Chicago Wedding Times – February, 2023

Test Your Movie Knowledge

Match the movie with its famous last words

Die Hard
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Indiana Jones/Temple of Doom
Wonder Woman
Ten Commandments
Home Alone
Animal House

“Funny, funny”
“He’s my brother”
“No prisoners”
“What did you do to my room?”
“Someday, you know, if he’s lucky”
“I gotta be here for New Year’s”
“I can’t imagine why”
“Unto all the inhabitants thereof”
“This is my mission now, forever”
“I want to go with them, in the car”

If you can guess 6, you’re above average. The answers are at the end of this newsletter.

How to Recognize Bad Wedding Advice

Once you’re engaged, you’ll find out that everyone is an expert on weddings — or so they think. Here’s some of the advice they’re going to give you, along with some even better advice — IGNORE IT!

“Invite everyone you know, so enough people will show up.” People have gone broke underestimating the percentage of invited guests who will actually RSVP and show up. Ask yourself, “If everyone comes, will I have enough money, and will there be enough food?” If the answer is no, then invite fewer people. It may also be helpful to add a note to your invitations, to the effect that “Dinner service will be based on confirmed reservations; if you don’t confirm, you’re welcome to join us for dancing.” That way, people who show up without RSVP’ing will have fair warning that there’s not a meal waiting for them.

“You’re spending too much on flowers.” Just because they got their flowers cheap in California, doesn’t mean they know the first thing about what flowers cost in Illinois. You know your budget better than your guests do; and you know how you want everything to look. If you think your flower expenses are too high, there are plenty of online articles on how to substitute cheaper flowers while keeping your color scheme.

“Put a fake ceremony time on your invitations.” Well-meaning people will tell you that it’s smart to say your wedding starts at 1:45 when you know you won’t start until 2pm. Well, it’s not smart. Trying to be accommodating to the people who always show up late is unfair to the guests who care enough about you to be there on time. And if you’re having an outdoor ceremony in the hot summer sun, your guests will have to sit and swelter for what seems like an eternity. 2pm means 2pm; and if someone simply can’t make it on time, they’ll just have to miss it.

“There’s only a 20% chance of rain — no need for a backup plan.” Yes, there is. Any outdoor wedding activity requires an indoor alternative, no matter what anyone says. Your venue should tell you in advance what arrangements it makes in case of rain. At the very least, you may need a tent with a dance floor. Betting against a 20% chance of rain is a sure-fire way to raise that risk to 100%. 

“If you’re running out of money, replace your DJ with an iPhone.” Good luck with that. Your iPhone can’t MC your introductions, toasts and other speeches. And your iPhone can’t recognize an empty dance floor. Besides, once guests know you’re playing your dance music off an iPhone, they’ll gather around the iPhone and argue about what song to play next — ALL NIGHT LONG — and you’ll end up with a song, 3 minutes of silence, another song, 3 more minutes of silence, etc. Sound like the perfect recipe for an active dance floor?

“You have a photographer, so you don’t need a videographer.” Can a photographer capture the emotion of your vows, or your toasts, or your first dance? Can a photographer capture the real-life sounds of your wedding? Still pictures can say a lot, but there’s no substitute for the actual sights, sounds and music of your special day, and it’ll be all too easy to forget them without a video record. Don’t let that happen. Budget for a videographer early in your planning, so you’re not tempted to short-change your own memories in the name of frugality.

“Save money by being your own planner.” There’s no way you can possibly understand how stressful a wedding day can be until you try to micromanage your own ceremony and reception in real time, with all sorts of things going wrong. Vendors don’t show up, your tablecloths are all the wrong color, your officiant goes to the wrong address, and where is your wedding cake???!!! Without a planner — or at the very least, a wedding day coordinator — you’ll be so frazzled from producing and directing your wedding that you won’t have a single moment to just stop and savor the day. And saving a few bucks will be small comfort for an opportunity lost forever.

Prioritize the pillars of your wedding plan — your venue, your catering, your entertainment and your photography/videography. Then flesh out your décor, flowers, fashions, hotel accommodations and transportation. Finally, work on the special touches that will make your wedding uniquely yours. And hire great professionals to help you. Follow that simple timeline and you won’t regret it.  

