Creative ways to keep busy during the Shutdown

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Creative ways to keep busy during the Shutdown

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Even though restrictions continue to loosen across America’s fruited plains, so many of us are bored and are looking for ideas to keep our minds and bodies engaged.  As frustration with employment and wedding plans mount, check back in the coming days for ways to relieve stress.

Get some sidewalk chalk an get creative!  Here’s an example…

to see examples of creative Chicagoland Disc Jockeys, click here.

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Hola Amigos, Feliz Cinco de Mayo

Wishing all our friends of Mexican heritage a Happy Mexican Independence Day!  With closed restaurants and social distancing, we can all still raise a glass responsibly and of course at a distance. — Salute!!!

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What to do about wedding disruptions caused by the Coronavirus shutdown

The Coronavirus will pass. The lockdown will end. Life will go on. In the meantime, our lives have been upended more dramatically than by any event since World War II or 9/11.

Here is a cross sections of infections across the country as of Monday:

  • Alabama 196 cases
  • Illinois 105
  • North Carolina 311
  • Ohio 358
  • Texas 670

Chicagoland wedding celebrations have taken a hit. Many courthouses are closed across the country, so it’s hard to secure a marriage license. But even if you can, the expanding lockdown on our communities limit public gatherings to ten people or less.

Crestline Entertainment believes that wedding ceremonies are meant to be shared with our family, friends, and communities. They are THE pivotal milestones in our lives, singular events that separate man from beast. Wedding celebrations make us more fully alive.

In other words, they’re worth waiting for.

So as you and I are holed up in our homes waiting for community life to begin again, let’s keep the wedding dreams alive. Yes, securing venues and locking in dates is a challenge. But that simply means that when your day arrives, whether it is three, six, or nine months from now, it will be that much more special.

Like you, our business and our lives are on hold. But we’re still here for you. Do you want to talk about your wedding dreams? Simply pick up the phone and give us a call at 630-766-9898. The second this crisis is over, let the wedding celebrations begin again!

Don’t give up the dream, because it’s worth waiting for.

Stay healthy.

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untraditional first dance songs

Untraditional first dance songs

I love a good song. Why do you think I started Crestline Entertainment? A good song makes people happy, or moves them in some sort of profound way. That’s why we’ve written a number of blogposts on favorite songs for a first dance. In today’s post, let’s take a look at some lesser-known, untraditional first dance songs.

Untraditional first dance songs

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes recorded a song called “Man of Fire” with these lyrics: 

I’m a man on fire

Walking down your street

With one guitar

And two dancing feet

Only one desire

That’s left in me

I want the whole damn world

To come and dance with me.

This is a folk-rock song that warms up a crowd and gets them itching to hit the dance floor:

Ben Folds wrote a tender love song you may not know called “The Luckiest.” It’s a lovely song defined by Folds’ strong piano playing and wistful vocals.

The a cappella octet, VOCES8, gave “The Luckiest” the a cappella treatment. Wow! These British vocal stylists take Folds’ lyrics to a new level with a sumptuous arrangement by Jim Clements. Check it out, this is really worth a listen:

The a cappella treatment isn’t for everyone.

But then again, that’s what defines untraditional first dance songs. They’re not for everyone. But it might be right for you.

Folds’ doesn’t get hung up on a rhyme scheme in his lyrics:

I don’t get many things right the first time,

In fact, I am told that a lot

Now I know all the wrong turns the stumbles,

And falls brought me here

And where was I before the day

That I first saw your lovely face,

Now I see it every day

And I know

That I am, I am, I am, the luckiest

But the message of a flawed man finding love is timelessly appealing.

Looking for a more uptempo untraditional first dance song? Johnny Stimson wrote a real catchy tune called “A Million Years” with fun lyrics like these:

My, my I’m singing to the open sky

Oh my dear I’m hoping you can hear

And all my life your the only one I’m thinking of

And I will love you for, a million years

Yes, there are timeless classic songs that will always be favorites for the first dance at Chicagoland weddings. But sometimes you’ve got to think outside the box and consider some untraditional first dance songs. 

Crestline Entertainment has a library of thousands (and thousands!) of the best songs ever written. Want your wedding reception to rock? Check us out!

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traditional weddings

Traditional weddings lose favor with modern couples

Tradition is the glue that holds our world together. Right? Wrong … at least according to modern couples who increasingly distance themselves from the customs that so defined traditional weddings.

