Saturday February 9th, 2008, was my sister, Veronica’s, Quinceanera, or sweet XV (15). Boy do they grow up quick !!! I have 2 of my own so I have to start preparing… now… YIKES!!
What I will try to do here is summarize my experience from both sides, the side of the coin: the side of the consumer and the side of the vendor. I will use my magical insight into the world of this service oriented industry so you can form some insight of your own to use during your own Quinceanera, or wedding, planning journey.
I actually had little to nothing to do with the whole planning process. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, great and how are we supposed to learn from you?” Let me tell you how…
I was there, the day of the event, so most of this will cover that day and maybe I will go into detail of some of the unexpected things that you may run into from your vendors.
We are not super wealthy, so my parents went for a low-medium budget Quinceanera Celebration. They ended up spending around $10,000 for EVERYTHING. Minus the DJ, that’s usually going to add another $500 – $1,500 depending on the options and the style of DJ you use. For this example, and the type of service I provided let’s say it was another $800 for the DJ. So that’s around $11,000 for everything. Again, a Medium to Low Budget Quinceanera Celebration.
The banquet hall provided EVERYTHING. It was held at the Rio Grande Ballroom in East Houston. Real close to my parents’ neighborhood and to the High School (you’ll see why that is important in a little bit, and I do mean ‘see’).
As a DJ, fellow wedding vendor, and as the costumer, I was very disappointed and somewhat insulted at the service they offered. At times they were nice and at time they were very unreasonable. The first thing that, as a DJ, I will point out is that I was asked by the owner to wear a T-shirt as I load and unload my equipment?!?!?. I took off my dress shirt as to not get it dirty during the loading and unloading so I had on a muscle shirt, not to mention how hot it was in there (this was 3:00 pm and it felt like they turned on the AC until 7:30 pm) . I would understand if there were people there, it was a fancy, black tie event, or if the hall was one of those fancy impeccable Venues or Hotel. Even the fancy Hotels and Venues that I’ve DJ’ed at have not asked me to do that… well, I do use discretion. If there are people there then I will not change until everyone is gone. So the hall was hot, there was absolutely no guests there, I was sweating, I did not have another shirt, and I was picking up dirty equipment. I thought it would be OK to just take off my dress shirt as to not get it dirty for pictures later on. I’m not even using the excuse that this an event for my family, that’s beside the point. So that’s how the reception started from the DJ’s point.
I’ve already mentioned that the ballroom was hot, well it never cooled down even when outside the ballroom was around 50 degrees F. (Moral: Attend an event, if possible, to check how hot it gets during the night. You would assume they have a working AC)
The next thing we ran into (at 7:45 pm) was that we could only keep our beer keg there until 8:00 pm. Great time for them to remind us, but at least they did “remind us.” So I made the announcement right away. They stated that was in the contract. I was not there when my parents signed the contract so I cannot say too much other than that they did not make it clear to my parents that the Keg had to be gone by 8:00 pm. So at 7:54 pm, by my watch, they walked over to the keg, without any last call, notice, or without allowing me to announce that they were going to pick up the keg. They took away our keg, which was about 80% full. (Moral: Read your contracts and ALWAYS ask questions)
OK, I’ve already gotten through most of the negative parts, except for one more: how hot it got there, did I mention that already? I think I did.
The Photographer and Video Camera Man were son and daughter of the owner. They were GREAT, with one small exception. Another contract discrepancy, they only shoot for 2 HOUR TOTAL!!!! Not two hours of edited video, two hours total!!! Again, another contract confusion. So my parents had to pay an extra $100 for the Video Man to stay an extra hour, this was of course at 8:30 pm right after the introductions and Formal dances. So if my parents would not have paid him the extra money, they would not have filmed any of the party dancing. So they felt obligated to do so, after all what good does a video do if you can’t remember how much fun you had. And believe me, some people there will need that video to remember how much fun they had.
But they did do a great job of lining up people at the church and they were very creative with their pictures. They have great talent for that. Also, my parents were commenting on how fast they got them their pre-Quinceanera pictures. It only took them 1 (ONE) day and they had it there already framed for them to pick up. That’s fast. Normally that takes days. That’s impressing.
OK on to the rest of the good parts. The food I heard was good, my parents opted for Chicken and Beef Fajitas with refried beans and another side order (I can’t recall but it might have been smashed potatoes). I did not get to taste it, by that time I already had a headache and was feeling nauseas from the heat.
The presentation was done by one of our cousins, she choreographed the entire presentation and that came out really nice. A few errors in there, but that happens, a lot, even with the expensive choreographers.
Our itinerary was simple:
- 5:30-7:30 Guest arrival and Food
- 7:30-8:00 Keg time (for some reason we could not do the presentation at this time)
- 8:00 Formal Introductions of the Court of Honor
- 8:10 Grand Introduction of the Quinceanera walking in with my parents.
- 8:15 Crowning of the Quinceanera, Changing of her Shoes, and the Surprise Gift (Regalo Sorpresa)
- 8:20 Father Daughter Dance (My Wish – Rascal Flatts)
- 8:23 Waltz with the Court of Honor
- 8:26 Surprise Dance
- 8:30 Toast and Quinceanera’s Thank your
- 8:35 Open Dancing Begins
- 9:30 Cake Cutting
- 10:00 Dollar Dance
- 10:15 Open Dancing Begins, again
- 1:00 am The Party ends!
The party was a lot of fun. I started out with the cupid shuffle and after that it was hard for me to see the dance floor.
Even when I played songs, that I thought, would clear the dance floor, the kids were out there having fun. I think I covered pretty much every genre you can imagine. There was Techno, House, Cumbias, Norteno, Merengue, Bachata, Banda, Corridos, Hip Hop, Line Dances… everything. Well, I don’t remember playing any country, but I’m sure if I would have played it they would have danced it.
Also, there were about 300 people expected and about 4-500 showed up. Mainly, I think, it was because of how close the dance hall is to Galena Park HS, the high school my sister goes to.
Well, here are some pictures for you to enjoy, I hope this helps someone foresee a few things that you normally don’t think of.
Francisco H. Perez
Your Bilingual DJ in Houston