On the 7th at Media City in Manchester is a fantastic place to host any event. However, there is a real challenge for DJ's, there's very limited loading time and no parking facilities for very large vans. Near by roads have wheel clamping and yellow lines, so be ready to unload fast and park the van some distance from the venue. From the clients point of view, the bar is stays open until 3.00am and the food is very nice too. The venue is split into a few rooms, so speakers installed in at least two of the main rooms will make a massive difference to the party atmosphere. The extra speakers are essential if the DJ sets up in the pantry so speeches and announcements can be heard clearly, I can't emphasis this enough, it's my top tip for this particular venue.
I have mentioned the Middleton Masonic Hall in previous blogs, so I will keep it short and sweet, I really enjoy working here, it's run extremely well, it's maintained to a very high standard, fantastic food, professional, friendly attentive staff, lots of space and a perfect place for weddings if you're local to the Middleton and surrounding areas.
I have worked at Blackley Gold club on numerous occasions, from an entertainer’s point of view, if you have lots of equipment, like I do, the loading can be a moderate workout as the function room is on the first floor, however there is a lift. As regards to acoustics, the stage is set at a slight diagonal to the dance floor and the main seating area giving the DJ a dilemma as to where to position the speakers for the best results in directional sound. In order to get a satisfactory and balanced acoustics with impressive results that I was happy with, I used FBT vertus line array speakers pointing diagonal and a separate Mackie speaker positioned near the main entrance door facing the seating area using wireless. The result sounded fantastic and I always get comments on how nice this system sounds every time I work here and use this configuration.
I often upload very short video’s in relation to venue’s, this particular video shows the function room in The Heaton Moor Gold club in Stockport. One of the first things I always pay attention to is ease of loading, some venues can be particularly difficult or time consuming to load in and out, naturally, this is important information for fellow DJ’s and entertainers who have never played here. Loading into this golf club is not too difficult and has a couple of access points, but both entrances involve at least 8 stairs, so nothing too drastic. The staff here are very friendly, professional, attentive and very helpful, I felt at home within minutes of arriving. The kitchen and catering here boast 5 star hygiene and the food taste great! The function room is pretty long, therefore a decent set of speakers that can project high definition sound would suit the room best. I used a set of of FBT vertus speakers and the acoustics was perfect. If you are local to this venue, and you are looking for a function room, the Heaon Moor golf club should be on your short list of places to go and see.ere to edit.
Style Lodge is famous for weddings here in Manchester and it happens to be one of my favourite places to work! Not only is it very easy loading equipment into this venue, the actual place is very beautiful and just perfect for weddings. The food, the staff and its aesthetics are amazing. As regards to working there as a DJ, and from past experience, I would recommend asking for some extra speakers to be installed on the far side of the room to distribute the sound more evenly. This will ensure people seated on the far side of the room can hear announcements very clearly, for example, asking all the guests to gather around the dance floor for the first dance. As you can see from this video, there is planty of space for dancing and throwing some serious shapes!
One of my best friends recently asked me to be his best man at his wedding, naturally, I accepted in an instant. He also asked which wedding venue I would recommend based on my vast experience of wedding venues? Drawing from my wisdom and insight I started to ponder and consider carefully about what factors make a great wedding venue? Apart from the obvious aesthetics and food rating, what other factors contribute to making a wedding fantastic and memorable? All great weddings tend to flow with ease, and after thinking about what and why some weddings flow much better than others, I came up with a few common factors to conclude my answer to my good friends question and I have shared these with you below
1) Guest and entertainment in one room. I have worked at some venues where despite the amazing surroundings, keeping everyone on the dance or even getting every one in the same room for the speeches, announcements, cutting of the cake, first dance, etc have been a slight logistical challenge when there are other rooms that guest can congregate in. Gaining every ones attention for the various formalities require vocal direction and building a party atmosphere works best when people are in one room. I normally worl around venues with different rooms by installing wireless speakers in each of the rooms, however, not all DJ’s have the facilities to do this.
2) Type of wedding venue? When comparing lockup wedding venues and Hotel wedding venues, the hotel wedding venue is first choice every time for two reasons, firstly and most importantly, most hotels operate a late night guests bar, as opposed to the lock up wedding venue who simply work to a set time table and encourage guest to leave as soon as possible once the last song has been played. Most of the weddings I have worked have ended with partygoers insisting on ‘one more song!’ However, most wedding venues are fairly adamant on finishing times for various reasons, for example, staff finishing their shifts, noise restrictions imposed by local councils, etc. Having your wedding at a hotel has the added advantage of the late night guest bar for those who don’t want the day to end. The second reason for the hotel being the first choice when it comes to choosing a wedding venue if accommodation. Close friends and family will party hard and enjoy the moment to max when they are staying at the venue, which adds to those extra special memories of your big day.
