Match the music to the mood of your party.
These days the functions of the well-heeled boast more A-list entertainers than Harvey Goldsmith can line up at Wembley Arena - and those who can't afford Rhianna, Robbie or Rufus Wainwright still feel the need to provide a cross between Grace after Meals and Sunday Night at The London Palladium.
This is particularly so at a bar/batmitzvah. The 12 and 13-year-olds feel the pinch of peer pressure if they go to a lot of parties and they soon start nudging the parents into a battle of one-upmanship. The demands can take many forms, but don't be surprised if it starts with your child's request for a personalised video. This film is meant to warm up the crowd and herald the arrival of the celebrant, so it usually has members of the family in the leading roles, a funky soundtrack, aerial photography and cameos by minor soap stars and a footballer or two, albeit second-division. None of this comes cheap, but to know what you are up against take a look at the MTV-style barmitzvah entries on YouTube.
It is possible to shoot your own low-budget film on a video camera and screen it at the simchah, but if you want it to look good it may require expert editing.
With the trailer in the can, it's on with the show and face it, if little Manny Goldstein can have Jedward at his barmitzvah, why shouldn't your son have Adele? Actually it is possible for anyone to have Adele at their function and for the surprisingly reasonable rate of around £575. Granted it's not the real Ms Adkins, but Rebecca Louise, bookable from Scott Jordan Associates.
The horn section appears from various points in the room. They strike up together and guests follow them to the dance floor
"Over the years I've seen a change in the way people organise function entertainment, as they now consciously try to outdo their friends with bigger names and fuller rosters," says Steve, a former wedding singer. "Somebody might have Amy Winehouse at a do and then the next host will book Celine Dion, Cheryl Cole.... and Amy Winehouse. They don't like to be outdone."
Steve and Kim choose the acts they want to represent as rigorously as Simon Cowell and they are never in any doubt that the sound-alike they send to the simchahwill hit all the right notes.
"If it is a function with a wide age range, it is better to have a tribute act that satisfies everyone," advises Steve. "Tina Turner, Tom Jones - those are the artists that have wide appeal and then there are The Beatles., The Bee Gees and The Blues Brothers."
Imagine the function you could create. With Abba as support, Elvis as the headliner, Girls Aloud during tea and then The Gypsy Kings for the Hora. It's the Royal Command Performance with bells on.
"There are performers to suit all pockets," says Steve, but he thinks 45 minutes to an hour is ample time for the lookalike act. "The bride and groom or the barmitzvah should get top billing; you don't want the guests sitting down all night watching Freddie Mercury and Lady Gaga."
In the absence of starry names, a large, energetic and musically-diverse band is the best, such as the Gilev Band, a 12-15 strong collective. Some 19 years ago, Gilev was a GCSE music project created by nice Jewish boys Johnny Gilbert and Levi Levin (hence Gilev) who established themselves as a keyboard and vocals duo. They have since attracted the best brass, percussion and vocalists around and now have the sort of line-up you'd expect to see sharing the stage with Elton John.
You could actually have Elton John --in tribute act form - but the Gilev Band has bookings confirmed until well into 2015, so you'll have to act fast to sign them up.
Scott Jordan Entertainment
0845 094 1455
The Gilev Showband
Bookings: 020 8906 3355
Star Turn Videos
Simon Williams, 0800 9558975
For more information see www.shirmusic.co.uk