Our easy guide to powering your wedding!
Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life and therefore you should always choose the perfect venue, even if that means having to bring in the utilities such as power. Don’t be put off by starting from scratch, that’s where we come in to help you! Our experienced power management team are here to help you and guide you through your planning, working with you, your venue, suppliers, wedding planner, to ensure a seamless and reliable supply of power throughout your big day! No two weddings are the same and therefore our team will build a bespoke package for you when it comes to generators, electrical cables, electrical distribution, electricians and fuel management. But in your initial planning, there are a few things you can consider with regards to power and we have therefore put this guide together to help you. We certainly don’t want to inundate you with tech talk, but we promise that a little knowledge and understanding of how powering a wedding works will benefit you!
Who/where needs power at the wedding? Begin by asking yourself who is likely to need power and how much will they need? The answers will provide the building blocks to calculate the best size of generator you will need. Below we have put together an example wedding - it is only a guide of course and you may have far less or more power needs!
Who/where needs power?What load do they need? Which connection?
Marquee lighting 3kw16A
Bar – fridges/chillers,2kw16A
Catering – Fridge trailer1kw16A
Band – speakers3kw16A
Band – Lighting2kw16A
Marquee Heating - 1Kw16A
Bear in mind that these power loads may change dependant on your needs and suppliers; for example consider whether your catering company are just warming or cooling food compared to another cooking with multiple ovens and warming cupboards or perhaps you need heating in the marquee? Or perhaps you can use LED lighting or even solar lighting instead, which can reduce the power consumption considerably.
Which Generator? Now you can work out the answer to this from the answers to your questions! In the example above, the power needed in total is approximately 23Kw. As experts, we know that a 30kva generator, one of the most commonly available sizes, would be able to handle up to 24Kw, so this would be the one to go for. It means that with the power demand changing throughout the day, it will still manage the total load, even if everything is in full swing!
Fuel? The next thing to think about is how long the generator will run for, as this will determine how much fuel is needed. Most generators will have a base tank fitted within its canopy, but the size can change a lot between manufacturer. For example, a ‘Denyo 30kva ‘has a base tank of 82 litres and will use 5.9 litres of fuel on full load, so as a rule, the fuel held in this generator will last for nearly 14 hours. However bear in mind that maybe your caterers will need to be there the day before your wedding and maybe the day after, meaning the run time needed could be up to 72 hours. This means you may need to consider bringing in an extra fuel tank that can be connected to the generator, to avoid the need for refuelling during the wedding. Bear in mind though that fuel consumption will be determined by the loads put on the generator over the time (a bit like whether you drive a car fast or slow determines how much fuel you use) In our experience the average usage comes in at around 2 litres per hour on most of the weddings we have supplied whilst on standby and then increased to nearer 5 litres per hour when the wedding is in full swing.
Getting the power from the generator to where it is needed. So, you now have the generator and the fuel sorted. The next thing is getting the power to where it is needed. This happens by way of cables and the best option is to have the different services provided by their own individual power cables, protected individually, using a distribution (distro) box. There are two styles of ‘distro’ boxes – Individual and Global. An Individual distro box has multiple outlets, with each outlet protect by its own RCBO protective device. This means that the circuit is protected and if a fault occurs in one supply, it is individually isolated. This means, for example, if the disco lights get wet and “trip” then the kitchen keeps cooking, or the bar still keeps serving! A global “distro” box has one RCD and multiple MCB’s, meaning each outlet is protected but only individually against overload. In the case of an earth fault, ALL outlets would be isolated, meaning that until the fault is repaired or isolated then there is a total loss of power. This is not something you want to happen at your wedding of course! We therefore recommend the Individual distro boxes to protect against this – anything else, even if more cost effective, is not worth the risk. One additional thing worth noting when planning your venue, is to get the distro box as close as possible to the highest power load need (usually the kitchen/caterer) and think about where the cables can run to each area.
Congratulations! You have now worked out the power you will need for your wedding! The generator will supply the power to the distro box, the distro supplies each area that needs power and it’s all systems go! If we use the example above, this would be the equipment needed to be hired in:
1 x 30Kva generator
1 x 63A 3 Phase cable to supply the distro
1 x 63A 3 Phase distro box with 1 x32A outlet and 9x 16A outlets
1 x 32A cable
9 x 16A cables – lengths dependant on site layout
additional options; Extended fuel tank, Cable ramps, Fairy Lights, Festoon lighting, Outdoor lighting,
Chandelier hire and more!
Power doesn’t have to be confusing and hopefully we have shed some light on it all with this guide? Your next step is simply to get in touch with us and allow us to work with you on planning your special day. We really look forward to being a part of it and are here to help take the pressure off all the organisation!