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Understanding Wedding Venue Noise Limits

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Venue noise limits are important for you to understand. This can be the difference between having a great night or a miserable one that is disappointing if you are a music lover.

So you have found an amazing venue …
It has amazing views, the venue looks amazing and you have had a great experience talking to the staff that have showed you around the venue.

They give you a terms and conditions to sign. You see a part that mentions that sound limit is 80dB (decibels). Most people have no idea what that means and most figure that 100dB is probably really loud so therefore 80dB seems reasonable. You ask about it, they tell you that is fine and they have music there all the time.

SURPRISE! What they DIDN’T tell you is that 80dB is the same amount of sound a standard dishwasher makes when operating! Now imagine a dishwasher going in the corner of your wedding, do you think that it would be loud enough to be even noticed or annoying?

So now take that same level of sound and imagine the music you want for your bridal dance being delivered at that level as well as all the music you want all night to dance the night away to. That is what you just signed and agreed to! Guess what? You paid the non-refundable deposit to the venue so they don’t care!

Trust me, venues HATE us for telling people the truth about venue noise limits. ¬†When we have a client contact us that has signed up to a venue that has imposed these sort of noise restrictions, our general advise to the couple is either change venue or don’t waste any money on paying for entertainment because you won’t hear it anyway!

Sadly, entertainment is usually one of the LAST things couples book well after the sneaky venue has already taken their hard earned money. If you are fortunate enough to be reading this before you have secured your venue, make sure you ask what their venue noise limits are in decibels.

Now, 100dB IS quite loud … but here is why it is confusing. You would imagine that 80dB is only 20% less than 100dB but you would be wrong. The reason why is because decibels are not measured on a linear scale but an exponential scale. So as a rule of thumb, for each 10dB the volume approximately doubles. So 90dB is double the volume of 80dB. 100dB is four times the volume of 80dB. See why it is easy to be tricked?

Here is a list of some common sounds so you can get an idea of how loud these sounds are when you are given your decibel noise limit for the venue you have chosen.

10dB at ticking watch
30dB a whisper
40dB a library
60dB normal conversation
75dB a toilet flushing
80dB a dishwasher
90dB a diesel truck 10 meters away
100dB a motorbike
110dB a rock concert
120dB a thunderclap
145dB a firecracker
150dB burst eardrums
185dB death

So, what is an acceptable limit to work with for your wedding?
We recommend no less than 90dB. 80dB is fine for music barely audible over dinner, but when dance time comes we need to be able to double that to have something loud enough to dance to.

We hope this article has been helpful and hope that you have received this information before it was too late!

Warmest wishes,

Nik Edser

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