Do You Need a Microphone at the Ceremony?

To mic? Or not to mic? That is the question.

The issue of amplifying voices is one that comes my way often.  When it comes to your wedding, many people will tell you the answer is always yes; but do you really need microphones? There are three big factors that will affect your decision.

Microphone at a Wedding Ceremony

First – Projection. You need to honestly assess the public speaking skills of your fiance, officiant, readers, and of course yourself. If you are confident that  everyone will be loud enough to be heard by guests at the back , then you might not need a microphone. To test this, go to your venue and have someone stand as far back as people will be with their BACKS to the speaker.  The speaker can make up a sentence in a loud, but not shouting, voice.  If they heard you just fine, you are good to go.

Second – Space. Big spaces (church with a high ceiling; outside in a park) eat up sound and will make it hard for your guests to hear.  Small spaces (private party room; your parents’ living room) will bounce the sound quickly back into everyone’s ears.

Third -  – People. Here’s something you might not know: people absorb sound.  Sound can be loud in an empty room, but can be difficult to hear when the seats are filled. So the number of guests is an important consideration. There’s no hard and fast rule here, because projection and space affect it too, but if you have more than 60 guests, you should get a mic. Also, beware that it’s much easier to hear someone who’s facing you!

Based on the factors above, you should know whether or not you really need microphones. But you still need to think about logistical and financial concerns before you make a decision.

Location. If you’re outdoors, you may not have access to electricity – so you’ll need a system powered by a generator. Indoors, you’ll need an electrical outlet and maybe an extension cord and/or surge protector.

Equipment. What kind of equipment do you need? I could go into detail, but whoever you get the equipment from will be able to explain it to you. So, how do you find that person? Start with your venue – If you’re getting married in a church or a place that holds events regularly, there’s a good chance they already have a sound system as well as a someone who knows how to use it, and it may even be included in your space rental fee, so don’t forget to ask! Many event rental companies have PA systems available. I prefer a lavaliere microphone over a hand-held or mic on a stand.

Make Sure You Have Someone You Trust Set Up Your Sound

Money. Before you decide to yell your entire ceremony because rental is too expensive, ask around. You may already know someone who’d be happy to lend you what you need. If you have a friend in a band, ask their advice. College or community theaters may be willing to loan their equipment. A guitar or music store might have an inexpensive option that you could sell after the wedding. Bottom line: you may need to ask around a bit to find an affordable option.

Logistics. Don’t forget that someone will have to setup, test, and take down the equipment, so be sure to include that in your wedding day schedule.

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