Do you need to get a generator?

wedding reception tent
Credit: Meg Smith

Your wedding reception is all planned out: The caterer's pop-up kitchen will be set in a big field outside your venue, a lighting crew bring in an installation of chandeliers that will hang over the dinner tables, and you and your guests will dance to an eight-piece band once the sun sets. Sounds like a recipe for an amazing night! The only question is, does your venue have enough power to make it all happen? To be sure, you'll need to check with the professionals. Here, tips for ensuring that every aspect of your wedding that needs power will have it on the big day.

Get a professional assessment.

If you're even a little bit uncertain about whether or not you need to bring additional power to your venue, get a professional's expert opinion. Things like an external sound system, a satellite kitchen, lighting, and portable restrooms all require their own dedicated power. Kelsey Sheofsky, wedding planner and owner of the outdoor events and tenting company Shelter-Co., says, "I recommend following the advice of your wedding vendors. They'll know what their power draw needs are and can assess if additional power needs to be brought in. Lighting companies can handle generator rentals and assess the amount of power needed between all vendors coming in."

Multiple locations means multiple generators.

If your wedding has multiple locations, you may need to bring in more than one generator. While your ceremony may be able to run off of existing power or without any plug-ins, your cocktail hour and dinner will likely need a system to power lighting and a sound system. Then, you could need an additional power station for the dance floor if it's in another location that doesn't have enough dedicated outlets. Likewise, if your caterer is setting up a pop-up kitchen, they may need their own power supply.

How you set up your generator is key.

Older generators can be loud and put off exhaust, so it's important to talk with your rental company about the type of generator you're using and where it'll be located in proximity to guests. If it'll need to be hidden where guests can't see or hear it, that may be something to discuss with your wedding design team. You'll also want to know if someone from the rental company needs to be on-site to oversee the generator if it needs refueling.

You may not need a generator at all.

Nine times out of ten, if you're getting married at a seasoned venue, all of your power needs will be accounted for and worked into the plans. Your venue manager should be able to address power requirements with each of your vendors and coordinate accordingly prior to your event. When in doubt, simply talk it out with your wedding team.


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