Monday, May 7, 2012

Sansui SLEDVD196 19-Inch Widescreen 720p LED HDTV/DVD Player Combo

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Magnavox 32MD301B/F7 32-Inch 720p TV Combo

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High-Definition LCD TV with 720p ultra sharp widescreen HD picture with integrated slot-loading DVD player - Playable Disc: DVD-VIDEO, CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coby TFDVD3295 32-Inch 720p Widescreen LCD HDTV/Monitor with DVD Player and HDMI Input (Black)

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With Coby’s TF-DVD3295 32 In. Class 720p LCD HDTV/DVD Combo crystal clear HD picture meets complete digital entertainment. This unit incorporates the best features for television and movie viewing in a single system, with dual tuners for great reception of standard and digital television broadcasts, integrated slot-loading, HD-upconversion DVD player, and USB/SD card slots for direct playback of your digital files. Full-range stereo speakers provide crisp highs and deep bass. Additional features include AV and VGA connections, digital noise filter and multifunction on-screen controls.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Hook Up A Receiver For Your Home Theater

!±8± Hook Up A Receiver For Your Home Theater

What is a Receiver?

A receiver is that big, heavy thing that you plug your speakers and other components into (like a Dvd player, Tv, Cd player, Xbox, PlayStation, iPod, and etc.). Its the "brain" of the show, really. The idea of connecting all your components to a receiver is the belief of audio/video switching, allowing you to switch to distinct video sources (like Tv, Dvd, camcorder) on your Tv
and thus changing the audio source accordingly - all without touching anything but the receiver.

Of course, the main purpose behind audio/video switching with a receiver is to drive audio to external speakers, like surround sound or stereo speakers.

Most receivers have a plethora of inputs; up to 8 speakers and a subwoofer (more commonly, 5.1, or five speakers and a subwoofer), some video inputs, and even Hdmi inputs. You could plug your Xbox, Plasma, and Dvd player into the receiver and use one remote to switch in the middle of all the distinct video sources (games, Tv, Dvd video) and have your speakers pump out surround-sound. Let's start with inputs and outputs. If you don't understand something, read straight through the entire How-To as most of it will be explained in detail.

Keep in mind that a receiver is the hub of your entire home theatre, so this How-To will undoubtedly guide you straight through the basics of connecting your complete home theater.

So what the heck is all this 'stuff' on the back of your receiver?

I'm going to go over just about anything that you would find on the back of your receiver. The one I'm basing this guide off of is a Harman Kardon Avr-247 I'm going to start from the top left of the unit and work my way to the right, then I'll start at the left of the next row and so on.

The first three inputs are for antennas. An Fm antenna cable would slide on to the first jack while two speaker wires would plug into the remaining slots for Am. Of course, you don't have to plug your antennas in, but if you'd like Am/Fm reception straight through your speakers, you'll want to go ahead and do that. These are appropriate connections, so if you lose one of your antennas, just go buy other for a few bucks.

You've probably heard of composite video. Its a very basic video association used by most any component (Tv, Dvd, Vcr especially). Its base and its cheap. As such, its very low quality.
Composite uses an Rca cable for video (yellow) and two more Rca cables for audio (red and white, stereo). The question is that a composite video cable combines luminance and chrominance in the same cable, reducing the quality of the picture. You lose a lot of sharpness, and the color begins to degrade from the former source. Its useful when you need the extra input or the gismo you're connecting only has composite video. Otherwise, use something else, like component video. Sounds similar; very different.

S-Video is next in line after composite. It uses a distinct type of connector (five pins in a circle) and gives you marginally best video quality. It is also a video-only cable, so you'll need to plug in audio separately. In this case, you'll probably use a pair of red and white Rca cables for your audio inputs.

Next up: a ton of composite audio inputs. These inputs use left channel and right channel Rca cables, typically red and white. They look just like the yellow composite video cable, and you could even use them for video and the yellow for audio, but let's keep the color project how it is ;) Composite audio is the bottom-of-the-barrel in audio. Its perfectly fine for most use, but if you're seeing for high quality surround sound, you don't want composite. Game systems, like the Wii or Xbox, and very basic Dvd players are a perfect match for composite audio.

The same goes to Vcrs, Cd players, and anything that only has a composite audio output. Plus, if you don't have surround sound, or your receiver is only two channels (2.1, stereo sound), you won't be able to use anything but composite audio. Note that there is a composite audio input under each composite video input so that it is easy to match them up. Plug them in the wrong inputs and you won't get sound when you're on that singular video input.

