Rural and Outdoor Weddings from a DJ's Prospective
Since we live in a small town, 90% of our weddings are both rural and outdoors. This can create some challenges that a lot of DJs from a big city really don't really have to deal with much. For those of you planning a wedding in a rural town(and outdoors), here are some things to consider when you receive a quote from a DJ.
1. More Than One Speaker System Setup
This almost always happens. You choose to have your ceremony in a beautiful setting and then have your reception in a back patio, outdoor venue, back yard, driveway, etc. There has to be a smooth transition between ceremony and reception. Otherwise, once the ceremony is over, your guests will be left with silence while the DJ has to move their equipment. That usually means mics will be down as well and really won't be able to direct people where to go.
We actually build a 2nd setup in our pricing because of how often we need to use them. Since we can set up two systems, we can easily go from ceremony to the reception and have music playing, announce where to go and what to do during cocktail hour, and be ready to go when the grand entrance happens.
This is a constant struggle. We frequently DJ rural and backyard weddings where power may not be as accessible as when we DJ at an actual venue. Sometimes, there is absolutely no power and everything has to run off of a generator. Our sensitive equipment needs a special type of generator so that it can regulate sudden high surges to the equipment which may damage it. Also, because of how much power the DJ needs to power equipment, if there is an outlet, the DJ should be the only one plugging in to that outlet. That's to ensure stable power. Also, the power source needs to be less than 100' away.
We had to share power with a caterer one time and they had to power all of their equipment in the same outlet as ours and we kept tripping the breaker because it was overloaded. Thus, music and mics are shut down which interrupts the quality of our service.
Word of advice, find out EXACTLY what's needed from your DJ/Sound guy and try and work out a deal with them. If a generator is needed, work out the details as far in advance as you possibly can.
In Arizona, during wedding season, it's usually dry and hot until we hit our monsoon season. Then, it usually rains almost every day. If you're having an outdoor wedding. ALWAYS have a backup plan in case the weather goes bad. If it's very hot outside, consider bringing some canopies or arrange to have the DJ bring one for himself. There are a couple of reasons why this is important. If it decides to rain, the gear will be covered. If it's really hot, it keeps the equipment cool and allows it to properly work. Computers won't overhead and shut down. Plus, I won't turn into a crab lol.
If the power source you provide is wet during rain, for safety reason, we will not plug our equipment into the power source because of shock. Make sure that if you provide power and it's going to rain to keep it as dry as possible.
We have had weddings where the terrain was a little more difficult to maneuver than others. We once did a wedding where we had to have hidden speakers on a rocky cliff. That was all pre planned and I hired extra help to assist me. But, keep terrain in mind when you're planning your wedding. If your ceremony and/or reception areas are difficult to get to, that may be more costly because of needing extra hands and special tools to meet those needs.
5. Wifi/Cell Service
We have a large library of music, but we also get requests of music that we may not have and usually buy during an event. If you have a wedding where there are limited to no cell service or wifi available, you'll want to consider having song requests in to the DJ before your event.
If you're planning a wedding in a rural location, have your vendors site visit the location so that all of these things can be considered. Also, if you're coming from out of town, definitely consider hiring local vendors since they have either worked at these venues before, or can easily go visit and take pictures and give you the best recommendations.