When is it time to Consider having a PA Sound system for your Wedding?

When is it time to Consider having a PA Sound system for your Wedding?

There are a few indicators that a PA system is needed:

1. Your audience count is approaching 70 or more persons. A good rule of thumb is that 70 guests is the point you should start to consider using a PA system.

2. The number of aisles for seats for your guests are eight rows long or longer. Most church pews are three feet distance from pew to pew and even if your guests are sitting in folding chairs, they’ll still take up about the same amount of space. So eight rows puts your back row of guests twenty four feet (24') from the front. That’s too far to hear well with the simple spoken voice; especially for those people in the back that are hard of hearing.

3. Your ceremony is planned to be held outdoors. Outdoor weddings are beautiful but they’re twice as hard to hear as indoor weddings. Inside, sound reflects and bounces back. Outside, it disappears into the wind.  Remember you’ll also have the sounds of nature to compete with at your outdoor ceremony (cars driving by, etc.)

What is you need to start?

You will be surprised how inexpensively you can rent the following items from your local musician supply store (like St. Johns Music or Long & McQuade):

1.  One wired microphone with an on/off switch.  The most common microphone found in hotels is the Shure SM-58. Avoid wireless microphones if possible.  They may seem convenient but your introduce challenges like having proper line of sight with the RF receiver and the life span of batteries for the microphone.  The use of microphone stand is optional.  The SM-58 does a pretty good job of coping with windy conditions as well.  It is a rugged and robust microphone that has been in active service for decades.

2.  Two 200 watt PA speakers with 1/4" Jack cabling works reasonably well.  These type of speakers work best elevated on tripods.  You really only need two at most wedding services.  Avoid use of wireless speakers. The problem with wireless devices is the RF (radio frequency) signals are blocked by water.  People are made up of 60% water and therefore when a person is in the line of sight of a wireless devices and the wireless antennae, the device will lose signal and you will get a static sound over the PA system.  Wired technology is reliable and safe.  It is preferred in a setting like a wedding; especially if the ceremony is being held out of doors.   The speakers should be place in front of the wedding party to avoid feedback squelches.

3.  One 4 channel mixer.  You can patch in your IPhone to the mixer using the ear phone jack of the IPhone that attaches to the mixer using RCA jacks. If you are using an IPhone or I pad or a Tablet, just make sure that the device is resting on a flat surface and is not moved during the wedding service.  Movement of the device may move the placement of the earphone jack that creates a crackling sound.

4.  A reliable person to take control of the mixer during the wedding service is the final essential part of your sound system.  Best to encourage this volunteer to attend your rehearsal so that they become comfortable setting up the equipment!  Now just load your playlist of songs into your playing device and you are on your way!