Here we have one of the least-used features of a contemporary receiver: 6 (or 8) channel direct input. This is only used for two purposes: Sacd or Dvd Audio. Sacd is an acronym for Super Audio Cd. It is a possession audio format advanced by Sony for extra Cds that are recorded in 5.1 surround sound. That means you need a Cd or Dvd/Cd player that supports Sacds, a receiver with Sacd support (as in the picture), and of procedure Super Audio Cd's. Dvd Audio is the same idea, distinct brand, distinct media (its a Dvd, not a Cd!).

Dvd Audio discs are extra Dvds that are recorded in 5.1 surround sound and can only be played by devices with support for them. These Cds go all the way up to 7.1 surround sound, meaning you would need to have two front, two rear, two side speakers and a subwoofer to enjoy full 7.1 surround sound. Most receivers support up to 7.1 now but you won't find Dvds with that kind of quality for movies. 5.1 surround is still the defacto standard, so don't run out and buy more speakers any time soon.

You could skip this next puny item because it is unique to this brand of receiver (Harman Kardon). The Bridge" is a possession association they advanced for you to connect
an iPod. You need to buy a cut off component that includes a docking station and extra cables to connect the iPod. It fully integrates with the receiver, displaying
menus and songs on the front Lcd screen of the receiver. This allows you to undoubtedly pump your tunes straight through your speakers, either it be stereo sound or full surround sound.

Of course, the music on your iPod is stereo sound, so the best you can get is simulated surround sound or stereo surround; the same music playing in the front two channels
is put straight through the rear and center channels. Some receivers do this more intelligently than others, but more on that later.

Here we have our high-end sound inputs/outputs. Basically the same performance wise, you have fiber optic connections (with the quadrate shape) and digital coaxial (just like an Rca cable).
Both of these are 100% digital, whereas composite is analog. The only way you can get true surround sound from any source is by using one of these connections (or the Sacd/Dvd Audio option)

Almost all Dvd players these days have either optical or digital coaxial outputs (sometimes, both). Many high definition cable and satellite boxes also come with these
connections so you can enjoy 5.1 surround sound on high definition channels. Selecting in the middle of the two, there's undoubtedly no distinct in audio quality, so feel free to use
what you'd like (or what you're forced to).

I don't think I need an image for the next plug. Its a pair of power inputs. One is for powering the receiver, the other for anything you'd like. This way, when you turn
on the receiver, you give power to the other gismo (be it a Dvd player, Cd player, cable box, whatever). I don't necessarily advise this unless it specifically suits
your needs. It is useful if you're running low on outlets, of course.

Something else you'll never use: D-bus Rc-5 input/output. This is used for infrared remote controls to take over your home theater system. Honestly, its not something any of us will ever use. Some of the real high-end junkies might be using something for it, but I've never even come across a gismo that uses this technology. Stick to the remote that came with your unit, or buy a quality universal remote control. There's no need for this option. An alternate use for this may be a bit more common: if your receiver's front panel is blocked (like inside a cabinet), you could get an infrared transmitter to latch on to the front of it. This transmitter would hook up to other gismo somewhere in your room that will accept signals from your remote control. The receiving gismo then transmits the remote's commands to your receiver (via the transmitter you've attached to the front over the quarterly infrared transmitter).

Pre-outs , settled right under the Remote in/out. Pre-outs are used when you'd like to add an amplifier to your law to boost the power (and hence volume/audio quality). Average
users will not use this for anything but the subwoofer preout. You'll want to run a subwoofer cable from your subwoofer to the subwoofer pre-out to contribute it with
the right frequencies. This is the permissible way to connect your subwoofer to your surround sound system. The other inputs won't be used unless you plan on adding
an amplifier. This is very unnecessary for home use. You might add an amp if you're trying to fill a room the size of a small house with enough sound, but you're not, right?

Here we ultimately get to the meat of the system: the speaker inputs! Harman Kardon receivers use bind posts for connecting speakers, as seen in the picture. They
work by being loosened up as your turn them counter-clockwise, then you sneak the speaker wire in underneath the caps and tighten them back up by turning clockwise. This'll
give your speaker wire a nice tug fit that probably won't loosen up on itself over time. Other brands may use other types of connectors, but bind posts are very common.
You might have been able to tell this is a 7.1 channel receiver because of the speaker inputs.

