While planning your wedding you should take some consideration into what your guests want along with what you want to make the day unique to you and your style.

We found an article on honeybrides.com that we think is spot on from a guest's point-of-view!

Here's the summary:

What's important to guests is
  1. Food and drinks
  2. MUSIC!
  3. Seating chart
  4. Venue
  5. Speeches
What's not important to guests is
  1. The cake
  2. The dress
  3. Flowers and décor
  4. The first dance
  5. Photos


Some items on the second list might be a surprise and may even go contrary to what you think is most important. That is because this is all from a guest's perspective. Even so, you should take it into consideration when figuring out your budget.

Since we are a company that provides music for your wedding day we can't help but point out that music is #2 on the list of what is important to your guests. Other surveys and articles over the past few decades have consistently listed music or entertainment as very important to guests.

We always say the entertainment will be what your guests will talk about for a long time. Please consider that when decided who your entertainment will be.

If you want to read more detail the article is available here.

Thanks for reading!
 
 
It is very common to have divorced or separated parents at a wedding these days. Even so, many couples worry about how to keep everyone happy during their big day. Here are some tips to keep the peace.

 Ceremony Presentation of Flowers

When presenting flowers to parents you should give flowers to the stepparents as well. Make sure the flowers you give are the same to everyone. This will help keep any jealousy at bay.

Parent's Processional

The groom can walk both their mother and stepmother down the isle. If the groom does not want to escort the stepmother find someone special in her life to escort her.

Unity Ceremony

It is important to include all parents in the unity ceremony. If you are doing a candle, that means all of the go up to light the side candles.

Spotlight Procession

If the bride or groom are being escorted down the isle both the parent and stepparent should be included. The parents can split the duty with one escorting half-way and then turing over the escorting duties to the second parent. If the isle is wide enough both can walk down the isle in its entirety.

Reception Introductions

If you choose to introduce the parents with the wedding party it should be all or nothing. The current trend is to not introduce the parents, so this may be the easiest decision to make.

Welcome Toast

Sometimes the newlywed couple prefers to welcome everyone to their reception with a toast. Make sure you include all of the parents in your toasts, even if it is a simple "Thank you!".

Parent's DanceThis is where it can get complicated. The simplest solution is to not do the parents dance. If parents insist on having one I would suggest having all the parents on the dance floor at one time and you choose the song they dance to. Make sure the song is as neutral to the parents as possible.

 
 
We have said it many times in our newsletters. Your wedding day will go by fast and you won't remember it all. Here are some tips to help you slow down on your big day and hopefully take it all in!

Start the Day with a Little Relaxation

If you’re getting married in the evening, take some time to read a few chapters of a book, take a long, relaxing bath, or just do your morning rituals. If you’re getting married in the morning, pick people you love to surround you as you get ready (including your partner, if you want).

Put the Screens Away

Phones, tablets, iPods, all of it! You shouldn't be the one taking phone calls on your wedding day. That is the job of your wedding planner! No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest - NONE! Those will just distract you and take you out of the moment.

Make Sure You Eat

Eat healthy options like nuts, fruit, veggies. Make sure you drink water as well, especially if you are getting married in the summer.

Realize that Stuff Happens

There will be things that you won't be able to control, and that's OK. The weather might not be perfect, someone may step on your dress, the flower girl or ring bearer may be too shy to walk down the isle, the wedding schedule could be delayed by thirty minutes, guests get lost on the way to the ceremony. There are always things that can go wrong. Don't expect that you can control everything.

Put Someone You Trust in Charge

You did hire that wedding planner, didn't you? If not, you don’t have to have a maid of honor or best person, but it’s worth having a wing person who has your back, whether or not he or she is standing at the altar with you. This person is the designated point for phone calls, the person who can make a final décor call, the person who keeps tabs on all the little details of the wedding, the person who makes sure everything is lined up so you can focus on the more meaningful moments that are happening around you. Sounds a lot like a wedding planner, doesn't it?

Wear Something You Can Move in

Restrictive clothing can make you more tense and less able to relax. Choose clothing that you can move around in, allows you to take a deep breath, and can dance the night away in!

Lock Eyes with Those Who Ground You

Make sure to make eye contact with someone who can ground you like no one else. If eye contact isn't your thing, hugs work just as well.

Have a Few Minutes Totally Alone with Your Partner

There is a Jewish tradition known as the “yichud” —after the ceremony, the two of you go off, totally by yourselves (no photographer, no one) just to bask in the fact that you’re married. Professional photographers and videographers will respect that you need some time alone. Have your wedding planner stand guard if needed.

