Chicago Wedding Times – August, 2023

Test Your Knowledge

How well do you remember the hits of the 1990’s? Here’s your chance to find out. Name the artist who recorded each of these hits.

  • Don’t Know Much
  • Another Day in Paradise
  • It Must Have Been Love
  • Black Velvet
  • We Didn’t Start the Fire
  • U Can’t Touch This
  • Back to Life
  • Enjoy the Silence
  • All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You
  • I Don’t Want to Wait

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

What to Expect from Your DJ at Your Reception

A professional wedding DJ will do a lot more for your wedding celebration than simply play dance music. Here’s what you can reasonably expect from any experienced pro.

Cocktail hour. While you and your bridal party and family step away for some group photos, your guests will enjoy cocktails and appetizers, and get acquainted with one another. Your DJ will provide your choice of cocktail music — whether it’s classical, background piano, light jazz, Rat Pack vocals, or something truly unique to the two of you. This is your opportunity to put some of your own personality into the evening’s music, by having your DJ play songs that may not be especially danceable, but still have a lot of meaning for the two of you.
Wedding party introduction. Your DJ will play one or more songs for your grand entrance. Keep the music upbeat and energetic, because this is a truly festive moment. Some couples are content to have a single song for the entire wedding party. Others choose a separate song for the newlyweds. Still others ask that each couple be introduced to its own song. A professional DJ can help choreograph a great introduction, while ensuring that everyone’s name is pronounced correctly.
Toasts and speeches. Your DJ will provide a wireless microphone for the Best Man, Maid of Honor, Father of the Bride, minister, or anyone else who plans special remarks. He’ll also introduce each person’s speech.
Cake cutting. Whether you’re cutting your cake before dinner, after the salad, or after dinner, your DJ will make the announcement, so guests may take their own pictures of you. 
Dinner hour. Your DJ will play nice background music that won’t interfere with your guests’ table conversations. That means no horns and no screaming guitars. Instrumental music is best for dinner hour, whether it’s smooth jazz, piano, classical or easy listening. 
Special dances. Your DJ will introduce your First Dance, wedding party dance, bride-father and groom-mother dances, each with the accompanying song you choose. Some companies, like Fourth Estate Audio, like to have the First Dance and wedding party dance, then open the floor to the guests and leave the bride-father and groom-mother dances for a little later. That way, people who have just eaten a full meal won’t have time to get drowsy and think of leaving early.  
Dancing. You’ll provide a list of your favorite dance songs to your DJ, and he’ll mix them in a way that flows well and gets people of all ages onto the dance floor. Typically, the older music gets played first, while the parents and grandparents still feel like dancing. Then the music get newer and more upbeat as the younger dancers take over. Consider all of your guests when choosing your requests. You’re not just picking music for 3 or 4 of your best friends. Everyone should feel welcome and involved for your party to be successful.
Bouquet/Garter. Your DJ will oversee the bouquet and garter tosses, each with its own song of your choosing. Again, make the music upbeat, because everyone will have had a few drinks by then, and you want songs that will add to the excitement of the moment.
Final song. Many couples want to pick the last song of the evening in advance, and your DJ will time the last few minutes of the party to hit that special song at just the right time. There will, of course, be calls for “One more, one more!” But if you’ve chosen the last song, it will indeed be the last song.
And that’s it. A professional DJ will also offer online planning worksheets that let you fill in your preferred cocktail and dinner music, plus your special songs — plus interactive access to his entire songlist, so you can choose your favorite dance music. With the help of a true DJ professional, your entertainment will likely be the least stress-inducing part of planning your big celebration. 

Real Chicago Wedding – July 1, 2023

Bridgette and Michael Perez were surrounded by all their loved ones as they began their new lives as husband and wife at Firehouse Chicago. And for the evening’s soundtrack, they chose the Chicago DJ pros of Fourth Estate Audio to share their favorite dance music with their families and friends.