You've got room for 2 front left and right speakers, 2 rear left and right speakers,
a center channel, and two left and right "surround" channels which are settled somewhere in in the middle of your front and rear speakers ("side surround", or 7.1). If you have enough
speakers, you can go ahead and plug in those extra 2 side ones, but they won't play any sound at all on a 5.1 Dvd. You would need a Dvd that supports 7.1
surround sound, and at this time, there just isn't a market for it. Cds will gladly blast stereo surround straight through all 7 speakers, though, so for some larger rooms, that's an

Our final set of connectors for this receiver: component video . The best video you can get next to composite or s-video. You'll notice its a set of three cables (all for video),
usually Red, Green and Blue. Don't think that's what the cable does, though - it separates the video signal by luminance and two cut off color channels. In the past, component
did it in fact report R, G, B (splitting the former colors in forward and recombining them at the destination device), but that is not used in current component video
connections. Component video can carry high definition signals, all the way up to 1080p, so it is the most cost efficient and readily available high definition input.
Not seen on this receiver are Dvi and Hdmi, the two all-digital video connections.

Hdmi is the newest, fastest, sharpest video and audio association available today. Its the only cable that can carry audio and video in one - not to mention, in high definition.
Hdmi must be supported by the source and the display you're connecting it to to use all of its features. Not all Dvd players, cable boxes, or receivers support both
audio and video in Hdmi. Its becoming more and more of a appropriate now to support both. The advantage is clear: less cable clutter, higher quality audio and video. You can get up
to 1080p high definition video and 7.1 surround sound straight through an Hdmi cable. Newer cable and satellite boxes, Dvd players, high definition Dvd players, and more high-priced receivers
support the full quality of Hdmi. Its the best you can get as all-digital goes.

The last association for this report is Dvi. Dvi is also all digital like Hdmi, but it cannot process audio signals. Hdmi may contribute a technically superior image,
but I don't think anything could tell the difference. Dvi supports high definition video all the way up to 1080p, just like Hdmi. Its being used less frequently now,
but if you've bought a new computer or video card for your Pc recently, it probably has a Dvi (or two) port on it. Most computer monitors use Dvi now and video cards
have followed suit. Hdmi is edging its way into the Pc market, but its dominance is seen in the home theater arena.

Now that you've familiarized yourself with base connections, let's plug it all together.

This part of the receiver How-To is going to guide you straight through hooking a 5.1 surround sound system(5 speakers and a subwoofer) with a high-definition Tv, a high-definition cable or satellite box, a Dvd player, and a 5.1 receiver.

Your Tv & Components

Where you put your Tv is dependent on how large it is, how large your room is, and where you will be sitting. If its 50 inches, don't sit more than 10-15 feet away; but no less, either.
A 60" set is perfect for 12-20 feet. If you have a 32 inch set, try to sit no farther than 8-12 feet away. Your receiver, Dvd player, cable box, and other components should obviously be close together, but don't place them physically on top of each other. They all get hot, especially your receiver. If you have no other choice, slide a thin piece of plywood in the middle of the components to help dispense the heat.

Lay Out of Speakers

The first step is to lay out your setup. distinct rooms call for distinct locations for your speakers and subwoofer. If your room is a typical rectangle, go ahead and place your two front left and right speakers somewhere flush with the television on that side of the room. Your left speaker goes toward the left corner, right speaker toward the right corner. Don't bother with speaker wire yet (unless your speakers come with speaker wire attached already; in that case, just let them hang for now). Note that which speaker is left or right is solely dependent on how you connect them to your receiver. Your speakers aren't undoubtedly designated "left" or "right".

Depending on how you acquired your speakers, your front speakers could be larger than your rear speakers. That's how you know they're for the front. Otherwise, all your speakers are the same shape and size, and you can use each for any purpose.

One exception: the center channel. Usually, a center channel is much shorter and wider than your other speakers. It should only be used for the center channel. Sometimes, all 5 of your speakers could be the same, normally on a very reasonable setup. You can use any of these speakers for any purpose.

Your center channel should always go either directly on top or under your television set. However you have to do this, get it done! It's not called the center channel for nothing, you know. Any movie will pump out almost 90% of the voices you hear and a majority of the rest of the sounds straight through the center channel. It is a vitally important component to your surround sound setup.

