Ins and Outs of the Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner is one element of the wedding planning that can be confusing for the future bride and groom. Questions such as do we really have to have a rehearsal dinner, what do we do at the rehearsal dinner, who pays for the rehearsal dinner, who is invited to the rehearsal dinner and do we have to invite out of town guests are planning questions that remain unanswered for many couples. While the rehearsal dinner may just seem like another expense and another task that needs to be completed, it’s important to not skip out on this wonderful opportunity to get together with close friends and family members for a night of relaxation in a casual atmosphere before the wedding. This article is intended to answer some of the questions surrounding the planning of a rehearsal dinner and to provide the couple with some necessary information to help them plan a successful rehearsal dinner.

While a rehearsal dinner is not necessary, it is a good opportunity to get together with close friends and family members to thank them all for their participation and assistance during the planning of the wedding as well as their participation in the actual wedding itself. The rehearsal dinner gives the couple the chance to extend their thanks to everyone who has been involved with the wedding planning or who has simply supported them in their efforts. The rehearsal dinner can also be the opportunity to relax and unwind before the wedding. The couple is able to put aside their concerns over their upcoming nuptials and enjoy the time with family and friends. The rehearsal dinner has become a common tradition in weddings but the couple is not obligated to host a rehearsal dinner if they choose not to do so.

The typical activities involved in a rehearsal dinner include meeting at the site of the ceremony to run through the logistics of the ceremony and then gathering at a particular location, a restaurant, catering hall or even a friend’s house, to enjoy a meal together. During the dinner the couple usually takes the opportunity to thank all their guests for their love and support and may choose to honor their wedding party with gifts at this time. There are also usually a series of informal toasts at the rehearsal dinner. The parents of the couple will also usually thank the guests and offer a toast to the couple. Any of the guests at the rehearsal dinner are also free to offer a toast or a few words of wisdom to the couple. While the wedding is shrouded in traditions and expectations, the rehearsal dinner is typically a relaxed atmosphere with no set agendas.

If you don’t have accurate details regarding weddings, then you might make a bad choice on the subject. Don’t let that happen: keep reading.

The subject of who pays for the rehearsal dinner is another confusing topic. Tradition holds that the parents of the groom assume the financial responsibility of the rehearsal dinner but more and more couples are opting to bear the burden of the rehearsal dinner on their own. There are a couple of factors that are contributing to this changing trend. First the medium ages of couples getting married is on the rise and couples who marry at a later age are typically more financially established and capable of affording to finance the rehearsal dinner themselves. In addition the responsibility of paying for the rehearsal dinner is typically accompanied by the responsibility of planning the rehearsal dinner and many couples are unwilling to relinquish the planning responsibilities. The couple wants to ensure that the rehearsal dinner reflects their personalities and tastes and therefore assumes all responsibilities for planning the rehearsal dinner.

Although the original intent for the rehearsal dinner was to include those who are actively involved in the ceremony, the couple is free to invite any other guests that they choose to join them in the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner is an opportunity for the couple to thank everyone who has supported them throughout their wedding planning and also to just relax and have a good time with friends and family outside of the formality that often surrounds a wedding. With this in mind it is appropriate to invite anyone that you want to share in this sentiment. The couple may also wish to include out of town guest in the rehearsal dinner in order to thank them for making the trip to be with them on their wedding day. While including out of town guests is a wonderful gesture, it is important to understand that the couple is not obligated to do so. If it would be too financially cumbersome to include all of the out of town guests, the couple could consider hosting a smaller event such as an evening of drinks and appetizers for this larger group. Although everyone participating in the ceremony should be included in the rehearsal dinner the guest list is not restricted to these individuals and the couple can choose to include anyone they wish.

Planning a rehearsal dinner can seem daunting as the rules are not clearly defined but it is this flexibility that makes planning a rehearsal dinner such a fun challenge. From the invitation list to the activities the couple is under no obligations to adhere to any strict guidelines in planning their rehearsal dinner. Although planning a rehearsal dinner is not obligatory, many couples opt to do so because it is such a wonderful opportunity to thank their loved ones for their continued support.

That’s how things stand right now. Keep in mind that any subject can change over time, so be sure you keep up with the latest wedding news.

October Client of the Month: Ashley (Cone) and Jason Gavin!

