Sound considerations are often overlooked in weddings and I can completely understand why—who wants to think about speakers and wattage when there are so many other..prettier and tastier things to plan. Wedding magazines typically don’t talk about this part of the wedding planning because it doesn’t sell dresses and jewelry but unless you’re having a mime themed wedding, please consider the following:
1. Your older guests—especially people like your grandparents—really want to hear you say your vows. They care about this kind of stuff! Amplifying your officiant is going to allow these older loved ones to enjoy every moment of the day.
2. Choose the right music for the setting. Many of the advise columns will tell you to have a smaller ensemble so that you can save money….but if you choose violin and cello and you have 300 guests in an outdoor space, are you really getting your money’s worth when 150 of them will not be able to hear a note? Either go with a larger ensemble or choose an option with amplification—it’s really easy to amplify a violin and guitar for 300 guests…and worth it!
3. Live music adds SO much energy to a cocktail hour or dinner but only if it can be heard. We’re not talking concert volume levels but enough that it provides a great backdrop. The musicians should be positioned in a logical spot. While it’s nice to not have to get up and reset our instruments and it does lose a little bit of time, having live music WAAAAY off in the distance is pointless. I usually recommend that the musicians are in some proximity to the bar but not in a location that will block foot traffic. People can enjoy the music while they’re waiting for their drinks and it’s also a convenient location because there is typically access to power near the bar so electrical chords can be out of the way. Another clever location is against a backdrop like a wall or patio. The sound will reflect back into the crowd that way rather than being lost in space.
The absolute best sound is going to come from bringing in a professional sound technician. It’s not as pricey as you might think and in my opinion, worth every penny! We have connections with great technicians starting in the mid $300s. Costs vary depending on whether the technician is working with gear provided by the venue and or the musicians or if he/she is bringing in state of the art sound gear. Some cool bonuses with this are an audio recording of the ceremony and venue tailored sound…these guys make a living analyzing a space and choosing the appropriate gear—saving you any worry about wattage and allowing you to totally focus on that dress!
Even without the “techy” in tow, we can help you have great sound at your wedding. We have several excellent sound components we can use ranging from little tiny speakers that add just a little extra “umph,” to full sound with the capacity to rent chordless microphones and lapel microphones. We are also team players when it comes to weddings. If you are using a DJ for the latter part of your wedding, we are happy to communicate with your other vendors about these things. Choosing a DJ who is a team player as well is going to really make a difference.
If your venue doesn’t have access to electricity—beaches and public parks often don’t, all is not lost. Your choice reflects some added style of the ambiance and even if the officiant can’t be heard, the sound of crashing waves might express what you want guests to experience at your wedding anyway! From the live music end of things, choosing either a larger ensemble like string trio or quartet or a duo such as violin and guitar that can stand very close to the guests will help bring all of the components together.
So there you have it…. my 10 cents on sound. I’m always thinking about these kinds of things because I really want your special day to sound as well as look amazing!