Your subwoofer should always be on the floor. If it is impossible to place it on the floor, get it as close to the floor as possible. Placing it behind objections or in closets will diminish its effects. In a perfect setup, the subwoofer would be on the floor close to the Tv (perhaps off to the left or right) in your line of sight. Nothing should block the side of the subwoofer that air will come out of (usually covered by a grill protecting the subwoofer speaker itself).

When it comes to seeing a good spot for your speakers, you might want to mount them. You can normally buy compatible speaker mounts online or in stores. You can also
use existing shelving, buy some shelving, or place them on tables or other objects. No matter how you do it, try to keep the speakers as close to ear level as possible. A speaker mounted at the ceiling of your room isn't going to give you the optimal aural experience.

The last thing to keep in mind about layout is speaker wire. You'll probably need at least 100ft of speaker wire, but you'll often find yourself using much more if you
try running wire straight through your ceiling, under carpeting, up straight through the basement, or nearby objects to conceal it. Take measurements and buy at least 10% more wire than
you think you need. You'll probably use it!


You need to know the distinct kind of speaker wire available to you before setting up your home theatre. If you bought an Htib (home theater in a box), it probably came with 100ft of horribly cheap speaker wire. You don't want that! Do yourself a favor: buy some high-quality, 14-guage speaker wire. anything higher than 14-guage is just to thin and will be susceptible to interence, quality loss, and poor quality over longer distances. Fourteen guage is a good thickness and favorable for most home theatres. Make sure its also not too thick - some speaker wire plainly will not fit in to the speaker wire jacks on some receivers.

Some receivers use possession speaker inputs. Sony is one example. Many Sony receivers have extra connectors for speaker wire and will not accept a appropriate speaker wire. You'll need to use either the Sony-provided speaker wire, take the ends off of Sony speaker wire and put it on your own, or buy some of these extra connectors from Sony directly to place on your speaker wire. My recommendation? Avoid any receivers with non-standard speaker wire posts/jacks/connectors. Look for bind posts or other jacks that allow you to slide in and clamp down on a typical speaker wire.

Once you've got your speaker wire sorted out, you'll have to do some cutting and stripping if you opted to purchase your own. This is way easier than it sounds, so don't worry!

Measure out each distance one at a time, cutting the speaker wire with either undoubtedly great scissors or a sharp blade. Now you need to strip the ends of the wire. Use either a stripping tool or plain old scissors. You can place the scissors on the cable and moderately apply some pressure as you twist the scissors nearby the cable, considered slicing into the plastic coating. Eventually, it'll get weak enough that you can just slide it off by tugging on it with your fingers. You need at least 1/4" of exposed wire.

Now you can connect your speakers. Note on your speaker wire the difference in the middle of the two ends. You'll need to use one as your clear and one as your negative. Sometimes the coating is a distinct color in the middle of the two or there is text on one and not on the other. Keep track of this - whichever side you use for clear on your speaker, use it for clear on your receiver. Crossing the two can cause damage, either immediately or sometime in the future. It might work this way but you don't want it to!

Connecting the speakers is easy enough. Front left to front left on your receiver, center speaker to center on your receiver, etc... Your rear speakers may be referred to as "Surround" or "Rear Surround" instead of just "Rear", but keep in mind, if you have a 7.1 or 8.1 channel receiver, "Surround" may indicate side surround speakers, not rear speakers.


Your subwoofer is going to be a puny more complicated. There are a few distinct ways to do it and many variations of inputs/ouputs on the back side of subwoofers. I'm going to go with the most appropriate and efficient method first.

You will need a subwoofer cable for connecting your sub. If you don't have one or don't want to buy one, you can substitute it for a appropriate red or white Rca cable (or a pair, since they are normally connected; just let the other cable dangle). It will work, but its undoubtedly not the best way to do it. You'll also need whats called a Y adapter. On the back of your sub, there should be a left/right input (red and white). You plug the Y adapter in to these connections and then your subwoofer cable (or Rca cable) in the other end of the Y (note: if you don't have a Y adapter, just pick the left or right input to plug into).

Now, take the other end of your cable and plug it into your receiver's
subwoofer preout. Hopefully you have a powered sub, meaning it gets plugged into an Ac power outlet. All you need to do now is plug that in and your subwoofer is good to.

