New Weddings Law

New Weddings Law - Final Report Submitted

The Law Commission of England and Wales has published its final report into reforming the law of weddings. The recommendations, if approved by the government, will allow couples to get married in a wider range of locations, including temporary structures.


Why the report has been made

According to the report, in 2019 just under 220,000 marriages occurred in England and Wales and the governing body believes this is because the main marriage law, dating from 1836, has failed to keep pace with modern life.

Currently the two options for a wedding are:

  • A religious wedding in a place of worship.
  • A civil wedding in a licensed secular venue.


What the report is recommending

Convenience is at the heart of this report, with recommendations on who can get married, who can solemnise weddings, simplified legal requirements and where weddings can take place.


What does this mean for venues that want to hold weddings?

This is great news for venues that are wanting to incorporate a temporary or permanent outdoor structure. Ceremonies will now be able to take place fully outdoors or under a partially covered structure. The outside areas of the location will be assessed to ensure the venue is ‘Seemly and Dignified’. The scheme would allow couples to host their wedding ceremony in any type of location so long as their officiant agrees.

In order to hold legal outdoor weddings and civil partnership registrations, a venue must be an Approved Premises or must become an Approved Premises under the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005, as amended. Existing Approved Premises will be permitted to use any outdoor areas in the venue for civil wedding and civil partnership registrations without having to re-apply for approval, subject to certain conditions.

You will still need a premises licence and personal licence to sell alcohol.


What happens next

The report was submitted in July and it will be the new government that approves the plan before the changes come into force.

However, if you have seen the demand for weddings and ceremonies rise, and are thinking about adding a temporary structure such as a tipi or a marquee onto your property, it’s an excellent time to seriously consider making that investment. Extending your event business in this way will give you the opportunity to have multiple events at your premises at one time.


Whilst this change in the law gives wedding planners much more flexibility, it’s worth noting that there are still a number of hoops to jump through when installing a temporary event structure on your property.

Planning permission: You can get away without planning permission if you use a marquee that is up for less than 28 days during the year – but with the time taken to set up events that equates to a handful of occasions. When you set up a wedding venue your planning application has to cover the issue of noise. If you disturb your neighbours with music and the sounds of celebrations, you will get complaints. Especially if it happens repeatedly. Complaints can escalate to local authorities and could result in fines, enforcement notices and the withdrawal of licences.

Public Liability Insurance: You must have public liability insurance, and to carry out a health and safety risk assessment preferably by a qualified consultant.

Direct Acoustic Solutions are experts in this niche field, having gone through the process many times. We will guide you through and conduct noise impact assessment before providing bespoke noise solutions to enable you to get the most out of your temporary structure and grow your events business.

The report has now been published, you can read it here, and the final step is for the government to approve it.

Bespoke Directional Speaker Systems

Be different.

Venue trends within the wedding industry are so diverse and ever-changing, so throughout the last few years Direct Acoustics have recognized the need to adapt & improve our offering within its speaker design.

The aim of this article is to share our experiences working with a range of beautiful interior-focussed venues and elevate any worries on how we could incorporate a Zone Array, or conventional PA for that matter, into your venue.






Before we can get into the creative stuff, it’s important to share how Zone Array came to fruition along with the general manufacturing process of the system.

The constructive and destructive concept Zone Array adopts to control and attenuate low frequency was first developed in Sweden in 1989 where a variety of different sized speaker drivers were screwed to plywood sheets. In the mid nineties there were some advancements with 2mm mild steel front plates replacing the ply and itchy ISO wool installed to the rear to try and negate any high frequency emitted out of the rear of the drivers.

When Direct Acoustics was founded in 2007, it was clear the previous concept we had seen needed to be evolved to make the system accessible to all venue types, including marquees and temporary structures.

The biggest limiting factor was the weight. The plywood and mild steel concepts were simply too heavy to be installed into many venues safely so we began to develop the Zone Array into a lightweight advancement using 0.7mm aluminium front plates with a 33% open area (acoustically transparent) perforation pattern. Solid aluminum returns now allowed for a back plate to be pop riveted onto the rear encasing the speaker drivers and melamine foam absorption into a complete panel.

We now had a product that could conform with windshear and weight loading calculations placed upon even the smallest 9m wide clear span marquee frame, Tipis & old barns allowing a variety of unique installs to take place over our decade in the industry.


The UK boasts an assortment of barns throughout the country with Sussex oak in the south, Tithe Long barns in Essex and traditional granite & slate Linhay’s in Cornwall. So how have we catered for these over the years?

Great Lodge

A beautiful rural estate & award winning vineyard in North West Essex which was once home to Anne of Cleves. Here the Zone Array is installed horizontally on steel wires giving the impression that the system is floating above the dancefloor and ceremony area. To tie the Zone Array into the 14th Century barn, the Zone Array was scabbed in oak with a white acoustically transparent skrim stretched along the face.


