Is the harp loud enough for a wedding ceremony?
One of the questions I’ve been asked a few times is if the harp will be loud enough for your wedding ceremony.
In most cases, the answer is ‘yes’!
How does the harp project sound?
The harp projects sound through it’s soundboard, which is the long body of the harp that all of the strings go into. Most harpists on your wedding day will play acoustically, and depending on the size of the harp can play loud enough to fill your room.
Concert grand pedal harps (the kind you’ll see in orchestras) have an extended soundboard which allows for even more projection. I find that for most wedding ceremonies, the sound from my slightly-smaller ¾ sized pedal harp is more than adequate! If you’re concerned about the volume level for your harpist, reach out to them to ask if they’ve played at your venue before!
I find that for most indoor ceremony venues, the harp carries quite nicely in the space without being too aggressive. If your ceremony is outdoors, or if the room is going to be quite expansive, it’s not always as easy of an answer (although still not an issue!).
Considerations for outdoor weddings and weddings with large guest counts
If your wedding is going to be outdoors in the fresh air, or if you’re planning on inviting a few hundred people to your weddings, there’s a couple things that we can do to make sure your harpist can be heard over everyone!
Some harpists have an additional electro-acoustic harp that they use as a supplementary instrument to their usual performance harp. These harps have pickups on each of the strings that allows them to plug directly into speakers and amps. There’s some pretty cool things your harpist can do with an electro-acoustic harp! Keep in mind though that most harpists will not have access to an electro-acoustic harp.
Mic up your harpist
If you’re planning on being mic-ed up for your wedding ceremony, you probably already have access to all of the AV equipment you need to mic up your harpist or other musician too! Your DJ or venue coordinator should be able to help you with getting the right equipment at the right spot, and your harpist will be able to tell you what angle will be best for picking up the full range of the harp. Your harpist will also arrive to your venue with plenty of time to get set up and tuned, so make sure you let them know ahead of time that you’ll be putting a microphone on them! That way they’ll be able to arrive with enough time to check volume and placement settings too.
Is the harp ever too loud for a wedding ceremony?
I’ve never been told the harp is too loud! Just like most other instruments, harpists can adjust the volume of their music by how loud or soft they play. I always make sure to play louder during pivotal moments during your ceremony, but stick to the background for any cocktail hour or other music. After all, your night is all about your guests connecting… it’s not a harp concert! One thing to keep in mind while looking for a venue is to consider whether any of your guests use hearing aids – echo-ey spaces like renovated churches, cathedrals, or other open spaces will make it hard for your guests to stay focused, with or without live music!
Considering a harpist at your event? Let’s talk about your venue!
Planning a wedding can be a stressful experience, and I make it my mission to be one of the easiest vendors you book. I am more than happy to bring the harp to test out acoustics in your venue if I haven’t been there before – just ask for a venue tour to be added to your package and I can tag along one of your scheduled trips!