If you don't have Rca jacks on your subwoofer, or it only has speaker wire jacks (and its most likely not powered), you'll need to connect it the old fashioned way. Your front left and right speakers will plug into your subwoofer's ouput jacks instead of your receiver. You'll then run speaker wire from the left and right inputs on the subwoofer to your left and right speaker outputs on your receiver. This way, the subwoofer is powered by the receiver and will not work as well as a powered sub. You also take some power away from your front speakers with this method. A good idea is to buy a new, powered subwoofer with line in Rca jacks.

Connecting the Dots

You've got the hard stuff out of the way. Now cease it up by connecting your Tv, Dvd, and cable/satellite box. always try using the best options first. If your Dvd
has Hdmi and so does your receiver, use it. If your Dvd only has composite, s-video, and component, use component video cable. When it comes to audio, you undoubtedly need
to use digital coaxial (jacks are normally orange) or fiber optic (usually the jack is recessed into the unit and has a door on it; when the door is open, a red light is visible). If you do not use either of these two, you won't get true surround sound! When all else fails, resort to composite (red and white) audio connectors.

Note: Look intimately at the connections on your receiver. All things is labeled, like the first set of red, green, and blue component video inputs might be labeled "Comp 1". If you're using composite audio cablesfor your sound, you'll need to plug them into the jacks that coordinate with "Comp 1". This might not be clear by seeing at the receiver, so refer to your receiver's manual to form out which video inputs use which audio inputs. Most often, you'll be able to configure them from the receiver's internal menu using the remote control.

On some receivers, all the component video inputs, for example, are associated to a singular composite audio input (usually "Dvd"), so if you connect more than one of the component inputs, you will be contentious for sound when more than one gismo is active. This is why you'd want to configure the component inputs to use distinct audio inputs.

Your manual is the only way to form out how to go about it. Composite video will normally match up to composite audio inputs with naming conventions like Video 1 -> Video 1, Video 2 -> Video 2, etc., but cables like component and Dvi may not. You should also configure digital audio inputs to match up with the video inputs you're planning on using. For example, if you're using a digital coaxial input (possibly "Digital 1"), and you use component video, you'll want to match "Digital 1" with "Comp 1". Again, refer to your users manual for how to do this.

Hook Up A Receiver For Your Home Theater

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Monday, January 9, 2012

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

How To Plan A Banquet - A Guide To Planning Perfect Banquets For Company Or Private Parties

!±8± How To Plan A Banquet - A Guide To Planning Perfect Banquets For Company Or Private Parties

First time planners are often stricken with complete fear! Even those that plan events over and over again still fear that something will go wrong and they will be the subject of ridicule. Hopefully we can allay the fears and quell the butterflies in your stomach by helping you through the entire project.

There are a lot of questions you need to ask. First timers probably don't have the foggiest idea what questions to ask, so, the first thing we'd better do is outline these for you.

Perhaps the easiest way to do that is to fill out a form. (I love forms!)
If you were to phone me and ask me to help you make arrangements for a special event, the first thing I would do is reach for a blank form, and over the phone we would fill it out. When I had all the information, I would be better prepared to help you.

Before you continue reading, you may want to print the banquet planning worksheet(PDF) from my website. That way you can follow along with the worksheet as I describe the planning process. I've also included a pre filled sample planning worksheet that you might help.

Let's begin with fact finding.


The first question to ask is, "What is the purpose of the event?" This question should be really easy, but it's perhaps the most important. The purpose of your event will determine your event's agenda.


Break out your calendar to decide a date for your event. Look for possible conflicts. It might be tough to get people out to a Saturday night banquet if it's a three-day holiday. It would be unwise to put on a church social if your local school, where most of your congregation had children attending, were having an open house or play that night.

Pencil in a date and then try to think of possible conflicts. I know of one organization that booked a very popular and relatively expensive Jewish comic into the club house of a predominantly Jewish retirement community. Attempts to sell tickets failed miserably, because they had not realized they had scheduled his appearance on a Jewish holiday - a very expensive oversight!


There are many, many determining factors in establishing a budget. First of all, how many are expected to attend? You might have a pretty good idea for a company party, but in some cases you might just have to make a "guess-timate" until you can get more information. Make the best possible estimate based on what facts you have, and proceed.


Another factor to determine before we select a location is how much your attendees are willing to pay. Sure, we can work the other way: we can pick a location, hire a band, select the menu, etc., and then add up how much it all costs and thus determine how much everyone needs to pay, but doing so will probably leave you hurting in the end.