Alcumlow Wedding Barn

A traditional Dutch-style barn with curved tin roof, internal exposed steel beams and exterior timber clad, Alcumlow Barn is as rustic as they come. Following that interior trend and without the need to worry about weight loading, the Zone Array swapped back over to a mild steel chassis with the raw components i.e face/back plates and framework were all dipped in patina and left to naturally rust over a few wet English weeks!

Park Farm Barn

Park Farm Barn is a contemporary take on the above barns after being impeccably restored in 2020. The Barn and The Little Barn can be let separately or jointly to create a multi-functional space for groups or families, sleeping 14 in total. 

The Zone Array is the focal point of the main barn installed 4 metres above the lounge come dancefloor during private events. 

Timber clad aluminium bearers were used to span the distance between the horizontal beams and four 5mm steel wires dead hung to suspend the Zone Array. Seb, our lead sound engineer, put his sewing skills to the test to produce a hessian cover, in keeping with the aesthetics. Rachael, Park Farm Barn’s owner finished it all off perfectly with an impressive foliage installation.


Oak Tree Farm & The Oak Grove

Stretch tents are predominantly found put up across London pub gardens & bars but they are becoming increasingly popular within the wedding scene. Both Oak Tree Farm and The Oak Grove saw this coming back in 2018 and began setting up venues that would stand out from the rest.

Whilst stretch tents are free flowing in their design, they do pose a bit of a problem when it comes to rigging a Zone Array within them. The canvas relies on multiple poles of varying heights to lift it off the ground and provide cover, however these poles are not structural loading as they are designed to partially sway with the canvas.

Therefore to incorporate a directional speaker system a ground support steel frame is required. The four legs of the frame sit side by side with the vertical stretch tent poles to keep the structure as open as possible with a horizontal bar connecting back to a central pole.

Each Zone Array was colour coded to match that of the specific canvas chosen and left to be decorated how the guests or venue saw fit.


Tipis will never grow old!

Fortunately after collaborating with Tentipi, Direct Acoustics had the solution to cope with market demand.

Utilising a bespoke steel rigging rose suspended from the central peak of the tipi’s nine structural poles our engineers fly adjustable steel wires down to loading points within a rigid aluminium frame. Once the system’s weight is balanced using eight adjustable steel eyelets, which also allow us to horizontally level off the system. Due to the materials used and the position of all pick up points, the Zone Array can float within the structure, preserving the traditional aesthetics that a Tipi provides.

All tipi Zone Array systems and background speakers can be colour coded to match that of the specific canvas purchased whether that be from Tentipi, Kata tipi or others.

If you are thinking about tipis then head over to your Tentipi case study to find out more.

Tell us about your venue...

If you think the Zone Array is the right acoustic solution but are unsure how it could be incorporated into your bespoke venue then let’s have a chat about your options.

Global Quieting

The year the world went quiet.

Cars, trains, airplanes, and even self propulsion all contribute to the general hubbub of life which leaves a constant impression on the earth via tiny vibrations measured through the earth’s shell, known as seismic noise. 

However, since we have all been told to stay at home over the last 18 months, the din of daily life has lessened leading to ‘Global Quieting’. A term coined by National Geographic. Global Quieting is perhaps one of the lesser heard COVID-19 phrases but one that we have all experienced as a consequence of worldwide national lockdowns.

Air Traffic

UK & Europe have been subject to a 90% reduction in air traffic.


2020 saw a 21.3% drop in vehicles on UK roads compared to the previous year.

Public Transport

A month into lockdown saw rail and tube use down by more than 95%.

The Royal Observatory of Belgium reported that this seismic noise, measured via a global network of 24/7 seismometers registers, saw the longest period of seismic dampening ever recorded.

The reduction of road traffic noise has not only left a physical impact below our feet but interestingly acousticians have been finding through their lockdown gathered data that ambient noise levels have fallen by as much as 10dB, which is roughly perceived as halving of subjective loudness.

This unprecedented phenomenon might be giving us a short term gain, but this is not expected to become a long-term benefit. Noise pollution is directly linked to economic activity therefore as we emerge from our sofas it is generally expected that the planet will be woken from its hushed state.

But what happens in the meantime? As we have mentioned, the drop in ambient noise levels in our everyday lives has made us more sensitive to noise. Now that we can venture out, how will the general public respond to noise disturbances that perhaps pre COVID-19 they wouldn’t have even noticed?

University of Cardiff Psychologist Andrew Smith “We adapt to living in noisy environments, but it only takes a slight change – a period of quiet – to find that very distracting. And I think there will be an adverse reaction to the return of noise – not just greater annoyance, but less efficiency at work, in education, in our sleep, as well as more chronic effects.”

Predictably, if we find noise more distracting and frustrating because of our increased sensitivity to it, noise complaints will rise making it harder for venues and events to obtain licenses they need or maintain good relationships with residential neighbours. 

What does this mean for venues? 

After 18 months of not being able to operate, most event-led venues are condensing two years worth of events into a year. Not only is this in some cases pushing them beyond their planning & licensing conditions, as most have a certain number of events they can host per annum, but it also carries them over into a category of stricter acoustic criteria to meet.

