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.