Some couples are blessed with friends or family who own property that’s ideal for a wedding and reception. If you are staging your celebration at a non-traditional venue, be sure to verify that the electric service available will be sufficient to handle the demands of your big day.
Several years ago I photographed a lovely wedding reception at a lovely old farmhouse near Bangor. When the band started warming up, a circuit breaker in the house blew and it couldn’t be replaced until hardware stores opened the next day. Fortunately, there was a generator nearby, and after a short break, the music started again. That same year at a waterside wedding Down East, the DJ couldn’t understand why his CDs were skipping and stopping mid-song; the problem cleared up as soon the caterers finished cooking and turned off their huge ovens.
With a little planning you can insure that your day is not marred by flickering lights or sagging voltage.
Experts at Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro Electric suggest that you call an electrician who can check the amperage available at your site. If your home has up-to-date wiring sufficient for a clothes dryer, chances are you have enough amps for a band or DJ, tent lighting and a caterer’s appliances. But, it pays to be sure, especially if your party is large because all the appliances used by your vendors will put unusual demands on your electric service.
You will want to check with your vendors (your caterer, musicians, lighting supplier, etc.) for the wattage of the equipment they will be bringing.
Even if your house has sufficient service, it still pays to plan your power use wisely. If at all possible, you want to pull from different circuits (zones) in the home. If your caterer is drawing lots of power with stove, oven, hot plates, etc. in your kitchen, you’ll want to put your band on another circuit, perhaps running the extension cord for amplifiers from a bedroom on the opposite end of the house. And, your lighting might be connected to an outside outlet which is on yet another circuit.
Chances are you’ll be using extension cords, and if so, you’ll want to pay attention to extension cord safety tips from Underwriters Laboratories. You’ll want to pick the correct cords for the job, most likely commercial grade extension cords rated for outdoor use. You’ll want to avoid using cords that are longer than necessary, as electricity is less steady over longer distances and cords can “leak” power where multiple cords are joined together.
If you don’t have enough power to meet demands, both CMP and Bangor Hydro can add temporary service to your site–a second line and a second meter, but you need to call at least a month ahead of time to schedule installation. If you’re considering a site that is more than 150 feet from existing power poles, be aware that it might be necessary to install an new power pole to carry the line.
Questions? Bangor Hydro has service planners on staff who can help you prepare for your power needs.