Category Archives: wedding dj tips chicago il

Bad Wedding DJ? Watch for these Signs of a Terrible DJ

wedding day planned after meeting with DJWhen you are in the throws of wedding planning, it can be tempting to check off items on your wedding planning checklist without doing your due diligence. You just need to type in “wedding DJs in Chicago” or “wedding DJs near me,” make a few calls, and choose the cheapest wedding DJ, right?

The truth is that choosing a wedding DJ without doing a little research can leave you with some major wedding day regrets (and some crazy unhappy guests). The internet is full of stories of weird and sub-standard DJs. (And we won’t even mention the YouTube videos! Yikes.) Don’t join the ranks of couples unhappy with their wedding DJ; be wary of these signs of a less-than-stellar DJ that is a complete wedding disappointment.

No business address

It’s okay to meet a wedding DJ at a local (and convenient) coffee shop or chat online, but beware of amateur DJs that operate out of their basement. A physical place of business signifies that a wedding DJ is established and reliable; use an address as proof that the DJ has been around for awhile—and is going to show up on your big day.

No reviews or testimonials

If you want to make sure your DJ can do an excellent job at your wedding reception, look back at their past record. An easy way to do this is to check out the wedding DJ’s reviews and testimonials on social media and review sites. Look for positive reviews from other couples; a quality and experienced DJ should have stellar reviews that back up their claims.

No back-up equipment

Don’t be shy about asking if the DJ has back-up equipment for those “just in case” situations. A good wedding DJ is proud to show you that they have state-of-the-art equipment—and back-up equipment—so they can fulfill their promise of excellent service.

No contingency plan

Wedding DJs are really cool people, but people nonetheless. As such, wedding DJs can get sick, or be unavailable due to family emergencies and circumstances beyond their control. As tempting as it might be to hire a friend or a friend of a friend, be wary of a one-man show without back-up DJs available for those emergency situations. Make sure this is one of the questions you ask the DJ before you hire them—and don’t sign on the dotted line unless you are satisfied with the answer.

Lack of Questions

Just as with any other wedding vendor, ask your DJ questions before you hire them (we’ve given you a full list of questions to ask your wedding DJ here). Be cautious about DJs that don’t return the favor; a good DJ customizes their wedding play list specifically to the couple’s favorites and not-so-favorites (use these tips to craft a wedding “do not play” list). If the DJ doesn’t ask for your preferences (such as the fact they hate country music or want tunes specific to the era of your vintage wedding), search for a wedding DJ that does—and can meet and exceed your expectations.

8 Ways to Entertain the Kids at Your Wedding Reception

young boy at wedding with groomsmen having funYou’ve invited kids to your wedding. Now your wedding is a family event that everyone’s looking forward to! Why not plan wedding reception entertainment that meets their expectations?

Adding children entertainment to a wedding reception is a win-win for everyone (and not that hard, especially when you hire quality wedding entertainment!). Not only does it keep the kids busy, but it also puts their parents and grandparents at ease so they can relax and have fun.

Photo booth

Kids’ll love picking out fun props for their photos; their parents’ll love sharing the fun photos! If you know kids are going to be sifting through the props, leave out the adult-only items (ideas for photo booth props here). Make sure you rent a reliable and quality unit, then get ready to view some fun (and silly) kid photos.

Coloring fun

Coloring pages are a classic kid entertainment that’ll keep them busy and entertained. During the wedding dinner, put out place mats that they can color and customize. During the dance, turn one of the tables into a coloring table with coloring and activity sheets.


There’s a reason why dancing is the traditional wedding reception activity: guests of all ages enjoy it and almost everyone likes to “cut a rug” from time to time. When hosting a family-friendly dance, talk to your DJ about songs that suit all ages and ways to entertain everyone in the family.


A bucket of bubbles is a huge draw for your youngest guests—and even a cool way for older kids to have fun! If your wedding reception is inside, make sure you ask your wedding venue if it’s okay to blow the bubbles inside. To include kids in your reception, have them blow bubbles before and during the wedding party entrance! (Don’t forget to tell your DJ about your plan, he or she can make the announcement…and make it more fun.)

Yard games

Bowling, ring toss, mini golf…yard games are a great way for kids to have fun during breaks from the dance floor. Even if you don’t have an outdoor space for yard games, many of these games can be played inside (take steps to make sure the venue is not damaged).


If it works with your table décor, put out Legos on the table (coordinate with your floors for fun) for kids to play with during dinner. For a larger statement, leave a stack of cardboard bricks in the corner or hallway for kids to play with after dinner.

Table games

Table trivia is a big hit with adults. To include younger guests, simplify the table games so they can take part in the fun. Come up with simpler crossword puzzles, word games, and trivia cards.

Kid Room

The best form of entertainment at your wedding can be one or all of the options listed above. If there is space in the venue, designate a room as the “kid room,” a space for kid entertainment and games. For an added bonus for parents, hire professional help to keep an eye on the kids so everyone can enjoy your wedding reception.

7 Tips for Less-Stress Wedding Planning

busy woman reading through wedding paperwork‘Stress’ and ‘wedding planning’ should not go hand in hand—and yet somehow it always seems to go that way. With a million details to coordinate and a budget to balance, wedding planning can start to feel like work—stressful work! Your wedding day—and the time leading up to it—should be an enjoyable experience. It can be IF you take these tips for less stressful wedding planning.

Be organized.

Organizing and using a wedding planning checklist is more than an option; it’s a necessity for low-stress wedding planning. Create a binder (or electronic file) where you can easily find the names of your wedding vendors, such as your DJ, caterer, baker, and venue. Use a wedding planning checklist to track your progress. Work ahead on your wedding checklist as much as possible so you can feel on top of things and ready for the next step.

