How much to spend on wedding entertainment

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wedding entertainment budget

How much to spend on wedding entertainment

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Memorize this:  no price is a good price IF you aren’t happy with your reception.

Price is meaningless.  Dreams are everything when it comes to your wedding. If you cut corners on your wedding entertainment budget, you may pay a very big price.

Okay, now let’s deal with reality.  I’m guessing you’re like most of the brides in this area:  you’re working on a budget.  Am I right?

Your wedding entertainment budget may be bigger than the last bride we worked with, but it may be less, much less than the next.  Since we live in the real world, most of us do have to consider dollars and cents when it comes to planning a wedding.

So most brides have to find a happy medium when it comes to balancing their wedding entertainment budget.

Surprising wedding entertainment budget facts

The Knot conducted a survey of 18,000 brides across the country.  According to them the average wedding costs $31,213.  But it varies widely depending on where you live.  For example, it’s closer to $19,000 in South Dakota, but it tops $39,000 in San Francisco.

What is pretty consistent, though, is that the average bride invests about 10% of her budget on the entertainment.  And yet entertainment provides 90% of the fun.

We’ve worked with a ton of brides over the years.  If something goes wrong with the dinner or the flowers, it is quickly forgotten IF the guests have fun.

Entertainment makes the event: every time!

That’s where we come in.  Entertainment makes the event.  Any minor glitches you experience with any of your other vendors will quickly fade away once we pack your dance floor.  And we will.

Your guests are hungry to celebrate and honor your marriage.  Entertainment is the key catalyst to ensuring your party maximizes your potential.

This leads me back to the first sentence of this post: no price is a good price IF you aren’t happy with your reception.  This maxim applies to your wedding entertainment more than any other service you book.

Crestline Entertainment is the key

So am I saying that if you book us, the food will taste better?  That the flowers will look fresher?  That the cake will look more magnificent?

No.  It will only seem that way.  And, my friend, perception IS reality.

Here’s the bottom line:  there is one place where you never want to scrimp:  the entertainment.  Entertainment makes the event, and we will make your event extraordinary!

The next step? Tell us a little about your event and get a quote without obligation.

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first dance advice for Chicagoland brides

Read this only if you’re terrified of your first dance

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Do you have two left feet? Here’s some sensible first dance advice for Chicagoland brides.

Does the thought of getting up in front of the world and dancing your first dance as man and wife terrify you? Here’s some first dance advice that will relieve your worries.

You’re not alone, you know. Millions of Americans are afflicted with a bad case of Twoleftfeetitis, sometimes known as Dancefever. It can cause a grown man to break out into a cold sweat, and it’s not pretty.

If this malady afflicts either you or your betrothed, don’t worry, it is curable! Just follow our first dance advice, which is beautifully presented in the video above.

You do not need to be a Fred Astaire …

… or a Ginger Rogers to project a shimmering image of elegance on the dance floor. Even more, you do not have to be a Michael Jackson or a Jennifer Lopez to shake your booty with class at the biggest party of your life: your wedding celebration.

You simply need to be you.

First dance advice for Chicagoland brides

There are three keys to a successful first dance that looks so good that you won’t even mind if it is video taped.

Step One:  Select a slow song that is meaningful to you.

Step Two:  Learn the two step.  It’s the simplest dance for a klutz (no offense) to learn.  Watch the video above, for it quickly presents the timeless simplicity and charm of this basic dance step.  Practice it.  You can learn it quickly.  You’ll have it perfected within a few practice sessions.

Step Three:  Keep it short.  Two to three minutes is good.  This takes a lot of pressure off of you.  Besides, you don’t want your guests to get bored.  In our hands, they’ll be itching to join you on the dance floor in short order!

Music and entertainment makes the event.  We can help you plan the flow of entertainment from beginning to end, because our MCs know how to make introductions and set up the first dance.  Here’s where wedding parties often break down.  It is absolutely vital to have a seasoned DJ/MC on your team who knows how to transition from your first dance to a packed dance floor.