“Fiddler on the Roof” extolled the virtues of tradition

The virtues of tradition are gloriously proclaimed in the classic song, “Tradition,” (below) which opens the Broadway musical, “Fiddler on the Roof.”  Watch the character, Tevye, make the case for tradition, including arranged marriages (above)! Needless to say, Millennials aren’t buying any of it.

The Knot studied these changing wedding traditions, and you’ll find them pretty interesting. For example, nine out of ten couples have jettisoned traditional seating arrangements at wedding ceremonies. They don’t care about a “bride’s side” or a “groom’s side”. Ushers are allowed to seat guests in a more balanced, comfortable way.

At the reception itself, many couples are moving away from a bouquet or garter toss.

It’s no surprise that couples are more likely to be co-habitating than ever before. In 2010, 44% of couples lived together at the time they got married. By 2018, the number was up to 54%.

Couples back away from identifying as brides or grooms

In fact, the Knot says these couples view themselves more as a ‘couple’ than a ‘bride’ or ‘groom.’ As a result, for 26% of couples, mixed gender wedding parties replace traditional wedding showers.

What modern couples want to create, The Knot learned, is a unique wedding experience that is fun. That’s why Crestline Entertainment may be the perfect fit for your upcoming Chicagoland wedding. We’ll customize entertainment options to your personality to create a unique wedding experience that is ridiculously fun!

We can blend DJ talent, music, lighting, and photo booth in unique ways to honor … or bend … traditional weddings! It’s your call. Your wedding day is all about YOU and Crestline Entertainment knows how to help you create new traditions.

Check us out without obligation.

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Avoid wedding debt

Avoid wedding debt

Pay for your Chicagoland wedding with cash and avoid wedding debt. That’s the message from Taylor Moore, finance and insurance writer for

She points out that fighting over money is the number one cause of stress in marriages, so starting your wedding off in debt due to overspending on your wedding isn’t a good idea.

She provides three steps to avoid wedding debt:

  1. Determine how much you need to SAVE to pull off an affordable wedding.
  2. Then start saving out of your regular income. You’ll be so much happier if you do. Factor in how much financial support your family can provide.
  3. Stick to your budget and get creative along the way.

So regarding step three, she encourages couples to honestly assess what they actually need to spend on their wedding. The Wedding Wire may say that an average couple spends $38,700 on their wedding. But that includes pricey locales like San Francisco, New York City, and Boca Raton.

It can be more less depending on where you live in Illinois, according to For example, if your wedding takes place in Chicago, the average price of a wedding per guest is $351. It drops to $199 if you move to a Chicago suburb, or a $138 per guest in Central Illinois.  Besides, weddings are scalable. You can cut back on guest lists and quantities to bring your budget down to your level wherever you live.

Ms. Moore suggests that couples make cuts in their current spending to save for the wedding celebration. Do you have a pricey gym membership? Maybe you should forgo it for the next 18 months to save towards your wedding.

As you develop your budget, consider these budget guidelines according to Wedding Wire:

Percentage of Total Budget

  • Venue/catering/cake/rentals 50%
  • Photography/videography 12%
  • Wedding attire/hair/beauty 9%
  • Flowers/lighting/decor 8%
  • Reception music 7%
  • Wedding planner 3%
  • Invitations/stationery 3%
  • Officiant/ceremony music 2%
  • Transportation 2%
  • Wedding rings 2%
  • Favors/gifts 2%

Our experience shows that couples are happier when reception entertainment is closer to 10%, because they usually like to include a photo booth. Plus, a DJ entertainment company like Crestline Entertainment provides decor lighting, which typically saves you money over lighting billed to you by your venue.

Ultimately, couples are happiest when they avoid wedding debt. You don’t ever need to overspend to create a memorable wedding day as long as your guests are having fun. That’s why you should call Crestline Entertainment at 630-766-9898. We can create wedding fun for Chicagoland couples on any budget.

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fun wedding reception

A fun wedding reception is now more important than an elegant reception

Engaged? Answer these four questions to see what really matters to you when planning your Chicagoland wedding reception. Do you prefer a fun wedding reception to a romantic one?

Or do you prefer a fun wedding reception to an elegant reception?

Do you prefer a fun wedding reception to a down-to-earth reception?

Or do you prefer a fun wedding reception to a classic reception?

