Wedding Warning! Fair warning to anyone who hears of someone getting married at this venue, or to anyone who is interested in reserving this venue for their wedding ceremony in addition to their reception. I’d like to start by saying this: If you have read any other articles here on my blog, posts on my Facebook page, etc., then you know that I do not dwell on negativity or bash vendors & venues. The goal of my posts here and elsewhere is to always provide helpful info to prospective clients, or to anyone reading who might be planning a wedding or other event. So it is in this vein that I am sharing this experience I had working at this venue on Saturday.
Oak Leigh Wedding Gardens in Fair Oaks: If you know someone getting married there, please INSIST that they hire their DJ to provide full sound support for their Ceremony as well as the reception!
When my client hired me for last night’s wedding, he said the venue had a small, but cheap setup for ceremony support that would handle music and a mic for the officiant. He described the system, and I trusted his evaluation because he’s a musician, and actually worked repairing high-end audio and PA equipment like the products DJ’s use. Based on this, and questions he asked me on my setup, I assumed his decision to not hire me for ceremony support was well-founded. Unfortunately though, he hadn’t actually HEARD the system they have in place, and it bit him and his new wife BIG TIME!
It was actually really weird doing this wedding for me because whenever there has been a ceremony on the same grounds as the reception I’m working, I’ve always been providing the music and sound support for it. so it was kind of ethereal to be just standing around as ceremony time approached.
In the moments leading up to the ceremony, prelude music in the form of very faint classical music was playing through small, wall/ceiling-mounted speakers. The kind you see in the walls and ceilings of doctor’s offices or retail stores for muzak and voice announcements. In and of itself, and all things being equal, there is nothing wrong with this type of install for the purpose of ceremony or background music. That’s what these types of systems are made for.
When it came time for their ceremony on the side of the venue opposite the reception area, we found out all-too-late that the sound was ATROCIOUS! The sound was crackled, and the music for both the processional and recessional was HIGHLY distorted – The speaker may even have been blown.
For the mic on the officiant, their solution was a small, portable, no-name single-speaker PA that BARELY made it back to the rear isles of their 200 guests, and the mic was not omnidirectional, so it did not even pick up the B&G’s vows to each other.
As if the sound support wasn’t bad enough, the venue coordinator added insult to injury by playing the WRONG SONGS for both the processionals & recessional! She was using someone else’s CD! The bride didn’t even get to walk down to her special song! She started off the recessional too early, when they were going to light their unity candle, and when she started it at the end, she started it too early, before the officiant was even done with the pronouncement.
I stood there cringing the whole time! The couple is so awesome, the groom stated later that in hindsight, he should have hired me to do the ceremony as well, but they both took it well and he said “if that’s the worst that could happen tonight, then I’m golden.” Well guess what – That WAS the only hitch in the entire evening, and we had a blast!
If you know anyone getting married there, do NOT let them succumb to the pitch of the venue when it comes to ceremony sound support. The coordinator is VERY adamant, and very assertive, but they do NOT have an adequate setup.
I personally, will not play this venue again unless I am hired for ceremony support as well. I can’t watch another awesome couple experience what we experienced last night at this venue!
If you or someone you know is considering this venue, or are just legitimately concerned about wedding ceremony sound support, please contact me and I’ll be happy to let you know what type of solution I would have for this venue, and how I would design a sound solution to avoid these scenarios and pitfalls at any other venue as well.
Oh yeah… and it goes without saying that I would play the RIGHT SONG as you’re going down the isle too!
When it comes to wedding ceremonies, you only have one shot to do it, and to do it RIGHT. As this awesome young couple found all-too-late, saving a couple-hundred dollars just isn’t worth the risk.