Wedding venue requirements and how that effects your options for entertainment.
Are you thinking of having a fantastic rock and pop or funk and soul band at your wedding reception? There are a few things you’ll need to check before you go ahead with the booking. Most importantly speak to your wedding venue and see what requirements they have that a wedding band must adhere to. It is always best when booking your entertainment to give them all the details that they need to know as soon as possible. This can help save stress on everyones part.
There’s been horror stories in the past where a band shows up to for a wedding and is turned away due to a lack of PAT testing. There’s nothing the band can do, nothing the venue can do and nothing the newly married couple can do so here’s a check list of things you need to be sure of before agreeing a cover band for your wedding.
PAT testing and Public Liability Insurance
Speak to your wedding venue and see if they need your band to be PAT tested and insured as soon as you book. This isn’t always necessary but sometimes is and a venue can turn your band away on the night if they are not. PAT testing means Portable Appliance Testing and tests for safety in portable electrical equipment like guitar amplifiers. It is easy to get done but can take some time to get organised as bands can have a lot of equipment. In one of the first cover bands I played in the venue turned around to the bride three days before the wedding and said make sure your band is PAT tested and insured. I had a two day race against time to get 3 guitar amps, two speakers, keyboards, lights and multiple extensions, all of which were strewn across the south at various members houses PAT tested and take out Public Liability Insurance. Luckily, I got it sorted but it was a stressful couple of days for me and the bride who thought she wasn’t going to have a band. Now I make sure every covers band I play in is completely insured and PAT tested.
Sometimes a wedding venues insurance is null if the band don’t have PAT testing or PLI so they have no choice but to turn the band away. It is easily sorted though if there is enough time so make sure you check what your venue needs and tell your band in good time.
The bane of a rocky wedding bands existence. Sound limiters cut the power to the band when a limit is reached so if there’s a particularly loud section of a song it’ll cut all sound. Venues often have no choice whether to put sound limiters up or not. It is usually due to complaints from local residents which the Environmental Health have to deal with and usually results in them slapping a badly set sound limiter into the venue.
More often than not DJ’s find it easy to cope with as the music they play is compressed and so doesn’t have any loud peaks. A band on the other hand may have a lot of dynamic shifts in their music so it’s trickier for them to stay within the confines of the limiter.
Bands can prepare for a limiter by bringing smaller amps, electric drumkits or brushes instead of sticks to keep themselves below the level. It is worth getting your cover band or entertainment agency to talk to your wedding venue during the early stages of booking to make sure they are all happy.
A few weddings I’ve organised have asked for the band to have no amps and use electric drum kits due to a venues efforts to minimise sound levels. Some bands are able to supply these but make sure you get the scoop from your venue before you book a band. It really should be the venues job to tell you when you book or mention a band but sometimes they forget.
The band will sound different to how they usually do but a more professional wedding band will have some great gadgets to help them achieve that big sound without their usual set-up.
In summary. If you want a band for your venue please check with venue on these things…
- Sound limiter – how low does it go?
- Instrument restrictions – Do the band need an electric drum kit? Do they need to use the venue PA?
- PAT testing and Public Liability Insurance – Most bands will have these. They run out every year thought so make sure your band knows whether the venue requires it or not.
For help and advice in booking great wedding entertainment please get in touch with me, Chris, at The Band Boutique on 07912 424554 or email [email protected]
I have bands who are trained in the art of venue regulation handling.