Planning criteria and acoustic guidance follows a scale determined by the number of events held: the more events the less disturbance that can take place.

The Code of Practice on Environmental Noise Control at Concerts (CPENCC) is generally used throughout the UK and considered the most pertinent set of guidance to follow.  It outlines the following:

To sum up, venues are caught between a rock and hard place. Not only are they having to host more events this year than any other year, but their neighbours are likely to be more noise-sensitive than ever before after becoming acclimatised to less hubbub outside of the occasional bird song! 

It is, therefore, essential for venues to make sure they are well within the above criteria for noise levels, especially when planning to boost events. 

Here at Direct Acoustics we have helped many clients fire fight over the last few months and decade , to prepare themselves for a throng of backdated events which may push them over the threshold unexpectedly. We have a number of noise solutions and are experts in understanding how to avoid complaints and get licensing approval. If you are concerned or need some guidance, contact the team today and we can discuss the best course of action to ensure you are compliant.

Want to check you are still compliant?

We would be happy to sit down and discuss any questions you may have.

Soundproofing Fundamentals

men in hi viz and hard hats install soundproofing on roof
Before you start collecting all those egg boxes, we wanted to provide an insight into a few soundproofing fundamentals that ensure you do not start causing yourself a bigger headache than you had before!
Firstly let’s clear up one misconception. Sound attenuation is not the same as sound absorption and you could be left very disappointed if you do not apply the correct mitigation method.

Sound attenuation is the measure of energy loss in the form of decibels through a partition or barrier erected between a noise source and receptor i.e stopping sound from emitting into and out of a space.

Sound absorption is when a material dissipates sound energy (measured as an absorption coefficient) minimising its reflection to ensure resonance does not occur.

Sound Attenuation 


Effectively anything heavy and dense will considerably reduce sound, even the troublesome low bass frequencies. This approach will best control airborne noise such as speech but will be less effective against impact noise (structural borne transmission) which we will touch on shortly.


It is essential that whilst installing high density mass, additional materials are used in conjunction that have a supple membrane such as rubber or mass loaded vinyl. 

The dampening element must always be sandwiched between the heavyweight mass materials chosen allowing sound waves to move through each substance at different speeds creating friction and thus transferring movement into thermal energy or heat, and therefore attenuating noise to a greater extent.


Any mass barrier installed should be independent to the existing building envelope to ensure structure borne transmission does not occur. This is when sound waves pass through structural components of a building, generating various tones and noise issues at a receptor position. 

The isolation design varies, depending on environmental conditions, application and the optimal specific frequency that needs to be attenuated. The solution can range from simple resilient isolation bars to specifically tuned rubber compound or steel spring mounts.

Sound Absorption 

As discussed above sound attenuation and sound absorption are very different, but the latter can be a contributing factor to noise disturbance. Improving sound absorption is therefore one of the principles of improving attenuation. Where a noise source is positioned within a space with reflective surfaces, sound will reverabete causing an amplification to occur. This generates additional air and structure borne transmission.

Whilst assisting with attenuation, it also improves the speech intelligibility of a space forming the perfect listening environments found in recording studios and sound stages. 

Reducing the reverberation time of a space is a relatively simple process as it is a case of disrupting and absorbing a wave form within a space. Treatment can be as simple as using those egg boxes you’ve been collecting to the installation of acoustic foam blocks in specific locations.

It’s important to remember every soundproofing scenario is different, whether that’s due to the sound source or just the receptors requirements, therefore the attenuation design should be specifically adapted to each job to see optimal performance.

See how we put all these methods into practice during a little trip to Malta.

Acoustic Profile Foam

Want a soundproof venue?

We would be happy to sit down and discuss your soundproofing requirements, just give us a call.

Is a wedding venue on your land a good idea?

Stanbrook Abbey interior

If you own farmland or other open space and parkland, the idea of establishing a permanent wedding venue may well be in your thoughts. There is no shortage of farms, barns and country estates which have become top choices for weddings and other celebrations. The average daily venue hire charges around £6,000 according to Guides for Brides, so there’s clearly a way of earning a significant income from your estate.

Around 250,000 couples tie the knot every year, and the wedding industry in the UK is worth a staggering £10 billion. Demand for wedding venues is there, with a growing trend favouring rustic or grand rural locations. However, that also means there’s a lot of competition throughout the UK. So what do you need to make your country wedding venue a success?

What kind of wedding venue can you create?

First things first. How much land can you devote to the venue? Is there enough room for a large marquee or do you have a big enough barn or hall for 100-150 people to meet, eat and dance the night away? Is there room for a kitchen for food preparation? And a bar area? Are there WC’s?

If the facilities are not already in place, it is essential to put together a realistic plan and budget for putting them in place.

How much demand will there be for your new wedding venue?

