This is the final case study (as at mid February 2015) within the content series Event Production & Management, which consists of the following articles:
- General Introduction
- Christians 20/30 Great Gatsby Ball
- Operation Christmas Child Packing Party
- Friend’s Wedding held Saturday 9 August
- Surprise Events (x3) planning
- Friend’s Wedding held Saturday 13 September
- Christians 20/30 Music Festival
- Operation Christmas Child – UCC Packing Party held 14 November
- Friend’s Wedding held Saturday 15 November (this article)
On Saturday 15 November, the final wedding event of 2015 was held (from my perspective). Whilst the nature of the event management services provided was similar to the previous wedding, the different venues also meant a slightly different approach and delivery overall.
One of the key challenges that had to be taken into consideration was the fact that the ceremony and reception were scheduled quite close to each other; the ceremony at Clayton Church being held at 9:30am whilst the reception was a lunch at the Brighton International, scheduled for 1pm.
The rehearsal for this wedding was scheduled on the same evening as the OCC Packing Party event, but fortunately the timing allowed both events to transpire without any clash. It also helped that the wedding requirements of the church venue were limited to the chapel and foyer only. Had the wedding required use of Room 1, the two events may have come into greater potential conflict.
The rehearsal helped us all iron out all technicalities. Since the ceremony worship was being conducted by a small live band – consisting of two keys, a guitar and three vocalists, this was the first time my skills at the sound desk would be stretched the most, since we ended up using five microphones, three wireless feedback/ in-ear packs and three instruments. Fortunately, the husband & wife team that were 2 out of 3 members of the team are members of the worship team as well, so their experience with the technology made the set-up a smooth experience.
The processional and recessional elements of the ceremony were rehearsed as expected, and were made easier by the fact that the accompanying music was sourced from MP3 files, and not the live band. A quick run-through of the worship song items to finalise the arrangement of verses and choruses was quickly achieved; the ProPresenter song arrangement feature fully utilised to make the click-through a straightforward process.
Arriving at 8:30am allowed plenty of time to ensure everything was ready for the wedding ceremony. Finishing touches on the decorations within the Chapel and foyer were made and by 9am, the whole sound desk operation was up and running, with the pre-service collection of music piping throughout the church.
The ceremony held in the Chapel saw most of the middle section completely filled with friends and family attending. A large proportion of the attendees were from Grace Church, where the groom was previously attending prior to him coming to Clayton Church. In typical fashion, the bridal party arrived slightly late (9:45am) and the ceremony got under way. The ceremony itself took place without any hiccups; all microphones operated as expected and all segments of the ceremony transitioned smoothly.
Since ProPresenter was all organised in arrangement format, I concentrated more on ensuring an optimal sound mix throughout the worship as well as the vows. Typically, the reading/reciting of the vows is one of the most challenging parts of a wedding in terms of getting the sound mix right – this is because the one microphone is shared between two people, and the constant alternating between Pastor and groom/bride requires constant switching in gain and mix levels. Fortunately, the Pastor minimised the amount of alternating and he kept the microphone pointed at the groom/bride.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, which was around 10:45am, I arranged with one friend to help with the shutdown of various components of the AV equipment. One of the logistical challenges was that for the wedding ceremony, we had rearranged the stage configuration such that part of the band equipment had been shifted behind stage. It was agreed that after the reception, I would enlist the help of 2-3 people to help me reset the stage ready for the Sunday morning services.
Having put in place the arrangements mentioned above, I left church slightly earlier than the bulk of the guests who were still socialising and hanging out. After the 30-minute drive to The Brighton International, I was able to quickly set-up my Macbook ready for both audio and video control. In part, it was helpful that I had joined the main wedding coordinators along with the bridge & groom in reviewing the venue a fortnight earlier. Similar to the rehearsal opportunity, having the opportunity to familiarise myself with the venue and equipment is essential to preparation and plans.
From the venue preview a fortnight earlier, I had also arranged to consolidate three roles into one – all music, the official video slide-show of photos and surprise slide-show of photos were all operated via my Macbook. Music was managed via Spotify, with the groom directly sharing his playlists with me so I had the music ready; this also allowed for further updates right up until the night before the wedding in finalising the music lists.
As a bonus, I quickly created a graphic title background slide to use as a constant background image on display throughout the reception; this was in part a cropped version of the main image displayed during the ceremony at church. Spotify playlists were utilised to direct when specific songs were to be played:
- Entrance of the bridal party, including one specific song to be played for the entrance of bride & groom
- Wedding dance music
- One song item being performed by one of the groomsmen
- Dance floor music
The main song that was chosen to be the theme song was David Crowder’s How He Loves; this song was also selected for the processional during the ceremony.
As things played out, a big attraction at the reception was the photo booth facility with all the various props. My friends did manage to create a long dancing line, but generally the crowd were not very into dancing, and a short dance floor segment at the end of the official program ensued. In part, the program was quite a long one and filled with various segments throughout. Given things started off a little late, in the end, it was the end dance floor time that got shortened. Speeches were spaced out between the entrée and main course. Part of the challenge with the reception was at the end, as people needed to make a move, this required the bride and groom to make themselves available in the foyer area where guests could thank and congratulate them in person. This also meant that the bride & groom were unable to spend much time on the dance floor and just enjoy that time of celebration.
As part of the bride and groom joint speech, it was very touching that they acknowledged all the married couples in the room, culminating with the honour of the longest marriage given to one elderly couple who had been married for 60 years!
At the conclusion of this wedding, I joked with friends that I was retiring from providing this kind of wedding service since it required a sacrifice on my part in being unable to just sit back, relax and enjoy the occasion, Whilst I say this, the likelihood is that I will still provide these event production services to close friends as part of my way of giving my friends a wedding gift.
In part, my services are tied closely to use of the church facilities. The church offers use of facilities and equipment for weddings to members within the church community. Typically use of the AV equipment requires an operator, who would be paid by the church. For this, and all other the church-based weddings which I have documented as case studies, I have volunteered my services since I have a direct friendship and connection to each of the wedding couples.