If you expect 1,000 people, and you determine .00 a person is acceptable, then your entire budget for food, printing, entertainment, etc., is ,000. If you expect only 20 people and you know they won't come if it's over .00 a person, then you know you're far more limited.


Determine the geographical area where the event is to take place. If you live in the area where the event will take place, you may already know of various hotels, country clubs, restaurants or catering halls that can accommodate your group. If you don't live in the area, be sure to go look at the potential location before you book it. If the event is in a distant city and it's not possible for you to travel there, and the event is a significant one, I suggest you hire a professional meeting planner.

I once attended a banquet in a quaint "50's malt-shop-type restaurant. The party planner had not gone there to look at the room where the party was to be. She had just taken the word of a friend. True, it was a great restaurant, but their "room" had about 5 permanent booths on each wall. Guests were facing in all different directions. This made it almost impossible for the magician they had hired to perform. To further confuse the issue, it was not even a private room. Restaurant customers could not get to the restroom without disturbing the party, and the 50's music continued to blare through the ceiling speakers throughout the evening because it was piped throughout the whole restaurant and could not be isolated from one room. A visit beforehand could have prevented this nightmare.

Many, if not most, facilities do not charge a fee for the use of the room but instead absorb the rental fee into the price of the meal. For instance, in our example of 200 people, a banquet facility would be delighted to supply a private room in order to sell 200 dinners.

Usually they will have several dinners to choose from - perhaps a chicken dinner, complete with beverage, salad and dessert, for .00 per person; or prime rib at .00 each; or sirloin steaks at .00 per person. In our example we are charging .00 per person. Let's select the prime rib at .00.

Does that include tax and tip? Oh, Oh! Find out if it does, or you may get a surprise at the end of the night. Let's say it does not. 15% tip and 8% (or whatever) tax makes the dinner a total of .14 per person. Our sample budget calls for 200 people at .00 each for a total of ,000. If all 200 people attend, dinner will cost ,428. That leaves ,572 for all other costs.

By the way, the facility may ask you for a deposit and guarantee. If you guarantee 200 people, you will have to pay for 200 dinners even if only 175 show up. Generally, a facility is prepared to serve about 10% more people than you guarantee. So it makes sense to guarantee a lesser number than you expect. Even some of those who told you absolutely they would be there, maybe even gave you a deposit, don't show for one reason or another.

Just to be on the safe side, in our example of 200 people, I would guarantee the restaurant 185. If you're pre selling tickets, which I recommend, you can always adjust your estimate upwards with the restaurant a day or two ahead of time if needed. Ask the facility about their requirements in regard to a change in the guarantee.


The evening agenda is largely determined by the event's purpose. A typical event might go like this:

6:00 - 7:00 - Social or cocktail hour

7:00 - 8:00 - Dinner

8:00 - 8:15 - Meeting/Awards/Business

8:15 - 9:00 - Entertainment/Speaker

9:00 - 9:10 - Raffle/Door Prizes

9:10 - 1:00 - Dancing

Having an hour to "gather" is always good. You and the facility both will want everyone present when you actually sit down to eat. It's been my experience that almost everything starts late, so plan for it and don't be disappointed when it happens.

Will you be having a cocktail hour? A "Hosted" bar means that drinks are free to the party-goers. If you choose to host the cocktail hour, be prepared to spend about 00 for our sample group of 200 people. Most organization-sponsored events have a 'No-Host' bar, in which guests buy their own drinks. It's appropriate to announce 'Hosted', or 'No-Host' in the invitation.

Some form of entertainment during the cocktail hour is certainly a plus. The facility may have music piped in through its sound system, which is certainly the most economical; however, for around 0 you could have live music. Most banquet facilities have a piano, sometimes on wheels, and will let you either rent the piano or use it for free. Fee for the piano rental should be around to 0 and a piano player anywhere from 0 to 0.

Other cocktail hour entertainment could include a chamber group, a jazz or "society" trio, harpist, or a strolling accordionist. A strolling "close-up" magician, performing from group to group or table to table, is always fun. Other forms of entertainment for the cocktail hour could include celebrity look-alikes, mechanical or conventional mimes, a balloon animal sculptor, caricaturist, graphologist, palm reader, tarot card reader, stilt walker, or just about anything else you can think of! Again, your budget is your gauge.


This is pretty easy. When the Maitre'd says dinner is ready, have your party sit down!