As with any business venture, you need to have an idea of how much demand there will be for your venue. Fantastic venues attract interest from far afield, but it is reasonable to assume that most of your business will come from within 30 miles of your location. So when you’re thinking about how many bookings you might get, it’s worth taking into account who lives in your likeliest catchment area.

The choice of a wedding venue location usually takes into account how close it is to the bride’s family home, or where she currently lives. Knowledge of your local area will tell you how many family homes are nearby, and how many people there are around the average marriage age. That’s 35 for women and 38 for men, according to an ONS survey quoted in Harper’s Bazaar. Other surveys put the ages a few years lower.

You’ll also have an idea of local incomes which is another factor in gauging potential demand. It’s impossible to make a hard and fast prediction of how your wedding event business will do – but by thinking things through you’re more likely to have a successful business.

What do wedding venues near you offer?

A golden rule for every business is to know your competition! There is almost certainly a range of attractive wedding venues near you. You may well know some of them, but searching on a wedding venue directory will give you a fuller picture. You need to know what local competitors offer in terms of locations and facilities. You also need to research what they charge. How does your venue match up? What can you learn from your competitors? and what could you offer to stand out?

Is yours a wow factor wedding venue?

Do you have features – lakes, woods, buildings, arches, walled gardens – that make your venue unique?

Gorgeous landscapes and gardens are right at the top of venue hunters’ wish lists, so it’s always worth making the very best of your location and position.



“Venues should focus on making outdoor grounds useable and photo-ready to impress couples who place a high value on garden aesthetics.”

– Hamish Shephard, CEO of

stats on wedding venues via

Do you have super-stylish spots for official wedding photographs of the bride and groom? Ask yourself how ‘instagrammable’ your venue is – wedding pictures are shared on social media and your venue will be a major part of the visual show.

If you can add extra ‘wow’ to any part of the venue, don’t hesitate to do it. Think about investing in something distinctive – how about adding some free-roaming peacocks for example, or maybe a rustic tractor?

How many guests can your wedding venue take?

The essential element in any wedding is a covered space that’s big enough for all guests; this includes those at the wedding reception and evening only invitees as well. Average numbers for a wedding reception are around 100, with a further 50 guests joining for the evening party.

To work out the size of room or marquee your clients will need, you can work on the basis of 10 sq ft per guest for the reception. If you have a bar area or buffet area as well, you need to add 5 sq ft per guest.

10 sq ft per guest for the reception
+ 5 sq ft per guest for bar and buffet area
+ 5 sq ft per guest for dance floor

That’s a rough guide only, but it should help you understand what kind of wedding you are best suited to cater for. If your venue is limited to smaller than average weddings, you will miss out on some potential business, but you could still be a runaway success. If, on the other hand you are set up only for larger than average weddings, some couples might be put off having empty space on their special day.

Ideally your venue will have some flexibility, perhaps with the ability to open up or shut off parts of the main wedding space. You need to be realistic about existing buildings and floor areas, and whether you need to build more, or introduce more space with a marquee – for example one which leads off a large barn doorway.

Marquees come in a huge range of choices, and can be either permanent, seasonal or more temporary. Time spent researching to find what will work for you is time well spent.

Shilstone House external with wedding ceremony in progress

Don’t forget the loos

Your venue must have enough loos for guests to be comfortable. Aim for a minimum of one loo for 50 guests, but remember that you also need baby changing facilities too, as well as accessible facilities. You can always supplement permanent facilities with hire loos.

Do you need a licence for a wedding venue?

Yes you do. To hold a civil ceremony on your land you need a Grant of Approval from your local council. Licences are only given for permanent buildings which are ‘seemly and dignified’. There are no options for marquees and tipis.

You also need a premises licence and personal licence to sell alcohol.

Do you need planning permission for a wedding venue?

Yes, if yours is a permanent, year-round business. You can get away without planning permission if you use a marquee that is up for less than 28 days during the year – but with the time taken to set up events that equates to a handful of occasions. You do need planning permission for new buildings, and for change of use of old barns. If you have listed buildings you might have to deal with further issues. There are also potential planning complications if you are in a flood area, and if access for transport is limited or difficult. That’s not all you need to think about. You must have public liability insurance, and to carry out a health and safety risk assessment (especially if your venue is on a working farm), preferably by a qualified consultant.

How noisy will your wedding venue be?

When you set up a wedding venue your planning application has to cover the issue of noise. If you disturb your neighbours with music and the sounds of celebrations, you will get complaints. Especially if it happens repeatedly. Complaints can escalate to local authorities and could result in fines, enforcement notices and the withdrawal of licences.

This guide to The Top 5 Causes of Noise at a Wedding Venue highlights some of the main issues. Solutions are available for most venue noise problems, but the first issue is for a qualified consultant to carry out a Noise Impact Assessment.

The noise feasibility study will include the gathering of local underlying background levels using state-of-the-art equipment. This provides a base level to model the predicted noise level at your neighbouring properties when events take place and therefore establish if mitigation is required.

Formal assessments are of real help in dealing with local authorities and neighbours. They also provide acoustic engineers working on the site with measures that they can work to and control noise within the agreed limits.

