Choosing your wedding venue is one of the most exciting aspects of your big day and will more than likely impact upon the decisions you make regarding the planning of your wedding as a whole. There are stunning venues and locations nationwide to suit your vision, all with their own unique styles and selling points – perhaps you would like a summer wedding and want a venue with immaculate gardens for those beautiful photographs; or maybe you envision roaring open fires and a cosy atmosphere to suit your festive extravaganza? One thing that you may want from your venue regardless of it’s design however, is the ability to have the live band you’ve been hoping to book for the evening.
It may seem like a safe assumption that most wedding venues are able to accommodate live music and will be ‘band friendly’ – this however is not always the case and the venue will not necessarily be open with you, making it important to ask the right questions.
One of the biggest problems that bands encounter are sound limiters. These are special units, usually attached to the wall that are set at a certain volume and cut the power if the band exceeds the volume limit. They are not always a bad thing, and for venues with close neighbours, they can be a good safety net against complaints about noise. Some, however are set so low that paying for a live band can seem a touch pointless, as the volume has to be so low that the musicians can’t do their job properly, with the music sounding ‘flat’ and without the live atmosphere. There are different types of limiters and it can be quite complicated to explain the in’s and out’s of how they work, but as a rule of thumb, a limiter set below 90-95 decibels doesn’t make for a good evening (band atmosphere wise). When you book your band, you will no doubt be booking a real drum kit – this means that the band can only come down to a certain volume, as drum kits are loud by nature. This is not to say that the band will be taking ‘granny’s’ head off, but in order to achieve a professional sound and create a live music atmosphere, the band has to be at a certain volume. Some venues will cut the power as soon as a single drum is hit (without microphones and amplification), making it nigh on impossible for the band to play, and ruining any party atmosphere you may have hoped for.
The way to avoid this is to ask the venue about live music upon booking, do they have a sound limiter? What is it set at? This information will help the band to advise you and be prepared for your venue, perhaps bringing an electric drum kit / other sound limiting equipment with them etc.
Another issue can be regarding the space allocated for the band to set up in. If your venue is used to accommodating bands then they will have an area that they usually use for this, with accessible plug sockets etc. If you are creating your own venue however, perhaps having a custom built marquee – it is important to leave ample space for your musicians to set up in, and have a safe source of power for them to use. All bands will be able to give you a guide idea of space requirements. As an example – a ‘standard’ 4 or 5 piece Wedding band will ask 3m x 4m (shape a touch flexible).
Thinking about your band when booking your venue will help to make your wedding reception a night to remember, as any issues with the venue can be sorted in advance, leaving you free to relax and throw shapes on the dance floor to your hearts content.