the light is coming…
…to give back everything the darkness stole.
First and foremost, we hope that our message finds you safe and healthy as we enter the final month of this crazy year. We know that everybody has struggled in one way or another, so we wanted to provide an update with a little bit of hope!
We’re happy to report that our team of four employees and sixty contractors are all still together, patiently waiting for a safe return to events. Somehow we have all managed to keep our heads above water even in the face of uncertainty, and we’re so grateful for that.
Although much uncertainty remains, we were thrilled to participate in our first several weddings back from the shutdown during the months of September and October. It was an exciting signal that event professionals are starting to find ways to operate safely in the midst of a pandemic, and a reminder that folks out there still want to come together to celebrate. We know that many events will still need to be postponed until we’re a little further along this road, but this feels like the first step to what we hope will be a beautiful new future of celebrating together.
It’s been a labor of love developing new safety measures to keep our guests, co-vendors, contractors, and employees safe, and we are so thankful specifically to the planners who have been so accommodating to the changes we’ve had to make. We are confident that the words “safe” and “fun” don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and we’re excited to prove it as we move forward!
How have you been doing? We would love to hear from you, and we can’t wait until we can see you again. In the meantime, stay safe, and stay positive.
With much love from your favorite party people.
We’re thrilled to announce we’ve been hand-picked as a Certified Vendor by Here Comes The Guide, a highly respected publication and one of the most comprehensive wedding planning resources available to brides and grooms!
Spend a few minutes browsing The Guide online, and you’ll see the great care they take to provide inspiration, information, and references for each crucial part of a couples’ wedding. From venues to vendors, bridal shows to dress design, The Guide’s online resources help couples navigate through the daunting task of planning their own perfect wedding from scratch. Couples find peace of mind knowing that each of their recommendations have been carefully curated by a tight-knit group of wedding professionals using real reviews and references, personally collected from past brides, grooms and clients. It’s no small feat getting Certified by The Guide; take it from their motto:
“We only list wedding vendors that we’d recommend to our own sisters, brothers, and best friends.”
That’s a high standard to live up to when it comes to serving you and your loved ones on the happiest, most special day of your life– and we welcome the challenge each time. We’d like to thank The Guide for our Certified Vendor badge, as well as being their featured entertainment recommendation for weddings in Southern California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii.
For more information about their certification process, and a full list of all their Certified Vendors, please visit The Guide today!
Written by Symeon Tzvetkov.
If you are looking for a magnificent venue for your own big day, the prestigious Langham Huntington in Pasadena is a worthy consideration. Last month, the Langham played host to Jaclyn and Danny Lim’s beautiful wedding, and one of our most spectacular shows to date. The evening began as guests took to the lawn of the breathtaking Horseshoe Garden, to witness the couple take vows and tie the knot in a traditional Christian ceremony.
After enjoying cocktails in the courtyard, guests met us in the stunning Georgian Ballroom for the newlyweds’ grand entrance and first dance, which we accompanied with Ronan Keating’s “When You Say Nothing At All.” Spirits were high as we led Danny and Jaclyn in their father/daughter and mother/son dances, to “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion and “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel.
As the evening carried on through dinner, we invited the guests to celebrate with us on the dance floor, where we entertained them with pop, R&B, and classic rock hits, old and new. Between Golden Age classics like The Doors’ “Touch Me”, and irresistible contemporary hits like Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”, our guests paid tribute to their most cherished memories with a dazzling evening of new ones.
All photos courtesy of Jennifer Fujikawa Photography.
Written by Symeon Tzvetkov.
Last month, we were pleased to bring our full 11-piece show band to the magnificent Palm Springs Convention Center for Allstate’s “Rock the Revolution” party. Attended by nearly 200 employees, the party took place in the ornate Primrose Ballroom, where guests were treated to a exquisite buffet spread, before settling in for a Grammy-style awards ceremony commemorating their workplace achievements. The celebration then commenced as a Michael Jackson impressionist took to the dance floor to our own MJ medley, starting with “Billie Jean”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, and “PYT”.