That’s what we do, so call us with questions at 1-630-766-9898, or complete the contact form to check on our availability.

Get ready for your first dance and follow our first dance advice.  It’ll be wonderful!

If you are looking for a wedding DJ in the Chicagoland area, learn more about Crestline Entertainment here.

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Chicago wedding planning

How to break the ice at a pre-wedding luncheon

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The scene is tense.

Families come together for a pre-wedding luncheon.  An old girl friend of the groom is there.  Yikes!  This could get pretty uncomfortable.  Fast.

What to do?  Why it is simple:  break into song!

I post above for your viewing pleasure that memorable scene from “My Best Friend’s Wedding” when Rupert Everett does just that.  He starts singing that golden-oldie from the 60s, “I Say  a Little Prayer for You.”

Before you know it, the whole restaurant is singing along!  Aah … if only life were a musical!

Stress-free Chicago wedding planning

Many brides let the process of planning their wedding stress them out.  I get it.  There are a lot of details to get in place.  We can help you with the entertainment. We’ll take the stress right out of the wedding planning so you can start having fun again.

Even more, Crestline Entertainment offers a wonderful online planning portal to make Chicago wedding planning easy for our clients. Once you have an event booked with us, you can access all of our online planning tools such as our Event/Wedding Planning form, Music Request list or Timeline.

Get your password by filling out the form here.

In the meantime, take a few minutes to watch this very funny scene starring Julia Roberts.  A good laugh always makes the day better … and less stressful.

[Entertainment makes the difference at wedding receptions. Check out Crestline Entertainment’s helpful online planning portal here.]

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wedding toast script

Here’s a great script for a wedding toast

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wedding toast script

Let’s be honest…

A lot of people clench up when they have to make a toast. We’ve created a nice wedding toast script to take the heat off for your Chicagoland wedding.

Wedding receptions can be especially stressful because the best man and maid of honor often put too much pressure on themselves.  They overcompensate by having an extra drink or two and … well, you know how that can go:  downhill fast.

We can help.

We’ve created a nice wedding toast script.

Obviously, your toasters aren’t going to use this word for word.  But it’ll help them get started.

It’ll channel them in the right direct using the guidelines we wrote about in last week’s blogpost [“How to nip wedding toast disasters in the bud.”]

Ultimately, it takes the heat off since this script lays down some nice parameters for them.  Remember:  the point of this wedding toast script is simply to help them get started.  It is their personal experience with you, and the way that they convey it, that ultimately makes the difference.

Read this wedding toast script and let me know what you think:


“I am truly honored to toast the marriage of [Bride’s Name] and [Groom’s Name].

I’ve never been one to pay any attention to people who claim that they can predict the future.  But guess what, I’m going to predict the future:  I see a happy, fulfilling married life stretching out before you two, and I could not be happier.

Looking out at this great group of your family and friends who’ve come to witness this watershed event, I can see that they agree with me.

The truth is, I don’t need a crystal ball to know that good things await you in your married life, because I know [Groom’s Name].

[Provide personal anecdote]: 

We met when we were in college.  We had nothing in common.  I’m short, he’s tall.  I’m a Packers fan; he’s a Bears fan.  I’m really good looking.  And he’s … well, he’s even better looking!

But we both had this thing for rock climbing.  I tell you what, if you want to get to know someone, go rock climbing with him.

I don’t know how many times we went out.  It’s a lot.  One time stood out.  We were walking on a precipice some twenty feet above a lake.  We heard some splashing in the water below.  Suddenly, some kid started screaming like I’ve never heard screaming before in my life.  His dog was in the water … and apparently drowning.

Now I thought that God had hard-wired the dog paddle into every dog ever born.  But this one must have been a mutant, because it was going down for the last count.

Before I could even fully process the situation, [Groom’s Name] made a mighty leap into the lake below.  I’ve got to admit, I couldn’t have done it.  But he did.  Within seconds, he had the scared pup in his arms and back onto dry land in minutes.

