Advice about music and entertainment for your affair.


Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

There are a number of catering facilities on Long Island as well as in the New York metropolitan area that have limitations on outdoor music due to town ordinances. Unfortunately many brides are not aware of these limitations and this has caused many last minute problems as well as problems at the wedding itself.

Both planners, performers and brides should check with their facility if they fall into this category. Many of the locations are near residences and therefore they do not allow outside amplified music. This past week I was contacted by a bride who wanted a guitarist/vocalist for her outside cocktail hour and I had to tell her the catering hall will not allow any amplified music outside. She could not understand that an acoustic guitar and non amplified vocals would not be heard by 200 guests outside. She was not informed by the hall of the restriction when she booked the date and now she is upset that her plans could not be met.

Steel drums can perform acoustically with 2 performers. One steel drum performer has to play to tracks- amplified with speakers. Keyboards have to be amplified.

Several catering locations are built within communities with residences very close by. Several of the locations that in the past allowed outside amplified music had to change their policy as houses and communities were built adjacent to the catering facility and town laws were changed.

With the wineries on Long Island entering the catering field a new problem has arisen. Many of the wineries erect tents for wedding receptions. The towns all have sound/noise restrictions. Depending on the town  in the Hamptons, North and South Forks all outside music must stop at either 10 PM or 11 PM. Last summer I performed for a wedding at an East End winery. I was contracted to perform with my band from 7 PM to 11 PM. The bride left all arrangements to her planner. I reminded the planner that the specific location had a 10 PM stop time for live music. The planner assured me that the restriction was lifted for her client. On the day of the wedding at 10 PM – when the dancing was at maximum – I was told by the winery that the volume had to be lowered to whisper level due to the town ordinance. The planner never received permission to change the restriction and the bride was quite angry that for the last hour of her wedding all the music was at elevator music level. The winery warned me the local police would shut down the reception if any sound could be heard beyond the tent and the winery would shut off the electricity to the band.

It was a shame that for all the planning and expense that went into the wedding it had to end this way. In this case the planner (who had not done a wedding at a winery)  just assumed there would be no problems.

Planners and brides also need to be aware of specific performing times at catering facilities. I always contact my clients the week prior to the wedding/event to double check on the times for a ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. On several occasions the times were changed without letting me know. With performers are playing several functions a day they arrange their schedule with enough time to travel to each location. For one wedding I was providing a harpist for a 2 PM ceremony at one location and a 4 PM ceremony at a nearby location – the client was late and did not show up until 3:30 PM for a 2 PM ceremony. The harpist had to leave and there was no music for the ceremony. The client just assumed everyone would wait for them –this threw off the entire schedule of the wedding and the bride had to pay overtime for the facility as well as for the  performers at the reception since everything was delayed by 1 ½ hours from contracted times. The ceremony was contracted 2 PM, cocktail hour was 2:30 PM and the reception was 3:30 to 7:30 PM   The ceremony did not start until after 3:30 PM.

All the above problems could be avoided with the proper planning and preparation

STAN WIEST President


Member Association of Bridal Consultants

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