You Can Affect the Moment

It is OK to say “I’m going to hang out with people before the ceremony,” or to insist that your brand-new partner pay attention to you. In other words, don’t let your wedding day happen around you.

Take Care of Your Emotional Well-Being

Sure, you want to say hi to everyone, but you also want to sit down and have a snack, breathe, and just giggle together in a corner. Don’t forget to do that.

Don’t Stop the Feelings

Your wedding day is the day to just feel every single feeling possible. All of those feelings might not be love, bliss, and joy. You may have moments of moments where you fell out of sorts, on top of the world, and totally emotionally raw… sometimes all in the same five minutes. It can be a roller coaster, so ride it.

If You’re Dancing, Go All Out

If dancing is your release, do it. Have that dance party, and love every second of it. Literally dance like nobody is watching (or like everyone is). After all, you hired a great DJ or band, so you might as well enjoy the entertainment!

Assign Emotional Bodyguards


Nobody has problematic family members, right? Assign people to be your emotional bodyguards, or whatever you want to call them. If people come at you with problems, from “The DJ is late” to “Your Aunt appears to have fallen off the wagon,” empower these folks to cut these people off at the pass and give you six hours of peace. (And if you have a particularly difficult person showing up at your wedding, feel free to assign one person to be on “Keep them away from me” duty.) Again, you did hire that wedding planner, right? That's who can do all of this and remain completely neutral.

Just Step Back and Observe


Every hour or so, try to take a minute to stop, look around, and take it all in.

Realize It’s OK if You’re Not in the Moment


You can’t be totally present every single second of every day. That is even more true on a day as momentous as your wedding day. There will be moments when you’re overwhelmed and that's OK.

 
 
Most Venue Coordinators do not Coordinate Weddings!

A venue coordinator's job is to manage the venue, keep the kitchen operating smoothly, and prevent any rule breaking. Some might also help with overall setup and decor, but not all of them. What they generally don’t do is answer all the miscellaneous questions that pop up throughout the day. Such as:

  • What time will the makeup artist arrive?
  • When and where will the flowers be delivered?
  • Who will arrange the table settings?
  • Who will hit “play” on the iPod for our processional? What about the recessional?
  • Where should the families go for formal pictures? And what time should they arrive?
  • What time should the DJ announce dinner after the cocktail party?
  • Who’s going to release tables for dinner?
  • Who should sit where?
  • When and where will the other wedding vendors eat?
  • Who’s going to cut the cake after the bride and groom take the first slice?
  • When should the DJ open the dance floor?
  • Who will gather our guests for our sparkler send off?
  • Who will make sure all our vendors are paid their balances at the end of the night?


Any wedding planner that you hire, not affiliated with the venue, should answer all these questions for you and then some. Here's why:

Working For You

A wedding planner's obligation is to you and no one else. They are on your team and not the venue’s team. While they will respect the venue's rules and regulations (because they will review your contract with the venue beforehand, as that is part of their job in taking care of you), they will also do whatever they possibly can to execute your day, according to how you dreamed.

You don’t have to take my word for it, and of course, there are some notable exceptions in the St. Louis area. But, generally speaking, venue coordinators are not really coordinators. They’re managers, and they’re great at managing!

Weddings are unpredictable, fast-paced, chaotic events. Just like all couples, each one is unique. So if you can hire someone who knows exactly what you want and isn’t afraid to take on an array of uniquely chosen tasks, isn’t that just the person you want to coordinate your day?

Questions to Ask the Venue

If you are thinking about using the venue’s coordinator, ask them questions that will tell you exactly whether or not they will be able to support you in the way you need on the one day you’ll need it most.

  • Can we email you before our wedding and how long can we expect to wait between responses?
  • Will you send us a timeline that we can review with you before our wedding?
  • Will you be there for our rehearsal the day before?
  • How accessible will you be on the day of our wedding? Will you always be available or where can we find you, if we need you?
Feel free to ask them any of the questions mentioned earlier, as well. Ask them anything you feel is really important to you! If you don't get the answers you want, then it might be time to consider hiring a wedding planner.

Research, Research, Research!

In the beginning stages of planning your wedding, don’t assume every service your venue suggests is the best for you. Whether it’s a service they offer or something on their “preferred vendors” list, research other options. Ask your married friends about their wedding experience. They will let you know if they would do anything differently.

