Browsing Tag

live band

Wedding Bands, Wedding Planning, Weddings

We’re Certified By The Guide!

June 28, 2018

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!

Celebrating with Daniel and Carlye at the Majestic in downtown LA

Written by Symeon Tzvetkov.

Wedding Bands

Spotlight: Meet Stefan Poole

April 17, 2018

As we dive into the 2018 wedding season, we want to take a moment to introduce the latest addition to the Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment team, Stefan Poole!

While Stefan is new to BME&E, he’s a seasoned vocalist, band leader, and emcee with a world of experience under his belt. Raised between Italy and the US, Stefan has taken his voice around the world, performing with renowned acts like Andy Grammer, Jack & Jack, and Bridgit Mendler.

Stefan’s influences include legends like Prince, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Our couples and clients are drawn to his radiating youthful energy that allows guests to fall in love with the classics all over again. As a versatile singer, Stefan can moves effortlessly between old and new, mixing Bruno Mars next to Bob Marley, and Justin Timberlake alongside Frank Sinatra. For Stefan, it’s all about connecting with the audience using the universal language of music.

   Be sure to check out his performance reel below, and get in touch with us today to book the Stefan Poole Band for your big day!

Written by Symeon Tzvetkov.

Weddings

A Beautiful Wedding for Jaclyn and Danny at the Langham Huntingon, Pasadena

March 26, 2018

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.

Parties!, Venues

Allstate Rocks the Revolution with MJ and Ben Mallare’s 11-Piece Party Band

March 15, 2018

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.

Couples' FAQ, Song Selections, Weddings

Top 10 First Dance Songs – September 2016

September 28, 2016

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 ben@benmallare.com for more first dance real talk.

Weddings

Stunning & Elegant: Diana & Michael Tie the Knot at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

April 26, 2016

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

Band412515MO BMAELucasNickWill

Parties!

Bridal Shower in Castro Valley

June 16, 2015

Our friends Jamie and Dan decided to throw a joint Bridal Shower for a newly engaged couple. We have to admit, we’d never been part of an event like this before, but one of Jamie’s friends put it best as she took in the lavish setting – “Jamie is such a class act!” The event was both elegant and a ton of fun. Guests were welcomed to specialty cocktails handmade by Jamie’s close friends. As the live music began, guests made their way onto the patio where tables were set with white rose tablecloths and gold dining chairs.

IMG_5162Lunch was served by Hosted by Annette Catering, a company Jamie loves and uses often. Following the meal (and a few more cocktails, of course), we kicked the music up a notch and really started the party. Guests danced to some of our new additions like “Shut Up And Dance” and “Honey I’m Good,” as well as some of our other favorite folk-pop songs that fit the mood perfectly.

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It was certainly an event to write home about! We loved our time with this wonderful group and cannot wait to celebrate with them again.

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.

ledson_winery_21

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.

santabarbarababeachclub

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.

 

Couples' FAQ, Weddings

The Bottom Line: How much does a good wedding band cost?

April 16, 2015

There is a lot of misinformation online about the cost of a solid wedding band. It’s not hard to see why, though. Many of the individuals and companies that know the answer don’t really want to provide you with a number until they think they have a shot at your business. Some of the numbers you’ll find from a quick Google search will look a little too reasonable – $800 – $1,500 for a 5-piece band! And you’ll also read about that massive show band that charges over $20,000 for a performance.

So, what’s the bottom line? How do you put a price tag on the experience you want to receive? Of course, the answer isn’t as cut and dry as you’d like it to be. Why? Because you CAN book a band at virtually every price point. Let’s break it down by the dollar amounts.

Amateur Hour | Price Range: $250 – $1,000

Call your local university or high school – I guarantee you can find a few music students to do your wedding for $500 or less. Depending on your vision for the event, it could be just what you need. They should have the musicality required to play the music well. They probably also have little to no experience working in private events, which could be the indicator of an incredibly tacky, unpolished and awkward experience for everybody. If you choose to go this route, vet your musicians very carefully and be sure that both parties know what you’re getting into.

Mega-Band | Price Range: $5,000 – $20,000+

Call a top rated entertainment agency in your metropolitan area and ask for pricing information on one of their oldest, most well-known show bands. Don’t be surprised at how casually that five figure sum rolls off his or her tongue. Will you get what you pay for? Maybe. When dealing with the older bands that formed at a time when big band was huge, you’ll find that they’ve acquired an incredible amount of overhead over the years. Technical directors, salespeople, talent coordinators, accountants, so on and so forth. Don’t get me wrong – if you’re looking at a band that has updated their look and sound each year to stay at the top of the game, that $10,000+ will absolutely be money well spent. If you don’t believe me, go to a showcase or talk to somebody you know who has booked a band like this. You’re getting Aerosmith quality – but way better than Aerosmith could ever deliver it (and probably for a longer show than they’d ever play). However, if you’re dealing with a band that has been playing the same old songs for the past 10 years, with an outdated look and musicians that are just going through the same old corporate motions, you’re just paying for a ton of people on a stage, a company name and a vague promise that your needs will be met and requests fully attended to.

Small But Mighty | Price Range: $1,500 – $5,000

The space between, of course, is where most of you reading this will find yourselves. You are budget conscious, but you understand what live music can do for your wedding – and you just want it to be good! The bands that fall into this category are the small ensembles consisting of 2-6 members each. You won’t be getting the fancy staging, lights and costumes of the show band, but you can count on top-caliber talent and sound. Most importantly, you can find a band in this category that has proven themselves again and again for their clients – check the reviews! Nobody can describe an experience with a wedding vendor better than somebody who has already paid for their services.

So – you’re back where you’re started. There are many options when it comes to wedding entertainment – and that’s a beautiful thing! Do your research. Spend some time sifting through bands, and don’t just look in your area. Many bands (us included) can travel less expensively than you might think. Come up with a solid list of at least 5 bands, and contact each of them asking for information about what they can offer you. GigSalad, Borrowed & Blue, and WeddingWire are all great resources to find top talent bands.

 

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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.