Top 3 Malibu Mountain + Vineyard Venues

Malibu is mostly known for its gorgeous beaches along the Pacific Coast Highway, but we happen to love the area for its sprawling landscape and private vineyards nestled in the Santa Monica mountain range. Considering it is an extremely popular destination for weddings, we compiled our Top 3 Mountain and Vineyard Venues located in sunny Malibu, all with breathtaking views!

1. Saddlerock Ranch

This picture-perfect wedding venue offers couples a choice of five different locations for a ceremony and reception and is surrounded by natural beauty and charm. Whether you prefer a celebration under treetops, or atop a mountain with panoramic views, the possibilities are endless at Saddlerock Ranch!

2. Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards

This private estate is not your typical wedding venue in the sense that it doesn't provide a turnkey operation, but it's perfect for anyone looking to customize their entire wedding to their liking! Most known for it's heli-pad ceremony site, this romantic Tuscan-style mansion boasts 360 degree views of mountaintops, hillsides and the pacific ocean.

3. Calamigos Ranch

Calamigos Ranch never disappoints, as couples can choose from four different venues on the property to ensure their wedding perfectly suits their needs, from party size, indoor/outdoor preferences, and more! Both romantic and rustic, there are luxury accommodations onsite to make it the ultimate wedding destination for you and guests. 

For more wedding tips and venue recommendations, visit our Wedding Tips blog here

Top 3 Luxury San Diego Wedding Venues

Downbeat LA bands and artists frequently travel to San Diego to perform at various venues across the city. With picture-perfect locations in the heart of Downtown as well as gorgeous oceanfront properties, we narrowed down our Top 3 Luxury San Diego Wedding Venues sure to make any special occasion absolutely perfect:

1. L'Auberge Del Mar (Del Mar, CA)

2. Hotel del Coronado (Coronado, CA)

3. The US Grant (San Diego, CA)

For more Downbeat LA wedding tips, head to our Wedding Tips blog!

Gold Standard + Casa del Mar

Gold Standard recently traveled to Santa Monica to perform at the stunning oceanfront property, Hotel Casa del Mar. The bride and groom, Danielle and Andrew, threw a gorgeous wedding and pulled out all the stops when it came to entertainment.

With a full three-piece horn section and high energy band members, the stage was full the entire night, and so was the dance floor. 

For more information on how to book Gold Standard for you next wedding or special event, click here

Top 5 Wedding Venues with an Ocean View

Southern California is home to countless wedding and event venues, all offering something different for everyone. Downbeat LA bands have had the pleasure of traveling to and performing at some of the area's finest properties along the coast, and the oceanfront venues and their accompanying views never cease to amaze us. 

Check out our Top 5 Wedding Venues with an Ocean View listed below: 

1. Bacara Resort - Santa Barbara, CA

2. The Resort at Pelican Hill - Newport Coast, CA

3. Hotel Casa del Mar - Santa Monica, CA

4. Adamson House - Malibu, CA

5. San Ysidro Ranch - Santa Barbara, CA

For more Downbeat LA wedding tips, visit our Wedding Tips blog series here

Soultones + Noor

Our bands travel far and wide to perform for some amazing clients, but it's always wonderful getting the opportunity to perform close to home and support our favorite local venues in Southern California. Soultones recently brought the house down at a gorgeous wedding at the always lovely Noor in Pasadena.

For more information on how to book Soultones for your next event, visit the booking page here.

Music Musts for Wedding Cocktail Hours and Dinners

Music is a very important aspect of any wedding or special event, and a great live band can be the difference between an average wedding and one that you'll never forget! While planning dance music for the reception is key, it's important not to overlook how music will also set the tone during cocktail hour and dinner. 

Downbeat LA cocktail hour/acoustic pictures work here! With different ensembles (i.e. horns, keys, guitar w/ cajon etc. )

Downbeat LA cocktail hour/acoustic pictures work here! With different ensembles (i.e. horns, keys, guitar w/ cajon etc. )

We've put together a list of music options to consider as you and your guests transition into reception mode and enjoy cocktail hour/dinner:

1. Piano Player: Does your venue have a grand piano? Consider hiring someone to tickle the ivories as guests enjoy cocktails and appetizers.

2. Classical Guitarist: A continuous light, beautiful guitar melody can provide the perfect background to any cocktail hour or seated dinner. 

3. Acoustic Trio: A vocalist, acoustic guitar and some light percussion can create a fun atmosphere and have guests tapping their feet and humming along to their favorite songs. 

4. String Quartet: While strings often provide perfect ceremony music, it's a great option to add an elegant and romantic feel leading into the reception.

TIP: If you're going to have a live band for the reception, it doesn't hurt to ask if their players are available for these parts of the day or evening!

