What kind of speakers do I need for my wedding?
January 22, 2012 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Help me find the best speaker solution for my upcoming wedding?

I'm getting married in June. Yay! It's a small, relaxed, daytime event, and we want to go the iPod route. We will be having around 30-40 guests. The ceremony will be outside, on a dock, and the reception inside one fairly small rectangular room.

We want the speakers to be loud enough so that our guests can hear the entrance and exit music during our outdoor ceremony, but portable enough that there's not a lot of setup involved and that they can be moved into the (nearby) building for the reception. We do have electrical outlets at both locations. A mic might be nice but I'm not sure if we need it or not.

We can spend a couple hundred or so on either renting or buying some sort of speaker setup. So should we:

- buy a portable iPod speaker
- rent some speaker equipment from a company, and if so what are we looking for
- buy some computer speakers and set it up with a laptop
- something else?

Thanks everyone for you input, and if you are going to tell me specifics please explain it to me like I am a five year old/95 year old because I am pretty clueless. : )
posted by ohsnapdragon to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We had a portable iPod speaker for the outdoor portion of our 40-guest wedding, then hooked the iPod up to the house sound system when we moved inside. Did not need a mic to be heard in that size of crowd, neither with the officiant outside nor with the toasts inside.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 5:43 PM on January 22, 2012

I asked a local musician friend what a good rental option would be. He mentioned that renting this stuff can result in tears. Rather than that, he directed me to a friend of his who is in a local band. That guy rented me a PA and 4 speakers, with cables and stands, for $100.

The PA was breadbox sized and the speakers were very light and manageable. The PA just took stereo RCA's (very simple cheap adapter from the iPod's headphone jack) and he lent a mic too. It worked great for our similarly-sized wedding and I never had to worry about a thing.

So, if you have any real- or Facebook-friends in the local music scene, you might want to start with them!
posted by ftm at 5:44 PM on January 22, 2012

To get any decent sound out of computer speakers+laptop you are going to have to spend a fortune. Don't go that route. Every wedding I've been at that used computer speakers had awful, awful sound.
posted by arcticwoman at 6:36 PM on January 22, 2012

Our friend who DJed our wedding used a Bose L1 system, I believe. Sounded great, and considering the purchase price, should rent pretty reasonably. Amp is built into the base.
posted by supercres at 8:35 PM on January 22, 2012

Something to consider: a bunch of speakers at low volume fills a space with sound without interfering with people's ability to have a conversation. Upscale retailers often do it.
posted by bz at 9:56 PM on January 22, 2012

What bz said above. We were at a wedding reception that is exactly as you describe (small gathering, outdoors, etc.). The happy couple chose to use one large ipod speaker for the event and calibrated it to sound "just right" at their table. Those of us seated closer to the speaker had a terrible time all evening though. We actually ended up retreating the reception much earlier than we may have otherwise because of it (as did others).
posted by labwench at 6:37 AM on January 23, 2012

When I got married, I had a big tent. This isn't portable, but this is how I did the sound:

-I got lucky and found a 7.1 surround sound stereo in the trash. (You can find a cheap one at a thrift store, yard sale, or on craigslist.)

-I asked a bunch of friends if they had any old speakers. In no time, I had more than I needed.

-I picked up some cheap speaker wire (a lot of it)

-Set up 7 speakers around the tent (all wired back to the receiver)

-Put in a connection for my iPod (and since it was an all night thing, guests knew that they could plug in their ipods/phones after the dinner).

The sound was great. Nice background so it didn't drown out conversation, and as the night went on, people kept on changing the volume to fit the atmosphere.

Not sure how you would get this to the dock for the wedding march...
posted by toddst at 8:24 AM on January 23, 2012

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