Dr. Alan Viau

Lighting and Sound Enhance Your Wedding Ceremony

By Alan Viau

The eyes are the windows to the soul, the mouth the door.  So we need to see and hear you during your wedding ceremony. When confronted with a dark  and cavernous ceremony space, it is imperative to add lighting and sound.

Lighting and Sound make a huge impact on your guests enjoyment of the ceremony. Photo by Alan Viau

Hiram Powers, an American sculptor (1805 – 1873) said, “The eye is the window of the soul, the mouth the door. The intellect, the will, are seen in the eye; the emotions, sensibilities, and affections, in the mouth. ” Thus it follows that during a wedding ceremony, your guests want to see you and hear you. They want to see your intentions in your eyes and hear your emotions.

I find that the challenges of on-location ceremonies include the use of lighting and sound. Many locations may be suitably lighted for a low light  romantic tete-a-tete but is inadequate for a wedding ceremony. So during the touching moments of your vows your friends and family will hardly be able to witness and feel your love because they can’t see or hear you.

One of my favorite places to perform a wedding ceremony is the Canadian Museum of Nature because they get that concept. They understand that their space is a museum and the lighting is designed to highlight the exhibits. However, they cooperate fully in altering their space to have adequate lighting and sound. When I do a wedding there, they re-direct lights so that they are on the couple and provide and operate the sound equipment so that everything can be heard.

Canadian Museum of Nature, Rotunda Room. Notice the ceiling pot lights are redirected. You can see the circle of light on the floor where the couple and I were. Photo by Alan Viau

For a do-it-yourself wedding location, like the Rockcliffe Park Pavilion, you may need to do that yourself. At a recent wedding there, the bride and groom arranged to rig a lighting system consisting of LED lights in standard household fixtures. The best man, who is an electrician, came up with this idea. LEDs are great because they don’t need much power. This is really important at this location because there is only one power outlet that was shared with the DJ’s sound equipment. I was really impressed by the creative lighting used by this couple.

 https://www.ottawaweddingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/lighting1.jpgLighting made a huge difference at this wedding. Photo by Alan Viau
Close up of the lighting rig. Photo by Alan Viau

There is an easy way to check if you need lighting at a location when you are scouting out a place for your ceremony. With a digital camera, take a picture of yourselves without flash. If you can’t see your eyes very well, then you need lighting. For sound, have someone be in the proposed ceremony spot and the another at the opposite end of the room. Try to have a normal conversation. If you can’t hear each other very well, then you need sound amplification.

Lighting and sound will make a huge difference on the enjoyment your guests will experience when attending your wedding. Make them part of your checklist when considering a location.

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