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For more Downbeat LA wedding tips, visit our Wedding Tips blog series here

Vendor Spotlight - The Ruby Street

Today's vendor spotlight is dedicated to The Ruby Street, a restored historic church-turned-wedding venue in Los Angeles. We've written about this gem of a venue previously in a run down of our favorite intimate wedding venues in LA, and our band AMFM has had the pleasure of recently performing at this historic location. 

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Working with Zach and the rest of the venue's team of dedicated staff is always a pleasure, and the property makes for such a unique, customizable wedding experience for any couples looking for something different. Gorgeous restored stained glass, beautiful interior and exterior design elements and a colorful palette are all a part of the package. 

For more information on The Ruby Street, visit them at www.therubystreet.com

Before You Book: Top Questions to Ask Live Wedding Entertainment

Whether it's a high energy DJ or a 10-piece live band, highly sought after wedding entertainers get booked far in advance. In searching for the best option, it's important to have open dialogues with potential entertainment vendors before signing a contract! Downbeat LA has created a list of 15 important questions you should ask any entertainment prospects before you book: 

AMFM of Downbeat LA 

AMFM of Downbeat LA 

1. What do you include in your package? 

2. What sets you apart from other bands? 

3. Can you fulfill the role of an MC? 

4. What genres of music can you cover? (Ask to see a song list!)

5. Do you take "must-play" and “do-not-play” song requests?

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6. Do you perform ceremonies and cocktail hours as well as receptions? 

7. Can you assist in choosing music for processional, recessional, parent dances, etc.? 

8. Can you provide an example of number of sets/set lengths you can perform, including breaks?

9. How much space do you need?

10. How much time do you allocate for setup, soundcheck and breakdown? 

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11. If overtime is requested the day-of, what do you typically charge?

12. In addition to your sound equipment, can you provide other elements such as lighting? If so, what is the cost?

13. What electrical supply will you need the day of?

14. Do you have any former clients I can contact for references?

15. Will you be expecting meals and/or drinks the day of? If so, for how many people?

For more tips, visit our Wedding Tips blog series here

Gold Standard + Carondelet House

A favorite venue of ours has always been Downtown LA's elegant Carondelet House, and our band Gold Standard recently performed at an unforgettable wedding hosted on its gorgeous property. From magicians and surprise choreographed dances, to multilingual toasts and jaw-dropping decor and bridal wear, the night was epic. 

Gold Standard singers performed an acoustic set during the seated dinner and kept the party going with dance sets until the couples' sweet farewell, accompanied by magic acts that left guests speechless. The night also featured a choreographed dance by the bridesmaids as well as a special performance by the 70's American rock band, Ambrosia, who were in attendance that evening.

For more information on how to book Gold Standard for your next wedding or event, click here

Vendor Spotlight - Splashes of Time

Today's vendor spotlight goes to one of our favorite photography companies to work with, Orange County-based Splashes of Time Photography. They offer services for occasions including weddings and engagements, with video packages and specialties included as well! 

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Our bands have performed at weddings where Eric and his team effortlessly and professionally navigate both the wedding ceremony and reception, capturing every detail while making sure guests' celebrations aren't interrupted. It's also extremely apparent how passionate the company is about what they do: 

"I know the images I capture today will not only be viewed by my clients and their loved ones but by their future children, grandchildren and generations to come. I take great pride in every photograph I take." - Eric Andrew, Founder of Splashes of Time Photography

For more information on Splashes of Time, visit their website, www.splashesoftime.com.

Wedding Tip 46 - Outdoor Summer Weddings

Summer is approaching, and so are all of the beautiful outdoor weddings you've RSVP'd to (or are in the process of planning). In warmer climates like we have in Southern California, there are some important factors to consider when preparing for outdoor celebrations, which is why Downbeat LA has prepared the Top 3 Survival Tips for Outdoor Summer Weddings: 

1. Stay hydrated!

Brides/Planners: Make sure guests have access to water or pitchers of cool, non-alcoholic drinks for both outdoor ceremonies and receptions. 

Attendees: Bring your own bottle of water just to be safe. It's not tacky, it's smart. 

2. Stay protected!

Brides/Planners: Whether its with sunscreen, fans or sunglasses, it's important to stay protected under the sun. Consider using one of the above as a favor for guests!

Attendees: Make sure to be prepared with a fan or some shades in case they aren't offered to you upon arrival.

3. Wear powder-based makeup and an up-do!

This goes for Brides, Planners AND Attendees: Nobody likes to be the sweaty one in photographs. Ladies, avoid liquid foundation or makeup and don't be afraid to wear your hair up for the big day! Also, oil-absorbing sheets are your best friend on a hot day. Make them available in bathrooms for guests, or keep them handy in a purse or bridal suite. 

For more Downbeat LA wedding tips, click here.