Talk to your photographer, videographer, and DJ! They’re loaded with experience, knowledge, and can tip you off to some of their favorite wedding professionals, ones they know who provide quality service and take excellent care of their clients. Most of them will recommend hiring a wedding planner, and for good reason. Weddings that have wedding planners are the best ones to work as a vendor. Going in you know everything will be smooth and on-time.

Teamwork is Required

Build your team! One that is truly enthusiastic about every part of who you are and what you’re hoping to experience at your wedding. Begin your marriage journey by surrounding yourself with all those who love and affirm this incredible decision you’re making, including all the people you’ve hired to be there. Because they could turn out to be good friends, too.

From Josh & Heather

Josh has been the DJ at hundreds of wedding receptions and ceremonies. Whenever the couple has a wedding planner he knows it will be a good day. We always recommend hiring a wedding planner, no matter how small the wedding. The planner will remove much of the stress of the day and allow you to really enjoy it!

 
 
A common way couples try to save some money is to do the planning themselves. Planning a wedding is much more work than anyone could ever think. It is like having another part-time job on top of your regular one. We always recommend hiring a professional planner, but if you want to do it yourself here are some times it would be beneficial to take off work.

Marriage License Day

Getting your marriage license doesn't take all day, but take one anyways. Spend the time with your fiancé to do something romantic to celebrate getting this major task checked off the list!

Dress and Tux Shopping

Shopping for the dress and tux will take time, a lot of it. You will likely visit multiple stores and try on countless dresses and tuxes. Most couples shop during the weekend. If you take a weekday off to do the shopping you will have a much better experience.

Last Hurrah!

Even though most bachelor and bachelorette parties are held on the weekend you still may want to take the day before or after off. If you are traveling take the day before off to pack and get ready to leave. If you are staying local take the day after off to give you time to recover!

The Day Before

This may go without saying, but take off the day before your wedding. There will be last-minute details to attend to, like spending time with family that traveled in to town.

The Day After

Even if you aren't leaving for your honeymoon immediately consider taking the Monday after your wedding off. Take that time to unwrap the gifts, write Thank You cards, and just enjoy the free time.

 
 
When you start planning your wedding you will find items and services you never knew you needed or wanted! Here are 15 expenses that can be easy to overlook.

Engagement Photos

Typically your engagement photos can be worked into a package with your wedding photographer. Bundling always saves a few dollars! The added bonus is you get to know your photographer that much better before the big day.

Engagement Ring Sizing

Some jewelry stores will do this at no charge when you buy your ring, some won't. If you are using a vintage ring you will need to pay to have it sized.

Asking Bridesmaids

Of course you can just ask them straight-forward if they would be a bridesmaid, but that's not much fun. Take them out for a fun night and ask them to be your bridesmaid then!

Invitation Stamps

These days we don't send much in the mail so the cost of stamps might not be on the top of your list. Don't forget to budget correctly. Some envelopes that are heavy will require extra stamps. The Post Office's website has a tool to help you figure out how many stamps you will need for each invitation. Don't forget the return envelope postage!

Dress Alterations

Unless you are very lucky and find a dress that fits you perfectly you will need alterations. This cost can vary, so make sure you ask your bridal shop about alterations.

Bridal Party Gifts

Plan these purchases early. If you wait until the last minute you may end up spending more than you'd like. Purchasing early also gives you time to have something personalized for each bridal party member.

Ceremony Music

Even if your ceremony is in a church you will likely need to pay an organist to play at your wedding. If you are having your ceremony outdoors or in a location not designed for ceremonies you may need to hire a company to provide sound so your vows and the officiant can heard. River City DJ can help you with this service.

Cake Cutting

Not all venues will cut the cake for you. Make sure you ask about this with your venue contact! If they will not cut the cake you need to check with your bakery for other options.

Transportation

Wether you are taking your own car, hiring a limo, or carriage, you will need a way to get to the ceremony and reception locations. You may also need to provide some transportation for older guests.

Vendor Meals

Sometimes vendors are forgotten about when it comes to dinner. Remember, your photographer and videographer have been with you all day. Giving them the same meal as what you are serving your guests is very appreciated. The typical vendor meal is no comparison.

Non-RSVP Guests

No matter how well you plan, no matter how much you ask for a RSVP, some people will just show up. Your caterer will help you plan for this. On the plus side there is usually a few guests who won't show up. Typically it all works out just fine.

Sunset Wedding

Having a sunset wedding can allow for a dramatic change in the lighting for your venue! Talk about this with your wedding planner or whomever is providing the decorations. The lighting River City DJ provides can provide multiple different looks throughout the night. We can help you make your reception venue pop!

Overtime

If the party is going hard and you don't want it to stop you can keep it going, at a cost. Check with your venue and entertainment about their overtime costs.

Dress Cleaning

It is important to have your dress cleaned after the big day! Having it preserved is a cost you want to budget for before you leave for your honeymoon.

Legal Documents

After you get your official copy of the marriage certificate you will need to update your passport, drivers license, credit cards, bank accounts, etc. Sometimes each of those accounts will require a separate copy of the marriage certificate; budget for extra copies.

 

Money Saving Tips

04/26/2016

 
Weddings can be expensive. In 2015 the average wedding in the United States cost $26,645! We want to share some tips to meet your wedding budget.

1. Set Priorities!

The first step is to decide what is most important to you. Is it the ceremony location, the reception locations, the dress, or the entertainment? Spend more on what is important to you!

2. Use Your Friends

Your friends can help you as much, or more, than your family. Figure out who would be best for a certain project, such as centerpieces, and ask them to help!

3. Headcount: Less is More

The is the biggest budget-buster of them all! If you are having difficulty parring down the list start with coworkers and children. Your friends and family are the ones who are most likely to share in your joy!

4. Think About the Off-Season

Major savings can be had if you get married in the off-season. In St. Louis this means Summer and Winter. Sure the weather might be 100º and 100% humidity or -10º with a foot of snow but that's what all-inclusive venues are made for. Have your ceremony and reception in one location and your guests won't have to go outside!

5. Wedding at a Restaurant?

Many restaurants can handle weddings! They are sometimes less expensive, the food is great, and they already have great decor!

6. Spend Money on a Planner

This might sound counter-intuitive, but spend money on a professional wedding planner. They know how to do budgets and they are not afraid to haggle on price with vendors. They also have relationships with the vendors which helps more than anything.

7. Flea Market Decor

Before you eschew this idea, think about all the unique items you can find at a flea market for your centerpiece and other table decorations. Shabby chic is in!

8. Get the SPAM

Sign up for the email lists through various wedding vendors. You will learn about last-minute trunk shows at bridal shops and other money-saving specials! Pro Tip: Create and email address just for this purpose.

9. Something Borrowed

Borrow one of the big-ticket items. This could be jewelry, the veil, cuff-links, or just about anything else!

10. Family Style

Instead of buffet or individual plated dinner, consider a family-style dining option. This will be unique, encourage guests to talk to each other, and allow you to offer a wider variety of food options. Sounds like a win-win-win to us!

11. Limited Open Bar

If you limit your bar to beer, wine, and a signature drink you can save big. The bonus is, it will speed up the bar service!

12. Cut the Cake

Instead of a cake you can have brownies, donuts, or gooey butter cake. This can allow you to provide a variety at less cost than a fancy artisan cake.

13. OK, Don't Cut the Cake

If you must have a designer cake you can have a small one made for the cake cutting ceremony and then serve sheet cake to the guests. This will be a huge savings and your guests won't know the difference!

14. A Different Kind of Champagne

Champagne is sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France. There are other sparkling wines such as Cava, Prosecco, and Cremant which taste as good or better than Champagne at much less cost.

15. Basic Services

Do you have your eye on a photographer or DJ that you really want to book, but you don't think you can afford them? Book their basic package. You can always upgrade or add extras later on once you have other budget items figured out.

 

Guest Shuttles

04/19/2016

 

Why Provide Guest Transportation?

Logistics of moving large groups of people between multiple locations may not be something you think about with weddings, but maybe you should! This is especially true if:

  • You have several guests coming from out of town
  • Parking is limited at your venue(s)
  • Your venue(s) are difficult to find
  • You have a tight schedule and need guests to arrive promptly
  • If you are having an after-party

Scheduling

When scheduling the run times of the shuttles, it is very important that you leave enough time for multiple trips, if needed. The shuttles should start trips back to the parking location or hotel soon after dinner is over in order to accommodate older folks and guests with young children that need to leave early. Knowing what type of guests will be in attendance will help you plan accordingly. Make sure the last shuttle leaves about 15 minutes after the reception formally ends. This will give guests time to make it to the shuttle. You may also want to budget for an additional end-of-night run in case the majority of your guests stay until the end.

Informing your Guests

If your guests are not aware that you are providing transportation they cannot take advantage of it!

So, what should you let them know?

  • Pick-up and drop-off locations
  • Shuttle service start and end times
  • Time in-between shuttles

Here's where we recommend letting everyone know:

  • On your wedding website
  • An informational pack the hotel gives out at check-in
  • A welcome note given to guests at arrival
  • Your ceremony officiant can make an announcement
  • A small sign on the bars
  • Let your DJ or band know to make announcements

If you have shuttles going to multiple locations put a sign in the shuttle window so guests get on the correct one!
 
 
We are participating in some upcoming wedding shows. We encourage you to come out to meet us and many other fantastic wedding vendors ready to make your wedding dreams come true!

If you book us at the wedding show we will defer your non-refundable retainer for 30 days!

Here are the next two shows we will be at:

My Dream Wedding Show
Our Lady of the Snows
Belleville, IL
Sunday, April 24
12:00 noon - 3:30 pm
Perfect Wedding Guide Wedding Show
Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel
9801 Natural Bridge Rd  
St. Louis , MO 63134
Sunday, May 1
12:00 noon - 4:00 pm
 

Backyard Weddings

04/05/2016

 
Spring is finally here and that may have you thinking that a backyard wedding is perfect for you! There is a lot of planning involved, much more than just having a party at your house. Here are some tips for planning the backyard wedding of your dreams!

Budget

Picture
Just because you are not paying a venue doesn't mean that a backyard wedding will be less expensive. There are a lot of rentals and incidental costs to consider which can actually make it more expensive. Keep in mind things like refrigeration and caterer friendly kitchen equipment (typically your home kitchen will not suffice), tables and chairs, decorations, portable restrooms, electrical power (usually the outdoor outlets cannot provide enough and a typical generator is not safe or quiet enough), dance floor, protection from the sun or rain, guest parking, etc.

We may sound like a broken record in our newsletters but we cannot recommend enough hiring a professional wedding planner, especially with something like an outdoor wedding.

Unpredictable St. Louis Weather

Picture
Everyone knows to just wait an hour if you don't like the weather in St. Louis, it will change; sometimes dramatically.

Renting a tent with sides that can be quickly deployed is a must. DO NOT rely on pop-up canopies from the local store! Those are not safe in even moderate winds. They also are not very tall and can feel claustrophobic with a lot of people in them. A professional tent will be installed safely and provide plenty of room for your guests. Don't forget to give the caterers someplace protected to prepare the meals!

Not only will a tent protect your guests from the rain it will also shade them from the sun. Tents can even be heated or air conditioned if needed!

A nice touch is to provide plastic heel covers, hand fans, and bug spray for your guests to keep them comfortable.

Choosing the Right Food and Decor

Picture
The decor and food should reflect your personal tastes and the vibe of an outdoor wedding.

It is easier for your caterer to provide grilled food at an outdoor reception, plus the smell of the grill will add to the ambiance!

Flowers should be hardy enough to take the St. Louis heat. Work with your florist to choose flowers that won't wilt quickly. Orchids and potted plants are ideal.

The decor should be heavy enough to not blow away in the wind. Napkins, menus, and place cards should be secured with tape or a weight to keep them in place. Anything hanging should be heavy enough to not blow around and be secure enough to not get knocked down by the wind.

Keeping the Neighbors Happy

Picture
Keeping the neighbors happy can be as much of a challenge as the rest of the planning combined! Invite them over for lunch or dinner and drinks let them know you are planning to have a wedding at your home. If you can, invite them! If you can't invite them, giving them notice that allows them to plan accordingly.

Parking will be problematic. Contact City Hall about parking regulations so you know exactly where you can and cannot park cars. One solution is to hire a valet company. This will ensure cars are parked legally and your guests will not have to walk very far in an unfamiliar neighborhood. A second option is to work with a local business to use their lot and hire a shuttle limo bus to bring guests to the house.

Noise will be a concern for your neighbors. Work with your entertainment vendor to make sure it doesn't get too loud outside of the property. The layout of the wedding and the direction the speakers face makes a big difference in how far the sound travels. A professional sound company or DJ will be able to help you figure out the best layout. They will also have a sound level meter with them to ensure they stay within city and homeowner's association regulations on noise.

 

    Author

    Josh has been a DJ in the St. Louis area for 22 years. In this blog he offers tips and ideas to help you plan your amazing event!
    If you want to see all our blog posts as soon as we write them, sign up for our Newsletter!

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