The King of Pop then invited the guests to join in on the fun, kicking off a dance competition, where guests shook it loose for a chance at some prizes.
As the evening continued, our signature 10-piece band kept the floor alive and grooving with party hits old and new, from Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” to hip-hop cuts like Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” and 2Pac’s “California Love”, led by one of our lead singers, Evan Saucedo.
All in all, it was a night of smooth grooves and high spirits not to be forgotten any time soon. We look forward to our next occasion celebrating with Allstate!
All photos courtesy of Josh Owens Photography.
Article written by Symeon Tzvetkov.
Twelfth Annual Best of Weddings Awards, From the #1 Wedding Planning Website, Honor the Top Wedding Vendors Across America
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA/January 9, 2018— Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment is pleased to announce that they have been selected as a 2018 winner in The Knot Best of Weddings, an award representing the highest-rated wedding professionals as reviewed by real couples, their families and wedding guests on The Knot, the leading online wedding brand and app.
In 2018, only 3% of the approximately 300,000 local wedding professionals listed on TheKnot.com have received this distinguished accolade. In its twelfth annual year, The Knot continues its longstanding tradition of supporting local wedding vendors with The Knot Best of Weddings 2018, an annual by-couples, for-couples guide to the top wedding professionals across the country. To determine the winners, The Knot assessed almost 3.6 million reviews across the various vendor categories—venues, musicians, florists, photographers, caterers and more. These winners represent the best of the best wedding professionals that a bride or groom would want to consider booking for their own unique wedding.
As the number one online wedding brand and app,The Knot has inspired approximately 25 million couples to plan a wedding that’s uniquely theirs. With a rich history of providing quality content and inspiration, The Knot is making it easier for couples to connect with and book just the right wedding professionals to create their perfect wedding day. Eight out of 10 couples come to The Knot where they can be connected to any of the approximately 300,000 local wedding professionals across the country. The Knot marries great technology with trusted content–and a little love–to make planning for the most important day of a person’s life easier and more enjoyable.
For more information about The Knot Best of Weddings and a complete list of winners, please visit https://www.theknot.com/vendors/best-of-weddings.
About The Knot
The Knot is the nation’s leading online wedding brand and app that seamlessly engages, matches and connects couples with the right products, services and local wedding professionals they need to plan and pull off their wedding. The trusted brand reaches a majority of engaged couples in the US through the #1 wedding website TheKnot.com, its mobile apps, The Knot national and local wedding magazines, and The Knot book series. The Knot has inspired approximately 25 million couples to plan a wedding that’s uniquely them. The Knot is the flagship brand of XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO), which helps people navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments—from getting married to moving in together and having a baby. Please visit The Knot online at TheKnot.com and follow on social media: Facebook.com/TheKnot and @TheKnot on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
I love attending weddings almost as much as I love performing at them. I love the details in the decor, the carefully coordinated bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits, the beautiful and always unique wedding cake. It’s a celebration of a lifetime, and couples spend hard-earned cash to ensure it’s simply the best evening ever! But when the big day comes, there will be changes for which you couldn’t possibly plan. So, unless you’re planning to stand on a milk crate and yell for your guests to line up for an impromptu sparkler exit, you’re going to want a killer emcee and a versatile wedding band to tie the whole event together. Here are five reasons why:
1. A Master of Ceremonies is a Master Coordinator
A couple weeks ago, I attended a party at which nobody seemed to have a clue what was going on. The guest of honor was never introduced, it took about a half hour for word to get around that it was time to sit down for dinner, and the few special moments that were planned were botched because the people needed weren’t in the room when their music started. The DJ played great music, we all danced, but Judi’s special moment seemed to get lost in the mix. A solid emcee will have done his homework before anyone ever enters the room. He or she will have the tentative timetable, the names of everybody being introduced, all the special music lined up and ready to go, and most importantly, the microphone! Your emcee will be the one instructing guests what to do, making sure everybody’s paying attention when they need to be.