You should’ve seen that kid’s face.  I’ll never forget it.  I’ll never forget what you did that day.

[Bring bride into the toast]: 

Now, imagine what a guy like that would do for a friend.  Even more, imagine what a man like that would do for the woman he loves.

I can attest to the fact, [Bride’s Name], that [Groom’s Name] loves you more than anything … or anyone he’s ever loved in his life.

When he spoke that line in the vows about loving you even in ‘sickness and in health, in good times and in bad,’ well he meant it.

And since I’ve gotten to know you and discovered what an incredibly wonderful person you are too, [Bride’s Name], I know you meant those vows every bit as much as [Groom’s Name].  You are a beautiful person on the outside, but even more importantly, on the inside.

Some people would say that it’s destiny that brought you together.  Well, I would suggest God had something to do with it.  Yes, I maintain that the creator of the universe surely pulled some strings to bring you two together, because you are so right for each other.

[Close by telling the audience specifically what they’re supposed to do]:

On this day of celebration, I ask each of you to raise your glass and join me in paying tribute to Mr. and Mrs. [Couple’s Last Name].”

To reiterate, you obviously can’t use this wedding toast script exactly as written. Come up with your own anecdote. Make it warm. Use it to highlight the class, the integrity, and the character of the subject of your toast.

Good luck, and cheers!

[Entertainment makes the difference at wedding receptions. Check out Crestline Entertainment services here.]

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wedding toast disasters

How to nip wedding toast disasters in the bud

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Let me guess:  you’ve got a well-intentioned best man and maid of honor for your Chicagoland wedding.

They know you.  They love you, and wedding etiquette calls on them to stand up and toast you at your wedding reception.


These beloved friends or family can morph into your worst nightmare.  Don’t let them hijack your wedding reception with an embarrassing, meandering, or never-ending toast.

In fairness, your best man or maid of honor doesn’t want to embarrass you or scandalize your family, but beer and a microphone can be a dangerous combination.  A nice, warm three minute toast can quickly devolve into a dozen minutes of booze-drenched awkwardness if you’re not prepared.

Be prepared

Rather, provide your event’s toasters with the following guidelines as provided by Toastmasters International:

  1. Keep it short and sweet.  It is important to get to the point and make people smile.  A few minutes is all you need.
  2. Be careful with humor.  Avoid the risque.  Under no circumstances should you embarrass the person being toasted.
  3. Practice.  At the very least, jot down a brief outline of what you want to say.  If you’re prone to nervousness, you might want to script your toast and time it.

This is what you need to say to avoid wedding toast disasters:

As the bride and groom, this is your party.  So I encourage you to say something like this to your toasters:

“Thank-you for being my [best man/maid of honor].  I am so honored to have you share this day with me in such a meaningful way.  I wanted to be sure you knew that we’d like you to make a brief toast after dinner.  You okay with that?  We’d like you to keep it fairly brief, 3 minutes … 4 max.  Share something special you see in our relationship and wish us well.  I know I don’t need to say this, but please, nothing off color or embarrassing.”

Be direct.

Really say something like this to be sure everyone’s on the same page.  Or simply print this page off and hand it to your toasters (or share the link with them).

Now, let us all raise a glass to honor this beautiful couple.  May God richly bless your marriage!

[Check back next week for an actual script for a nice wedding toast.  Your best man and maid of honor will love it! In the meantime, check out our wedding services here!]

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5 star chicago dJ

Why friends should never DJ your wedding celebration.

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Just say no to friends who want to DJ your wedding celebration.

crestline d jsetup

Author:  Jay Frank, Crestline Entertainment, Inc.