Screen your vendors carefully.

Quality vendors equates to quality execution. Choose your wedding vendors carefully; don’t hire a DJ who raises red flags—even if they are the friend of a friend of a friend. Ask your vendors questions to weed out the sub-par and read over the contract fine print carefully to ensure you get quality service on your big day.

Lean on the experts.

Hopefully, you’ve hired a team of pros because they know their stuff. Lean on their expertise and use it. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know. What do you recommend?” Contact them for ideas and to coordinate all the details; remember that the lines of communication need to flow both ways. Make sure you leave every meeting or contact with a clear list of deadlines and expectations.

Take a break.

Step away from wedding planning every once in a while—and not just half-heartedly, but step away physically and mentally. Go on a road trip. Head to the spa with friends. Go hiking. Attend a concert with friends.

Make it a team effort.

Just like you lean on your vendors for recommendation, lean on trusted friends and family members for assistance. Ask your fiancé and trusted friends and family to help with certain wedding planning tasks. If your wedding planning task needs to be done by a certain deadline, be clear about when you need it completed.

Don’t take on more DIY than you can handle.

Too many “I can do that” can add up to an incredibly stressful experience—even when you’re incredibly capable! (We won’t even mention DIY fails.) Be realistic about the amount of time you have available for do-it-yourself projects, especially when you have to make many of them. Putting together a DIY play list for the reception seems easy UNTIL you’re up night after night after night trying to get the perfect play list ready. Decorating cupcakes may appear to be easy and simple until the frosting isn’t coming out right or you’re pressed for time. Be smart with your time and stress level; even if it seems easy, you only have so much time to get it done before your big day.

Take a break.

Did we mention taking a break from all the crazy of wedding planning? It’s okay to step away every now and then. Head up north to the cabin. Take a jog. Go swimming. Head to the gym. Take in a movie. A short break can make you feel refreshed, less stressed, and ready to take on the next step of wedding planning.

Tips from the Pros: Planning the Ultimate Wedding Reception

wedding where they take requestsWe’ve been to a lot of wedding receptions (6,000+). Needless to say, we’ve been part of some fantastic wedding receptions over the years. Our experience is your gain; we’ve compiled a list of some wedding planning tips that you can use to plan a wonderful wedding reception.

Be picky (and be careful!).

There are (literally) thousands of options for every part of your wedding in Chicago: wedding venues, djs, photographers, videographers, florists, bakers…the list could go on and on. As you research and hire the people that make your dream wedding a reality, be selective and wary of every vendor. Look for vendors that have plenty of experience, back-up plans for those “just in case” situations, and good reviews. Be careful of the low-cost options; you don’t want to scramble on your special day because you hired a sub-standard vendor (use this list of specific red flags to look for when hiring a wedding DJ).

Don’t underestimate the value of a “Cadillac.”

We’ve been around many couples and we know how important it is to stick to a wedding budget. However, don’t get so stuck on numbers that you focus only on hiring the lowest cost option. Vendors that are considered the “Cadillac” of their profession can provide valuable services that are worth a few extra dollars (and don’t automatically assume those vendors are not affordable!). Ask your vendors questions specifically about what they provide to make sure you are hiring the best option for your big day.

Lean on their experience.

Assuming that you hire experienced wedding vendors who have more than a few weddings under their belt (like us with our 6,000+), don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations and suggestions as you plan. Their suggestion may have been done at another wedding, but you can still customize the recommendation into an idea that feels very uniquely you (especially when part of a wedding reception that screams you at every turn!). Put simply, your wedding vendors have been there, done that. Use it. You’ll be glad you did.

Have a plan B.

Anything can happen on your big day. As much as you plan out every detail and minute, emergencies can still arise that can alter your original wedding plan (and we won’t even mention the weather, this is Chicago after all!). Be open to the idea that “just in case” situations do happen, and plan accordingly. Pack an emergency wedding kit. Plan for an alternate venue for your big day or photos if bad weather comes up. Find vendors that can still provide service even if equipment breaks or someone gets sick.

Two-way communication is vital for fantastic results.

There is some give and take when planning a wedding. As much as you need answers from your wedding vendor, be aware that you’ll need to give too (in fact two-way communication while planning leads to fantastic, custom results!). At every meeting, ask your wedding vendor what they need from you and when they need it by. As DJs, we can tell you that we need feedback on songs you want played (and not played), pronunciation help for your family and attendants, vendor information, venue limitations information (possibly not if we’ve worked there before), and any special requests that you may have (more information on what your DJ needs here). Keep track of deadlines, and respond as needed (you’ll be thankful you did!).

Focus on your guests.

Your wedding day is your special day, but make sure you keep your guests in mind as you plan. We’ll give you a few examples. Not every wedding guest wants to dance, so don’t plan on just one form of wedding entertainment. Give your guests choices, such as table games, photo booths, yard (or hall) games, and dance floor games (your DJ can give you ideas) that’ll make every guest enjoy the reception (and talk about it for days or years after-ideas for wedding entertainment here). For guests that are enjoying themselves all night (like those dance floor regulars), plan a late night course that fuels your guests and keeps them going.

Plan surprises!

This phrase sounds like an oxymoron; at a wedding reception it’s a really cool way to make your special day more memorable—and a lot more fun! Plan a surprise at your wedding reception that no one sees coming (and make sure you keep it a secret) for an over-the-top wedding reception (here’s a few fun surprise ideas you can use at your wedding reception). If you’re completely lost, don’t hesitate to ask your wedding vendors for ideas (we can help!) that’ll make your wedding reception feel like a night to remember.