2. Not Everything Will Go As Planned
Most couples don’t anticipate this, of course, because they’ve never planned a wedding before. Sharing a written schedule with your vendors will only serve as a guide for how you’d like the evening to go. Every room is different, every crowd is different, and there are any number of things that can and will go awry on the day of the event. If you have an emcee to anticipate and navigate through these changes, you probably won’t even notice. But if nobody has this role, or if your emcee can’t adapt and lead effectively, you better believe that your guests will notice something’s up (or should I say, DOWN!)
3. You’re Going To Have Last Minute Requests
A special toast that wasn’t included in your original notes. A dance with Grandma that was previously scratched. A group photo that your maid of honor just reminded you to take. Are you going to walk around and tell each of your guests to line up? Your event coordinator can help, but what you really need is a microphone, and a great communicator to convey the message. If you have a talented emcee with a band that can play special requests on the fly, all you need to do is let your emcee know what you’d like. Some of the most special moments of your big day will be the ones that nobody planned, but were still executed flawlessly.
4. Your Guests Will Remember How Elegant Your Reception Was (Or Wasn’t)
People have different thoughts here, of course. If you have a small party of 30 guests or less, there’s something to be said for an intimate gathering in which nobody’s in charge, where it all feels like a family reunion of sorts. But if you’ve got multiple groups of guests who don’t know each other, that’s not going to work. You’ll want to create an ambience in which everybody can be involved without feeling awkward. The solution: an emcee that can turn your room into an upscale affair with an elegant touch. You’ll want somebody that can seamlessly lead from blessing to dinner, toast to first dance, cake cutting to garter toss, all without any dead space. The best reception is one in which your guests don’t have time to wonder what’s coming next. A great emcee will always be one step ahead, effortlessly leading your guests through the evening’s events.
5. All Eyes On You…
I tell my band at every event: whatever you do, don’t embarrass the bride! Imagine this: you’ve been summoned to the dance floor for your first dance, you’re standing in the center of the room with every eye on you, but your music is nowhere to be found. You’re indeed a blushing bride, but not for the right reason! OK, stop imagining. This is NOT happening at your wedding! A great emcee has one person on his mind: Y-O-U. Your professional wants to make sure you feel special every step of the way, and understands how scary it is to stand in the middle of a dance floor while all your loved ones look on. Before you book your wedding entertainment, read the reviews from couples who have worked with that band or DJ before. Did the bride gush about how the emcee made her feel like the most special person in the room? If not…keep looking!
An Annapolis, Maryland native, Ben Mallare has provided live musical entertainment for hundreds of couples, families and companies since 2012. Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment is a full-service private events entertainment agency with over 35 musicians performing 75 weddings and events each year. The company is a natural result of Ben’s aptitude for musical performance combined with his deep love of personal service. Ben currently lives in Glendale, California and anxiously looks forward to the new brides and grooms he’ll get to meet in the coming year!
Looking for unique, live musical entertainment that will fit both your vision and your budget? Get a quick quote from Ben at www.benmallare.com.
photo // Anna Schmidt Photography
Before I begin, let me say this. I don’t think you can go wrong picking your wedding song. Whether it’s old or new, upbeat or slow, it’s really all about what the song means to you. The song will take on special meaning for you as you dance to it, as well as your guests as they watch. I’m often surprised by the songs our couples choose as their first dance (“How are we going to make this one work?!”), but the rule seems to be: the more interesting or unique the song choice, the more special the moment. So, get creative! And even better…if you have a band play your wedding instead of a DJ, you can ask them to adjust the song to fit the mood you want to set. They can slow the song down, add instrumentation, take out percussion, or create a nice build of energy as the song goes along (my favorite technique).
Here are some cool songs we’ve done in the last 12 months.