The vast majority of banquets have certain people assigned to sit at the head table while everyone else may sit where they wish. If you choose to have a head table, you should make small place markers for those assigned to sit at the head table, and don't forget to discuss table arrangements with the facility.


Someone, perhaps you, should step to the microphone and announce that dinner is ready and ask everyone to take a seat. When this has been accomplished your President, or whoever is presiding, should welcome everyone.

It is appropriate at most banquets to have someone lead the flag salute, followed by a blessing on the food. People should not be called upon for these jobs extemporaneously, but should be asked in advance and their names and responsibilities should be listed on the printed program if there is one. Following the flag salute and prayer, your Master of Ceremonies (or who ever is conducting) should introduce the people sitting at the head table, introducing himself last.


If business of any sort needs to be conducted, begin when dessert is finished, or at least served. Make sure that the facility knows that you do not want any bussing (clearing of tables) or coffee served after the program starts, as it can become an irritating distraction and take away from the enjoyment of the program.


Following opening remarks, and/or other business, you could either introduce the main speaker, or present some form of entertainment.

This could be the highlight of the evening! There are many outstanding after-dinner performers and speakers. If you really want to have a successful event, hire a professional. At this writing 0 to ,000 can buy you some pretty top-notch entertainment.

How about a comedian-magician who uses a member or two of your group and does some hilarious bits of business and audience participation magic tricks - 30 or 40 minutes of non-stop laughs!

Or picture this...the dessert has just been served and in walks "Lt. Columbo," complete with overcoat and cigar..."Oh, excuse me," he says, "I was looking for somebody else." All eyes are riveted on this familiar figure as he turns and starts to walk out. "Oh, one more thing, is this the Walker party?' Then for the next 30 minutes or so he does a comedy routine in the style and delivery of Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo, using names of people in your group.

That will rock your people out of their seats with laughter. These are just a couple of suggestions. Everybody loves to laugh, and a good professional entertainer can make you a hero.

How do you find that kind of entertainment? Again, watch out for the well-meaning friend. Sometimes hiring a friend of a friend who tells jokes or plays the banjo can put a wet blanket on the evening if they don't live up to your expectations.

Probably the best way to secure talent is to work with a professional talent agent that specializes in special events. Ordinarily there is no fee for his services. He can make recommendations and suggestions based on what your needs are, and work within your budget limitations.

Some entertainers may have special requirements, like a stage, spotlight, two mics or something else, and these items need to be arranged with the facility. There may be a rental fee involved.


Giving away door prizes or raffle prizes should not be held until after the entertainment or main speaker. Perhaps it's an inducement for your guests to stay until the end.

If you're selling raffle tickets, again you need to make out a budget. How many tickets do you expect to sell and for how much money? Do you want to make a profit? Let's say you expect to sell 100 tickets to those 200 people expected to come, and we sell them at the banquet for .00 each. That'll give you 0 to buy prizes with. You can put this in your general budget or assign someone to take care of the whole raffle, including purchasing the prizes and selling the tickets.


Following the raffle, the formal portion of the program is really over. Your people can now go home. If you've elected to have a deejay or band, they may stay for dancing.

The facility might charge to set up a dance floor. Sometimes this is a portable dance floor they build right on top of the carpet. A band will cost anywhere from 0 per band member to 0 per band member for four hours. A small trio of keyboard, drum and guitar could be anywhere from 0 to ,500.

An ,800 to ,500 five-piece band, including a vocalist, is average. If you hire a band, you may be able to use one or more of those same musicians to provide cocktail hour and/or dinner music for a small additional fee. You normally need to make a deposit at the time you hire the band. Anything over four hours' playing time is considered overtime, and you should talk with the band or agent about the cost of overtime when you make the initial arrangements. Bands also need to take a 10-15 minute break each hour. Ask if the band will supply recorded music during their breaks.


Sometimes you might prefer a DeeJay playing recorded music instead of hiring a band. This gives you the advantage of hearing the original recording artist instead of a dance band's rendition.

Another advantage is that most mobile DeeJay units will set up before dinner and offer to play dinner music at no additional cost, and of course, a DeeJay does not take a break during the evening, so you have non stop music for your event.

Cost-wise, there is not a lot of difference between a 3-piece band and a DeeJay. Some DeeJays offer a full light-show that few bands do, and even with an additional charge, this could be a real plus. I think it's just a matter of taste. Some people insist on a live band and others are just as adamant about a DeeJay.