Are complete wedding packages popular?

Two growing trends in weddings are for more informal events in rustic settings and the availability of complete wedding packages. Couples increasingly want a non-religious ceremony, reception, evening event and accommodation all on one site. The attraction is easy to see – everyone can let their hair down, without worrying about transport. The availability of nearby accommodation for guests is always a key consideration, but having somewhere to stay for close friends and relations helps contribute to a memorable day.

As a result, more and more venue owners are looking at on site accommodation options for guests. That might mean converting outbuildings to bedrooms, or installing shepherds’ huts or glamping tipis, or simply providing room for tents.

converted barn internal wedding venue with chairs and stage

How do you market your wedding venue?

Two absolutely essential building blocks for spreading the word about your venue are a solid website and lovely images. Highlighting positive reviews is always a good move. Make sure you include clear details about making enquiries and always ask for contact details with the appropriate wording about how they would like you to stay in touch.

Without breaking the bank, you can keep posting on Pinterest and Instagram, and if the budget permits, pay for ads on Facebook and Google. You could also pay for the services of online marketing agencies, including the cost-efficient SEO experts we use.

You can also encourage clients to tag their social media photos with your venue name, and to write 5-star reviews. Links with local businesses can help too, especially the ones you use. While it’s not directly under your control, if your venue lives up to expectations, word will spread.

What services do you need for your wedding venue?

There is a huge list of potentially useful links you can provide for your clients to make their celebrations a little more special. There is no shortage of wedding planning web resources such as and

Your wedding venue website could also have links to local businesses you rate including:

  • Printers
  • Transport
  • Access
  • Hair and makeup
  • Florist
  • Wedding cars
  • Celebrant
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Catering
  • Wine merchant
  • Kitchen
  • Live band
  • DJ
  • Loos
  • Local accommodation

Some nice extra touches could include:

  • Sweet stalls
  • Photo booths
  • Fireworks
  • Lanterns
  • Magicians
  • Kids’ entertainers
  • Creche
  • Jukebox
  • Guest book
  • Cocktail bar

For a free demonstration of our noise control technology,
get in touch with Direct Acoustic Solutions now.

Sound Sources In Marquees And The Effectiveness Of Noise Barriers

guests dancing on dancefloor in marquee

What Are The Different Sound Sources Found In Marquees?

  • Live Music
  • Recorded Music
  • Construction Noise
  • People Noise

Characteristics of Sound

sound waves illustration blue

Sound can be characterised by two primary variables, frequency and amplitude. The frequency defines the cycle rate of the waveform and therefore the type of sound we hear i.e. low frequency (bass), high frequency (treble), or anything in between.

Amplitude defines the loudness of the sound i.e. it is quiet or loud. Both of these characteristics will affect (a) how far the sound travels and (b) how much is absorbed by an acoustic barrier.

What Is The Local Environment?

Noise can be simply defined as any unwanted sound i.e. one man’s music, is another man’s noise. Taking personal preference out of the equation – noise pollution is therefore the impact that a sound source has upon the ambient noise level, bearing in mind that ambient noise levels vary between urban/rural, day/night etc.

Once the source, time and environment have been identified we are able to either measure or estimate it’s characteristics based on previous experience. In some instances it is possible to reduce the sound source itself, this should always be prioritised as in turn it reduces the amount of energy we need to contain.

What Time is The Sound Present?

clock illustration
With the sound characteristics established, we should consider the time at which the source is active, and the likely impact it will have upon the local environment. To put this in context, and without considering any technical regulations – in the daytime the ambient level would be louder and in the evening the ambient level would be quieter. Therefore the same sound source would have a greater impact upon the local environment in the evening as it would during the day.

Barrier Options and Lab Tests

graph illustration blue
Within our range of marquee acoustic linings we have a series of composite products, each designed to fit independent criteria. The effectiveness of each of these products has been engineered through extensive in-house R&D, followed by testing under laboratory conditions. This means that we are able to either apply these accredited characteristics, using broadband measurements (a single figure number that represents total frequency spectrum), and we are also able to define the frequency specific performance of our products in individual scenarios. This raw data is available and we will happily pass it on to acoustic industry professionals upon request.

Real World Effectiveness

Whilst laboratory testing is a vital part of identifying the performance characteristics of any acoustic product. We must also consider how effective that product will be in the “real world” – dependent on how it will be installed relative to the sound source. By incorporating an understanding of the issue and criteria that needs to be met, we are able to specify the exact acoustic barrier required to meet your brief.

Product Design

acoustic lining black outline sketch

As part of the design process we have considered the following criteria to make sure each is catered for within our product range.

Low Frequency Attenuation
Speed of Installation – for Temporary Environments
Maximum Performance Relative to Mass
Product Durability

Range Of Barriers

MAL16 – lightweight marquee lining, high acoustic absorption, temporary events

MAL22 – mid-weight marquee lining, excellent broadband attenuation,

MAC33 – heavy-weight rigid solution, maximum low frequency attenuation, long term installation

Interested in finding out more?

