Tag Archives: Romantic

Sound for Wedding Ceremony

Whomever you decide to hire for your wedding ceremony sound, make sure they have broadcast quality wireless microphones and the knowhow to use them. This is the ceremony that binds you and your fiancé together for the rest of your days, you want to make sure you do everything in your power to always remember that it was beautiful and perfect.  This is the one day out of your life that you will benefit from the use of the highest quality sound equipment; don’t skimp out on this part.  Use what the Hollywood pros use.

The world of wireless microphones, not to mention the world of live sound, is a very delicate and volatile craft and it takes years of training to master the techniques necessary to pull off a flawless ceremony. Part of it is in using the best equipment available. Here are a few differences comparing high quality wireless mics from low quality wireless mics:

1. Acceptable Make & Models:

  • Audio Technica ATW Series
  • Shure SLX Series
  • Sennheiser EW Series

I own nothing but Sennheiser wireless equipment (enough mics for two full weddings) one of the units indeed came out of a satellite news broadcast van from a network TV station in Los Angeles (down-size bad for them, good for me!)  You want to walk away from these low quality brands:

  • Pyle
  • VocoPro
  • Nady

Here are some brands that haven’t proven to be worthy or unworthy:

  • Line 6
  • Behringer

Feeling lucky?  Just go with the tried and tested three!

2. UHF vs VHF

These are different frequency bands, and though it’s not the main determining factor for how high quality a transmitter / receiver might be, the professional microphones run on the UHF band (yes, as in the Weird Al movie.)  You might notice that most discount mics are VHF.

There are digital units that run in the Giga-Hz ranges, but unfortunately, many of the companies that produce them have not been tried and tested for their dependability like the three above.

3. Operable distances

Cheaper mics often have a usable operating distance of 20 feet.  This means that the further away you take your microphone away from the receiver past a 20 feet radius, the less reliable it becomes, causing interruptive noise.

The Sennheisers have a 300 foot operating distance (under ideal conditions), and 100 foot real world usable distance.  This means that you can have a good amount of walls, bodies, furniture between the microphone and receiver, and you will still be able to depend on a signal fairly strong for up to 100 feet.  Or in other words, if your sound guy is 20 feet from the chapel, that signal is going to be impenetrable.

4. Options

The professional microphones have more options than the cheaper ones, and unfortunately, is more complex as well.  You will need to make sure your sound guy knows how to operate the equipment proficiently (just ask him what the “squelch” is for; it’s a noise gate that stops low amplitude interference in the tuned frequency from registering as a mic signal).

The easiest way to root out the sound guys who don’t understand how to use professional equipment, is to see how much experience they have doing live sound or stage work or wedding ceremonies.  Your usual nightclub DJs NOT going to have any experience in this field though he might insist that he know’s what he’s doing; DO NOT ASK HIM TO BE YOUR SOUND GUY.

Sheraton (South of Disneyland on Harbor) – Garden Grove, CA

The easiest thing that can be said about the hotels around Disneyland is that their facilities are always in perfect repair, and carries the Utopian ideal of Walt Disney.

This Sheraton is affiliated with Disneyland and is no exception.  The security is very high also; the last time I went to their information desk to ask which ballroom I was going to, they took a facsimile of my driver’s license!

Pros:

Logistics: All ballrooms are accessible within 30 feet of the catering dock which is at the back of the building: super convenient.  Make sure to visit the front desk to get clearance first.

Aesthetics: Their walls have beige and wood paneling design, very earthy and warm.  Everything is so brand new looking that you swear they change out the walls and tear out the carpet after every event!

Electrical: In the big hall, electricity is ample, though I wasn’t able to figure out where the circuits were.  I imagine there are at least two 20+ amp circuits on each of the long sides (I did notice that the two receptacles, which were about 3 yards apart, were separate).  I doubt you’ll run into any electrical trouble here, but it would still be smart to lay out your coffee maker on the opposing wall from your DJ, unless you’ve confirmed the circuit layout.  Hopefully your DJ has a power conditioner that reads the voltage changes!

Huge: The main hall is very large, perfect for those Asian-American receptions with 300+ attendants.

Cons:

Customization: Because of the polished wood paneling covering most of the walls, up-lighting is a no-go here.  The light will bounce right off the walls and you’ll only see them on the ceiling.  Gobos (Monograms) will not work well on the walls either; you’ll have to shine it on the dance floor.  However, the venue’s lighting is pretty impressive.  I would have them put the house lights on low and let the flood and chandeliers work their magic.

It’s a shame that I can’t do up-lighting there, since the shape of the room is perfect for it, had they inserted columns of that neutral beige wall every few yards between the panels.