Video taping an event, except for historical purposes, is unnecessary. Seldom will the video tape or DVD be watched more than once after the event. Yes, maybe a Bar or Bat Mitzvah will watch his or her recording years later when they grow older, and maybe even a bride and groom would watch a well-edited and condensed recording. A company or organization's banquet, however, will be seldom if ever watched.

I would recommend that you hire, budget permitting, a professional photographer rather than leaving it up to one of your guests or a friend of a friend who only takes photos twice a year. You can have the photographer deliver prints or a CD of digital photographs in which case you could print just the photos you want.


Probably the most traumatic thing that could occur is that you planned the entire event and then no one came. If it's a company party and the food, entertainment, drinks and dancing are all free, I don't think you will have a problem, as long as you let everybody know when and where and that it's FREE!

But if that's not the situation, you may need to promote the event. Once you have all the facts (WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, WHO, and HOW MUCH), you can create a flyer - a piece of paper with all the facts on it, designed to motivate people to attend.

If you're an artist, great! You can create the flyer yourself. If not, maybe someone in your group is and they can help you. Otherwise, you need to "rough it out" the way you'd want it and take it to a graphic artist to do the "camera-ready copy" for you, then off to a printer to print however many you're going to need. How many you need will depend on how you're going to distribute them.

The layout, printing, envelopes and postage all need to go into your budget. There are, of course, additional ways you can promote the event - word of mouth, bulletin boards, phone committee, club or company newsletter, posters. If your event will be open to people outside your organization, you might try using the publicity channels of other related groups, companies, schools, etc., as well as your own. Have a "brainstorming session" with your committee, if you have one, to think of all the ways you can get the word out.

And remember that if you want people to come to your activity, you can't just tell them. You have to tell them and tell them and tell them! Use all the resources at your disposal, and don't hesitate to repeat yourself. The more times you tell them, the more will come!


There are as many ways to handle this as there are ways to promote the event. If you have to lay out funds ahead of time (which is usually the case), it is good to get as much money as you can up front. Pre selling your tickets will help you do that. Of course, your publicity must state your requirements and deadlines. This also will help you get a handle on how many are going to attend. Remember though, that there will still be some last minute cancellations and additions, so stay flexible.


As mentioned earlier, most organizations assign only the head table, and the rest of the attendees are left to sit where they wish. Some groups insist on drawing pictures of the tables on a sheet of paper, numbering them, and then assigning people to specific tables.

I think it's far more work than necessary, but if you must, then have at it.
Some banquets, especially those honoring individuals or groups, offer entire tables "for sale." 10 people per table at each means that for 0 someone could reserve a whole table. Make sure you put a "reserved" sign on that table, showing the name of the host.


When all the facts are in, if the budget will permit, a nice printed program could be put at each place setting or handed out as people arrive. It should contain the agenda for the evening and credits given to all those who contributed to the event.

Many organizations have been successful in selling ads in the program to defray the cost of printing or even to raise some extra money. I've put 0 income under the income column of our example. Don't you think you could convince 10 people to give you their business card and pay to be advertised on the back page of the program? Of course, this idea could be a little tacky if the event is to celebrate little Bobbie's 10th birthday. Use your best judgment.


This could be a big item or not - strictly up to you. If you picked a beautiful location, and it's not a special seasonal event like a Christmas or Halloween party, why not just enjoy the facility's decor? If you feel you need decorations and you have a sufficient budget, call a party decorator who uses balloons. They go a long way towards dressing up a room without spending a lot of money.

Centerpieces on each table look nice. You can ask someone to donate these or have someone clever make something for each table. Many facilities make such a nice table layout that a centerpiece is not necessary. Don't spend money unnecessarily, but do remember that the nicer the ambience, the better the memories or the event will be in the minds of those who attend, which means that they will want to come to your next event, too!

One note of caution. If you're having entertainment, be careful that large
centerpieces, particularly balloons, don't block the view of the performing area or even the people sitting on the opposite side of the table who want to see and talk to each other.


Yes, you will fret and worry until the whole thing is over, but every party planner does. Just relax, do your best and enjoy! (Here's a secret: If you enjoy what you're doing, the people you are doing it for will enjoy it, too!)

How To Plan A Banquet - A Guide To Planning Perfect Banquets For Company Or Private Parties

City Church Kirkland Discount

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