Get in touch and we’ll be happy to have a chat. With over 10 years experience we’re ready to solve your noise problem!

How To Deal With A Noise Complaint In The Hottest Summer Since 1976 (Or At Any Time Really)

black and white sound reading device in foreground with blurred marquee in background

High Court Conviction…… Liable Offence Contravene Section 80 Prohibition…… Aaaahhhhh….. Panic!!!

Scary language!
Big threats!
Shut up or shut down!
More panic!

What have you done?

How loud was it last Saturday at Sarah and David’s wedding?
Did that DJ crank it up when you were helping the caterers to load up?
Was it the Iron Maiden cover band?
Which neighbour have you irritated?
Is it that nice young couple with the new-born?

don't panic sign red on black background

Understanding The Acoustic Impact Of Your Events

…put the kettle on, make a cup of tea and take a breath.

There are some simple questions that you can ask yourself which should help you to scrape yourself off the ceiling and find some practical solutions to overcoming the state of anxiety you’ve just found yourself in.

Here we go…

– How many events are you doing a year?
– What time do they finish?
– How quiet is it where you live?

Measuring The Problem

The reason we ask you these questions is that there are various pieces of acoustic legislation which guide us in helping you to set up your venue lawfully, and they’re all hinged around these three simple points. Measuring noise is on the whole an objective business. There’s little value in getting into a back and forth about who can hear what, where and when. We all have different ideas about what might be acceptable. There’s a tool called a type one sound level meter which acoustic consultants, environmental health officers (and us) all use to establish whether noise is at a nuisance level or not.

Based on the ambient volume level around your venue and how much that changes when the music’s on defines whether it’s too loud or not. That data; the number of events you run, and the time they go on until come together to provide a picture of what you might need to do to control the noise at your venue.

black and white sound reading device in foreground with blurred marquee in background

Build Relationships With All Parties

It’s always going to be most beneficial for you to engage in dialogue with your local council, and if possible your neighbours too. If you’ve been served a notice, you’re going to need to take some action and a conversation about what exactly the problem is, is going to be the best place to start. The next thing that you’ll need to do is make a plan – we call this a noise mitigation strategy – and this is something that we can work on with you, as we do with most of our clients.

A noise mitigation strategy lays out the steps that you are planning to take to reduce the impact of your venue on your neighbours. It may involve looking at the kind of speaker system you use, a review of the layout and usage of your venue, it may involve soundproofing, and deciding on what time to shut the doors and windows (if you have doors and windows). With a few simple and cost-effective steps, clearly laid out in a noise mitigation strategy, you’ll be making significant gains towards reducing the noise problems your venue is up against.

Your heart rate should be returning to normal by now.

Can I Continue To Run Events?

Each council operates differently, so there’s not a clear-cut answer. However, if you’re prepared to take steps to prevent upsetting the neighbours again in most cases you should be able to continue to trade.

A noise mitigation strategy will invariably turn into a noise management plan, which is your tool for developing your venue in a sustainable way, using appropriate equipment and controls to keep noise at acceptable levels, and, let’s not forget, to provide sufficient volume to keep your customers happy too!

We are called into provide solutions at various stage of the process – sometimes during planning and sometimes because a Noise Abatement Notice has been served. We like to think we’ve seen most circumstances, if you need advice on controlling sound for any type of entertainment event – please feel free to get in touch.

Interested in finding out more?

Get in touch and we’ll be happy to have a chat. With over 10 years experience we’re ready to solve your noise problem!

Marquee Noise – Finding The Solution Before There’s A Problem.

white marquee set in green surroundings

The chances are if you are using a marquee to host events and are within close range of a residential dwelling you may well have noise related problems on the horizon. The most important piece of advice we can give is to spot these potential issues as early as possible and begin to manage the situation yourselves.

The materials a marquee is made up of mean it is very close to being acoustically transparent but various measures can be taken in order to control noise pollution. In order to identify the best ways to manage this in each individual case, a basic understanding of how sound attenuates is required. Sound pressure levels (SPL) reduce naturally and can also be encouraged to do so by utilising the following processes/techniques.


Sound pressure with diminish naturally over distance, positioning the marquees as far as possible from noise sensitive properties and using any permanent structures or natural features as a barrier will help attenuate noise levels to some degree. Although it is unlikely these steps alone will cure an existing issue they should certainly be taken into account when choosing a site for erecting the marquee.

Barrier (Absorption or Mass)

Soundproofing a tent is never easy due to the temporary and lightweight virtues which make it a great event space in the first place. Various steps can be taken to increase its acoustic absorbency, using solid sides throughout or in certain areas will help, other absorbent materials can be used to treat the roof and aid this but successfully soundproofing a marquee is very difficult to do. Whilst high-mid frequencies can be partly controlled by insulating the marquee, the lower frequencies are much harder to attenuate and are likely to continue to cause complaint.