If you are considering a friend as your wedding celebration DJ, take a moment to read the rest of this post. It is pause for thought.  We all tend to believe what we want to believe, if we have no reason to change our opinion.  However, if after reading this e-mail, you are not convinced there is anything to worry about by hiring a friend as your DJ, then at least you’ll be more knowledgeable and prepared.  My intentions with this blog are totally honorable. I really do care about what could happen to you or I wouldn’t be writing this.  It’s just that simple and why friends should never DJ your wedding celebration. ~ Jay (the author is a freelance DJ professional in the Chicago area.) Chicagoland DJ’s

Should bad economic conditions equal cut-backs?

Bad economic conditions seem to perpetuate the need for cost-cutting for almost anything.  Entertainment is the last thing you should be cutting back on for any event, but especially weddings.  There is even more reason to be careful when it’s offered for a small fee or free.  Here’s why….

Business and pleasure don’t mix.

From the Bride and Groom’s point-of-view, it’s assumed a friend is well-intentioned and would never let you down.  If anything, a DJ friend should go further to make you happy than anyone else, right?  Not true. Often times, the friend (or family member) feels quite the opposite. They often justify the fact that because they are providing services at little or no cost it is okay if they drink, get drunk, goof up, goof off or not give it their all.  After all, the Bride and Groom are my friends or relatives they will understand, it’s just me being me.  Besides, I’m charging them nothing or giving them a substantial break on the price as it is, so how could they think otherwise?  Another reason why friends should never DJ your wedding celebration.

Realistically, no one can party even a little hard and DJ at the same time.  The Bible says it best, ‘You can’t serve two Masters and do justice to either one.’ If things should start to falter, word will spread that it’s your family or friend at the helm. How embarrassing! Receptions are fast paced and emotions run deep.  While it only lasts for a night, hurt feelings can last a lifetime, so never say yes to friends who want to DJ your wedding celebration.

Think nothing can happen after you book a friend, then read this.

Recently, a DJ friend of mine and I had coffee together. No sooner than we sat down, he got a call from a family member whom he had been holding a key date for 6 months.  This call was not a happy one.  It was to inform him that his services would no longer be needed because a band was wanted instead. Because it was family, no formal agreement was felt necessary by either party.  (Editor’s note: DJ’s can be just as fickle. Through my own customers, I’ve also heard of DJ’s who have cancelled out of their friend’s wedding, in lieu of a job that paid more. Totally unacceptable, as well!) Now, back to the story – Things became heated, because this was the DJ’s “wedding gift’ to them.  Now he is forced to choose between going or not going to the wedding.  Going means attending with a bad attitude, buying an expensive gift and not working on a prime date.  Not going means causing a ‘rift’ in the family and ‘hard feelings’ between family members.  (By the way, the family member who made the call couldn’t understand why he felt this way…Really?)  As it turned out, the relationship was strained so much, that they are no longer speaking and it is doubtful he will attend.  Tragic, but all this could have been avoided.

Keep all your relationships flourishing.

Friends and loved-ones are too important of relationships to risk anything happening to them. Weddings are stacked-full of details and things that need to be done in a timely fashion. Your guests are depending on the DJ to show up on time, be focused, not distracted and be sober.  Think about it.  Expectations are high and the DJ and is the subject of much scrutiny.  Furthermore, no DJ decision is a good decision if your wedding doesn’t live up to your dreams.  Business and pleasure don’t mix. Overall, it makes sense to keep all your relationships flourishing. Give your friends or loved-one the night off and a chance to enjoy themselves.  Hire a trusted professional, that you won’t have to baby-sit or worry about. You have just one chance to get it right.  DJ’s who care about each and every customer are in high demand for a reason. Popular wedding dates book quickly.  So make time to meet and get the peace-of-mind you deserve. Why chance it?

Jay has been a freelance wedding DJ for over 2 decades with 1,000+ weddings completed in his career.

He is president (and the most popular DJ) at Crestline Entertainment, Inc of Bensenville Illinois. Chicagoland DJ’s

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Crestline DJ of Dupage County

The 10 most critical things you should know about hiring a Wedding DJ.

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The 10 most critical things you should know about hiring a Wedding DJ.

By Jay Frank – Crestline Entertainment, Inc.