In summery:

If you’ve always imagined a Disney princess wedding, this hall will more than satisfy (for a Beauty and the Beast wedding, check out the Grand Californian.)  There aren’t too many options, as far as customizing the look of the place to dazzle your guests, but if this is not your concern, you’ll be thrilled with what is offered by this place.  The two best features are the size / spaciousness of the venue and the proximity of the loading dock (less work for your setup crew; especially if they have to decorate the entire space!)  If you’re planning on a huge reception, this is a very viable option.

Tustin Ranch Golf Club – Tustin, CA

Special Offer:

Book this package with Ceremony Service for $1520* (Normally $1670; you MUST mention this post at the time of inquiry).

Includes:
6 total hours of sound, lighting, DJ & MC services
Ceremony Music & Microphoning Package:

  • 2 Speakers (150 watt rms each; appropriate for congregations of up to 180)
  • 1 Countryman Wireless Microphone (discreet headset worn by officiant)
  • 1 Lapel Wireless Microphone (worn by groom for vows)
  • 1 Handheld Wireless Microphone on Stand (for readings by bridal party / guest)

Cocktail Hour Music

  • Stand-alone sound system
  • 1 handheld microphone for addressing crowd

Reception Package:

  • 800watt PA system (appropriate for crowds up to 180 guests)
  • DJ console (Media Used: MIDI, Vinyl, MP3s)
  • 10 channel mixer
  • 1 wireless microphone for toasts
  • 4 piece dance lighting

Uplighting (Standard):

  • Up to 18 fixtures of static, one color uplights (Par38 Halogens or Par64 LEDs, depending on color) (appropriate for Up to 180 guests)

Cake Spotlighting:

  • Spotlight projector illuminates your cake from high altitude

*Offer may not be combined with any other offers.


Easily the best wedding venue to have your wedding in the city of Tustin.  The golf course itself is nestled in a very exclusive, well-to-do area between Tustin, Irvine and Santa Ana Hills.

There’s a beautiful water works display embedded in the green landscape as soon as you drive into their lot, making a first impression of elegance and profusion.  I would say this is the main theme of their facility.

Their parking is ample, and if you have heavy parcels to unload, you can double park along the building and place them on a dolly to deliver to all four areas of interest:

    1. Ceremony site (on the Eastern side of the Club House; it is ramp accessible)
    2. Main Banquet Hall (accessible through the courtyard)
    3. Secondary Banquet Hall (there are two partitions here that are both easily accessible from the parking lot)
    4. Courtyard (Could be your Cocktail Hour area)

Pros:

Electrical: I’ve never had a problem with power at this venue.  I like the fact that their engineer took the time to clearly label the circuits on each receptacles, making it easy to identify which outlets are running on the same circuits.  It’s crucial to separate high power demand electronics, such as the DJ booth, chocolate fountains and coffee makers to avoid power failure on your big day.

Staff: I love the staff and crew at this location.  They work hard and also have very high morale and solidarity, and their positive attitude can be contagious.

View: The view in the main hall is gorgeous!  There’s a huge panoramic window that overlooks the puting green and the rest of the golf course, and it’s green for as far as the eyes can see!  There’s plenty of photo ops in their landscapes.

Cons:

Odd Shapes: The only technical con that I can mention about this venue, is that both of their halls are not rectangular.  The main room is shaped like two unevenly conjoined rectangles, that disallows symmetry for laying out the DJ gear.  This is where the experience and creativity of the DJ must work it’s magic, especially with things like audio distribution and up-lighting which require even distribution through out a space.  I have seen some impressive up-lighting designs in the main hall under the tutelage of my mentor, please see the video below.

The Second banquet hall does have blank white walls and up-lighting works easily in that room (please have a look at the video below) but it is long and narrow, and not as cozy as a less rectangular room.  I suppose it wouldn’t affect you as much, if you’re okay with splitting the B&G families from each other during dinner.  To me, the layout reminds me of the two houses of congress.

In Summery: If you’re fixed on a trendy / Oscar-feel wedding using up-lighting, make sure to hire a DJ with a great amount of experience or someone from their vendor list (because they will know the room very well).  As for the second room I think you might find more value at a more rectangular hall (with high ceilings) else where.  It’s  definitely a great pick if your wedding is during the summertime, and the sun is still out during dinner, when your crowd can enjoy the view.  The staff is very professional, and catering has always been spot-on (timing is everything!), and the venue itself is immaculate.

Please have a look at some footage I’ve shot working a Holiday party in what I like to call the Secondary Banquet Hall (the wedge shaped room; partitions one and two):

I will try my best to get some footage of the Main hall in two weeks, since I will be setting up for a wedding there.

Single-Op

DJ Dais is a single operator company, meaning the owner is your event day DJ & MC, as opposed to a multi-operator, where the boss of the company (the person with the most experience) DJs the highest paying event, while managing employees or contractors who are DJing smaller weddings contracted on the same event date under the same company (could be your wedding!)  In a single op DJ company, there is only one contract accepted per event date, and you are always assured that you get DJ Dais, not a contractor or lesser experienced DJ & MC.