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!
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!

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.


Planning Tips


Planning your wedding can be a daunting task. After all, you've never done it before. We highly recommend hiring a professional wedding planner. The cost of a professional can be offset by savings they help you find elsewhere. The bonus is you will be less stressed during your wedding day because they will be there to take care of any issues that arise.

If you can't afford to hire a professional planner, the following guidelines can help make sure you are on the right track in the two weeks leading up to your wedding day.

Guest List & Seating Chart

Now that you have received the majority of your RSVP cards from the guest list it's time to make the seating chart, right? Not necessarily.  You don't have to make a seating chart for your guests, most are quite capable of finding people they want to sit with for the evening.

However, if you prefer to make a seating chart there are some helpful websites that make it easy. AllSeated.com and WeddingMapper.com. are two free options we found.

At this final stage of your wedding planning you will need an accurate guest count to give the venues and caterers. We recommennd you contact each person who has not replied to get their RSVP.

Check In With Vendors

There are a lot of vendors that you will work with on for your wedding day. Communication is crucial to ensuring it all goes smoothly.

  • All Vendors - Provide required addresses and times. Get a day-of contact from them and give them yours.
  • Photographer - Send them a must-shoot list, timeline, name list for group photos.
  • Officiant - Verify the chosen readings and who will be reading them at whicht part of the ceremony. Make them aware if there's something special you want them to say such as announcements at the end of the ceremony.
  • Caterer - Confirm your final head count and menu selections.
  • Florist - Check the number of each type of arrangement, bouquet, and boutonnieres.
  • Entertainment - Review your music choices for cocktail hour, entrance, cake cutting, dinner, first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, bouquet and garter toss. You should also include a must-play list, play if possible list, and do not play list. Make sure they have a timeline of events and know of any special events and announcements to be made throughout the night.
  • Baker - Double-check the size and design of the cake or dessert.
  • Transportation - Make sure they have the correct times along with the number and types of vehicles.
  • Hair, Makeup, Nails - Verify appointment times and who will they will be beautifying.
  • Rehearsal-Dinner Host - Confirm reservation time and number of guests.

Paying Up

You will give your checkbook and credit cards a workout the two weeks before the wedding. Most vendors require they are paid in full before the big day. Make sure the person handling vendor tips has cash or checks ready to hand out. Speaking of tips, they are not required but are always appreciated.


Neither the bride or groom should  be the point of contact on the day of wedding. They should be enjoying their day! To make that happen delegates need to be assigned in advance. These tasks are critical and are the biggest reason we recommend hiring professional(s) even if only manage important details on the day-of.

  • Point Person - This person will be the main point of contact for anyone and anything. Make sure they are reliable and can deal well with stress and tight timelines.
  • Photo Wrangler - Someone who is familiar with the family but not in the bridal party will be needed to get everyone together at the right times for group photos. Having this person will make that part of the photos go smoothly and quickly. The faster you can get the group photos done the more time you will have elsewhere with your photographer.
  • Tip Distributor - As we discussed above, someone besides the bride and groom should distribute tips.
  • Gift Caretaker - A non-drinking person should be responsible for the wedding gifts. Make sure they know where the gifts should be delivered after the reception.

It is very important to ask your DJ or band how they work with other vendors at your reception. It is especially important for the DJ or band to work closely with the photographer and videographer. If not, you will likely have some important moments at your reception not captured on film. In this newsletter we are going to talk about how we work with other vendors at your wedding.

Wedding Planners

If you have hired a professional wedding planner they will most likely handle everything we are going to talk about below.  We are always happy to work with any planner you have during the reception, however, If you don't have one, those duties typically fall to the DJ/MC. Make sure your DJ can handle those duties as it can make a big difference in capturing your enjoyment of the night.


For most couples, choosing the photographer was one of the most important decisions for your wedding. You probably picked them because you liked the work they showed you. It takes teamwork to make sure they can get all those great photographs. We make sure we keep the photographer in the loop so they know when important events such as the toasts, first dance, tosses, etc., are going to happen. That way they are prepared with their lights and cameras ready to capture those moments. We are also conscious of the impactt our dance floor lighting has on their photographs. During the formal dances we typically do not use much lighting. This prevents dots of colored light on the photograph subjects, like you and your spouse.


Everything we do with the photographer we do with the videographer, with one additional thing, and it's a BIG one. We allow the videographer to connect their audio recording devices to the DJ system. That means they will have crystal clear audio of the toasts, announcements, and music! This can make a huge difference in the quality of the final video. Feel free to have your videographer contact us before the big day so we can make sure all the technical details are handled.


It might sound odd that the DJ would need to work with the caterers, but it happens at almost every reception. We work with them to time the opening of the buffet or setting of salads. We have also been known to go table-to-table to release guests to the buffet. This prevents a rush on the buffet and ensures the wedding party and immediate family gets their food first.



    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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