Browsing Tag

2015

Couples' FAQ, Weddings

Picking the Right Vendor: 5 Things to Find Out

May 9, 2015

Selecting the right wedding vendor can be a hectic task. There are so many options, yet you can’t find the information you need about the professionals you’re interested in. Rule of thumb: when somebody stands out to you for whatever reason, reach out to them with a few specific questions about what they do, and see where they take it from there. Here are five things you’ll want to find out about your wedding vendor:

1. Their Experience

Brides feel it leading up to the big day, and so do wedding professionals: there are so many details that go into making a one-off event like a wedding run smoothly. You’ll have your rehearsal with the wedding party, but your vendors won’t get that dry run. They are required to show up the day of the event and execute their job flawlessly, taking into account a venue they may never have been in, clients they have never worked with, and guests they’ve never served. You’ll want to verify that your vendors are as professional as they say they are, and it’s mostly just a question of time and frequency: how long they’ve been working in the wedding industry, and how many events they do a year.

2. Their Testimonials

It’s my favorite line: Nobody can describe a vendor better than somebody who has already paid for their services. You’ll want to hear first hand from past brides and other clients what their experience working with your vendor was like. Look for descriptive words and specific instances of how the vendor went out of his/her way to make the event exceptional. That’s the kind of service you want!

3. Their Attention

OK, so maybe your vendor happens to be out on an event or “on vacation” when you first make contact. That’s understandable. But generally speaking, if your vendor really cares about securing your business, he or she will get back to you in some way within 24 hours, even if it’s just to say that they received the message and will be sending more information as soon as they can. If you’re waiting days at a time between correspondence, think about how much worse it will be once the contract is actually signed. Also, don’t settle for a vendor who is only meeting some of your needs. Ask them if they can adjust their offering to fit your vision for the event. If they can’t or are unwilling, put them on the back burner and keep looking.

4. Their Talent

It’s what drew you to them in the first place. For most vendors, it should be obvious at first look whether they fit within your specific vision. But don’t be so quick to go running to a one-trick pony; be wary of vendors who only seem to excel at one style or technique. At the initial stages of picking a vendor, you might not know exactly what you want yet. You’ll want to work with somebody who can give you a variety of options, or perhaps create something entirely new based on what you work out together. The truly talented wedding professional is a flexible one who knows how to create good results with a variety of different factors.

4. Their Price Tag

Don’t be afraid to ask! Vendors love to pretend like money is an afterthought, but it really isn’t. You probably know what your budget is, and your vendor knows what he or she is worth. Don’t try to low ball a vendor just to get a good deal – ask them up front what they charge. If their price is too high, let them know what you can spend. They will either meet you at your price point, ask if you can meet somewhere in the middle, or let you know that they can’t offer services for that amount. No harm done, and most importantly – no BS!

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the responses you want from your top choices. As you continue your vendor search, you might decide that somebody who didn’t look as appealing at first is actually a perfect fit for you. WeddingWire, GigSalad, and Borrowed & Blue are all great resources for you to contact top vendors in your area.

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Ben Mallare

An Annapolis, Maryland native, Ben Mallare has provided live musical entertainment for hundreds of couples, families and companies since 2012. In 2014, Ben developed Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment into what it is today: 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 a deep love of personal service. Ben currently lives in Glendale, California and most 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.

Venues, Weddings

Top 5 Most Breathtaking Destinations & Venues in California for 2015

April 22, 2015

At my company, we offer bands and ensembles consisting of between two and five members each. As such, we’re able to travel all to the most remote destinations without hassle. When it comes to beautiful scenery, secluded sanctuaries and breathtaking views, you can’t beat the California coast. Here are some of our favorite destinations and venues to have your wedding here in California.

