Frequently Asked Questions

Sound advice when choosing
a catering hall

When choosing the catering hall for your wedding reception don't forget an important consideration: the acoustics of the room. Most couples spend hours selecting the perfect flowers, deciding on the ideal gowns, choosing the best-sounding band and agonizing over the song for their first dance, but most don't give even a passing thought to the sound of the room. I have performed at thousands of weddings in the most exclusive catering facilities in the tri-state area, and no matter where the wedding, a main concern of my clients is that the band not be too loud. Depending on the reception hall they've selected, it could be nearly impossible to do. It is challenging to play rock & roll and top 40 music quietly, but when compounded by acoustical problems the task becomes even more difficult. Poor room acoustics can make the band sound loud, mushy, or even cause high-end feedback or bass frequency rumble. Choosing a great sounding room will make the audio experience, and the reception itself, more pleasurable for you and your guests.

Here is an example of the difference between a good sounding room and a bad one:

I recently played in the main ballroom of the Madison Hotel, one of the best sounding halls you will find anywhere. It's a large carpeted room with a movable hardwood dance floor, whose walls are covered with a thick wallpaper and ceiling is acoustically treated. The attention to acoustical treatments ensures an elegant atmosphere that sounds terrific.

On the other hand, the very same hotel also has a garden atrium that is quite a different story. The Madison Hotel¹s atrium is stunningly beautifull glass with gorgeous plants. Unfortunately, it is an acoustical nightmare. It sounds great for wedding ceremonies that employ acoustic instruments such as a harp or string quartet, but putting a large band in this room is another matter. The stage area is separated from the dance floor, cutting off communication between guests and the band, and huge flowered pillars obstruct guests¹ views of the band. To make matters worse, the room is all glass, causing sound to ping all over the place. The resulting noise is really awful. My advice is to have your ceremony in the solarium and your reception in the main ballroom.

You might ask, "How will I know if a hall sounds good?"

When you walk into a room clap your hands or make a loud shout sound with your voice like "HEY!" If you hear a lot of reverberation, the sound of the clap bouncing off many different surfaces, you know it might not be the best acoustic choice. If you hear an echo, the sound repeating itself many times, you have big trouble. Stay away from rooms with a lot of hard surfaces. Rooms that are all glass, hard wood or stone sound like caves. Look for a hall that has carpeting on the floor (not the dance floor), acoustic treatment on the ceiling and drapes or other sound absorbent materials on the walls. The way to avoid the cave-like sound is to have sound absorbent materials on the walls, floors and ceiling that diffuse the sound rather than act as springboard for it.

Here's my list of the top 10 best sounding halls in New Jersey:

  • Madison Hotel Ballroom, Madison
  • Seaview Marriott, Absecon
  • Fiddlers Elbow Country Club, Bedminster
  • Trenton Country Club, Trenton
  • The Bethwood, Totowa
  • Sea Oaks Golf Club, Little Egg Harbor
  • Forsgate Country Club, Monroe Twpt.
  • Nassau Inn, Princeton
  • The Park Savoy, Florham Park
  • The Crystal Plaza, Livingston

Finding a wedding hall with great acoustics is probably not your main priority, but it should be considered when choosing the right place for the biggest event in your life.

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