Sound Systems

Can you hear us now?

Without doubt, the way we interact with people has changed in recent months. What hasn’t changed for many people, though, is the desire to get married and share their special day with family and friends.

Therefore,  it is more important than ever that you don’t overlook the importance of being heard. As a former radio and TV broadcaster, I have always felt this is an essential part of every wedding ceremony. I recommend that you add “check on audio equipment” to your wedding to-do list. Then, make a plan well before your big day.

Projecting Your Voice

Even with the loosening of COVID-related restrictions on social gatherings, wedding events may look a little different for the foreseeable future. You may find that venues will position chairs for your guests farther apart, or perhaps your guests will feel more comfortable standing for the ceremony, so as to physically distance themselves from one another. Because gatherings must be smaller now, many couples are live streaming their ceremony.

Over the years, I have noticed that couples rarely think about how their voices project. Of course, you want your wedding guests to clearly hear the ceremony and the promises your will make to one another. Those words are meaningful to you, and to your guests as well. You have invited them to your wedding because they play an important role in your lives. For this reason, you want them to share in your special day.


First, check with your wedding planner (if you are using one), venue, DJ, and Justice of the Peace about whether they will provide a portable speaker(s) and a microphone(s). Some JPs do offer that service and may charge a separate fee. If not available from one of your vendors, consider renting audio equipment from a company that specializes in event planning.

As you determine who will provide the audio equipment, it is important to consider:

  • How many microphones will be needed?
  • What type of microphones (lapel and/or hand-held)?
  • If there is just one lapel (clip-on) microphone, will it pick-up the JP and wedding party?

If only a hand-held microphone will be used, keep in mind that it could be a little cumbersome for the officiant to hold the mic and the written ceremony. Alternatively, a tall microphone stand between the JP and couple resolves this problem. Just make sure that the mic is capable of picking up everyone’s voice. And, if a stand is not used, beware of the visual created of the officiant aiming a mic toward the wedding couple as they speak — it could look a bit like the they are being interviewed!

Once you decide what speakers and microphones you’ll use, then it is important to test the audio system. Make sure that the microphones and speakers are in good working order. Check for  extraneous noises like hissing or crackling coming through the speakers.

You and your partner have given a lot of thought to the promises you will make to one another during your wedding ceremony. With a little extra planning, you will be able to share every word of your unique experience with the people you love.

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JP McGuire talks sound systems for weddingsElizabeth McGuire draws on her experience as a former radio and TV news reporter and anchor to perform weddings throughout Connecticut. She considers it an honor to be part of the joyful moments that bring two people together in marriage.


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