  1. Is your DJ Company trustworthy and conscientious? Beyond the reviews, surveys or testimonials. Look to sources like the Better Business Bureau.  BBB members are subject to an intense examination process and must pass rigorous tests, scrutinizing details and in-depth analysis of their business practices before attaining membership.  Remember also to check the BBB for complaints and resolutions. Click here for the Chicago & Northern Illinois BBB


  1. Is what they are charging really worth it? The definition of value is measured by the relationship between prices charged and services rendered. Factors include complexity of the function in relation to details, variations on sound system components, dance floor lighting options, attention to details, specific song request fulfillment, level of DJ involvement and master-of-ceremony skills.  A DJ’s commitment to these elements, plus the talent in prescribing the right mix of music for an event largely determines their overall worth.  Bottom line, it’s not the tools, but how their used that makes the difference.


  1. Will your DJ have the knowledge base, desire and raw passion your event requires? Like an artist that uses acquired knowledge and style to influence their paintings, the same is true with DJ’s regarding the results they achieve. This is critical. Anyone can download music and have your tunes available, but how they’re put together is the “art” of the profession. DJ results can only be supercharged by music knowledge and passion for success. Can guests easily follow along where the DJ is leading them?  Is the DJ keeping up with the group or holding them back?  What ideas does he have to re-invent or re-energize a crowd?  Can he think on his feet and improvise if something goes not as planned?
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2017 Spring Online Review Post Contest Winners Justin & Heather

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2017 Spring Online Review Post Contest Winners Justin & Heather

Happy April Fool’s Day to all! This is NO fooling though as the results are in for our $50 Gift card drawing. Hooray! Thanks to all of our past clients who posted reviews online about your experience with Crestline. While we are selecting just one winner, I just want you to know that in my book, you are all winners and I can’t thank each one of you enough! You’ll posts continue to “pay it forward” helping future couples and other prospective clients towards making a great entertainment choice. On behalf of Judy and our talented staff of DJ’s, I’d like to proudly announce our winner. They are Justin & Heather Abrams from February 25th 2017. Congratulations and let me know which favorite $50 gift card we can send you! (p.s. If we don’t hear from you, we will be sending an email blast to notify you and all our participants as well.)

Nearly 9 in 10 consumers have read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 39% do so on a regular basis. The “trend line” over the last four years clearly shows how much more regularly people are reading reviews, clearly highlighting the need for local businesses to attract more reviews and actively manage their online reputation.

The steady decline of consumers in the “No” column also allows us to forecast the way consumer attitudes are likely to continue changing in the future.

85% Of Consumers Say They Read Up To 10 Reviews

Local Consumer Survey - chart 2

Eighty-five percent of consumers are satisfied once they have read up to 10 online reviews for a local businesses. However, there is a greater proportion of consumers who now read in excess of 20 reviews. This obviously signifies more engagement with review sites, but does it also highlight trust issues? Do consumers now feel they need to read more positive reviews before developing trust? (More on this below.)

Most importantly this highlights the importance of having at least 10 reviews to satisfy 85% of potential customers. It goes without saying that these reviews should be not only positive, but also fresh; if consumers only read the latest reviews, it’s crucial to ensure that these most recent reviews and positive.

72% Of Consumers Say That Positive Reviews Make Them Trust A Local Business More

Local Consumer Survey - chart 3

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What our competition hopes you never read…

Best of weddings at the knot

2017 brides and grooms will come to know that our continued success is no secret. Think all 5 star reviews are the same?  Then, think again!  The world’s greatest hamburger can’t hold a candle to a premium, choice steak. If you want the “sizzle” without the “steak” then just assume all DJ’s are created equal and that’s a mistake many brides and grooms make.  It’s like assuming that Michaelangelo was just another artist. So don’t just book a DJ, book the “Michelangelo” of DJ’s and make your wedding reception a “Masterpiece” but don’t take our word for it. Our clients do the bragging for us. Read what they say about Jay’s personal services by clicking this link,

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