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Give good mic - Part 1

A good wedding photographer friend of mine once commented on how a handheld microphone (henceforth referred to as a 'mic') looks a little phallic in his ceremony photos. Some brides and grooms shriek with dismay when I let them know that, for their 100 guests to actually hear them, they will need to speak into a mic during their ceremony; "oh, I HATE the sound of my voice!"

 Stephanie saying her vows. Photo by Luke Greaves

Stephanie saying her vows. Photo by Luke Greaves

Everyone wants to know why I (and every other registered marriage celebrant in Australia who is required by the Code of Practice to "make efforts to ensure that the marriage ceremony is audible to all those present, using audio equipment, if required")  believe that using a good quality mic properly is so important. Apart from having a mildly sadistic streak (haha!), there are several other excellent reasons why making the effort to use a mic will make your ceremony so much more enjoyable for everyone involved.

 Lampin saying his ring vows. Photo by Alyce Capurso

Lampin saying his ring vows. Photo by Alyce Capurso

1) If you have more than 10 guests, no one past the first row or two will hear very much without a mic. Which kind of flies in the face of why you invited everyone there in the first place, yes?

2) No/low sound = low level engagement from your guests. Although almost everyone attends a wedding eager to indulge in the visual feast and endless parade of pretty things, painstakingly chosen over months and months of planning, humans are not really involved/invested in the ceremony (or lecture, or movie etc.) without sound. And I sure don't spend weeks crafting the perfect blend of moving, honest, genuine and light-hearted content to conduct it in a virtual vacuum at the front while your guests try to lipread. ;)

3) It gives the holder of the mic control over what is heard by most of your guests. If you need to whisper something funny to each other or mention a phrase that is not meant for Nanna's ears, then you can move the mic accordingly to give you the required level of amplification. Light and shade, people. Light and shade.

 Elyce saying her vows. Photo by Emma Sharkey Photography.

Elyce saying her vows. Photo by Emma Sharkey Photography.

I also get asked "why a handheld mic, why not a lapel mic?" There are a few reasons why I think that a handheld mic is superior to a lapel mic for the bride and/or groom. 

Unless you are a news presenter who sits behind a desk, your little movements as you shuffle from foot to foot mean that a lapel mic sometimes rubs against your clothes making a scratchy sound that is amplified through the speaker. 

Using a handheld mic also means that the person holding it can compensate for a bride or groom who is a low talker and adjust the angle of the mic to avoid amplifying any snorts and sniffles while you're ugly crying.  

 Rachel saying her vows with her eyes on Matt.

Rachel saying her vows with her eyes on Matt.

Another thing to consider is that videographers often like to mic up the groom as a backup for any microphones that the celebrant may be using. In my opinion, two or more lapel mics on anyone starts to make them look like they are holding a press conference and not a wedding.

There is also the added weight of the transmitter that needs to be carefully tucked into either the pants or jacket pocket. Not too bad if you only have one to contend with, but any more than that and you risk looking like you are trafficking individual packs of Winny Blues through customs. 

What are your thoughts on the use of mics during a wedding ceremony? Have you had positive or negative experiences?

Adelaide celebrant, Camille Abbott
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