DJ JoCo, Ashley, Jason, and Justin

DJ JoCo, Ashley, Jason, and Justin


What a night! We were out at Oakwood Country Club on October 17th to celebrate the marriage of  Jason Gavin and Ashley Cone. Their ceremony was on the dance floor in front of a gorgeous backdrop. We uplit the room in a beautiful color and put Bistro Lights out on the back patio to create a romantic setting.  We also DJ’ed and emceed the night. The two of them were great to work with and planning was a lot of fun as Justin Miller and Jason have been friends since high school. In fact, Justin was a groomsman in the wedding.  Thanks for letting us be a part of your ceremony and reception!

Wishing you many years of happiness,

-DJ JoCo and The Master Entertainment Crew

Tips for Attending a Bridal Show or Expo


As a bride to be, attending a wedding expo is a great way to get a wealth of information and choose the best wedding vendors in the business. Because wedding shows and expos are well attended, it can be pretty difficult to navigate for a bride who is attending one for the very first time.


Here are some very useful tips to guide you:


Wear Comfy Shoes and Go Easy on the Make-up

It is very important that you wear shoes that you find really comfortable. You will be doing quite a bit of walking, so you need to wear shoes that will not end up giving you problems. If you plan on trying on different wedding gowns to see which one flatters your figure the most, then you will also need to wear little or no make-up at all; this way, you will not stain the gowns.


Know Precisely What You Want

This is very important! Always remember this “If you do not know what you want, others will choose anything for you“. If you are having a theme wedding, then your major concern would be hiring wedding vendors that specialize in selling items and accessories that will bring any theme wedding to life.


Always Bring Someone Along!

When you are set on hiring wedding vendors, one of the worst things you can do is to go to a wedding expo or show all by yourself. You should bring along your fiancé, mother, and/or your maid of honor. By having someone by your side, you could easily ask for opinions or just get the extra hand to help you carry a lot of the items that you purchase at the event.


It is important that you bring along the groom; this way, the two of you can talk with prospective vendors, look through exhibitor portfolios and sample cakes and entrees.


Do Not be Afraid to Ask Questions

When you attend a wedding expo, always make sure that you get all your questions answered. One of the best ways of hiring wedding vendors is by getting a feel of their personality and you can do that when you meet them face to face.


Plan to Spend Some Time at the Event

There is so much to see and do at a wedding expo, so you need to make plans to spend a couple of hours. You should not jump at the first wedding vendor you see at the event, check out other exhibitors, and decide on the best one to choose.

Community Life

On the beach in Puerto Rico

On the beach in Puerto Rico

Another month gone and the cold air is starting to blow. There were so many fun moments in October that it is even hard to list them all. The family took a trip to the pumpkin patch earlier before it got so cold, my wife and I spent some beach time together in Puerto Rico, our son Mason is starting to say his first words “mama” and “bye bye”, and I had a close friend get married and was part of the wedding party just to name a few.

As I write this, I am preparing things to get ready for Trunk or Treat at Christ Church in East Moline. Following that, I will be making my annual pilgrimage to closing day at Six Flags Great America and will be traveling to Denver and Orlando both during November as well. Logging a lot of miles lately.

The ending of October also marks the unofficial end to wedding season. While there are scattered ones throughout the winter they are the exception not the norm. Our staff now begins to focus on corporate events and holiday parties (which we love). If you or someone you know of having a work party, please let us know. We have a ton of options for entertainment and love working these events. You can email me at if you want some more info.

Until next month…


Wedding Dances


Although the ‘old’ days had a very basic structure to the wedding schedule of events, times have changed and those rules don’t always apply anymore. So, when it comes to who dances with whom, there are multiple answers.

It should go without saying that the bride and the groom are the first to dance. This makes for a beautiful photograph for everyone that brought a camera. The next dance can include the wedding party dancing with their respective partners as well as the new couple.

The parent dances come next. The bride will dance with her father and the groom will dance with his mother. Then the bride will dance with her new father-in-law and the groom can dance with his new mother-in-law. In the case of blended families, you can switch up so that each half of the couple has danced with all of the step parents as well.

In the case of one of the couple having a deceased parent, another relative can step in and there should be some sort of announcement as to why this is happening. This is a great way to honor those that have passed while still celebrating the moment.

After these traditional dances, there may be opportunities for dances with other special people in everyone’s life. A fair warning though, it can be a tad boring for guests to watch dance after dance. You can announce for everyone to start dancing after the really important ones are done.

A lot of deejays have ideas for dances for people to participate in. These can start with how long people have been married and then slowly drop off until the longest marriage is left on the dance floor.

There are also dollar dances where the bride and groom will dance with others for money for their wedding.

