Chicago Wedding Times – December, 2022

Famous Last Words

Test your knowledge. Can you identify the movies that ended with these words? The answers are at the end of this newsletter.

1. “Where we’re going, we won’t need roads.”
2. “Tomorrow is another day.”
3. “Where the devil are my slippers?”
4. “Attaboy, Clarence!”
5. “Didn’t I promise your fireworks?”
6. “There’s no place like home.”
7. “Kitty!”
8. “Damn you all to hell!”
9. “Naah, I’d only blow it.”
10. “Holy merde!”

The answers are at the end of this newsletter.

Your Chicago Wedding – What Will Your Guests Remember?

Read any wedding magazine, and you’d think that the only thing a bride is supposed to care about is her gown. In fairness, the makers of wedding gowns spend a fortune advertising in those magazines; so they get a lot of attention because they provide the magazines with a lot of revenue.

Brides also stress about their flowers, favors and food; but if you’ve ever been to someone else’s wedding, you’ve probably already forgotten the colors of the flowers, and what you ate; and your wedding favor is probably buried in some forgotten drawer.  Not exactly a lot of “bang for the buck,” right?

So what do wedding guests really remember about a wedding? Thousands of brides were surveyed after their weddings, and the results, in The Knot and Brides Magazine, may offer you valuable guidance as you prioritize your wedding budget:

  • Almost 100% of brides say, if they had it to do over again, they would have spent more of their budget on their entertainment ; 78% said they would have made their entertainment their top priority.
  • By contrast, during their planning, entertainment tended to be a very low priority for brides. They simply assumed that all DJs were alike, and figured all they had to do was choose one at random.
  • 81% of wedding guests said the strongest memory of their wedding reception was the entertainment, and whether they danced and had a good time.
  • 65% of all couples who hired bands for their entertainment said, if they had a second chance, they would have hired a DJ instead. They didn’t like their bands’ limited music selection, or the fact that their bands took long breaks that disrupted the flow of their parties.

A cheap wedding DJ is little more than a jukebox. An experienced professional wedding DJ is far more knowledgeable, and willing to work harder; he is your reception field general, always on alert that the caterer, photographer, videographer and other vendors are in the right place at the right time. He ensures that the reception doesn’t come to a screeching halt while everyone searches for the photographer for the First Dance, or for Dad for the Father-Daughter dance. He knows the thousands of things that can go wrong, and he has a “Plan B” for every unexpected detour your wedding takes.

The best DJs also provide a wealth of valuable wedding planning resources to take the pressure off you, and reassure you that you are doing what you need to do to be fully prepared for your wedding; then you can simply show up, relaxed and confident that your big night will unfold exactly as you dreamed it.

Do your homework. Check your DJ’s online reviews – and not just those on his own web site. Wedding Wire and Yelp are great sources of independent, unfiltered reviews by people who have already hired the DJ you’re considering; and the Better Business Bureau rates companies from A+ to F for customer satisfaction. Anything below an A should be a big red flag.

Meet your DJ and see whether he fully understands and embraces your vision of the perfect wedding. Then, and only then, should you talk price. There’s no comfort in saving a few hundred dollars on your entertainment if you and your guests have a miserable time at your reception. Don’t cut corners on something that vital.

Real Chicago Wedding – Nov. 19, 2022

Kaitlin and Jakob Davidson were actually married in Arizona in September, but held a reenactment ceremony and celebration for their many Chicago area friends at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien. Fourth Estate Audio weaved a blend of pop, hip-hop and alternative rock. The pictures below show you the result.

Wedding DIY – Let Someone Else Do It!

Do you fancy yourself something of an artist? Are you planning to put together your own wedding by yourself? If you’re doing it out of financial necessity, then you’ll get what you get. But if you have some fiscal flexibility, consider leaving some of the key elements of your big day to people who’ve done them thousands of times, and know how to do them right. Here are five tasks that are best left to the professionals.

1. Dinner

Even if you’re a gourmet chef, planning a wedding meal for 100 guests takes a lot more than the knowledge to mix your ingredients properly. You’ll need to know how much to make, how to accommodate guests with small children and guests with dietary limitations, how much to set aside for unexpected guests, and so forth. And you can’t just slap it onto the plate. It has to be presented attractively, and each course must be served in a timely manner. Professional caterers know all the short cuts to ensure that dinner doesn’t drag on for three hours. If you’re set on doing it all yourself, why not opt for a cocktail reception with heavy appetizers instead of a full seven-course meal?

2. Photography

It takes a lot more than an iPhone camera to take beautiful wedding pictures. Even a talented friend with her 35-millimeter camera will be completely out of her element if she’s never done a few dozen weddings. Posed pictures always take a lot longer to arrange, because it’s difficult to herd people together when they’d rather be doing something else. A professional photographer knows how to do it, and how to anticipate the best way to set up for the next photo. It’s a little like playing pool. It’s not enough to make the shot; you have to leave the cue ball in position for the next shot. A professional wedding photographer won’t lose a great shot to bad lighting, or forget to take all those great close-ups of your rings, your bouquets, your champagne flutes, and all those other special elements of your wedding. And when dancing starts, a pro will recognize the perfect point in each song to take those candid shots when everyone’s hands are high in the air. It’s worth it to pay the extra money for pictures you’re going to cherish for the rest of your lives.

3. Flowers

Creating your own centerpieces or bouquets requires more than just an artistic eye. Flowers don’t last forever, and many of them don’t even last for a few hours before wilting. So you have to time them to arrive shortly before the wedding, then scramble to put everything together within a few hours. Remember, you’ll have dozens of other demands upon your time in the final 24 hours before the wedding. A professional florist will create stunning arrangements and deliver them just in time. If you simply must create your own designs, consider a florist who will bring all the flowers and set up do-it-yourself stations. In the Chicago area, we suggest Annie Occasion for Any Occasion.

4. Planning

Even with the perfect game plan, and an army of friends and relatives to help you, doing all of your own planning is going to be extraordinarily stressful. Imaging running a business that requires every employee to perform at 100% every moment, and then a third of your employees call in sick, or perform poorly. Unlike a business, you can’t just fire them, because they’re all volunteers. You’ll end up doing a lot more of the work yourself than you expected. A professional wedding planner has a “plan B” and “plan C” for everything, so unexpected twists won’t derail the entire day’s carefully planned schedule. Plus a professional will make your room look fabulous, and ensure that your guests enjoy every sight, sound, taste and smell. Even a day-of coordinator will make the day run more smoothly that a bride and groom can. Your job is to get married and party with your friends, not to micro-manage a chaotic evening.

5. Hair and Makeup

Good rule of thumb: if your hairstyle has a name, let a professional do it. A stylist can see to the tiniest detail, so the back of your head will look as good as the front. And a stylist can do it much faster than you can. While it’s great to have your hairdresser and makeup artist come to your wedding, it’s also acceptable to book your hair and makeup at the salon on your wedding morning. And it’s cheaper.
If there are DIY projects you can complete months ahead of time, go ahead. Create your own personalized invitations and favors. Put together welcome bags for your out-of-town guests. But as your big day approaches, and time gets more precious, you’ll thank yourself for choosing to let the pros handle the heavy lifting.

Here are the answers to our “Famous Last Words” quiz!

1. Back to the Future
2. Gone with the Wind
3. My Fair Lady
4. It’s a Wonderful Life
5. Independence Day
6. Wizard of Oz
7. Monsters Inc.
8. Planet of the Apes
9. The Sting
10. 9 to 5

 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 Chicago DJ entertainment and lighting by Fourth Estate Audio: