Chicago Wedding Times – November, 2022

Test Your Knowledge

Long before they became famous performers, these people were high school athletes. Name each star’s sport.

  • Prince
  • Bob Marley
  • Paris Hilton
  • Gwen Stefani
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Tim McGraw
  • MC Hammer
  • Britney Spears
  • Jenny McCarthy
  • Avril Lavigne

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

Does Your Wedding Really Need Lighting?

If your wedding budget has room for lighting, you’re in for a great experience. Not all weddings need lighting, but the right lights lend warmth, elegance and drama to a room. Here are some points to ponder, as you consider lighting your party room.

Modern uplights can match your décor perfectly. With the magic of LED uplighting and DMX controls, your lights can be fine-tuned to millions of color variations, including the colors you’ve chosen.
A lifeless room typically means a lifeless party. But animated uplighting, with color transitions, chases and strobes, can ignite the entire room, and drive your guests to the dance floor for non-stop dancing.
Venue uplighting vs. DJ uplighting. If your wedding venue offers uplights, they typically are set to one of a handful of pre-programmed colors; and that’s how they stay — all night — even when your guests dance. Static, non-moving light can actually drain the energy from your dance floor. A lighting company can set up single-color lights, or even program them for a single pattern when dancing starts. But a DJ who provides his own uplighting can actually run the lighting effects, so they change colors and patterns, and change to match the speed and energy of each new song. It’s worth the extra money to let your DJ provide your lighting.
Uplighting for outdoor events. If you’re having an outdoor wedding with dinner and dancing in a plain white tent, you desperately need uplighting! There is nothing more sterile than a pure white room — an empty slate. Adding lighting changes everything! Suddenly, your space is alive with color; and most uplights can be aimed toward the middle of the ceiling, to make the entire space come to life.
Your name in lights. Adding monogram lighting with your names or initials can really put your individual stamp on your special day. Today’s monograms can be cut from metal plates with a virtually infinite combination of artwork, fonts and messages. For a little more money, a special glass monogram can include a picture of the two of you; and it can be colored to match your room. Your monogram light can be projected onto a wall, or onto your dance floor. Take a look at some of your options here.   
Dance floor lighting. If you can’t afford uplighting, a cheaper alternative is dance floor lighting. Most DJs offer 5 or 6 different lighting effects, including a disco ball for slow dancing, in their light shows.
When you DON’T need lighting. If you’re having a daytime wedding outdoors, or in a room surrounded by windows, you don’t need lighting. If you’re having a summer wedding with a 9pm sunset, and your wedding reception ends at 10pm, you won’t get much bang for your buck from a light show. If your wedding is held at the top of a skyscraper like the John Hancock Center or the Sears/Willis Tower, you already have the world’s best light show outside your windows. If your party room has fluorescent lighting that’s either on or off, and can’t be dimmed, you’re out of luck. The room lights will have to stay on all night, and a light show would be a waste of money. Finally, if your party room has dark walls, you won’t get the full benefit of a light show; lighting is better with white or light-colored walls.
See it for yourself. Ask your DJ to show you his lighting options in action, so you can make an informed decision. If he won’t show you, hire someone else.
Your wedding guests’ most lasting memories of your reception will be their first impression upon entering your dining room, and the fun they had on the dance floor. Elegant uplighting makes a great first impression, and turns your dance floor into a virtual explosion of color, sound and motion. You’ll know it was worth the money when all of your guests rave to you about what a great time they had. 

Real Chicago Wedding – Oct. 7, 2022

Nancy and Mike Castro were married in a beautiful ceremony at the Medinah Country Club. Then the party moved indoors for cocktails, dinner, games and lots of dancing! The evening’s soundtrack — both outdoors and indoors — was laid down by the Chicago wedding DJ pros of Fourth Estate Audio.

The Four Most Common Brides’ Problems, Solved

Planning the ultimate fantasy wedding has a way of crashing into some unpleasant realities. Here are four that you can expect to pop up – if they haven’t already – and some smart ways you can easily defuse them and keep your dream wedding on track.

The disengaged groom. We’ve heard from hundreds of our brides that their grooms want to take a hands-off approach to their weddings, and let their mates do all the planning work (“My only job is to show up”). If they get involved at all, it’s only to undo their fiancees’ carefully laid plans with awkward last-minute changes. So what do you do? Ask your groom what areas of your wedding he’d like to oversee. Maybe he wants to pick your DJ, or choose your venue, or select your honeymoon destination. Let him. Once he has skin in the game, he’ll be a more “engaged” fiancée.

An army of “experts.” Once you reveal that you’re planning your wedding, everyone who’s ever known you will offer tons of unsolicited advice. Your mom and your in-laws will certainly try to mold your wedding in their own image, with you and your fiancée as mere props at their big party. And some of their advice will certainly be dreadful. Giant bows for your bridesmaids’ gowns? A seven-layer wedding cake? You get the idea. This is YOUR wedding, and it should reflect your tastes, not someone else’s. You can dismiss most unwanted advice with a simple “We’ve already taken care of that.” But for the people closest to you, it’s best to meet early and spell out what you want to control, and where there is room for their input. Who knows? They may even have something of value to contribute, and you may find yourself appreciating all the effort they put into your big day.

Unanswered invitations. Why do so many people believe they can RSVP three days before your wedding without causing you any hardship? Here’s one tip that may help: ask each guest to choose from a pre-selected list of entrees. It’s not rude to include a reminder that the number of meals and dinner tables will be equal to the number of guests who RSVP early. . Here’s another time-saving tip: as your fiancee, parents and in-laws all add names of people they want to invite, keep separate lists of who is inviting each guest. If Mom has ten friends who are dragging their feet in responding to your invitation, ask HER to call them and give them a gentle nudge.

Self-invited guests. What happens when a guest assumes he can bring a date, or bring her children? If you’re inviting a guest’s children, put each of their names on the card. Same with a friend and his wife. If a friend wants to take a date, and you’re okay with that, address the invitation to the friend “plus one,” and ask for “plus one’s” name on the RSVP card (you’ll need it for your table cards). If children are not invited, be sure you say so, with a simple line like “This is an adults-only reception. We regret that no provisions for children are being made.”

Being clear and firm with loved ones and guests from the very beginning will ensure that your wedding is the special experience you’ve envisioned. 

Here are the answers to our quiz:

  • Prince – Basketball
  • Bob Marley – Soccer
  • Paris Hilton – Ice Hockey
  • Gwen Stefani – Swimming
  • Sheryl Crow – Track
  • Tim McGraw – Football
  • MC Hammer – Baseball
  • Britney Spears – Gymnastics (Basketball, too)
  • Jenny McCarthy – Softball
  • Avril Lavigne – Ice Hockey

 How many did you get right?

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: