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Ceremony PA System Q&A: Why You Need More Than “Just A Microphone”

“How will people hear us during our ceremony?”

Most of us imagine a microphone being the “thing” that makes our voice louder. But for a microphone to broadcast your voice through speakers, it must work in conjunction with sophisticated equipment known as a “PA.” A sound engineer will orchestrate this set-up including speakers, stands, mixing console, wireless receivers, and the number of microphones you require. This engineer will monitor the PA throughout its use. The labor involved is roughly 2 hours in terms of additional time for arrival, set-up, and execution.

Let’s do a little question & answer on this critical subject:

Q: Will people hear my officiant? My vows? My readers? Do I need a microphone?

A: Perhaps. It depends on the location, number of guests and your own comfort level.

Amplifying the voices in your wedding ceremony is especially worth considering for outdoor receptions. Sound travels poorly outside. And the greater your guest count, the further sound needs to travel. At some point, your venue, event planner or family is probably going to recommend a Ceremony PA System.

The next most logical question would be:

Q: How much does this cost?

A: More than you think!

… Just kidding, a typical ceremony pa system is more like the following:

Typical microphone arrangements include the following:

1) Clip-On Lapel Mic for the officiant. This works with a small battery pack attached to the belt. Your officiant will be familiar with this.

2) Omni Directional Mic on a straight stand set at waist level for vows. At waist level, the microphone will not interfere with chest-up photos, does not require you to use a belt pack, and will amplify your voices sufficiently.

3) Wireless hand-held mic for readers, which can be passed amongst readers.

Access to Electrical Power is necessary.

Q: Enough already, what should I expect to spend?

A: $400-$600….if you want it done right.

We’ve heard quotes from wedding venues that even exceed 1K. But asking your band to provide this service is usually the most cost effective and reliable route.

I know, I know …it’s a costly service. You’ll definitely find less expensive quotes in the $150-$250 range for a “speaker and microphone.” But buyer beware; low-cost dental surgery isn’t a good thing, and neither is a bargain on a PA for your wedding ceremony.

We suggest you take the ceremony amplification as seriously as everything else in your wedding. It’s not just a microphone and a speaker. It’s arguably the most sensitive and memorable part of your celebration.