Wedding Music Acoustics

How would you feel if the sound person couldn’t get your processional music to play at the critical moment, the soloist’s microphone wasn’t working during the ceremony, or the band at the reception was too loud all evening?

These are just a few of the possible scenarios that could make your wedding day memories less than ideal. Here are some important issues to address to avoid a major train wreck with your wedding music, as relates to sound issues:

Make Sure Your Sound Engineer is Qualified and a Team Player. First, let me quickly add that the sound engineer for your ceremony and reception doesn’t have to have a college degree or be a full time recording engineer to do a great job at your wedding. But there are some who are not competent, or worse, don’t have a team attitude.

First, it’s important to understand that just because someone understands how to hook up microphones and attend to the setup of the sound equipment doesn’t mean they have the “ears” to run sound! We’ve all had the experience of attending a concert, church service, or civic event where the voice was hard to hear, or the music too loud, or there was some other very distracting problem. And when there is an important speaking part in a ceremony or public event, the sound person needs to have the microphone on when they start speaking – not 5 seconds later!

The take-away: No need to panic, but it’s wise to look for some clues early on about your sound person, and act prudently. It is your wedding, after all, and you have a right to be reasonably assured that the music  and running of the sound will proceed smoothly. Most larger churches should have this fairly well in hand.

Address the acoustics of your wedding or reception venue. If the reception room is excessively echoey, or “boomy”, It’s important that someone discuss this with the musicians who will be playing. If the music is prerecorded, it would be nice to have the ability to “e.q.” the music – especially to be able to turn the low frequencies (sound of the bass guitar and other low instruments in the songs) down if necessary.

If you’ll be employing a live band or ensemble, they need to flexible enough to turn down, or alter their balance to fit the acoustics of the room. Lyrics to songs will be harder to understand if the room has a lot of echo.

One of the take-aways – if music is an important part of your wedding or reception, find someone who is qualified to help you assess the sound situation. I’ve primarily addressed the reception, but the acoustics for your wedding may be poor as well, especially in a large church or cathedral. This can work to your advantage for certain kinds of music and performances – notably a capella and choir singing. Again, finding someone you can trust who is knowledgeable is a good idea.

Your Wedding Ceremony Spoken Words – do they need to be heard?  Do you want your words as bride and groom (and those of the person performing the wedding) spoken during the ceremony heard by the congregation?

Some churches are in the habit of placing microphones near those who are speaking so they can be heard by all. Other churches, perhaps because of tradition, do not. Decide which is right for your wedding, and have a conversation with those who can help you with this.

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