I have my first wedding coming up next month. My question is in regards to using my PA system. I have Bose S1 with Sennheiser microphone. The wedding is only small (approximately 10 guests). Would you use a PA system? They are having a videographer so I didn’t know if this would play into whether or not to use it? If you suggest not using it, at what size wedding would you? Also I have not yet brought a stand. Is this an absolute must/do you recommend any particular brand/price point to aim for to get a decent one? Complete newbie with all this stuff!
All good questions, Tamika, and I’ll address them separately.
Should I use a PA system for 10 guests?
So there are three elements to this question.
The first is should you use a microphone for 10 guests, because amplifying your voice serves only one purpose: to amplify it to people who can’t hear it. I personally feel competent speaking to a group of up to twenty without a microphone. Holding a microphone and amplifying your voice to a crowd is a very different feel and situation to not amplifying, and a group of 10 automatically feels more intimate than a group of 100.
So for 10 people I wouldn’t make it feel any more like a stage show than I have to, and I would not amplify my voice, aka I would not hold a microphone and use a PA system.
Would a videographer need me to use a PA system?
A videographer doesn’t need you to amplify your voice, but they may well want to record your voice, and the couple’s voice, so a microphone may be needed. Your Sennheiser microphone transmitter (the microphone) and receiver (the bit you plug into the speaker) can be handy for a videographer, I know they love to use mine, but it’s also possible the videographer has other plans.
The thing is, every videographer has different needs, some don’t even record the audio, so the best thing is to either chat to them today, or be there early on the day, and to humbly offer up what you have, and also be open to using what they like.
So it’s a no/yes answer, no they don’t need amplified audio, but they may want to use your microphone.
Would a PA system be good for music?
You didn’t ask this question, but it’s likely that there would be music at the ceremony, and your PA system – particularly the Bose S! – is perfect for this. They can Bluetooth into it (hold the Bluetooth button for ten seconds, then select Bose S1 in a phone’s Bluetooth settings) and the music is loud, clear, and bright.
So although you may choose to not amplify your voice, your Bose S1 is a perfect music player – even for parties or gatherings at your home or in your personal life.
Do I need a speaker stand?
Public amplification speakers (PA Speakers) are designed to be used on speaker stands, that’s why speaker stands exist, and there are holes for stands in the bottom of the speakers.
Audio is the transmission of sound, sound is a vibration in the air, and our ears hear that vibration in the air. If there are people in front of us, they affect that transmission of air. This is the biggest argument for having a sound operator at events, because they are at the rear or middle of the crowd and they can adjust the sound levels and EQ so it suits the whole crowd.
Alas, it’s extremely rare to have a sound operator at a wedding, so you have to do your own sound check, and part of that will speaking into your microphone and assessing how that sounds at points around the wedding ceremony.
For a simple trick today, set your PA system up today, maybe in the back yard or in your living room, and test it at various levels, and various heights. You’ll hear the difference between the speaker being on the ground and the speaker being on a bench or ideally, at head level.
On that note, the best height for a speaker is at average head level, so around that 5-6ft height.
Regarding which speaker stand to buy, they’re not overly technical things, but I wouldn’t buy the cheapest – I’ve gone through enough of them to advise that. I buy Konig & Meyer stands now because I like their build quality. In the wind K&M 21436 because it’s a little lighter. The 21435 is fine too, it’s just a heavier build.