Wedding trends

The Knot tracks these kind of trends. Their latest wedding study revealed a shift in the type of wedding reception couples want on their big day. Here are the top 5 descriptors in order:

    1. Romantic (27%)
    2. Fun (25%)
    3. Elegant (22%)
    4. Down-to-earth (22%)
    5. Classic (20%)

As recently as 2015, only 19% of couples wanted a “fun” reception, so you can see that a fun wedding reception is really gaining traction.

But here’s the question: are you forced to sacrifice ‘romance’ or ‘elegance’ to have a fun wedding reception? No, not if you choose Crestline Entertainment to provide customized DJ entertainment at your affair.

Several variables influence the mood, including the music, the lighting, and the level of interaction a DJ has with your guests. There’s no law that says it’s all or none.

In other words, part of your reception can be romantic and elegant. And as the party of heats up, we can let our hair down and ratchet up the interaction and fun.

Create a unique guest experience

Even more, we offer add-ons like photo booth to create a unique guest experience. In fact, 40% of wedding couples go with extra guest entertainment, like photo booth, compared to just eleven percent in 2009.

Your wedding reception doesn’t have to be all romance OR all fun OR all elegance.  It can be ALL of the above!  And with Crestline Entertainment, you’ll enjoy customized entertainment tailored to your dreams and the guest experience you desire.

As far as Crestline Entertainment is concerned, every wedding reception should be a fun wedding reception. With us, it will be!

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fabulous cover song

Fabulous cover songs that blew away the original

Our last blogpost talked about a bad cover song that ruined the first dance for a bride. Sometimes, though, a great artist builds on the legacy of the original version of a song and surpasses it with a fabulous cover song of his or her own.

As wedding DJs, Crestline Entertainment gets requests all the time for songs that aren’t performed by the original artist. We can play any version you want.

You know how subjective this can all be. Some brides and grooms, or their parents, simply love the original artist, and nothing can touch that version. 


But then they hear a younger artists breathe new life into a masterpiece, leaving them awestruck that maybe, just maybe, that’s a little better than Sinatra or Elton John performed it.

A few fabulous cover songs

Speaking of Elton John, let’s look at a few fabulous cover songs that surpassed the original. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was one of Sir Elton’s greatest hits, both artistically and commercially. It’s a tough song to sing because of its broad range, so not many artists cover it.

Sara Bareilles took on the challenge and simply made the song her own. Her re-harmonized piano chords are haunting, and her vocal stylings simply soar, releasing all the emotion packed into Bernie Taupin’s lyrics. Even Elton John was blown away by her interpretation of his soft rock ballad! This is a simply fabulous cover song of a masterpiece:

And speaking of Sinatra, one of his all-time biggest hits was Cole Porter’s “I’ve got you under my skin.” With a virtuosic arrangement by Nelson Riddle coupled with the ‘Chairman of the Board’s’ impeccable vocal phrasings, no one could touch Sinatra’s version. That is, until Diana Krall came along.

Ms. Krall knew that no one could make that song swing better than Ol’ Blue Eyes, so she performs it the exact opposite: nice and slow. Experience a fabulous cover song performed by an artist at the top of her game:

One of the all-time greats

Some songs are so good that they just beg to be sung by scores of different vocal artists. One such song is the beautiful, “I Will Always Love You,” written by Dolly Parton. This song is so good, that Dolly’s vocal version hit #1 on Billboard’s list of Hot Country Songs not once, but twice! Could anyone possibly top Dolly? Yes. Whitney Houston recorded one of the most electrifying songs ever with her take on this classic. She sang it in the 1992 movie, “The Bodyguard.” It’s so good, it is one of the best-selling singles. EVER.

Here is a fabulous cover song for the ages:

Chicagoland wedding receptions rely on the art of the song to express what you’re feeling on your wedding day. Joy. Love. Peace. Hope. Each bride, each groom is unique. What songs define you and love story?

Music connects us. Crestline Entertainment will play the version YOU want. Do you have a fabulous cover song you want us to play for your first dance? Don’t worry, we probably already have it … or we’ll get it.

The timelessness of your first dance is defined by this song. Let’s start planning the music for your celebration of a lifetime. Our client planning tools are the best!

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bad cover song

The day Julie’s wedding reception was ruined

Never had a bride anticipated her first dance more than Julie (I changed the name to protect the innocent). She and her fiancée, Wally, had diligently, even feverishly, worked on their dance technique to pull off the perfect first dance. And then it all fell apart, leaving them victims of a bad cover song.