Vendor Spotlight - Artistic Cakes

Wedding cakes need to be both delicious and beautiful to look at, and Southern California bakery Artistic Cakes knows how to make confections that are just that!

Downbeat LA bands have had the pleasure of working alongside cake designer Martha and her team at recent weddings, and have seen how happy her cake creations have made brides and grooms and their guests!

For more information about Artistic Cakes, visit them at their website: www.artisticcakes.net

Gold Standard + Ojai Valley Inn

Gold Standard recently traveled to Ojai Valley Inn for a beautiful wedding celebration located on the property's gorgeous grounds. The setting was intimate and the room was full of love as guests celebrated the newlyweds. The band was more than happy to accommodate the bride and groom's request for country music and special song selections to make it the best wedding ever for the happy couple.

The band was accompanied by a full horn section for the entire night, which kept the dance floor packed as singers and players led dance battles, conga lines, and so much more!

To learn more about dance band Gold Standard, click here. For booking inquiries, click here.

Wedding Tip 45 - Modern Songs for Parent Dances

Parent dances are a very special part of any wedding reception. Whether you choose to do them separately or dance during one joint song, it's important to pick music that is meaningful to you and your families. 

If you're looking for a more modern take on the traditional Mother/Son and Father/Daughter dances, Downbeat LA has the Top 5 Modern Songs for Parent Dances:

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1. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Home

2. Taylor Swift - The Best Day

3. One Republic - I Lived

4. Ray Lamontagne - You Are The Best Thing

5. Kanye West - Only One

For more Downbeat LA wedding tips, click here.

 

A-List + Calamigos Ranch (Malibu)

The A-List had the dance floor packed the entire night of Dani and Ian's wedding at Malibu venue, Calamigos Ranch. With a little help from Downbeat LA's own Gold Standard singers (including the bride herself) and a full, lively horn section, it quickly became one for the books!

The musicians spent more time out on the dance floor interacting with guests than they did on stage, which was a huge hit! Having started off the evening soft with contemporary dinner music then finishing strong with the couple's favorite new dance music, it was the perfect evening. 

For more details about the and A-List, visit their artist page. And for more information on how to book A-List, click here. 

Wedding Tip 44 - Grand Entrance Songs (Spring 2017)

You've successfully made it through your wedding ceremony and now it's time to party! All of your closest family and friends have gathered to be a part of the big day, and there's no better way to kick things off than planning a fun grand entrance into your reception. 

Whether you choose to include parents, bridal party or others, music choice matters! You want something upbeat and exciting that lets everyone know the celebrations have begun. We've put together our Top 5 Grand Entrance Songs of the season, check them out below: 

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1. Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop The Feeling

2. Bruno Mars - 24K Magic

3. Bebe Rexha - I Got You

4. The Weeknd, Daft Punk - I Feel It Coming

5. The Chainsmokers, Halsey - Closer

For more Downbeat LA wedding tips, click here.

Soultones + Bel Air Bay Club

Soultones recently traveled to one of Malibu's most breathtaking venues, Bel Air Bay Club, to party the night away at a beautiful, intimate wedding. The scene was set, and Soultones delivered with a nonstop set full of the bride and groom's favorite songs and hits that kept the dance floor packed. 

The best part of any performance is watching guests and audiences of all ages join together to dance, singalong and have the time of their lives!

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For more information on how to book Soultones for you next wedding or special event, visit Downbeat LA's booking page here

Wedding Tip 43 - Modern Processional Songs

Weddings are typically full of traditions to be celebrated and honored. The bridal party's ceremony entrance is usually accompanied musically by Pachelbel's "Canon in D", while the bride enters to Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" (otherwise known as "Here Comes The Bride"). 

For a less traditional take on the processional, we've compiled the Top 5 Modern Processional Songs to make more of a statement during this important moment:

1. Make You Feel My Love - Adele

2. Sam Smitch - Latch (Acoustic)

3. Ingrid Michaelson - Can't Help Falling In Love

4. Sara Bareilles - I Choose You 

5. Coldplay - Parachutes

For more Downbeat LA wedding tips, click here.

Vendor Spotlight - Pixster Photo Booth

You can never go wrong with having a photo booth at your party. Guests absolutely love the opportunity to capture the night with loved ones and do something crazy. We happen to love Pixster, a photo booth company servicing San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County. 

Having recently been at a wedding with Pixster, we couldn't help but notice how sleek the open-air setup was and how crazy the guests went for the props, ease of use and service, not to mention the photo quality is amazing!

It's no wonder they've earned so many accolades on both a local and national level. Not only do they offer the photo booth, but they also provide video messaging, sharable GIFs, party favors, scrapbooks and slide shows as extensions of their services. 

For more information on Pixster, visit them at their website: www.pixsterphotobooth.com

And for more vendors we love, visit our Vendor Spotlight blog here