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!
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

Win Your Wedding!


River City DJ are excited to announce that we are teaming up with NOW96.3 for the Reception to Remember giveaway!

Starting at 5pm today listen to NOW96.3 or visit their website for details!

NOW96.3 and River City DJ are about to make one lucky couple’s dreams come true with the RECEPTION TO REMEMBER Giveaway! Are you engaged to the man of your dreams? Thinking of popping the question to the special lady in your life? We have your chance to make your special day something to truly remember…. Because we’re providing the party!

NOW96.3 will award one selected Grand Prize couple an amazing wedding-reception package that includes a complimentary hall (Westport Sheraton Chalet), catering, drinks, cake and much more! The Reception To Remember will be a package worth over $15,000! And, the best part is… the bride and groom get to choose the details! You pick your date!... You plan the party in your style!.... And we’ll pick up the tab!

Backyard Weddings


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!


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

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

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

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.


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.


Top 10 Songs!


Choosing the songs for your reception should be a lot of fun! To help you out we are listing the top 10 songs for the First Dance, Father/Daughter Dance, Mother/Son Dance, Cake Cutting, Bouquet and Garter Tosses, and the Top 10 Requested songs.

These lists should make your song selection that much easier. Our online music selection offers these suggestions as well. If you want more suggestions let us know, we are here to help!

First Dance
  1. All Of Me - John Legend
  2. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
  3. The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatr
  4. At Last - Etta James
  5. Marry Me - Train
  6. Marry You - Bruno Mars
  7. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
  8. Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
  9. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
  10. A Thousand Years - Christina Perri
Father/Daughter Dance
  1. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
  2. The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
  3. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
  4. My Girl - Temptations
  5. Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Seger
  6. Stand By Me - Ben E. King
  7. How Sweet It Is - James Taylor
  8. My Wish - Rascal Flatts
  9. When You Say Nothing At All - Alison Krauss
  10. I Loved Her First - Heartland
Mother/Son Dance
  1. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
  2. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
  3. Stand By Me - Ben E. King
  4. How Sweet It Is - James Taylor
  5. My Wish - Rascal Flatts
  6. All You Need Is Love - Beatles
  7. Unforgettable - Nat King Kole & Natalie Cole
  8. Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
  9. L-O-V-E - Nat King Cole
  10. Over The Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Cake Cutting
  1. Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard
  2. The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
  3. At Last - Etta James
  4. Marry Me - Train
  5. Celebration - Kool & The Gang
  6. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
  7. Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
  8. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
  9. Just The Way You Are - Bruno Mars
  10. Build Me Up Buttercup  - Foundations
Bouquet Toss
  1. Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) - Beyoncé
  2. Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
  3. Wannabe - Spice Girls
  4. I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
  5. Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
  6. Another One Bites The Dust - Queen
  7. Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benatar
  8. Only Girl (In The World) - Rhianna
  9. Where Them Girls At - David Guetta ft. Flo Rida & Nicki Minaj
  10. Oh, Pretty Woman  - Roy Orbison
Garter Toss
  1. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
  2. Hey Ya! - Outkast
  3. Celebration - Kool & The Gang
  4. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
  5. Brick House - Commodores
  6. Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
  7. Push It - Salt-N-Peppa
  8. Let's Get It Started - Black Eyed Peas
  9. Hot In Herre - Nelly
  10. U Can't Touch This - M.C. Hammer
Current Top 10 Requested
  1. Happy - Pharrell Williams
  2. All Of Me - John Legend
  3. Uptown Funk! - Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
  4. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke
  5. Timber - Pitbull ft. Ke$ha
  6. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
  7. Turn Down For What - DJ Snake & Lil' Jon
  8. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran
  9. Shut Up And Dance - Walk the Moon
  10. Get Lucky - Daft Punk
Weddings are all about traditions. Even the reception will have some traditions. While some are fading out over time, some are still going strong. Here are some ideas for your reception.

First Dance

Many couples choose to do a traditional slow song as their first dance at their wedding reception. Doing something unique will help entertain your guests and get them excited to start dancing.

Having a pre-rehearsed first dance is a great way to get the energy built-up early in the night. When your guests see you doing something other than a slow sway they get excited about joining in the fun. This will require an additional time commitment on behalf of you and your fiancé but it just might be worth it.

Another option is to choose an upbeat song that isn't something you would normally slow-dance to. This could be as easy as picking your favorite song to play as you and your spouse cut loose on the dance floor and let the celebration begin. As your friends and family watch your display of happiness they will be eager to join in!

Giving Flowers the Toss?

While still very common, the bouquet toss isn't as popular as it used to be. This is even more true for the garter toss which is seen even less.

If you are having a smaller wedding or want more dancing time you may consider not doing the tosses at all. Typically they only take up 10 minutes or so but that is still two or three songs that everyone could otherwise dance to.

Dance for Cash?

This is one tradition that has really been on the decline in the last few decades. In fact, we see it in less than a quarter of the receptions we DJ.

If the dollar dance is something you had you heart set on doing we suggest you keep it to just a few songs to entice people to get in line early. Don't forget to include the Groom! We have seen the him get more money than the Bride!

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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