Wedding equipment hire is possibly the most overlooked aspect of planning your big day. Many underestimate the impact of having the correct lighting, for example, or simply don’t have enough technical knowledge to choose the right equipment.
At LiveSupport we’re here to help. We’ve created this guide to help you with the technical side of your big day. Once you’ve seen what you can achieve with the right equipment, you’ll wonder how you could have survived without it!
Part I: What kind of wedding are you having?
This is a question that you will have (hopefully!) answered by now. Weddings reflect a couple’s personality and tastes, so they vary greatly in shape and size.
You might be planning for a small reception, with a focus on quality and sophistication. Or perhaps you’re the opposite; you’d rather invite everyone and party long into the night.
As you’ve probably gathered, the technical needs for both of these tastes will be very different. The quiet wedding may require subtle uplighting or decorative lighting for an upmarket feel. However, the party wedding will need lots of disco lighting, big speakers and maybe even a stage!
The first step is to decide where you fall on this scale. Good questions to ask yourself are: How many people will you invite? How big is the venue? How much do you like to party?
Part II: Your venue
The venue is potentially the most important part of the wedding planning – and rightfully so. Whether you’ve found somewhere quaint, somewhere unique or somewhere luxurious, you can make some incredible improvements by just choosing the right equipment.
Starlit drapes (known as starcloths) can be used as a backdrop to the top table, or your band or DJ. This can create a focal point in the room, useful if the venue lacks a main feature. They can also be used to cover undesirable imperfections in older, rustic wedding venues for instance.
Consider the lighting already in your venue. An old, rustic barn may look fabulous in the daytime, but how will your guests see once the sun goes down? Industrial lighting or floodlights are a guaranteed to ruin the atmosphere, so consider a ceiling of fairy lights, or coloured uplighting around the room for a posh look.
Part III: The guests
Your wedding is your day, and nothing should change that. However, it’s important to consider who you are inviting too. If you love loud dance music, but only a few of your close friends share this passion, perhaps booking a nightclub-style setup may not be the best idea. The same, of course, applies the other way round too – not providing exciting enough entertainment could result in guests leaving early, which may be a bit of a disappointment.
If you have a mix of age ranges attending, and guests with different interests, we generally recommend booking entertainment that can adapt on demand during the night. For example, why not start with a live band in the early evening, then move on to an experienced Mobile DJ to cover all bases? Make sure your DJ is flexible and can start with great all-round tunes, moving onto more modern or dance songs later on in the night once the oldies have left.
Part IV: The equipment
So onto the equipment, as promised! Here’s a list of our most popular equipment to hire for Weddings, and what each item can do for you.
- Starcloths / Starlit Backdrops: These are large, black drapes, featuring tiny white LED ‘stars’. They have a tidy, premium look and are great for backgrounds and hiding things you don’t want the guests to see! We recommend using them behind top tables, as a backdrop to the DJ or band, as a cover-up to hide something, or as a divider.
- String / Fairy Lighting: A classic look! We stock heavy-duty fairy lights, suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Unlike off-the-shelf packs you can find in supermarkets, each strand can be connected together to span long distances without breaking. With our fairy lights you can create a canopy of light above your guests or use with poles outdoors to create a border around the seating area. White cable and warm white bulbs look best for weddings and other classy events.
- Uplighting: Uplighters are probably one of the most popular hire items when it comes to wedding equipment hire. These lights are placed on the floor, pointing upwards, to illuminate the walls aesthetically. Our LED uplighters don’t get hot, and can be set to almost any colour (even including ultra-violet!). Whilst battery-powered uplighters are available, we recommend using wired lights wherever possible as you don’t have to worry about battery life. Also, wired uplighters are much better value for money – usually a third of the price of wireless.
- Projection: Our range of projectors and screens is great for Weddings. Why not display a rolling slideshow of all your favourite memories, or perhaps order a classy monogram (a projected image of your names on one of the walls). Projection is not often seen at weddings but has a big impact and gives off an exclusive look at a very reasonable price.
