Chicago Wedding Times – Sept., 2023

Test Your Knowledge of Pop Stars 

1. Justin Timberlake appeared on this TV show before he became a popular singer
    American Idol
    Full House
    Mickey Mouse Club
    Brady Bunch

2. Before Beyonce became a top solo artist, she was part of this group
    Black-eyed Peas
    Destiny’s Child

3. This was Kelly Clarkson’s first hit record
    Because of You
    My Life Would Suck without You
    A Moment Like This
    Behind These Hazel Eyes

4. How is Stacy Ferguson better known?

5. Shakira was born in this country
    Dominican Republic

6. Sean Kingston sampled this famous song in “Beautiful Girls”
    I Keep Forgettin’
    Stand by Me

7. Gwen Stefani never recorded a song with this artist

8. Avril Lavigne voiced this character in the movie “Over the Hedge”

9. Green Day made its debut with the album “Dookie” in this year

10. This was the top selling album of 2006
      B’Day – Beyonce
      Some Hearts – Carrie Underwood
      “High School Musical” Soundtrack
      “Hannah Montana” Soundtrack

If you can guess 6, you’re about average. The answers are at the end of this newsletter. Good luck! 

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.

Real Chicago Wedding – August 4, 2023

Erica and Niko Banks were married at the beautiful Floating World Gallery in Lincoln Park. Their joyful ceremony was followed by cocktail hour, dinner, and lots of dancing to a great music mix and a flood of color and motion from the Chicago wedding DJ pros of Fourth Estate Audio.

What Kills a Dance Floor (and How to Save It)

Here are some lessons a veteran Chicago DJ has learned about all-too-common impediments to a great party, and how to get rid of them.

Don’t put any dinner tables between the DJ and the dance floor. Be firm with your venue about this. Nothing kills a guest’s good time like having to shout at his fellow diners because there’s a speaker three feet from his head. If you have to pack your dinner tables so tightly that there’s no room for your dinner music to breathe, you need a bigger room.
Seat young adults at the tables closest to the DJ. I don’t now why, but too many venues always seat the grandparents in the shadow of the DJ’s speakers; and the dinner music has to be practically turned off when they complain that the music is too loud. Younger guests know how to speak and hear with music nearby.   
Keep it moving. Don’t wait until dinner is over to start visiting the dinner tables. It’ll take an hour, and your guests will get tired of waiting for the dance floor to open, and they’ll leave early. If you’re visiting the tables, begin when you’ve finished your last bite of dinner, to allow yourself ample time.
Select dance music that people can actually dance to. You may personally prefer the guy strumming a guitar on a stool at Starbucks; but no one can dance to coffee house music. Concert music usually makes bad dance music, too. Your DJ can guide you. He’s out there every week, and he knows from experience what songs drive people to the dance floor, and what songs drive them away.
Dance! When the wedding party is on the dance floor, the guests want to get in on the fun. Seeing the bride and groom on the floor is still the best signal that the party is on!
Kill the floodlights. A good photographer or videographer with great equipment can take wonderful dance pictures without having to flood the dance floor with blinding light. DJ lighting is a great motivator; but a huge photographer’s light bar makes people self-conscious and more likely to leave the dance floor.
Your guests love line dances — even if you hate them. The attraction of line dances is simple: people have seen them performed dozens, if not hundreds of times, and they know the steps by heart.
Let your DJ take requests. Your guests know their favorite dance songs. Let them contribute, and they’ll be thrilled that they got to pick some of the music. Prohibiting requests tells your guests that the dance portion of the evening is just a private concert for the bride and groom, and the guests are mere props. That’s not the message you want to send. By all means, tell your DJ what songs, or artists, or music genres you’d like to avoid; but leave room in the song list for your guests to have a great time.

Here are the answers to this week’s pop music quiz.

1. Justin Timberlake appeared on “The Mickey Mouse Club” before he became a popular singer
2. Before Beyonce became a top solo artist, she was part of Destiny’s Child
3. Kelly Clarkson’s first hit record was A Moment Like This”
4. Stacy Ferguson is better known as Fergie
5. Shakira was born in Colombia
6. Sean Kingston sampled “Stand by Me” for his song “Beautiful Girls”
7. Gwen Stefani never recorded a song with Madonna
8. Avril Lavigne voiced the character Heather in the movie “Over the Hedge”
9. Green Day made its debut with the album “Dookie” in 1994
10. The top selling album of 2006 was the “High School Musical” soundtrack

How did you do?

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