When you hire a professional wedding DJ for your big reception, you get a 2-for-1 bonus — a professional MC. But if there are compelling reasons to have a relative or friend handle your announcing duties, please accept the advice of someone who’s done it thousands of times, and train your MC in proper technique and timing. Your reception will go more smoothly, without all those cringe-worthy foul-ups that will send your guests home shaking their heads. Ready? Take notes.

Real Chicago Wedding – Dec. 31, 2022

What an incredible way to ring in the new year!. Nancy and Jeff Hamera were married at the beautiful Eaglewood Resort in Itasca and spent the night dining and dancing with family and friends to welcome the year 2023. The Chicago DJ pros of Fourth Estate Audio spun the soundtrack.

A Beginner’s Guide to MCing a Wedding

If there are compelling reasons to have a relative or friend handle your wedding MC duties, please accept the advice of someone who’s done it thousands of times, and train your MC in proper technique and timing. Your reception will go more smoothly, without all those cringe-worthy foul-ups that will send your guests home shaking their heads. Ready? Take notes.

  • Give your MC his directions. Sit down with him, or her, in advance and explain in detail your desired order of events. Don’t try to do it on the fly. It just doesn’t work that way. 
  • An MC is not an entertainer. Unless you’ve chosen your MC for his comedy routines, or his ability to juggle or make balloon animals, his primary job will be that of a professional traffic cop. He’s supposed to guide the flow of events smoothly, ensuring that no speech drags on too long, and no speaker gets too raunchy. If your speeches are before dinner, every wasted word allows the food to get that much colder, and the guests to get that much hungrier.
  • The MC needs to know who he’s introducing, and when. In most cases, your DJ or band will provide extra microphones as needed, so no one will have to pass the mic from person to person.
  • An MC must know the players. He needs to recognize when a key person, like the father of the bride, is out of the room when the next speech is all about him. Imagine your MC introducing the bride-father dance when Dad is outside smoking a cigarette. Suddenly, the whole party has to stop while everyone searches for him. A professional knows enough to read the room and find the players; that’s not always true with an amateur.
  • An MC must work with your venue and vendors. And that requires some preparation time. He needs to know when the caterer wants to serve the meal. He needs to ensure that the photographer knows in advance about any surprises he plans to spring on the guests, so that the magic moment gets properly captured on camera. If the MC’s big speech requires music at certain points, he needs to coordinate with, and cue, the DJ to play the proper songs at the proper times, so there are no awkward pauses while he asks for music the DJ didn’t know anything about. If your venue provides a Champagne parade prior to dinner, your MC needs to know when it starts and how he’ll be alerted to start it. 
  • Few MCs are as funny as they think they are. And an MC who waits for applause, only to be met with nervous laughter, has already lost the crowd. Better to accept his MC duties as serious business, and let and humor flow naturally from the moment. 
  • No one likes to hear their name mispronounced. If your MC is handling wedding party introductions, he should line everyone up, ask for pronunciations of unfamiliar names, and write them down phonetically, so he doesn’t forget. 
  • Explain the rules. The MC should tell the guests when the bar is closing and when it’ll reopen. If you want your guests to do something special to make the two of you kiss, the MC has to explain it. 
  • An MC needs to know how to use a microphone. It sounds obvious, but you won’t believe how many amateur MC’s hold the microphone at belly button level, forcing the DJ to crank up the volume on his speakers, and risking a screech of feedback. The MC should keep the mic about 3 inches from his mouth, and never — NEVER — try to cover it with his hand. That’s the surest way to bring the feedback. 
  • Save the sentimentality for when the newlyweds are in the room. Sharing the MC’s warmest memories about the couple is a waste of time, if they’re still outside the door waiting to be introduced.    

Your MC must understand that, if he does a good job, no one will remember him — they’ll remember only how smoothly your party went. That is as it should be; and if your MC is looking to use your wedding to make a name for himself, he may be sorely disappointed. A good MC doesn’t have the luxury of a big ego. As long as your MC keeps the party moving, you and your guests will have a great time.

Here are the answers to our quiz.

Superman – “Someday, you know, if he’s lucky”
Die Hard – “I gotta be here for New Year’s”
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – “He’s my brother”
Indiana Jones/Temple of Doom – “Funny, funny”
Wonder Woman – This is my mission now, forever”
Ten Commandments – “Unto all the inhabitants thereof”
Ghostbusters – I want to go with them, in the car”
Jaws – “I can’t imagine why”
Home Alone – “What did you do to my room?”
Animal House – “No prisoners”

 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: