An outdoor setting can provide a memorable backdrop for a wedding, but it does require a few extra considerations when hiring entertainment. There are certain technical restrictions that pertain to outdoor locations, and they should be discussed while viewing potential wedding sites as they will influence the type of entertainment that is ultimately selected. By planning ahead with these challenges in mind, a natural, open-air environment can lend itself to many entertainment possibilities.
By the Shore
The sandy conditions of a beach, while carefree, may dictate the use of certain instruments over others. String or wind instruments, like a guitar, violin, cello, or flute may be easier to place on sand than a harp or keyboard because of size and surface requirements. The performers may also require amplification, and if a power source is not available, a couple’s options are limited to acoustic performers. To overcome these challenges while adding appropriate flair to the celebration, a Caribbean steel drum band or Flamenco guitarists are some of the best choices for accommodating a beach wedding.
A wedding held on a yacht offers a different set of unique challenges. If the ceremony is to be performed while the yacht is in motion, care should be taken to place the musicians -- whether a soloist or an ensemble -- in an enclosed or shielded area so that the wind will not affect their performance. If you hire a keyboard player or disc jockey, their equipment will require power from the yacht’s generator. Make sure that the people providing the entertainment are aware, in advance, of the electrical supply on board. Certain performers might be concerned about using a generator because of a possible power surge, which can cause damage to their equipment.
In a Park
Public parks are often used for wedding ceremonies and/or receptions and allow for a wide range of entertainment options. But while parks are sometimes less isolated than a beach and more predictable than a boat, most outdoor public places can only be used for events if special permits are secured. In addition to permits for parking and the gathering itself, be aware of exemptions for local noise ordinances and curfews that may affect your entertainment. Handle these legalities with local city officials early to avoid any unwelcome surprises on the wedding day. Again, if there is no available power source for the performers, and no generator is provided, you may need to use acoustic entertainment.
Regardless of the outdoor location -- from beach to park, or even hotel courtyard -- thought should be given to where you want to place the musicians for the ceremony and/or reception. Be aware of fountains, swimming pools, auto traffic, and other nearby elements that can dilute the sound of the music. You may also want to judge how much separation you will have from other activities happening in the same location. If the event is in direct sunlight, a canopy or tent may be required to protect the entertainers and the equipment. If the event occurs in the evening, special lighting may also be necessary. And as always, having a Plan B -- access to a tented or enclosed area in the event of inclement weather is a must.
It is important to discuss the wedding’s outdoor setting with the entertainment agency, performers or musicians, and the managers of the location itself (if it is privately owned) so that everyone is aware of the circumstances in advance. With a little extra thought and preparation, the entertainment for an outdoor event will work with the flavor of the setting to accentuate its unique mood.
Opening photograph by Michael Adams