Although the slow and sentimental dances are wonderful, the younger set (usually the wedding party) may also like some faster dancing. To make this special too, the bride and the groom may want to have certain songs played for each member of the wedding party. These can be something nostalgic or something fun for everyone to dance to.

Dancing at a wedding is a time that you shouldn’t be worrying about what you look like; it’s just the time to let loose after all the formality and have a lot of fun.

Maid of Honor: Planning the Bridal Shower and Beyond


Many women have been dreaming of their wedding day since they were little girls. A bride to be may have clear ideas of how she would like every detail of her wedding to be like. While it is important to know exactly what you want, it’s also important to realize that planning a wedding is a major responsibility and that it’s entirely too stressful for the bride to take care of every detail herself. Many brides have a difficult time relinquishing any responsibilities involved with planning her wedding for fear of losing control but it’s really in her best interests to learn to delegate responsibilities.

The maid of honor, parents of the bride, parents of the groom, and even the groom are probably all eager and willing to help out with the wedding plans and it is important to let them do so. The key to delegating responsibilities is to entrust others to take control of areas that you may not be especially particular about. For example: the favors are a very important part of the wedding and the bride most likely wants to shop for and choose the favors herself.

Hosting the bridal shower and the bachelorette party are two of the main responsibilities of the maid of honor. Since the maid of honor is probably one of the bride’s closest friends it stands to reason that the maid of honor is the ideal candidate to host these two gatherings. It is the maid of honor who will know best what type of party the bride is looking forward to, what she will enjoy and what types of gifts are most appropriate for the bride’s taste. The bridal shower and bachelorette party are also typically parts of the wedding preparations that the bride does not have any direct control over but she usually does not stress about these activities because she has faith that her maid of honor will hold her best interests in mind when planning these parties.

The maid of honor also plays a large role in choosing dresses for the wedding. The maid of honor typically chooses her own dress for the wedding from a selection provided by the bride. Once the color and style of the maid of honor’s dress has been established, the maid of honor works closely with the bride to choose a style and color of dress for the bridesmaids that will look good on each of the bridesmaids and also complement the maid of honor’s dress. The maid of honor also plays a role in assisting the bride in choosing her own wedding dress. While there may be many other friends and relatives who shop with the bride for her dress, it is the opinion of the maid of honor that is generally most valued by the bride.

The wedding day is a very busy day for a maid of honor. Although she has supported the bride throughout the planning process, her most important responsibilities take place on the actual wedding day. Besides simply walking down the aisle and standing on the altar beside her friend the most important roles that the maid of honor plays is to keep the bride calm and to handle any problems that may arise. Very few weddings actually go exactly as planned and it is the maid of honor’s job to make sure that small setbacks do not unnerve the bride. The maid of honor should also have a stash of emergency supplies on hand such as extra stockings, lipstick in the shade the bride is wearing, tissues, safety pins, and hair pins. All of these items can come in handy if the bride has any trouble with her attire, hair, or makeup. The maid of honor plays the important role of ensuring that the bride is looking her best even after hours of dancing and talking to friends and family members.

Perhaps the most significant role that the maid of honor plays is to be a friend to the bride. The planning and preparations and the actual wedding itself can be very stressful and emotional for the bride. The one thing that the bride needs more than anything else at this time is someone to talk to who will understand her concerns and give her practical advice and this is the most important job of the maid of honor.

The maid of honor plays a much more important role than just walking down the aisle before the bride and holding her flowers during the ceremony. Throughout the planning, the maid of honor is involved every step of the way from choosing a dress and location to helping to wrap favors and set up for the reception. As the bride’s best friend the most important role the maid of honor can play is to be supportive and understanding of the bride.

Wedding Traditions



Ever wonder where all those wedding traditions come from? Depending on where you live, weddings you attend will all have different types of things going on. Some will be in churches, some at the beach, some will even play The Chicken Dance at the reception.

Typical weddings in the United States are loosely based on the Italian’s structure. If the couple and couple’s families are religious, they start out their ceremony in a church or somewhere where a priest or pastor can unite them and a usual mass is performed. If it is the bride’s first marriage, she must wear white. This is usually called a white wedding, originated from Victorian England, and symbolized purity. In Italy, wedding invitations are to this day still engraved and addressed by hand to show the importance of the occasion.

One interesting tradition that many brides must wear is “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a lucky sixpence in her shoe” symbolizing the unity of both families, fidelity, virginity, and financial security. This is also a Victorian-era tradition, but is now a part of many weddings celebrated in many countries.

