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Why Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies Can Be Stressful For DJs

04 November 2022

You've decided to hire one of the top wedding DJs to help you put together one of the best soundtracks for the biggest day of your life. If you've found the right one, they will help you curate a playlist that will have you and your guest on the dance floor all night long.  But before you indulge in all of the delicious food prepared by your caterer, and all of the tasty adult beverages mixed together by your bartender, you've got to take care of one very important bit of business; you've got to get married. You've got to make it official.  Most professional wedding DJs will offer ceremony music as one of their services. Within this service, you'll have your wedding DJ provide all of the music parts of your wedding ceremony, as well as microphones for your officiant and possibly the groom should you decide to do your own vows.  Ever since forming my professional wedding DJ company, I've strived to provide the best sound possible for my clients.  Providing the best sound possible to my clients at their wedding ceremony is also something I strive to do. But, would you believe there are a ton of factors that haunt me when I am providing music for a client's wedding ceremony? Yes, even being "perfect" is not enough, especially for outdoor wedding ceremonies. 

 You are probably asking yourself this question: "Mike, why are you bringing up this topic about the stressers of wedding ceremony music at this time?" Well, the topic comes to mind after I just completed one of the most logistically-challenging wedding ceremonies of my entire career.  After the ceremony was over, I breathed a tremendous sigh of relief. But in the weeks leading up to this particular wedding ceremony, I thought I might be developing an ulcer. I felt myself tossing and turning in my sleep in the days and weeks leading up to this challenging wedding ceremony.  Why is it that these outdoor wedding ceremonies have a tendency to be so stressful for wedding DJs? It's easy. The answer would be a lack of control.  No wedding DJ ever has complete control in an outdoor wedding ceremony situation.

Before I go into a few of the reasons why wedding DJ simply do not have 100% control in an outdoor wedding ceremony situation, let me first boast about this recent success story in a very logistically-challenging situation. For those modern brides and grooms who have a desire to have plantation-style wedding, I thoroughly recommend you check out the amazingly beautiful Middleton Place.  I had a booking out there in October 2022 and I had forgotten what a beautiful gem this area is.  My client asked if I could provide their ceremony music for them. I told them that I would do it for them, simply because I am not in the habit of ever saying "no" to my clients.  While Middleton Place is one of the most beautiful plantations for a wedding, it comes with it an increase in complicated logistics, especially for a wedding ceremony.  For one, the ceremony locations at Middleton Place are hundreds of yards away from the cocktail hour / reception areas. Professional wedding DJs have to be prepared to transport additional ceremony gear to those ceremony sites. Secondly, most of the ceremony locations did not have power, and the one area that did have access to power would require multiple extension cords connected together, which would make the task of providing ceremony music and PA an even more arduous undertaking.  

Back in 2015, I was hired to be the DJ for a wedding out at Middleton Place. This couple's ceremony was to be held down at the 1000+ year old Middleton Oak tree. In the weeks and months leading up to that wedding, I checked out compact solutions, which included an all-in-one system that ran on a battery.  That particular all-in-one system only had limited capability and I did not see a way to provide the best sound for this couple without using my existing setup that I had created for providing wedding ceremony music and PA. So, back then, I went over to Sunbelt and rented a quiet generator and placed it in the bushes out of the view from the guests. While it served its purpose, it was big and bulky. Fastforward to October 2022, I needed a portable power solution that served the same purpose as the quiet generator did years ago, but was more practical.

My commitment to my client involved the purchase of a portable power station. Before the purchase of this portable power station, I examined every piece of my ceremony gear to see how much power it used so I could make sure I was buying the right size power station. I made a decision to buy one that far exceeded the power requirements for my ceremony gear setup. Upon receipt of my new portable power station,  I plugged it in and charged it to full capacity prior to plugging in all of my ceremony music devices.  After bringing the portable power station to a full charge, I plugged in all of my devices for about 1 hour. I was relieved to see the battery life of the portable power station would only decrease by 7-8% in an hour. At that rate, I could conceivably run my entire wedding reception system should the power go out at the reception location. 

Adequate Wedding Ceremony Music Planning = 100% Success

From the time I committed to providing my client their wedding ceremony music to the time I ran my tests on the portable power station, to the day of the ceremony, I am proud to tell you that the execution of my client's wedding ceremony went flawlessly. I don't believe this would have been possible if I did not put my total focus on this undertaking.  And more importantly,  I achieved 100% success because of the total dedication to my clients. Every single move that I make as a professional wedding DJ needs to be carefully studied and tested. My reputation is constantly at stake should I make an error, and I care so much about the success of each event that I perform at. 

Beach Ceremonies Without The Extension Cords

6 days after this intense wedding ceremony out at Middleton Place, my portable power station was once again used for a beach ceremony. Now as a professional wedding DJ, I've done only a few beach wedding ceremonies. For beach wedding ceremonies, most couples will hire a musician of some type because they can generally bring their gear out in fairly short order.  My next wedding would be on Folly Beach and I would provide ceremony music and PA for the first time with my portable power station.  Can I just say this? I love this new piece of equipment!  It's a powerful feeling knowing that you can now do a wedding ceremony ANYWHERE without extension cords. 

OPINION: Why Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies Are Stressful

No matter how much testing and preparation I put into one of my clients for their wedding ceremony, I still are not in 100% control of any situation.  Why is this? Well, for one; Mother Nature.  I can sit here and tell you everything is gonna be perfect, but the one thing I simply cannot control is the weather.  When I know that I have to set up for an outdoor wedding ceremony, I generally begin looking at the weather forecasts for up to 10 days out. As the ceremony gets closer,  my confidence in the short term weather forecast increases, but you still never know.  If you are a wedding vendor in Charleston, SC and have to do anything outdoors, you've always got the radar up on your phone, especially if we were in the spring or summer.  I'll never forget a wedding ceremony I was working in September of 2016 out at Magnolia Plantation. We were still in the late summer, and at a time where it could rain at any time.  Now, there was no green on the radar, but right at the end of the ceremony, it began to rain. Luckily I was not too far away from putting my gear inside, otherwise I might have lost some of it due to water damage. 

But to be honest, it's not just the chance of rain that makes outdoor wedding ceremonies stressful. It can be the wind.  As a professional wedding DJ, you hope for winds of less than 5 mph. No matter how much preparation is taken by using windscreens on wireless lapel mics, there's always a little bit of wind hitting them and creating a thunderous sound in the speaker.  I often wondered if there was a way to install a clear, plexiglass wall around where the officiant and bride and groom would be for the ceremony. This would not be practical and could potentially get in the way of photos for the photographer, by creating an ugly glare. In an effort to try to perfect ceremony sound outdoors, perhaps an arbor can be created that extends around the couple to block the wind? Once again, this may or may not be practical and would depend solely on the taste and desires of the wedding planner and bride / groom. 

In summation, there is one thing that I can control, even in the most stressful of situations. That one thing is continuing to maintain top-of-the-line equipment so that my clients can have the best experience possible.  And it's not just using that equipment and putting it on the shelf until it's needed again.  Maintaining top-of-the-line equipment means pulling it out every now and then and testing it, and then testing it again just to make sure it's in excellent working order.  It also means doing the most common things like replacing batteries right before an event, even though they might have been replaced a week ago. Yes, my clients are worth a ton to me and I would rather invest in one new 9 volt battery and know that I did all I could to ensure their ceremony was flawless, instead of taking a chance on a battery that might be getting ready to die, thus causing the microphone audio to cut out.

Interested In Hiring DJ Mike Bills For Your Wedding Ceremony And Reception?

Thank you for making it all the way to the end of this post. It certainly was not my intent to discourage any of my clients from having their wedding ceremony outdoors. This post was to share with you some of the nervous thoughts that professional wedding DJs tend to go through when executing the ceremony music and PA for a wedding ceremony.  If you should hire for your wedding ceremony, I will do everything in my power to make sure the audio is flawless. I can do that very easily because I am an owner-operated wedding DJ who only takes on ONE WEDDING PER DAY. By only taking on one wedding per day, I will never double or triple book your wedding day, and will give you 100% focus.  For more information about the benefits of hiring a wedding DJ who only works at one wedding per day, be sure to click that link. To schedule a time for me to speak with you about your upcoming wedding, be sure to click the link up above to be taken over to my contact form. Thank you so much for finding me! i look forward to speaking with you about your upcoming wedding.