a fairly sophisticated program that takes into account angles from the projector and each individual layer.
- Furniture - We’ve seen everything from elegant white leather couches to a high back chairs for the sweet heart tables.
If someone is not expecting a lot of dancing at their event, do you still recommend having a DJ?
A DJ is so much more than someone playing music. They’re the central point for all of the vendors. Making basic announcements, introducing special speakers, moving people from one area to another etc. They really control the room. A good DJ can do this without ever being seen.
What sets you apart from other DJ’s in the Louisville Area?
I get asked this question by clients a lot. When I started PartyZone Productions I asked myself, do I want to be a cheesy DJ, wear the hats, get on the floor and be the center of attention? Or, do I want to handle the event with class, style and elegance? Provide professional equipment and services and be able to still throw the party of a lifetime. I chose the later.
PartyZone becomes your partner in the success of your event. We meet and discuss your event and create an itinerary. The client leaves with a copy. We provide the venue and all of the trades involved with a copy. This ensures that everyone is all on the same page. Then we execute the day. Do things change? Do things move around? Sure! It’s not our day though so we make it happen. Our goal is for the client to be able to come in and relax. We’ll take it from here…
What also makes us different than most other services is that this is all I do. We have an office in Bluegrass Industrial Park where we can meet and discuss all of your details. We have tons of equipment for any option or theme an event may need. I also invest in our people. We do training sessions and travel to national trade shows to experience and learn.
What is your best advice for someone who is looking for a DJ?
Let’s face it your DJ is the one service you’re going to hire that can truly MAKE OR BREAK your entire reception.
- RESEARCH YOUR DJ!
- Ask your venue for a referral. They see the good, bad and ugly every weekend.
- Make sure that your DJ has good reviews. Search on www.weddingwire.com, www.theknot.com, www.yelp.com, and www.google.com.
- Ask for referrals from friends or even the other services you’ve already hired.
- Ask to see pictures of their set up. Who wants plan this beautiful day to show up and see cables hanging all over the place, a sloppy table and someone sitting behind a table?
- What do they wear? All of our guys wear suits. We were hired not to long ago where we provided lighting only. The DJ they hired from Facebook was wearing a Budweiser T-shirt and Jeans.
- If your DJ takes themselves and your event serious enough they’ll be insured and registered with the state.