When I decided to become a wedding entertainer 15 years ago, I never pictured myself being involved in hundreds of wedding ceremonies. Essentially, I’ve been The Sound Guy, providing the music and microphones for those ceremonies. It’s allowed me to be a witness to many couples beginning their journeys into married life.
I’ve done enough of them by now to have a fairly good idea of what’s needed in order for them to be successful. Obviously, we need the newlyweds-to-be… Without them, there would be no point. We also need someone to serve as the officiant – the person that is going to marry the happy couple. But those are pieces of the Human Element. It’s my job to take care of the most important piece that doesn’t live and breathe: the music and equipment.
If you’ve hired your DJ to take care of your ceremony in addition to your reception, there are a few key things that you need to discuss.
- Will your ceremony be in the same location as your reception?
- If the answer is “no”, this is VERY important information for your DJ. They will need to set up at least two sound systems; one dedicated for the reception and one for the ceremony. Extra time will also need to be factored in to get to and from the ceremony site, so timing is KEY. Needless to say, this is going to greatly increase the amount of labor that they’re putting into serving you, your spouse-to-be and your guests.
- If your ceremony is in the same location as your reception, does your reception site have a designated spot for ceremonies to be held? Is that location indoors or outdoors? What’s the backup plan in the event that Mother Nature decides not to play nice?
- Here’s one that I’ve personally agonized over for the last few years: is there an on-site power source that can be used for the DJ’s equipment? If there isn’t one readily available, is the venue providing a generator? What backup plan(s) do you or your DJ have to account for in providing power at your ceremony space if necessary?
- Most couples that I’ve worked with don’t necessarily take microphones into consideration prior to their wedding day. They know that they want everyone attending the ceremony to hear the vows – that’s generally it. Microphones are key components of the ceremony: you want to make sure that everyone that needs to be heard is; this may require that your DJ provides more than one microphone.
- Does your officiant require a lapel or headset mic? Do they prefer to have a handheld mic on a stand? These are key questions that need to be addressed. Have you determined that a family member or close friend will read a verse that’s dedicated to you and your spouse? Will you have a vocalist singing along to the song that you’ve chosen for the Unity Ceremony? You should discuss all of these elements in detail with your DJ so that they can provide the proper tools (and the right amount) for the task at hand.
- The tone of your ceremony will influence the expectations of the reception to follow. As with many other things in your wedding, you want the ceremony to reflect who you are as a couple. While the ceremony will generally be more formal, your song selection and your vows will serve as a way to put your own signature touches on the first steps of your marital journey.
- Your guests’ first impression will be the music that greets them as they are being seated. What do you want the music to say about your relationship? What energy level do you want your guests to experience while they are mingling?
- Most weddings have a wedding party processional, the march of one of the partners and the recessional after the couple has been presented for the very first time. Consider the possibility of adding a meaningful song to be played while your parents and/or grandparents are being escorted to their seats. It would be a great way to include them in the ceremony without calling undue attention to them.
- Honorable Mention: Videographer
- If you have a videographer documenting the ceremony, they are going to want to get clean audio. What this means is that they are going to want to get sound directly from the source, if possible. Does your DJ have the tools and the capacity to patch the videographer into their equipment in order to accomplish this task? If not, do they have the means to provide an audio file of the ceremony to the videographer? How willing are they to work with your videographer in order to make sure that they can do the best job possible in serving you?
In summary, your DJ will serve you best when they are armed with the most complete knowledge of your ceremony needs. Being able to account for the right equipment (with backups) is a must. If you need to, help your DJ by giving them contact information for your officiant, vocalists/readers and any musicians that will participate; that way, your vendors can do all of the legwork, leaving you to focus on other planning items that deserve your attention.
Good luck with your planning. Remember to have fun with it; after all, by the end of the night, you’ll have thrown a GREAT party!