Christians believe that marriage is one of the Seven Sacraments and it is encouraged for couples to get married, that is why is it sometimes referred to as “Holy Matrimony”. As far as Christian weddings go, Catholics believe it is morally wrong to divorce and if done, neither of the couple may remarry in the church.

The term “cocktail hour” comes from Italian tradition. At the start of a reception, the bridal party and all the guests are separated for an hour and served cocktails. Nowadays, this hour is typically used for taking pictures and getting things ready. As soon as the hour is over, the bride and groom and rest of the bridal party enter and perform their first dance. At one point, no gifts were given. Instead, everyone brought the newlyweds an envelope of money and received a wedding favor in return.

In ancient Celtic times, the bride and groom to be married would tie their hands together (called “Handfasting”). This is where the phrase “typing the knot” came from. It’s rarely still used today, mainly in families that celebrate a pagan lifestyle.

And then there are the popular traditions such as rice. Rice is thrown to wish the newlyweds prosperity in their pantry. Then there’s the cake cutting ceremony where the bride and groom often smear cake on each other’s faces. And then there’s the part where the bride tosses her bouquet and the groom tosses his bride’s garter. Whoever catches the bouquet and garter is said to be the next in line to be married.

Many people include a few different traditions in their weddings. More and more often these days, people are straying from tradition and putting their own spin on things. We also see couples starting new traditions, in hopes that they will be passed down through their family. Whatever you decide to do at your wedding is sure to bring happiness and great memories for years to come.

Why Hire a Wedding Planner?


Are you in love with the dream of the perfect wedding yet overwhelmed with all the details and responsibility put upon you to plan your dream day yourself? A reliable wedding planner can help make the day you’ll always remember a wonderful experience instead of a memory worthy of a nervous breakdown.

Also called wedding consultants or coordinators, wedding planners are the bride’s right hand down to every detail in the ceremony and reception. She can be there the moment after the ring is on the finger to the last guest at the reception. The bride has the choice to give as much or as little responsibility to the planner as she desires.

But how do you know if you should hire a wedding planner? Here are a few examples where a wedding planner can help:

  1. The first and probably most important aim of a wedding planner is to relieve as much stress for the bride as possible while still making her feel in control of the event.
  2. If you are planning on a budget, your wedding planner will be sensitive and also be capable to balance the expenses. A good planner will prioritize what needs more or less monetary attention. Also, you will more likely go over your budget if you plan alone. Your wedding planner will not only make you stick to your prearranged budget, but also knows many vendors and can find special deals you would otherwise not be able to attain.
  3. A wedding planner will be flexible enough to accommodate your dreams for your perfect wedding, they should have the creativity to both encourage and execute your unique ideas. This is your wedding. You know what will make it memorable, and your planner should help make this dream come true. However, these professionals know what is and is not acceptable for a wedding ceremony. A good wedding planner will be honest about your not so great ideas such as the best man’s beer funneling contest.
  4. If the ceremony is planned out of state, a planner in that area will be familiar with geography and will know the best vendors for that area.
  5. One of the most important qualities of your perfect wedding planner is a shared sense of taste. Ask her what type of weddings she likes and ask to see samples of her past events. The right planner can narrow down choices in a certain category depending on your taste. Instead of thousands of invitations, a wedding planner will weed out the obviously unsatisfactory ones and let you choose from the top three.
  6. Finally, wedding planners know all the questions everyone else forgets to ask. If the ceremony is outside, she will remember where the bathrooms are or if portable ones need to be rented. It is the wedding planner’s job to leave no corner untouched.

There are many online resources you can use to search for the closest planners in your area. Remember to interview each applicant to see if they are qualified and if you both see eye to eye. Once your perfect wedding planner is hired, relax and know your big day is in good hands.

September Client of the Month: Kat (Gentry) and Jonathan Nelson!

Nelson 4

DJ JoCo, Kat, Jonathan, and Kourtney

This was a very special wedding for me to be included in. I have known Kat for 12 years and Jonathan worked for us for a while as a photo booth attendant. I was honored to DJ and Emcee their wedding. They had a beautiful ceremony outside at Blackhawk State Park with the reception at the Watchtower Lodge. My assistant, Kourtney, and I provided sound for the ceremony, transportation for the Bridal Party, and lighting for the reception as well as DJ and Emcee services. Kat and Jon were wonderful to work with during the planning process and it resulted in a great ceremony and party. It was awesome to see these good friends of mine celebrate such an important day together. Congratulations!

Wishing you many more years of happiness!

-DJ JoCo and The Master Entertainment Crew