Dear Carolwood Productions:My fiance′ and I are planning our wedding and would like to ensure that our guests thoroughly enjoy the day. A few of the receptions that we have attended have suffered from music audio levels that are very loud; both during the dinner hour and the dances. We’ve felt bad as we watch guests shouting across tables as they attempt conversation, and worse, leave early as the piercing dance music forces them out of the banquet hall. What is the best way to get around this problem?Signed,Loud in L.A.
You bring up an excellent issue that deserves serious attention. As wedding filmmakers, we feel your pain, literally. We are sometimes surprised as we are working at capturing a reception and watch as the guests are obviously uncomfortable with music that is too loud. As videographers, we are just as concerned with capturing the audio portion of an event as we are the visuals. So it should come as no surprise that we may be more aware of what is going on with the volume levels than other vendors.
Now, we are no pansies when it comes to loud music. We like our pop/rock loud and proud. But there is a clear difference between loud, and too loud (and even painful). Further, we know of at least two wedding videographers who have developed a hearing condition called tinnitus, which is basically constant ringing of the ears. Once this problem develops, it is for life, and there is no cure. Simply put, there is no excuse for excessively-loud music at your reception.
How to get around this potential wedding-day embarrassment? First off, be sure that you are not actually enabling the problem. If you are unsure as to where the line is, ask a few friends at the reception if the volume levels are ok. Those T-shirts that read “If it’s too loud, you’re too old” hold some truth. Ours is a culture that is more and more getting used to overly-loud volume levels. Secondly, have a word with your DJ or musical group PRIOR to your event, preferably when you meet them to discuss your plans. Have a chat with them about appropriate volume levels and communicate your expectations. Ask them to be sensitive to maintaining proper audio levels at your reception.
We are very fortunate to work with DJs and musicians that are true professionals. They are interested in ensuring a wonderful experience for you and your guests and are always more than willing to make sure that the volume levels are set to a dynamic, yet comfortable listening range. Indeed, we are sure that these pros sometimes are merely acting on the wishes of the wedding party when they are asked to set the levels too high.
All in all, the vendors that you retain are experienced professionals and are delighted as they provide excellent service to you and your guests. They appreciate and act upon the two-way communication that assists them in knowing what your desires are, and are more than happy to make the adjustments necessary for a truly memorable event.
Your “Eyes and Ears” at your Wedding Celebration!