1. Slide // Goo Goo Dolls (slow version) – We did this one for Jess & Brad at Oak Canyon Ranch on 5.21.16. This is a 90’s throwback if I’ve ever heard one, and definitely a unique choice for a first dance. To be honest, I had never really listened to the words until I learned it for them, and it turned out to be a very touching first dance. Brad and Jess choreographed a dance to it and had us play it a little bit slower than the original recording. It was pure magic.
2. These Arms Of Mine // Otis Redding – You can never go wrong with a little Otis Redding. This particular tune has just the right mix of soul and 50’s doo-wop, which made this moment meaningful yet light. Georges & Nicole planned their wedding to have an intimate and welcoming feel; with a guest count of under 40, they wanted each of their guests to feel part of what was happening. This song made it easy for us to invite all the other guests onto the floor with them before transitioning into our dance set.
3. When I Get My Hands On You // The New Basement Tapes – So sexy. So smooth. This song is really slow and simple, so it’s great for couples that want an intimate moment they’ll never forget. For Johnny and Emily’s first dance, this was an opportunity for us to back off and let the bass guitar do all the talking. We didn’t try to speed it up or complicate it with extra instrumentation, and the empty space really allowed guests’ attention to rest on the couple.
4. Thinking Out Loud // Ed Sheeran – Don’t shy away from it just because everybody’s heard it a thousand times! We’ve done this for maybe 10 different couples in the past year, and you know what? A good song is a good song! Guests will be able to sing along while they shed a little happy tear for the two of you. Tried and true.
5. Our Love // Gary Clark, Jr. – Another smooth R&B tune that I had never heard before. I thought this one was a really nice tempo – slow but not too slow, with a really classic beat that seemed to fit the sophistication of the occasion. This song also has a nice build of energy, which makes it conducive to invite guests to join you towards the end of the tune. This song is especially great if you have a horn in your band!
6. Your Song // Elton John – A classic, and a great choice no matter which way you spin it. There are many ways to do this song – completely acoustic with a piano, mid-tempo with the band accenting here and there, very soft and gentle with a violin. You can’t go wrong with this one, because the lyrics are timeless and the melody floats beautifully.
7. It Had To Be You // Harry Connick, Jr. – I love this one for ballroom weddings with a real high-end feel. This song keeps the mood light and playful and just a little bit sexy (just listen to the way Harry Connick slides into those notes…) The Sinatra version is great too, but it doesn’t have the sultry swing of Connick, Jr.’s version.
8. The Way I Am // Ingrid Michaelson – Everybody knows this one, but it’s definitely an interesting choice for a first dance. It opts out of the traditional image of romance, charmingly addressing the finer aspects of a life spent together. (“I’ll buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair.”). For the right couple, it’s super charming. Min & Rune danced to this at Beltane Ranch in October, and it fit their unique love story perfectly.
9. Budapest // George Ezra – This song is getting more and more popular with couples, who love it for its simplicity and undeniably happy feel. This is an “all smiles” first dance – for the couple that wants to celebrate their first dance with a bit more joy than traditional selections allow.
10. You Are The Best Thing // Ray LaMontagne – It’s never going to go out of style. This song works so well because it’s an upbeat song you can still slow dance to it. It’s romantic, but it’s not so intense that you’ll make everybody cry. And most importantly, this song is the easiest of all the songs we do to get your guests to join you towards the end of the song. I particularly love the bridge of the song because of the way it builds excitement leading into the last two choruses. I’d highly recommend either having a horn player or a keys player than can play a horn line!
Want more ideas? Want to bounce an idea around? E-mail email@example.com for more first dance real talk.
Photo: Miki Vargas Photography // @mikivargasphoto
Anybody who has ever attempted an “iPod Wedding” will readily tell you, there’s more to throwing an awesome dance party than just playing whatever songs you like to listen to in your car. It’s not even just playing the most popular songs on radio (imagine if your wedding band or DJ played “Hello” by Adele at your wedding). We play close to 50 weddings a year, and even we are occasionally surprised about the songs that people will or will not dance to at a wedding reception. That said, here are the top 10 songs that we guarantee will get your wedding guests up and dancing this season.
1. Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars) – A top 40 song that sounds retro. What could be better for an all-ages dance party? This song is over a year old, but it’s become ubiquitous and will get all your guests on the dance floor. It’s (more or less) appropriate for all ages, and it’s a great party starter.
2. September (Earth Wind & Fire) – You can’t go wrong with this classic. Forty years later, this song will still set off your guests’ party neurons. It’s nostalgic for older generations and fun for the younger ones. Make sure you have a horn player in your band to make this one extra special.
3. Shut Up & Dance (Walk The Moon) – One of the most popular radio songs of 2015, this is another great party starter. Guests love to sing along, and it’s a great one for those attending without a date. For couples with thing for rock & roll, this is a great current top 40 song that still has a rock feel to it.
4. Billie Jean (Michael Jackson) – We often will corral guests into a “dance-off” circle for this MJ classic. Brave souls will show off moves that you never knew they had! Make sure your photographer and videographer are nearby.
5. Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke) – Sorry, everyone. Despite all the controversy this song and its music video caused, it’s still one of the best songs to get guests shaking their tail feathers! We love to throw it in about halfway through the night after guests have had a few drinks. It’s a great way to start a second wave of dancing.
6. One Dance (Drake) – The “Blurred Lines” of 2016. Even though not all of your guests will know this tune yet, they will respond to this smooth and sexy groove only Drake can provide. It’s also a great one for later in the evening.
7. Shout (Isley Brothers) – Couples often ask me not to play this one. If you have a DJ, I agree. Skip it. The recording sounds super outdated and cheesy. BUT, a band will make this song the absolute highlight of the evening. We use Shout to trigger some really fun audience participation, and our home-run-of-a-finish always has guests hooting and hollering!
8. Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond) – Some call it lame, but even the most hipster of hipsters can’t resist singing along to this chorus. Seriously, they’ll sing along to it and then shake their heads at themselves for daring to have fun. (Am I getting too personal here?) My point is: it’s a party and people are drinking and having fun. Don’t shy away from playing a song that will have everybody wrapping their arms around each other like a bunch of drunken Irishmen. Trust me, you’ll cherish the memory!
9. Wagon Wheel (Darius Rucker) – I always ask, “Where are my country fans?!” Nobody ever responds, but they DO dance once we start playing this tune. It’s a feel-good rockabilly tune that plays particularly well at barn and winery weddings.
10. Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong) – You’ll want mostly upbeat tunes at your reception, of course, but a couple slow dances thrown in the mix are essential. We love this one because it gets all the couples out on the floor, even if they haven’t danced all night. It’s often a really special moment for the couple to have another special dance with each other or with their parents.
Wanna talk shop? Planning your own wedding and need some advice? We know about wedding music and love to help! E-mail Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org or check us out on WeddingWire for more information.
A couple months ago, we had the distinct pleasure of providing the musical entertainment for Diana and Michael’s big day. The wedding was held at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, well known as one of the most exclusive 5-star hotels on the strip. The guests consisted of about 50 of the couple’s family and close friends, who had gathered from all over the country.
The ceremony took place in one of the ballrooms, with music provided by a small string ensemble. Guests then moved into the foyer for the cocktail hour, before heading into the larger ballroom for the reception.
After the Grand Entrance (“Best Day Of My Life” by American Authors) and first dance (“It Had To Be You” by Frank Sinatra), we took the guests on a journey of the last sixty years in popular music, playing everything from The Four Seasons to Michael Jackson to Bruno Mars. The guests ranged from 5 years old at the youngest, to mid-80s at the most seasoned! We provided a little something for everybody, finding a common ground for guests of all ages on a few universal classics, such as “Shout” by Isley Brothers “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, and “Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Some of our younger guests loved our medley of top 40 hits, including “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, and “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift.
All photos courtesy of Ron Dillon Photography