- Staging: For larger weddings, or weddings where entertainment is more important, you may need a stage. We can supply any size stage at any height, making our staging suitable for top tables, bands, DJs and more. A stage provides an excellent focal point and is especially useful for live music and bands where a divide is needed between the performers and the audience. In large rooms, raising the top table slightly will mean guests sat at the back of the venue can still see you, which is important for speeches!
- Microphones, Speakers and PA Systems: On the topic of speeches, make sure people are heard! There’s nothing worse than guests having to sit through a long speech that they can’t hear. Our basic PA packages start at just £70, or you can upgrade to a wireless microphone for a little more. Our PA Systems can be set up for you, or you can even collect and set up yourself if you’re working to a budget. All the sound systems we offer come with a music input too, allowing you to play background music from a phone, tablet or laptop throughout the day.
- DIY Discos: If a DJ isn’t top of your priorities list, try a DIY Disco setup. We offer sound and party light packages which allow you to take control of the entertainment for your special evening. Like the PA systems, these can be setup for you, or collected yourself if you’ve got time. DIY Disco Packages are great if you aren’t too worried about having a DJ, don’t have the budget, or have a small venue that only needs a few party lights. The lights are automatic, so just plug in your device, press play on a playlist and enjoy the evening.
- Live Music and Bands: For something a little different, try finding some talented musicians – we have a few suggestions that we’ll happily send your way! Often bands won’t have a sound system, or it won’t be large enough for bigger venues, which is where we step in. We have band sound systems, stages, and stage lighting to make your performers look and sound perfect. Add on one of our sound technicians too, if the band don’t have one available. We recommend hiring the band equipment as part of your LiveSupport package, as we can set this up in the morning, meaning your band won’t have to drag their gear past all of your guests just before they start.
- Mobile DJs and Mobile Discos: Last but not least, if you need a DJ we’re here to help. There’s a reason why the Wedding DJ has become such an important part of the big day, so don’t just go with the cheapest one you can find. Our sister company, Izaac James Disco, provides different setups to suit your style, and an experienced DJ to match. We always recommend comparing photos and reviews of different DJs to see what you’re getting for the price – often the cheapest option is far from the best value.
Part V: Final top tips
- No matter what the supplier is providing, ask for photos and reviews. DO NOT go with the cheapest option automatically without considering how much you are getting for your money! There are unfortunately many people who will provide the bare minimum for a low price, which could leave you disappointed.
- If there are multiple rooms to your venue, consider the atmosphere you are looking for. Generally, having the bar and entertainment in separate rooms is a big no-no. Guests will naturally crowd near the bar for drinks, leaving the entertainers playing to an empty room, and a lack of entertainment in the bar area. This can leave the evening feeling a little uneventful; it’s much better to focus on one larger room.
- Get the right sized venue for your number of guests. A huge wedding venue may look beautiful, but if you only have 30 guests it will feel empty and lacking in atmosphere. Likewise, inviting 200 guests to a small village hall will be busy and unenjoyable.
- Stuck on something? Please ask! You have one shot at this, so don’t guess if you’re unsure. We always offer free advice, with no obligation to use us. We’d much rather spend a little time helping you than see you guess something and pay the price on your big day.
- Plan in advance, but not too far! Sometimes we’ll get a request from a couple planning a wedding three years before the date. Many suppliers are wary of booking this far in advance, as too much can happen in this time. In our experience only a few businesses will book events more than two years in advance, which will limit your options and mean you might not get the perfect supplier. We recommend anywhere between a year and 18 months before is the best time to plan your entertainment, maybe with the venue being booked a little before.
- Brief your entertainers or DJ. Tell them what you want to hear, and what you don’t, but don’t be too overbearing. Hopefully these people are professionals, who have worked with every possible group of people, so they will know how to work the audience. If you tell them they’re only allowed to play one type of music, it can backfire on you, as your guests might not enjoy it which can ruin the atmosphere. A good mix, with a focus on your preferences is the definitely the best way to go.
If you’ve made it this far then congratulations! We know this was a long one but hopefully you’ll benefit from some of our behind-the-scenes knowledge. The most important part of all is to ask for help – if you need any advice just contact us and we’ll walk you through it.
All the best for your big day!
The LiveSupport Crew