This is the first case study within the mini-series Event Production & Management, which consists of the following articles:
- General Introduction
- Christians 20/30 Great Gatsby Ball, held 26 July
- Operation Christmas Child – Surge Packing Party held 30 July
- Friend’s Wedding held 9 August (this article)
- Surprise events (x3) planning
- Friend’s Wedding held 13 September
- Christians 20/30 Music Festival held 4 October
- Operation Christmas Child – UCC Packing Party held 14 November
- Friend’s Wedding held 15 November
Held on Saturday 9 August, a small size wedding was held at my church with 30–40 guests. In part, the couple getting married found this scale manageable and appropriate given the fact that both their families and parents were based overseas. Both sets of parents instead were connected to the wedding ceremony via Skype and two iPads!
Utilising the full suite of technology available in the church chapel, this was my first time operating the chapel systems as a solo operator, and thus, I paid greater attention to the operational aspects during the Friday 8 August rehearsal. During the start of the service, another friend was able to help out and thus I did not have to resort to operating the visual projection via iPad control – which was the planned alternate solution. Instead, having my friend operate the visual projection of lyrics, I could focus on the task of leading worship.
Preparation is the key to ensuring success for any event and utilisation of the Friday rehearsal time to set up the entire set of visual slides enabled me to have the entire wedding event fully mapped out. The initial pre-service music was loaded into ProPresenter, instead of using iTunes or even a separate device (iPod) connected to the sound desk. ProPresenter was then configured such that the pre-service visual slides included an audio cue for that playlist of music. Another slide was set-up with the audio cue for the processional. It was this integrated use of ProPresenter, with its combination of visual and audio cues that thus made the content delivery much more manageable and simplified. This same feature set was used to enhance the initial photo slide show with a particular song that the couple had selected specifically to be played whilst the marriage certificates were signed and witnessed.
The audio requirements for the wedding were fairly minimal given there was no band to perform live music. Two microphones were utilised – one by the Pastor conducting the ceremony and the other by myself in leading worship. For worship, two songs were utilised:
- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
For Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone), instead of using the YouTube video which I had been directed to use, I acquired the equivalent backing track from MultiTracks and created a MP3 output which was loaded into the ProPresenter audio library. My preparation for this song thus focused on making sure that my timing and verbal cues aligned to the backing track. To help minimise jumping around on ProPresenter, I also made full use of the arrangement feature to lay out the entire song end-to-end, repeating chorus and verse slides as needed. As mentioned earlier, since my friend took over the projection control, it made it very easy for him to follow the song sequentially and not worry about the arrangement. It also helped that we both know the songs quite well.
For Sovereign, since the song was less familiar to everyone, I relied on an actual song music track complete with Chris Tomlin singing as lead. The same use of a full song arrangement on ProPresenter again simplified the task of controlling and playing the visual projection of lyric slides. For both songs, where there was a pause/break between verses or choruses, I ensured that the song arrangement included a blank slide, to reinforce the operator (initially myself, but later my friend).
During the wedding ceremony, maintaining a consistent audio level was fairly straightforward – the biggest challenge was during the vows being said. This is always the hardest part for operating sound in any wedding – the constant shuffle between Pastor/Minister and the groom/bride means having to react and adjust microphone levels appropriately so that each is clearly heard.
The final recessional was a repeat in delivery of the processional – the audio MP3 cued to play with the click of the final slide.
Overall, this wedding was a simple ceremony and the audio/video requirements and operation was of a similar level of complexity. As with any event, a smooth operation that does not draw attention is the best outcome – where no one notices the effort and it all just happens. It was very appropriate that this wedding was the first event and not one of the bigger ones I helped out with later; the smaller scale and delivery effort was suitably timed to help prepare me for future events.