Isolation (Break the transmission path)

It’s unlikely that this will be relative to marquee structures, is more applicable to buildings which are actually adjoined.

Cancelation (Wave propagation – Destructive interference)

Our systems use speaker placement to focus sound – specifically low frequencies – within areas which need it. Dependent on your situation it can be the most effective solution in containing high volume audio from marquee events. Learn more about how the Zone Array could help you reduce noise.

Noise Management Plan

Alongside identifying what can be done in relation to acoustic treatment, putting in place a noise management plan can get you ahead of the game. Identify the various issues which may arise from holding events and workout counteractive measures to cure them.


Noise Monitoring

This may require you to carry out some noise monitoring, in its simplest form just have a walk around and listen. Without the knowledge and experience in dealing with sound measurements professionally your own ears will be a far better judge on levels and whether something is too loud.


Choosing the Act

It might be that you need to look at limiting certain acts to specific timeframes, the noise breakout from a band is usually more than that of a DJ, which is generally more manageable. It could be that you limited bands to 9pm and any entertainment afterwards has to be recorded music.


If you are in an area which is noise sensitive, make sure you get in touch with visiting acts and give them prior notice. Just explain the situation and that they will be playing under certain noise restraints for the evening, giving a warning beforehand takes away the element of surprise and should make the issue much easier to broach during the event.


If you are having problems with managing certain acts investigate the possibility of using resident entertainment, these will usually make each event much easier for you to control. Building a relationship with a band or DJ means they are much more likely to listen when you ask for the volume to be turned down a notch.


Be One Step Ahead

In short make sure you’re one step ahead of any complaints which may be coming your way, find out what your weaknesses are and put procedures in place to neutralise them. Noise legislation is very complex and can be increasingly difficult to overcome as you become more involved, keeping off the radar in the first instance can save you a huge amount of trouble in the future.

At Direct Acoustic Solutions we specialise in providing marquee venues with specific audio packages, whether we are involved at the initial concept or as part of the final solution we pride ourselves on finding the right solution for you. If you have questions or need advice on anything sound related, please do get in touch – we are more than happy to help.

Interested in finding out more?

Get in touch and we’ll be happy to have a chat. With over 10 years experience we’re ready to solve your noise problem!

Live Music In A Noise Sensitive Wedding Venue

live musician with trombone on stage tinted pink and yellow lighting

If you have a noise problem when live music is played at your venue you’re going to have to do something about how that live music is played, and this will involve a conversation with the musicians who play there.

The three things that we need to talk about when it comes to bands are:

1. Amps
2. Drum Kits
3. Monitors

Before we get stuck in we need to make a little detour to understand why bass is such a problem.

Frequencies travel in waves – up, along and down again and again and again….till the diffuse into just air.

sound waves illustration blue

Low frequencies are more powerful because they transfer less energy to a medium as they travel through it. In addition to this every time sound hits something some of its energy is diminished – it’s absorbed a little by the ground it comes into contact with – so sounds that hit the ground more frequently (higher frequencies), travel less distance as there is more opportunity to chisel a little bit away with each contact.

When you consider how bass travels it helps to visualise the shape and size of the sound oscillation. This shape is governed by a simple equation; The frequency, divided by the speed of sound. The speed of sound is around 343 meters per second, (for the purposes of this example lets say 350). e.g 350/50Hz = 7m. So therefore a Low Frequency beat like 50Hz jumps 7m high and 7m along, so over houses, barns and forests!

Right you’ve got the basics down, now let’s talk about where those pesky bass frequencies come from and how to control them!

Bass Guitars

The bassist has a guitar, which they usually plug into their own amplifier that will have a specific character to it. 

The range of amplifiers is vast but some of these will throw out the kind of problem frequencies that we described before – with the bassist’s amp in operation the frequencies that are produced when the band start playing will jump over obstructions and travel further than we want them to.

If you have an in-house PA, the simplest thing to do to address this is to ask the bassist to use a direct injection box – a relatively cheap piece of kit – these can often be plugged into a special output on the amp. This way the bassist can keep their amps sound without relying on it to produce the high and uncontrolled volume level.

DI Box Pro D2
A typical DI box
marshall bass amp
Sennheiser In-ear Monitors for noise monitoring

Band Monitoring

Okay brilliant we’ve stopped the bass amp from being a problem but the bassist and the rest of the band still need to hear themselves play! 

The traditional option is to use monitors, speakers on the floor that feed the instrument back to musician. We run into the exact same issue as the bass amp here though, it’s an uncontrolled sound source, so we need to use something else. That’s where in ear monitors become your best friend.

This is something the musicians will need to supply themselves (they go in the ear so you wouldn’t want to share them), and not everyone will have them, but those who’ve been trained in recent years are accustomed to using this method of monitoring.

What about those drums??

Drum kits are arguably the most difficult to control simply because they don’t have any kind of volume dial. The harder they are hit, the louder they are…. and drummers love to hit hard.

