Chicago Wedding Times – June, 2023

Test Your Movie Knowledge

  1. Who voiced the character Jessica in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
  2. What James Bond movie takes James into space?
  3. Who played the “unsinkable” Molly Brown in “Titanic?”
  4. Who wrote the screenplay for “Rocky?”
  5. Who is the only actor to get an Oscar nomination for a “Star Wars” movie?
  6. Allowing for inflation, what is the highest-grossing movie of all time?
  7. What is the only X-rated move to win an Oscar for Best Picture?
  8. Which pop star played the “walkoff” judge in “Zoolander?”
  9. Which movie earned Tom Hanks his first Oscar nomination?
  10. What is the famous dance from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show?”

The answers are at the end of this newsletter. If you get six right, you’re above average.

Your Wedding Budget: How to Know What NOT to Keep

Planning a wedding is all about choices; and any wedding vendor who wants to sell you something will try to be one of those choices. But there’s simply no way to fulfill your every fantasy without an unlimited budget, and most couples don’t have that luxury. Here’s how to get the maximum bang for limited bucks.

Prioritize. Decide what you absolutely must have. Some couples will want to splurge on an expensive band or orchestra; others will want to use their décor to create a virtual wonderland, or serve a meal that will leave mouths watering for years. Knowing what’s most important to you will make it easier to give up those things that are less vital. 

A memorable venue. Banquet halls and hotels provide many of the necessities of a successful wedding, like tables, chairs, flatware, glasses, a dance floor, food, liquor and so forth. Museums, arboretums, barns, conservatories and other creative venues can provide memorable atmosphere and save you a fortune on décor. Add the cost of the venue to the cost of decorating it and providing your wedding meal and a place to dance, and you’ll have a good base price from which to work. 

Great pictures. Unless you want your wedding memories to be just fleeting nodes of thought, you’ll want to record your special day in stunning images or video. And you’ll need a professional who’s done a few hundred or a few thousand weddings, and knows how to capture those special moments that will make you smile as you relive those great memories again and again. 

An epic soundtrack. Anyone can have music at a wedding. Just turn on the radio. If that’s how you want your guests to remember you, go for it! But if you want a truly memorable experience that will set the proper mood and send your guests home with memories of a great time on the dance floor, you’ll need a professional entertainer with plenty of experience in selecting music everyone knows and loves — and DANCES to! A professional DJ also doubles as your MC and field general, to ensure that all of your vendors are working in concert to ensure a smooth evening. 

A great stylist. Professionally styled hair and makeup will make you look your absolute best, and it’ll do wonders for your confidence. Don’t scrimp on your looks. 

Now add the sizzle. Now that you have the essentials covered, perhaps you’d like to add dazzling uplighting to your room, or a fun photo booth, or a memorable dessert table, or any number of other things to create your WOW factor. You want things that will make your wedding uniquely yours. Fourth Estate Audio can help, with our special report “37 Easy and Powerful Ways to WOW Your Wedding Guests.” It’s available as a free premium for our clients. 

Where else do you want to splurge? Dazzling invitations? A stunning bouquet? Personalized wedding favors? The possibilities are endless; but these things come after you’ve built your wedding to fit your budget. Finally… 

A wedding planner or coordinator. Before you start thinking that a planner is an extra expense, consider that an experienced planner can help you get great pricing and extra perks on your wedding basics, and still have money left over to create a magical atmosphere and keep your celebration on time, while you simply relax and savor the moment.

Budgeting your wedding realistically will help you put on a celebration that is truly worthy of your awesomeness, and create memories that will last a lifetime, without leaving you to pay off your wedding bills for a lifetime. 

Real Chicago Wedding – May 6, 2023

Emily and Marek Kowal hosted 250 of their closest friends for a real blowout at Belvedere Chateau in Palos Hills. The Chicago DJ pros of Fourth Estate Audio accommodated a broad mix of American pop and Polish dance music with a little Latin and Greek thrown in for good measure.

How to Survive an Entire Wedding Weekend

A wedding isn’t just a half hour in a church or temple and a few hours of dinner and dancing. For most couples, it’s just the centerpiece of a long weekend. And you need to prepare for extended time with family and friends from out of town. Here are some important things to consider when filling out your guest list and arranging three to four days of activities.

Brush up on your hosting skills. You’ll need to host a welcome party, a rehearsal dinner, your wedding itself, your reception, possibly a late-night after-party, and a morning-after brunch or picnic. 

Limit the number of guests. Everyone will be invited to your ceremony and reception, but you can limit your other gatherings to a select few — the bridal party for one event, the out-of-towners for another, etc.

Who are you feeding? It’s up to you or your parents to provide meals for everyone at your reception and your rehearsal dinner. Your guests are on their own for any other events. You may want to choose a hotel that hosts a Sunday brunch where everyone pays at the door, so guests can arrive when they’re ready. If you’re having an after-party, everyone should know it’s a no-host, with a cash bar, so you’re free to leave when you get tired. More after-party tips here.

Who needs hotel rooms? When you get a feel for the number of out-of-town guests, find a hotel near your reception site (maybe your reception will be in the hotel itself). Reserve a block of rooms, then notify everyone to call the hotel and book their reservations under your wedding. You reserve, they pay. 

Give people something to do. You won’t be face-to-face with every single guest for the entire weekend. Do some research to find cool activities for your guests. Cities like Chicago have museums, beaches, concerts, sporting events, zoos, parks and lots of other tourist-friendly attractions for your visitors. Compile a list of them, with phone numbers and web site addresses. If you have a wedding web site, post the list there; otherwise, mail or email it.

Don’t forget the kids. If children are invited to your wedding, be sure to have some chaperoned child-friendly activities, so the adults can enjoy some grown-up time with each other. More kid-friendly ideas here.

Have a “plan B” for bad weather. Try to limit the number of outdoor events over your wedding weekend, or have alternative locations already selected, and let everyone know in advance where they are. That way, they won’t be caught off-guard, feeling left out. Will your Sunday picnic be ruined by rain? Nope. Just find a nearby buffet restaurant that can handle a crowd without reservations. More weather tips here.

By arranging activities that don’t require your presence every minute, you’ll have plenty of relaxing quiet time to yourselves, while still ensuring that your guests have a great weekend.

Here are the answers to our movie quiz.

  1. Kathleen Turned voiced the character Jessica in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
  2. James Bond went into space in “Moonraker.”
  3. Kathy Bates played the “unsinkable” Molly Brown in “Titanic.”
  4. Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay for “Rocky.”
  5. Alec Guinness is the only actor to get an Oscar nomination for a “Star Wars” movie.
  6. “Gone with the Wind” is the highest-grossing movie of all time, when inflation is factored in.
  7. “Midnight Cowboy” is the only X-rated move to win an Oscar for Best Picture.
  8. David Bowie played the “walkoff” judge in “Zoolander.”
  9. Tom Hanks got his first Oscar nomination for “Big.”
  10. “Time Warp” is the famous dance from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

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

Jay Congdon