Can a wedding band play outside?

6th January 2022

It’s great to plan your wedding around a vision of the perfect day for you and your guests. For many that involves a summer wedding with lots of sunshine and a big party taking place outside with great light and all their favourite people together dancing and having fun. One question that often isn’t considered until the day itself is can the wedding band actually play outside?

Wedding bands can play outside as long as there is access to power and shelter from the sun or rain in case the weather changes. A small gazebo is perfect for protection from the sun and can stop any rain from damaging the band’s equipment if the weather changes. It’s also wise to consult with your venue or your neighbours regarding sound levels as there may be a time where noise has to be below a certain level.

wedding music outside

When to have live music outside?

In our experience we find that for weddings in the UK it works best to have live music outdoors for the wedding ceremony or drinks reception. With the timing of most wedding ceremonies and drinks receptions falling in the middle of the day we find that this is the perfect time to be outside and it’s even better if there’s a small band such as an acoustic duo or trio.

For evening music it’s usually best to have this inside the venue or marquee given the unpredictable nature of British weather and the location of the bar although in other hotter countries it’s perfectly reasonable to have the band perform outside for the evening reception.

Bands playing outdoors need access to electricity

Bands playing outside don't need much in the way of extra consideration, but an absolutely essential item is access to electricity to power the bands equipment. Even acoustic duos require a small sound system featuring usually one or two speakers, a microphone and a mixing desk to deliver high quality sound that your guests will be able to enjoy.

This doesn't have to be industrial strength power either as most bands can run their equipment from a standard mains socket and use an extension reel to reach the area you would like them to play. It’s probably a good idea not to have this too far away from the power source but most bands will carry an extension lead that reaches up to 25 meters.

Should I provide shelter for the wedding band?

Often when we’ve been asked to play outside it has been decided at the last minute because the weather happened to be great that day and it’s always been a really fun way to create a nice atmosphere. If you are having a summer wedding or a wedding abroad and considering having live music outside we would advise you to plan to provide shade or shelter for the musicians as protection from the sun or even rain if the weather changes. 

The Duplettes playing outside

During a drinks reception the musicians can be performing for upto two hours and if it’s a hot day this can be uncomfortable at best and a bit of a nightmare on a scorching day. If it begins to rain then the equipment is in danger and it’s obviously not a great idea to have electronics out in the open during a shower.

Consider providing a small gazebo or if you are sure that it’s not going to rain then place the band in some natural shade provided by a large tree or a building.

Consider noise levels when hiring a band to play outside

Bands create sound, even a small acoustic duo. Indoors this isn’t usually an issue as the walls and ceilings provide varying degrees of soundproofing, although more and more wedding venues these days have noise meters even for indoor performances. 

Outdoors sound can travel really far, often much further than you’d imagine. In some cases such as from venues on hilltops or in valleys this can be as much as a few miles, so even seemingly remote wedding venues in the countryside can have quite strict guidelines to stick to when it comes to sound or “noise” levels. 

outdoor summer wedding

Most noise complaints from neighbours are to do with evening wedding music from a loud band so an acoustic duo in the day is much less likely to create complaints than a band with a drummer in the evening. However, it is advisable to talk to the venue in advance to check on their noise considerations and policy. If you are having the wedding in your home or garden then mentioning it to your neighbours is a worthwhile courtesy as most will be understanding for a special occasion, even more so if they are invited!

Conclusion

For weddings in the UK having an acoustic duo or trio for the drinks reception is the easiest way to create a great atmosphere for the rest of the day and is a lovely backdrop for guests while they sip on champagne and mingle. It’s really simple to organise and the band will do most of the work so just make sure that they have access to electricity and some form of shade or shelter if possible.

If you are having a destination wedding then it’s quite probable that the venue have experience of musicians playing outside and once informed on your intentions can organise this quite easily.

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