We at MicDrop Productions have been doing sound for ceremonies for several years now. Here are 7 best practices for ceremony sound.
1. We set up a wireless speaker on a tripod about 20-50 feet away from the ceremony staging area (see far below). Seating music usually begins around 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony. Around this time, it is best to meet up with the officiant to place the lapel microphone on their collar area and do a sound check, anywhere between 20-30 minutes before start time.
2. The lapel mic transmitter that we use can be turned on by pressing the tiny black button on top (next to antenna), touching it firmly for a half second. The device is on when the screen shows blue numbers "902.0" and other markings. It can be turned off, with the same button (a quarter second press) and the screen will go back to all black. We suggest turning on the mic the moment the ceremony begins.
Pictured is the microphone box. On the left is the transmitter. In the center is the receiver that goes with the speaker. On the right is an over-ear headset mic, which we replace with the included collar lapel mic option.
3. The officiant should already know if they are entering first by themselves or entering with the groom. The sound tech (DJ) will need to know if the entry point of the officiant marks the start of the ceremony, or if it is the ending of the seating music period. Sometimes, the officiant makes an introductory announcements/requests to the audience and then stands aside, or sometimes the officiant makes such comments just immediately prior to the processionals and start of ceremony.
4. The officiant typically has the bride and groom standing close by to him/herself. It's best not to allow the bride and groom to stand more than an arms length away, about 24-28 inches, so that the lapel microphone can pick up the words spoken by the bride and groom. Often times, the bride and groom's vows are being repeated from what the officiant says, so it's loud and clear what the officiant says and the repeated words are less audible to the audience. If the vows are customized and "live" and being read by the groom/bride from a piece of paper, it maybe be necessary to have the officiant place their lapel mic onto their binder so it's even closer to the groom/bride. Be sure to have the guests stand upon the bride entering!
5. It's important not to have dead-air during the ceremony, and someone is usually talking (or singing). However, if there are 1-3 minutes for a sand pouring, soil & tree potting, unity candle lighting, etc. then consider adding a special song track to be played during that time to avoid any long silences.
6. When it's time to conclude the ceremony, the officiant typically does 3 things: 1) makes a pronouncement of "husband and wife", etc, 2) then invites a newlywed kiss, and 3) the presentation of the newly-named married couple to the audience. It is suggested that when these 3 things have happened, then this is the exact moment for the recessional song to begin playing, the audience will cheer, and the couple will make their way back down the center aisle. An upbeat song is recommended to be selected by the couple.
7. Finally, the officiant typically makes an announcement for how guests will be dismissed and where & when the cocktail hour begins. Sometimes, cocktails and appetizers are served in a third space that is not the reception room. If so, then we typically move the ceremony speaker and music to that nearby area if it's not convenient to use the main DJ speakers. Of course, the officiant needs to bring the lapel mic back to the DJ when able.
Please consult with Nate on what music and song selections are best for your wedding ceremony. Keep in mind, if a lot of family will be ushered in as part of the ceremony, then they may get their own song, as would the wedding party. Sometimes, the groom and officiant come in to the same song as other family members. For further tips on where everyone should stand or enter during the ceremony, just ask. Also keep in mind if wind can knock over decoration items, these should all be double-checked just before start time. We look forward to working with you!
Pictured is a typical ceremony setup: Behringer MPA40BT self-powered speaker, tripod, speaker bag, bluetooth tablet, wedding documents, wireless lapel mic receiver and tiny table.
Founder, Nate Stults