Should I Review a Wedding Vendor Who Let Me Down?

It’s natural to want to spread the good news about a wedding vendor who went above and beyond, to make your wedding truly special. But what about those vendors who were just plain awful? Here are some things to consider before you trash them for the whole world to see.

1. Why did you hire that vendor? If you chose him/her based on previous reviews, and you had a reasonable expectation of excellent service, then you owe it to future couples to give an honest assessment of your experience with that vendor. If, on the other hand, you chose the vendor just because he/she had the cheapest price, you had ample opportunity to ask yourself why that vendor can’t charge professional prices. So some of the blame is yours. A Yugo doesn’t perform like a Lexus, no matter how much you wish it would.

2. Did you have an explicit contract? Did your vendor fail to live up the exact services he/she promised in that contract? If so, you’re entitled to ask for all or part of your money back; and if the vendor doesn’t reply, you’re entitled to trash him/her online. If you didn’t have a contract at all, it becomes a “he said, she said” exercise, and the vendor will almost certainly respond to your review.

3. Did the boss do your wedding himself/herself? If you hired the person you interviewed, and he/she failed to live up to all promises, that person bears full responsibility for your disappointment. If an employee of the vendor gave poor service, tell the owner first. The offending employee will likely be fired or otherwise disciplined, and the owner will probably make it right for you. Once the owner has had a chance to atone for the employee’s sins, and failed to do so, then the owner is to blame, and a bad review is in order.

4. Did the vendor ask for your feedback? A reputable vendor always wants to know what he/she did right, or wrong. A vendor who doesn’t even ask whether you were happy, is essentially giving you permission to take your case directly to the public.

5. Does your vendor deserve to lose future business? Your review should never be written as a form of punishment, but rather as a guide to future couples seeking reliable vendors. If you believe those couples’ weddings could suffer because of your vendor’s negligence or incompetence, then you owe it to them to be candid about your experience. If most of your wedding day’s problems were beyond your vendor’s control (bad weather, power outage, etc.), then a bad review may be excessive.

6. Write it, read it, then decide. Your first instinct may be to really tear into the vendor with a blistering review. That’s fine, but it’s best to write your angriest review first, let it sit a couple of days, then read it aloud and decide whether the vendor was really that bad or inconsiderate. You may find yourself softening your review, and even including some of the things the vendor did right.

7. Not every bad review has to be zero stars. Most review sites let you grade your vendors on a scale of one to five stars. Often, a three-star review is enough to alert the vendor that he or she has some work to do. It may discourage a few couples from hiring that vendor; but a lukewarm review tells the vendor that, with some proper attention, he/she can be redeemed. You may help that vendor become a 5-star performer in the future.

8. Review your entire experience with the vendor. Was the vendor accessible and responsive through the planning process? Were you able to get fast answers to your questions? Was the vendor able to adapt quickly to changes in your plans? While your wedding day is the big “exam day,” your vender deserves some credit for scoring high on quizzes and mid-terms. So give credit where credit is due, while devoting most of your review to the wedding day performance.

Whether it’s your planner, florist, photographer, caterer, DJ or any other vendor, a positive review is a reward for a great performance. A negative review can be a warning to other couples, or a message to the vendor that his/her service needs improvement. If he/she gets better, then newer, better reviews will follow, and eventually outweigh your review. That is as it should be. No review should punish a vendor forever. Your thoughtful feedback is indeed important, to both you and your vendors.

Here are the answers to our music quiz.

  • Don’t Know Much – Aaron Neville & Linda Ronstadt
  • Another Day in Paradise – Phil Collins
  • It Must Have Been Love – Roxette
  • Black Velvet – Alannah Myles
  • We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel
  • U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
  • Back to Life – Soul II Soul
  • Enjoy the Silence – Depeche Mode
  • All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You – Heart
  • I Don’t Want to Wait -Paula Cole

How did you do? The average score is 6.

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: