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!
We love non-traditional couples. After all, we are excited to be the official DJ for Pride St. Charles! There is one tradition that does seem to be keeping its foothold, the bride taking the groom's last name. We've noticed that changing, so here are some alternatives to taking his last name! 


Probably the most popular alternative is to hyphenate the two names. It's simple and elegant and allows everyone to keep their family name.

Make a Mashup

Have some fun and take parts of your last names and mash them up to create an entirely new name!

Change Your Middle Name

If you really love your last name and want to keep it, you may consider making your given last name your middle name. That will help you stay connected to your past while celebrating your future.

Keep Your Name Professionally

If you are career minded and have earned your success with your current last name you can keep it for your profession. Professionals like relators and doctors do it all the time.

He Takes Her Last Name

Traditionally the female takes the male's last name. It's almost 2017 so it shouldn't be that radical for the male to take the female's name. LGBT couples can negotiate who will change their name, if at all.

Make Something Up

Why not go crazy and just make up a new name for both of you to take? You can even go all out and design a new family crest!

Do Nothing

Don't forget doing nothing at all is definitely an option. There is no law that says anyone has to change their name after getting married!

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.

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!


Tips for the Groom


Typically, wedding tips are directed towards the bride. We wanted to give some tips for the Groom for the week before the wedding day.

Find the Right Suit

Whether it be a tux or a suit you want to find one that fits the theme of the wedding. If you are having a more formal affair you should lean towards a tux, otherwise a nice suit is fine. The bonus to a suit is you can wear it again!

Get Accessorized

Finding the right tie, pocket square, socks, and cuff links can make or break a suit or tux. Take some time to find something that fits your style and the theme of the wedding.

Get a Trim

Get a haircut the week before the wedding. Don't wait until the day before. If the trim is too short you want time for it to grow out.

Hire a Cleaning Service

The week before your wedding will be very busy. Hire a cleaning service for your house. It will be a nice break with everything else going on that week. Plus you will come home from the big day to a nice clean house!

Go Dancing!

Have a night out dancing with your spouse-to-be. It will help you both relax and you can practice those sic dance moves you are going to break out at the reception!

Plan Something Special

It doesn't even have to be anything you spend money on. Something thoughtful like a letter and champagne will help make a special day even more magical. Just make sure the delivery arrives at the perfect time on your wedding day.

Say "I Love You"

Leave little notes everywhere, on the fridge, in her car, at her work. Say it in-person, say it in texts, say it everywhere. This is the time to be romantic, cheesy even!

Work on Your Vows

Start writing your vows. It doesn't matter if you hand-write them or put them in your phone. If you already have them written you need to practice. It will be much less awkward if you have them memorized, even partially.

Plan the Rehearsal Dinner

Taking this off your fiancé's plate will lessen the stress greatly! Make sure the officiant, family, and wedding party all know the plan.

Seduce Your Fiancé!

Remind them how much you love them and keep the fire burning. The stress of the week before can dampen even the hottest fire.

From Josh & Heather

Usually the bride takes on the majority of the stress from planning. Taking some of that stress away will make a big difference on the wedding day! Keep them happy and the day will go great!

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.

Congratulations, you're a newlywed now! You are probably also exhausted after the big day. You were up early to get ready and partied into the night to celebrate; do you want to get up early for a flight to your honeymoon? Probably not! Here are some ideas to make your first day of marriage a great one!

Sleep In

Catch up on some well-deserved sleep and snuggle with your spouse in bed for awhile.

Lounge Around

Once you get out of bed just lounge around and relish the thought of having nothing to do but be together.

Open the Gifts

Take some time to open all the gifts and cards from your guests. Don't worry about those thank you cards just yet, they can wait until after the honeymoon.


Most weddings are on a Saturday so it's easy to find a good Sunday brunch. Coincidence? We think not!

Go to the Spa

Go to a couples spa and enjoy a few hours of pampering for the ultimate in relaxation.

Eat Cake

Why wait until your first anniversary to eat the leftover cake? It's much better the day after than frozen for a year.

Stalk Social Media

You asked all your guests to use a hashag on social media posts, didn't you? Now it's time to search that hashtag to see all the photos and posts!

Dine Out

Start your honeymoon early and go to your restaurant of choice for a tasty dinner.

Pop The Bubbly

Celebrate your new marriage with some champaign after dinner. Toast each other and the new life you are beginning!

Watch the Sunset

Find a romantic spot to watch the sun go down. Preferably while drinking that bubbly!

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.


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!


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


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



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


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!


    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!
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