There are many “tricks of the trade” that can be utilised to help – pillows in kick drums, blankets on snares, these can be partly effective in dampening the sound depending on the noise sensitivity of your venue but often don’t work well enough.

A digital drum kit is the last link in the chain, they work the same way a keyboard works to a traditional piano. Drummers aren’t usually best pleased about having to use one but compromises have to be made to ensure you remain within your noise limit. 

electric drumkit

Is A “Silent Stage” Needed?

You probably only need to go this far if your venue is extremely noise sensitive. For example – if you’re in a marquee and the nearest noise sensitive location is less than two hundred and fifty meters away – then your venue would fall within this bracket, the same may be true of a building in a particularly quiet area.

You can read about how we identify acceptable noise levels and help you to develop a noise plan in our article How to deal with a noise complaint in the hottest summer since 1976 (or anytime really).

We have worked with a number of venues to implement a silent stage policy, either in full or partly, dependent on their requirements.

We’ve got a bit more information about these venues and how we helped them overcome their noise problems on our projects page if you’d like to have a bit more of a read.

If you’ve got any questions about controlling sound at a wedding venue or about any of the equipment we've spoken about give us a call.

Mitigating Noise at a Wedding Venue

wedding guests in long domed room with purple lighting

Mitigating Any Noise Issue Is About Understanding Three Things:

What Is The Cause?

Can It Be Controlled At Source?

Can It Be Attenuated?

People Noise

People at wedding events make noise – it wouldn’t be much of a party if no-one was allowed to sing along to the “Summer of 69”.

Can it be reduced or controlled at source?

You can certainly ask people to leave quietly and it’s a good idea to display signage along these lines. Making sure that guests leave according to designated routes, taking them away from sensitive properties is also good practice.

Can it be attenuated?

bride and groom with confetti and bouquet

The human voice on mass contains a considerable punch, even without a speaker system a dance floor in full swing would be expected to hit 90dB. That said a human voice does not have the low-frequency impact of a PA system and depending on the structure you are in, attenuating barriers can be very effective.

People also like to move at weddings, in some instances foot stomping on the dancefloor might be of concern. If your structure is adjoining and if there is structure-borne transmission then you would be best taking professional advice. If the dancefloor itself is creating substantial sound, perhaps you can dampen that sound – fill any cavities under the dancefloor or add a damping membrane to the dancefloor itself.

Music Noise

Most weddings provide music of some sort – whether that is DJ, Live band or even just background music – depending on your structure and proximity to the nearest neighbour. The fact music gets going later on means it is often the primary cause of complain

black and white image of electric guitarist on stage

Music Noise

Anything amplified can be turned all the way up and all the way down. Leaving it easy to control as long as you have the controls!

Acoustic instruments e.g. drum kits, brass etc will have their own properties – sometimes these can be digitalised an electric drumkit or a DI from a bass guitar’s amp are examples (we’ve written a blog post just about this topic) – doing this will mean you have the same level of control as turning up and down the main PA.

What you have to consider is that the party itself has a threshold – we at Direct Acoustics think that is around 95dB. That is the magic number for any wedding event – a little less than that and you’ll be ok – below 90dB and the dancefloor starts to suffer. Much above 100dB and some of your guests will be complaining it’s too loud.

In order to reach our dancefloor level, we have to consider the following: what is the directionality of the source? What material is there between the source and the receptor/what acoustic properties does the material have? And finally what distance does the sound travel from source to the receptor? With that information, we can model a dancefloor sound level. Going back to that magic number 95dB  – if you are close then maybe just turning it down a little will do the trick, if not then additional measures will need to be considered.

One of these would be using a highly directional speaker system – our Zone Array has been designed exactly for this task.

Can it be attenuated?

The nature of music means that there is almost always a significant low-frequency presence, and low frequency is notoriously difficult to contain.

If you are in a building then works can be undertaken to improve the building envelope. In our experience these should not be taken lightly – just patching up gaps or applying an extra layer of plasterboard will not be effective. Soundproofing is about introducing mass and isolation – if you need to treat something and the main source is music, consider approaching professional help.

Much of our work takes place in marquees or other temporary structures. Introducing mass into a lightweight marquee goes against the very nature of its design – i.e. put up, take down over and over.

Our range of Acoustic Linings has been designed to maximize acoustic performance and compatibility with a variety of structures. We can install it in conjunction with a tight schedule and have the flexibility to meet most demands.

We have also recently worked in conjunction with Roder HTS to design a HWM Acoustic Barrier system. This was installed into a permanent wedding marquee in Ireland – the structure’s acoustic attention has been improved by 31dB.

Hopefully the above gives you a few pointers in controlling noise at wedding events or any other event for that matter. At Direct Acoustics, we specialise in providing solutions to venues looking to minimize their sound footprint. Sometimes this is achieved using a pre-designed product, sometimes we can come up with something completely new.

If you want any further info on anything we can do – drop us a line we’d love to chat.

If you’ve got any questions about controlling sound at a wedding venue just drop us a call. We’ll be happy to have a chat and advise you!