Their band had never heard of the song Julie requested for her first dance. They said “not to worry” because they were good musicians with a ‘good ear’ for music. They said they’d have it whipped together by Julie’s wedding day, “no problem.”

Sadly, they were mistaken. For starters, the tempo was all wrong. The version Julie and Wally loved was a slow ballad. The band raced through it hoping no one would notice a few missed notes along the way. 

The instrumentation was all wrong. The version Julie and Wally knew and loved featured a keyboard and full orchestra. The band had lead, rhythm, and bass guitars and a drummer. They didn’t have a chance at doing justice to the song with Julie’s high set of expectations.

To top it all off, the version Julie listened to all the time featured a female vocalist with a legendary voice. The local band only had a male vocalist with a pretty decent voice, but again, nothing could meet Julie’s expectations except the actual version of the song itself. A bad cover song was simply a disaster.

Don’t be the victim of a bad cover song!

This situation reminds me of a whole lot of very funny Saturday Night Live skits over the years with cast members relishing in performing a very bad cover song.

Here’s an example featuring Bill Murray from years ago:

Now if you were a fan of the classic song, “Up, Up, and Away” popularized by the Fifth Dimension, you’ll be more partial to their version:

Dig those threads!

Bill Murray totally butchers another golden oldie, “Raindrops keep falling on my head,” and he does it with such relish! For those of you who prefer the original from the classic movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” you’ll be more partial to this version:

Crestline Entertainment knows a lot of bands in the Chicagoland area, and there are some good ones. But let’s face it, each band is limited by instrumentation and personnel. On the other hand, with a professional DJ company like ours, you’re going to hear the exact version of the song you know and love. Your first dance will meet and exceed your dreams with us, whether the song is from today or yesteryear.

We not only have the versions of your favorite songs you prefer, we play it on the best equipment with clear, beautiful sound. And we bathe the dance floor with professional lighting effects to enhance the moment even more.

Don’t be a victim of a bad cover song like Julie to whom I referred above. Let Crestline Entertainment play your music your way. This is your day. You deserve exactly what you want!


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As time goes by

Who sang it best?

Don’t you love the songs written by Herman Hupfeld? Wait … what?! Who the heck is he? He’s simply the guy who wrote one of the most beloved songs in American music history, “As Time Goes By.” This blog ranks it as the #1 first dance song ever, and The Knot has it close behind at #3 on their list.

Some of his hits include the renown “When Yuba Plays the Rhumba on the Tuba,” “Untitled,” and “A Hut in Hoboken.” Actually, I’ve never heard of any of his songs other than As Time Goes By, and that’s fine with me. What a classic!

Casablanca made it famous

What’s interesting is that he wrote the song way back in 1931, and it became a modest hit. But then it was featured in the timeless 1942 cinema classic, “Casablanca,” and the rest is history.

The opening lyrics are memorable:

You must remember this,
a kiss is still a kiss,
a sigh is still a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As Time Goes By.

Here’s the scene that launched the song

Here’s the scene from Casablanca that launched “As Time Goes By” into the realm of the all time greats:

The song drips with romance. That’s why it may just be perfect for your first dance. But you’re faced with a dilemma: which version is right for you? How about a nice jazzy, sophisticated rendition as offered by the late, great Peggy Lee:

Here’s a version I love by Natalie Cole, because it includes the little-sung verse. Well done, Natalie:

You can always count on Andy Williams to treat a romantic ballad with respect. He doesn’t disappoint! Imagine your first dance to his take on “As Time Goes By:”

Carly Simon imbues the song with her distinctive voice:

Do you like nostalgia? You’ll really make a statement if you go with Jimmy Durante’s version. Totally cool!

Let me leave you with a particularly romantic version of this great song, sung by Harry Nilsson and arranged by Gordon Jenkins featuring a full orchestra:

Do any of these renditions of “As Time Goes By” fit your style? Here’s the thing: the song is nice and short, which makes it a very nice first dance song. After all, your guests are chomping at bit to get on the dance floor (especially if we are DJing your wedding!), so three minutes is just about right.

Crestline Entertainment can play any version you like best

And here’s the other thing: we can play any version of this classic song you like, unlike local bands. (By the way, we love bands … especially the good ones, but they may not know the song, and certainly can’t sing it like Peggy, Natalie, or Andy does!)

I’m in this business because I love music, and I love making brides and grooms happy by playing the perfect songs on their wedding day.

Okay, you’ve listened to the songs above. Who sang it best?