Trends come and go, but the ones that stick around are worth a second thought. Wedding ceremonies produced in a theatre (that’s “re” not “er”) create an amazing dynamic and will give you that “oooh, that’s different” feeling. Whether you have a large or small stage to play with, if you’re planning to wed on one, take a trip to Broadway or your local theatre to observe how creative you can really be.
First assess your theme. Any theme works for a stage, hence why there are so many shows performed. From Phantom of the Opera (pictured above) to Rent to Oklahoma, theatre is something that speaks to everyone. But you wouldn’t use the same lighting for Les Mis that you would for Annie Get Your Gun. Lighting is the first place to start because it sets the mood for the entire ceremony. Is your wedding in the winter and are you using dark colors? Then consider some well placed shadows and dark curtains. If you’re having your big day in the spring, spotlights of yellows, greens and light blues would make the mood light and airy.
How do you fill a stage though? If you’re having a small bridal party, or none at all, you’ll have a lot of dead space to work with. Consider having some small sets built, whether it be a faux chapel, a pretend house, or a cardboard wedding cake. Anything that works with your theme and takes up space works as long as you’re creative. Don’t forget to use the curtains to make an overwhelmingly large space, smaller and more intimate. Not looking for a grand stage, but still want a theatre? Utilize a black box space where you’re still the center of attention, but fairly level with your audience. Musicals like Godspell and The Fantasticks took place in a blackbox theatre, so google pictures of those for inspiration.
If you choose to go the theatre route, make sure you’re working with some one at the theatre that knows how to move the curtains and how to set up the stage. You will need to speak with someone that is their lighting technician as well as a sound technician. A stage performance isn’t any good when the audience can’t hear! Keep this in mind for music as well, whether you’re using piped in music, soloists, a live band, or anything in between, you’ll need microphones to carry through the space. Everyone that speaks will need to have a microphone as well, so don’t forget about your readers, the officiants, and of course, you and your partner! Body mics are one way to go, but standing and hand held will be easier to use and switch with people on the day of.
If you are having your wedding in a theatre, then make sure that your guests know. Too often there are fashion faux paus at some of the best theatres on Broadway. Do not allow your guests to show up in jeans just because they think that’s acceptable at a theatre (it’s not). Make it clear what the dress code is on the invitation so that there is no confusion. Writing “dress for the theatre” will be open to interpretation, so make it crystal clear what you are expecting. Guests will feel less out of place if they are all dressed appropriately. How would you feel if you showed up to a black tie in shorts and a t-shirt because you didn’t know? Be thoughtful and keep your guests in mind.
Of course, if you’re theme is Oklahoma, and you’re wearing cowboy boots on stage, then encourage your guests to do the same. The theme doesn’t just stop with your wedding, your guests should feel like a part of the show as well.
Lastly, go over the smallest details with a fine tooth comb. Just because you see a grand piano on stage at your site visit, doesn’t mean you’re allowed to use it for your wedding. Ask about everything! Never assume when it comes to the theatre. As the wife of a professional musician, I can assure you that my husband always has to ask if he has to provide his own piano when he works.
Have fun! Get your guests involved. A “staged” wedding takes more preparation than many others, so give yourself some time to research and plan out the details. It takes over a year to mount a Broadway show from audition to curtain up for the first time. Don’t rush, and have a good time with all of the planning.
Take your fill –
let the spectacle
-Phantom of the Opera-