Wedding Wednesdays Q&A: Amplifying Your Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events

Q: I’m having my wedding ceremony outdoors amongst these beautiful trees. And I wanted a musician, so we have a guitarist playing.  He brings a little amp with him so the sound will carry farther.  But, this won’t work for the ceremony itself.  So, I was wondering, do we need to rent sound equipment so people can hear the ceremony?  We’re expecting about 75 guests.  With this size, do you think a mic and speakers are necessary?

Amplifying your wedding ceremony is definitely an area that is hotly contested.  There are some who believe that it’s so much nicer when it’s just natural.  Others firmly believe in amplification.

But, here’s the deal:  If you want ALL your guests to be able to hear your ceremony, then you need to amplify it.   Unless you’re having a small wedding (or sometimes not even then), not everyone will be able to hear what’s being said.

Now, some people don’t care to have all their guests hear them.  If that is you, then go for natural.  But, most would at the very least like to hear the officiant, otherwise, what’s the point, right?!

Good officiants can project pretty far.  But, once you get to a certain number of guests it just becomes unrealistic to think everyone will be able to hear them.  So, amplification is going to be key if you have a group that is medium to large in size (or if you have lots of old people).

But, let’s not forget you’re having an outdoor wedding which means you’ll have other sounds and noise to compete with.  There are nice sounds like wind, birds, and waves crashing.  And there are less nice sounds like traffic, ambulances or other people.  Either way, there are sounds you have to be heard over.

So, for outdoor wedding ceremonies, you definitely want amplification.  The only real instance where you wouldn’t amplify is if your wedding is tiny (15 people or less).

So, do you want a mic and speakers?  Yes, you do.

You want your guests to be able to hear and experience your wedding ceremony.  And since you are asking them to be a witness as you join in marriage, it helps if you can actually hear what’s being said.

Now, I know it’s an added cost and you may be worried you don’t have the budget for it.  One economical way to get amplification is to have your DJ handle it.  It’s usually a minimal add-on cost to have a 2nd system for your ceremony.  Another way is to rent a sound system from an AV company and set it up yourself (not you personally).  This is a really economical way to get the amplification without a big cost.

Or another option is to ask your rental or lighting company if they have sound equipment for rent.  They may have something you could use that doesn’t require the cost of a DJ or the DIY setup.

So, as you’re thinking about your wedding ceremony, make sure you take your location and guest count into account.  Amplification will be more necessary the larger the group and the louder the location.

Outdoor San Francisco wedding ceremony by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)

Got a wedding planning question you need help with?  Ask away!  Ask your question in a comment below and we’ll answer it in an upcoming Q&A.

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