3) Sound limiter! This pesky device is often not mentioned by venue staff when showing you around your potential wedding venue, and it’s a device can really affect the party atmosphere. Maintaining a reasonable volume, whether it is a band, DJ or singer, is essential. I once worked at a venue where the limiter was set so low that the people one the dance floor was able to have a natural low conversation that was louder than the music! Thankfully, not all venues have these devices, but it’s well worth asking. It’s also worth noting that people absorb sound, so even if the venue demonstrate how high the sound system can go, it will be very different when the room fills with people. It’s so frustrating when people ask for the volume to go higher and you can’t., it really can effect the party atmosphere.
4) View your potential wedding venue in the daytime if possible. Wedding venues look very different in the daylight and viewing them in the daytime will be a very good indication of how well the venue is maintained and managed. For example, worn carpets, dirty skirting boards, dirty windows, marks on the walls, how clean the toilets are, etc are not always noticeable In the evening, especially when the lights are low, but how well a venue is kept is reflected in moral of staff and how well the venue is managed, and ultimately, how well the venue will cater for your wedding.
5) Acoustics: Perhaps one of the grandest venues in any town or city has to be the Town Halls, but the down side is that the acoustics are a nightmare in these type buildings. Audio bounces around the hall and certainly does not offer a pleasurable musical experience and even announcements don’t sound very clear, In fact, any venue with lots of hard surfaces can result in bad acoustics; ideally, venues with carpets and curtains will help generate a rich and great sounding audio. On the flip side, a venue with lots of soft furnishing may require a powerful sound system, especially if there are lots of people attending.
6) Cost of wedding venues naturally fluctuate, but I would suggest take the above points into serious consideration and make a short list, of your favorite venues, after all, if you love the venue, it’s in budget, and there is no sound limiter, has great acoustics, accommodation with a late guest bar and everyone will be based in one room for the main part of the days proceedings, then your day will simply flow.
I could present a list of wedding venues in your area if you contact me direct, but if I had to recommend one local (ish) venue to me With all the above points in mind it would have to be The Red Hall hotel in Bury. From my prospective, this venue is easy to access for heavy equipment, which speeds up my setup times, and the main function room boasts a decent PA system with radio microphone for the necessary announcements and speeches, plus there is a plug in AV facilities for video and picture presentation or video DJ’s or to simply plug in your ipad so you can create your own wedding breakfast playlist. The main function room is a slightly odd ‘L’ shape, so it’s really important for your DJ, band or singer to use a high standard of professional speakers that can project and disperse audio around the room evenly and effectively. All the staff at this hotel are very attentive and friendly, plus the whole hotel is kept spotless and managed extremely well. The main function room is well away from the hotel rooms which is another important factor, I have been to other hotels who insist on keeping the music very low as guest have complained about being able top hear the music. Naturally, this can be a party pooper and is on the same par as the pesky sound limiter. Thankfully, maintaining reasonable volume has never been an issue at the Red Hall Hotel. To top it all, the food at this hotel is great! In fact, the hotel even has a restaurant, which is on my list of places to visit and experience when I have some spare leisure time.
It was a nice change to be working so close to home this weekend and even though I thought I knew the Rochdale area pretty well, I was pleasantly surprised to find a hidden gem called The Moss Lodge. Unless your actually looking for it, it’s extremely easy to drive by without noticing this hotel as it’s hidden behind the trees just off Kings way. What makes this place an extra special choice for small weddings has to be Pauline who certainly makes sure everything runs perfect for her guests and clients. She doesn’t just oversee everything, she actually gets hands on and works extremely hard even finding time to offer me a coffee in the process, and what a great cup of coffee she makes too. From a DJ’s point of view, it’s very easy access, however, large setups are not advised for the size of the room and I had to trim down my setup to suit. It was a great night and Mr and Mrs Knott had a fantastic day too. I look forward to playing at the Moss Lodge in the near future
It's unusual that a hotel owner is so hands on with their business, but the owners of the Normanhurst Hotel in Sale take that exact approach. They certainly looked after their clients at this particular wedding and they are really nice people too. To top it all, the brand new Mr and Mrs Orme had a fantastic day, such a lovely couple. I had a slight challenge with setting up audio for 3 separate rooms via wireless, but apart from a slightly longer setup time, it all sounded fantastic and the hard work paid off, everyone had a fantastic time!
Middleton Masonic hall wedding - congratulations to Mr and Mrs mcGill. I made great use of the wireless speaker system again at this particular wedding, I kitted the hall out with surround sound, not only did this work amazingly well for the grand entrance and speeches, but the clarity and balanced audio enabled people to still hear each other when talking whilst at the same time having the music nice and loud for the dancers.
Its extremely heart warming to receive a thank you card in the post, second one this week! It really does mean a lot to know my clients have had a great day. The late nights and hard physical work of moving equipment are cast to the back of my mind when I get a nice surprise like this, and it's another reminder of the amazing people I get to meet whilst working as a DJ.... happy days
Dave Jones (DJ)
I often take the time
to blog about venues and experiences relating to the many functions I attend,
some of the post may prove useful or interesting if you are considering booking
certain venues or simply seeking information on any of the subject matter that
may be covered in my many posts. Please feel free to contact me if you have any
questions. Happy reading!