1. Big Sur // Venue: Wind & Sea Estate (photo above)

An ambiguous location in California, not bound to any one county or municipality, Big Sur sits on the northwest corner of Los Padres National Forest. Only accessible by Hwy 1, it’s noted for its high bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We joined Alex & Natalie for their wedding in May 2014 at Wind & Sea Estate. The ceremony was held down at the bluff, with the cocktail hour dispersing out amongst the grounds. The house includes a wrap-around balcony where dinner was served, and a large living room where we closed out the night with dancing until 1 in the morning!

Sea Ranch Lodge

2. Sea Ranch // Venue: Sea Ranch Lodge

Nestled a couple hours north of San Francisco, also on Hwy 1, Sea Ranch has a definite wilderness factor to it. The lodge is rustic yet fully updated; well-staffed and event-ready. The premises are rather large and allow couples to hold different portions of the evening at different locations, creating a nice arc for the evening. We celebrated with Josh & Tamara in April 2014.

Mar Vista3. Gualala // Venue: Mar Vista Cottages

An absolutely charming ranch-style camp, Mar Vista Cottages has a secret weapon that they would never let me post here. The view from the altar is unparalleled, and they want to keep it exclusive for the couples who have tied the knot there. I had to promise that the picture I took on my phone would be for my eyes only. The setup at this destination is perfect for a wedding of 20-30 guests. Cottages surround the center gathering area, where guests can retreat for the evening. It’s definitely a “gather around the fire” atmosphere up here.

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4. Kenwood // Venue: Ledson Winery & Vineyards

Having a wedding at a castle speaks for itself. Add in your own design decisions as you wish, but there’s only accessorizing to do when you have such remarkable architecture as your focal point. Nick and Megan decided to have their ceremony in the front with the fountain and front door as a backdrop. Guests then moved through the castle to the courtyard, where dinner took place.

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5. Santa Barbara // Venue: Santa Barbara Beach Club

Moving a little further down the coast, our favorite spot in Santa Barbara is the Beach Club, another luxury estate that is perfect for weddings of 75 guests or less. Probably the most modern on our list, this venue still has the right combination of style and soul. Hold your ceremony and cocktail hour out on the deck, and move the party into the living room, where you’ll find there’s just enough space to fit a top-notch acoustic band.

As always, we are your first resource for entertainment at your intimate and secluded venue. Visit www.benmallareacoustic.com or call (410) 980-8370 to let us know what you have in mind.

 

Song Selections, Weddings

Top 5 Bride & Groom First Dance Songs of 2015

February 21, 2015

It’s the moment your guests will be waiting for – your first dance together as a married couple. While some couples choose a specific song that both means something to them AND works as a first dance, other couples want their first dance to be a new memory – marking the beginning of marriage with the perfect song that captures the moment and takes your guests there with you. Here are our top five first dance songs for 2015:

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  1. You Are The Best Thing (Ray LaMontagne) – Our favorite kind of first dance song is one that has a little soul. The lyrics have just the right amount of sap, while the instrumentation is classic and undeniably grand. This tune will elevate the sophistication of your event and bring a smile to everybody’s face.
  2. I Won’t Give Up (Jason Mraz) – When this song was first released, it was criticized for being overly simplistic. Three years later, that simplicity is the reason we play this song at every show we do. The emotions you’ll feel at your wedding reception won’t be complicated – and neither should your first dance as a married couple.
  3. The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra– You can’t argue with this one. Timeless, sophisticated, and the perfect beat to dance to – no need to worry about brushing up your dance skills with this one!
  4. A Thousand Years (Christina Perri) – This is the tear-jerker on the list.  If you want a first dance song with impact, this is the one to go with. The melody is flowing and the chord structure is deeply emotional. Even better if you have a band with strings.
  5. Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran) – This song is still fresh, so there’s no guarantee it’ll be recognized as a classic in years to come. But there’s no denying that these lyrics are CUTE! It’s exactly the memory you want to create for your first dance, and if nothing else, it will always remind you of the music that was on the radio during your wedding year.

img_0686Ben Mallare Acoustic Entertainment offers acoustic party bands for weddings, galas, fundraisers and corporate events. Visit us at www.benmallareacoustic.com for more information.