So you’ve picked the beach as your wedding venue! Congratulations, that’s a fantastic choice! Being out in nature always makes for a special day and live music is such a great way to further enhance the magic. This is because live music is a live art. There are skills, finesse, and thought involved in what notes are chosen to make a song totally unique in the way it’s performed in front of you. It blends so well with the beach as it fills the atmosphere, blending beautiful guitar tones with ocean waves and vocals sailing on the wind. It doesn’t distract from the experience but adds to the beauty around it.
That being said, it’s good to know the logistics involved so that your live music can run smoothly and no worries are brought to the big day! That’s why we, The Kahuna Duo, are here to give you some food for thought when it comes to having acoustic music at your coastal wedding…
Image: Tealily Photography
To start with, make sure that you are in fact allowed to have amplified music. This is especially important because some beaches have noise restrictions and your musicians will need to know prior to your event so they can best prepare for your day. This leads to our second point…
Amplification is almost always necessary. There are a lot of competing sounds at the beach, the crashing waves being the biggest one, wind and people. As most coastal music is chilled and aisle songs are usually stripped back, hearing a soft voice or delicate guitar fingerpicking over these sounds, through bodies, and over conversations will prove to be quite the challenge.
A completely unplugged setup can be pulled off if you are in a protected area that is quiet and free from any wind (maybe under some nice palm trees), your musicians are basically standing right next to you, and you have a small number of guests – think 10 or less. If your band has a few singers harmonising together, that would help raise the volume as well! Otherwise, your safest plan in knowing you’ll hear every note is to have amplification.
Image: Dan Cartwright Photography
Letting your musicians know if there is power available is always important as speakers and instruments like keyboards need to be powered up. You might be getting married on a headland where there may be power outlets available but if you’re saying ‘I do’ on the sand then portable power options are available! Your musicians should either have a battery-powered speaker or a battery inverter system (our favourite) which can power up their gear. Be sure to check in with them to make sure they can provide this for you.
Unloading as close to where the musicians are to be set up is ideal. Let them know the closest point they can drive to and how far from there they will be required to move their gear.
Similarly, if your beach can be somewhat tricky to access then have a couple of options of how to get there in case plan A falls through. Be sure to have organised access through gates and the best available parking with rangers or council, to allow vendors easy access.
Pass on the contact details of your wedding coordinator or someone who knows your wedding and location information to your musicians. This ensures things flow smoothly without you having to worry about taking calls while you are trying to get ready for your wedding.
Image: The Kahuna Duo
It’s important to have a backup plan in case the weather starts to look menacing. Communicating your wet weather plan across will allow your musicians to be organised and bring appropriate gear if you have to move locations.
Another little menace that you can’t see but can definitely hear is wind. It can get quite windy when you’re next to the ocean so a tip to reduce the amount of whooshing wind noise that mics pick up is to check your musicians (and celebrant for that matter) have mic foam coverings – works a charm!
Let your musicians know if your ceremony is on the sand, they may bring a carpet to place underneath them so that their gear doesn’t get too sandy. Another fun idea that you can coordinate with your musicians, stylists or just DIY is to create a makeshift stage out of pallets. You can pick these up for free from Bunnings or on Gumtree and have a rug placed on top, this keeps any gear off the sand and also creates a cute rustic platform!
Having adequate shade and water provided to not only your musicians but all vendors and guests is super important under our hot Aussie sun.
Image: David Maltby Images
Our final and most important advice, if you’re considering having a beach ceremony, is to just do it! There are a similar amount of logistics involved in almost every ceremony location and these tips will help make sure that you’re covered no matter what pops up. Have a listen to our coastal wedding vibes playlist (below) for some seaside wedding music inspiration! We hope you have an amazing wedding!
Coastal Spotify Playlist from the Kahuna Duo:
About the Kahuna Duo: We perform as an acoustic duo for weddings in the Southern Highlands, Sydney, Hunter Valley, Bryon Bay, all along NSW, interstate, international, you name it! If it’s a wedding we love it. We put our heart and soul into our song arrangements and creating a sound that is unique and true to us. We put these same efforts into making the best soundtrack for your day that we possibly can!
Header Image: Sarah Kennedy Photography