Chicago Wedding Times - November, 2019

Test your pop music knowledge

Name the home country of each artist. If you get 6 right, you're above average.

1. Rihanna
2. Justin Bieber
3. Kylie Minogue
4. Daft Punk
5. Keith Urban
6. Shakira
7. U2
8. Enrique Iglesias
9. Dave Matthews
10. Van Morrison

We'll have the answers at the end of the newsletter.


10 "Little" Expenses That Can Bust Your Wedding Budget 



You've chosen your wedding venue, your DJ, your photographer and caterer. You know you still have to buy a gown, and flowers, and formalwear, and favors. You're prepared for all the big wedding expenses; but these little details can suddenly leave you way over budget if you don't catch them early.
Postage. It's expensive to print all those save-the-date cards, wedding and shower invitations, and thank you cards; but it may be even more expensive to mail them all. Did you make room in your budget for that expense? Which brings us to our next hidden expense:

Thank you cards. They can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, but each one should be personalized and handwritten; and you'll need one card for everyone who gave you a gift, or traveled a long way to be at your wedding, or otherwise helped to make your big day special in any way.
Pictures. We're not talking about your wedding album photos. You may also want to display photos and portraits of yourselves, or your parents' and grandparents' weddings, at your reception. You may want pictures for your save-the-date cards and your thank-you cards. If your photographer doesn't include those other pictures, plus enlargements and printing in his/her price, you'll have to pay for all those extra photos yourselves.
Frames. You're not just going to display those special reception pictures by pinning them to a wall, are you? Frames cost money -- sometimes lots of money. If you're having a rustic themed wedding, you can save a bundle by buying old frames at Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
Emergency wedding day expenses. What if someone rips a shirt, and you have to rush to the tux shop for a replacement? What if a vase breaks, and you need a new one? Have you planned for your vendors' tips? What if the party goes into overtime, and you have to keep the bar open an extra hour? A thousand things can crop up on your wedding day, and every one of them costs money. Give yourself a generous cash cushion.
Photo albums. Does your photographer's price include albums, or just prints? Does it include a couple of big framed prints of your favorite wedding photos? If it's not included in writing, you'll have to pay extra.
Gown cleaning. You're going to clean and preserve the most special dress of your life, aren't you? Get price quotes from cleaners.
Dry cleaning. Your cocktail dress, your groom's suit and your honeymoon wardrobe will need cleaning.

Transport. You've reserved a limo for the ride to the church, and to the reception; but what about the ride to the airport to start your honeymoon? And the ride home?
Filling the gaps in your registry. Your families and friends will buy you a lot of great stuff. But you may wish to complete your collections of tableware, flatware, towels, kitchen electronics and so forth. Allow some cash for one last buying binge before you settle down.

Once you've made provisions for these often forgotten expenses, you'll have a much more accurate wedding budget because you've accounted for the most common hidden costs. Happy planning!  

Real Chicago Wedding - October 5, 2019

Kelsey & Michael Walz treated their guests to an elegant gala at Geneva's Riverside Receptions. And to set the night to music, they called upon the Chicago DJ pros of Fourth Estate Audio. Learn more about Fourth Estate right here.


I'm Keeping My Last Name, and Here's Why



You and your fiancée have agreed that you're not taking his last name, and you're both at peace with it. Now comes the challenge of explaining your decision to everyone else. Here's how.

"We're both keeping our names." What a nice way to say, with a wink, that you're equal partners, and neither of you is demanding that the other chance his/her identity. Then the burden is on people who suggest you change your name, to justify their sexist notion that a bride must give up her maiden name.

"I'm keeping my name for professional reasons." Quite often, the bride has already established herself in her career, or she's from a prominent family, and her name carries certain currency that would be erased if she started all over with an unfamiliar name. People in broadcasting and entertainment do this all the time. You can, too.

Put it on your invitations and your thank you letters. When people receive multiple mailings from you with your separate first and last names, they'll gradually start to accept that that's how you're to be addressed as a couple.

Let your officiant and your DJ know. There's no law that says your minister or rabbi has to introduce you after the ceremony as "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith." Why not just "John and Mary"? And a professional DJ who is going to introduce the wedding party probably has a reception worksheet that asks you how you'd like to be introduced. It can be "Mr. John Smith and Ms. Mary Jones," or "John and Mary," or anything you like.

"My legal name will be ----." Period. Once people know that that's your legal name, they'll know that calling you anything else is incorrect.

Have "Mr. and Ms." signs at your head table. You can do the same thing with your cake topper. It's a subtle way to start educating people that you're a "Ms.," not a "Mrs.," even if you're married.

Don't take it too personally. Your older guests grew up in a generation in which it was simply expected that a woman would take her husband's last name. They may still refer to you as Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It's just the language they understand, and it's not a personal slap at you.

Get your own stationery. Use letterhead and envelopes with both of your names when you're communicating as a couple. Eventually, people will put you in their address books with both your names.

"Do you disapprove? Does that mean you don't want to come to our wedding?" When all else fails, and someone keeps challenging your decision to keep your own name, don't be afraid to imply that there are consequences for rejecting a decision that you and your mate have made together. Anyone who doesn't respect your individuality may not be a true friend.

We all know married couples who have kept separate names for years, even decades, and their love shines through every single day. What matters is what's in your hearts, not what's on a piece of paper. The people who know you best and love you most will certainly

Here are the answers to our pop music quiz.

Name the home country of each artist.

1. Rihanna - Barbados
2. Justin Bieber - Canada
3. Kylie Minogue - Australia
4. Daft Punk - France
5. Keith Urban - New Zealand
6. Shakira - Colombia
7. U2 - Ireland
8. Enrique Iglesias - Spain
9. Dave Matthews - South Africa
10. Van Morrison - Northern Ireland

How did you do?

I hope this newsletter has been helpful. Please email suggestions for future articles to me at

To learn more about professional DJ entertainment and lighting by Fourth Estate Audio:

  • Visit our web site at
  • Listen to great planning info on our DJ Hotline at (844) 888-8444.
  • Call me at (630) 654-4440. I'm here to help you. 
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