Mark Kennedy | EBE Talent
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Mark Kennedy

Outdoor Wedding Checklist for Couples in Philadelphia

By | Ask The Experts, EBE Real Weddings

Outdoor weddings are ideal for adventurous couples who love to be outside. But with COVID-19 restrictions still in place in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas, many brides may need to shift their 2021 wedding plans to an outdoor venue. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, here are six things you need to remember.

  1. Reconsider your guest list. Ultimately, your venue will determine how many guests you have at your wedding. After all, backyard weddings are often a lot smaller than those held in catering facilities. If your guest list is substantial, consider booking an outdoor wedding ceremony in Philadelphia that will be able to accommodate that number of people.
  1. Provide the right accommodations. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding ceremony, you’ll want accommodations in place to keep your guests comfortable. From tables and chairs to tents, lighting, decorations, and restrooms, there are several things you’ll need to consider renting for the big day. And don’t forget the dance floor! In some cases, you may need to rent an outdoor flooring option.
  1. Consider your catering. Outdoor weddings can be fun and beautiful — until it’s time to sit down and eat. For the sake of your guests, think about the food you’re planning to serve. Is it easy to eat? Are most items hand-held? Make sure you have a mix of high-top tables and lower tables so that your guests have plenty of places to post up and enjoy their hors d’oeuvres or meal.
  1. Obtain permits if you have to. In some areas, permits might be required for your outdoor wedding. If you’re planning on a restroom trailer or need a generator for your event, a permit could be necessary. Conduct research on the types of events that require permits in your area ahead of time, so you’re prepared. In most cases, vendors are more than willing to obtain the necessary permits for an additional fee.
  1. Think about parking. When booking your outdoor wedding, don’t forget to ensure there’s a place for your guests to park. The parking area should be easily accessible for guests of all abilities and relatively close to your venue. If you’re booking an outdoor wedding in an urban area, don’t forget to check for restrictions regarding street parking.
  1. Check with your vendors. While most vendors are willing to accommodate outdoor weddings, there are some that aren’t. Be as straightforward as possible with your vendors and communicate the exact location of your outdoor wedding. This will give them a better idea of whether or not they can provide their services.

When you are ready to decide on the entertainment that will perform at your outdoor wedding, EBE is here to help. Contact us today to find out more information about our DJs and live bands!

Want to learn more about our EBE Team Members? Vendors We Love? New Products?

Best Tips for Planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah

By | Uncategorized

Becoming a bar or bat mitzvah is an important milestone for young Jewish people. But planning the big celebration is a considerable undertaking for their parents! Fortunately, you can plan a fun bar or bat mitzvah in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas with these tips and tricks.

Choose a theme for your bar/bat mitzvah. Think about what your child’s bar or bat mitzvah means to you and what your child’s interests are. This process can help influence the theme of your big day. From the decor to the type of entertainment you want to have down to the food you’ll serve; a theme can be extremely helpful when planning a major event like a bar or bat mitzvah.

Book your bar/bat mitzvah venue. Typically bar and bat mitzvahs are held in country clubs, hotels, or wedding venues. Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people have started to get creative to host events safely. When booking a location, consider the outdoor venues in your area. You can also connect with the more traditional venues and see if they’re offering covered outdoor options. The number of people and time of year your bar or bat mitzvah takes place will greatly influence your venue choice.

Decide on the vendors who will bring your bar/bat mitzvah to life. The vendors you hire are responsible for the food, drinks, and fun at a bar or bat mitzvah. Food and drink are of paramount importance, of course. But the entertainment you have at a bar or bat mitzvah is just as important! Whether you’re looking for a DJ or a live band, or a cool combination of the two, trust the Philadelphia bar and bat mitzvah MCs at EBE to combine music, video, lighting, and dance entertainment.

Hire a photographer that specializes in bar and bat mitzvahs. Your big day isn’t going to last forever, but that’s where photo and videographers come in. EBE can provide a talented Videographer as well. To choose a great photographer, ask friends and family who have held bar or bat mitzvahs before for recommendations. Before making a final decision, make sure you’ve seen their previous work and express clearly what kind of shots you want to be taken on the big day to make sure everyone is on the same page.

When you are ready to decide about the entertainment that will perform at your bar or bat mitzvah, EBE is here to help. Contact us today to find out more information about our DJs and live bands!

Want to learn more about our EBE Team Members? Vendors We Love? New Products?

Working with Your Vendors During COVID

By | Uncategorized

Planning a wedding with coronavirus (COVID-19) in mind can be stressful — but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways for couples to work with their wedding vendors to host the wedding of their dreams safely. Here are a few tips on how to work with your vendors to plan a wedding during the pandemic.

Change up the type of ceremony. Maybe your initial wedding was going to be a big ceremony with all of your friends and family. In light of the pandemic, those large celebrations aren’t the safest option. Fortunately, you can still celebrate your nuptials and keep your guests safe. One wedding venue in Montgomery County came up with the idea of a “minimony” — a small onsite wedding ceremony followed by cocktails and reception of hors d’oeuvre. The typical size for the minimony has been about 25 guests.

Host your wedding on a different date. Thursday and Sunday weddings have become increasingly popular over the years, mostly because of the reduced price. But with the pandemic at play, these dates have become even more valuable to engaged couples. If you originally had a Friday or Saturday wedding planned, connect with your venue to see about changing the date. Holding your ceremony on a Thursday or Sunday could help reduce the number of guests you have at your wedding (a pandemic win) and be cheaper for you in the long run (a personal win).

See if your wedding DJ or band is flexible. Not every venue is open to having DJs play music and encouraging people to gather on the dance floor. If your wedding has been moved to a remote location, see if your DJ can play music over Zoom. Several local wedding bands have perfected performing remotely — you may be able to strike a deal with a local musician, even if you weren’t planning on having music in the first place.

Review your contracts. Whether it’s your florist, caterer, or another small business you’ve decided to use for your wedding, take the time to review your contract. Pay close attention to those vendors who are flexible with dates. Ultimately, this can help you decide whether moving your wedding or minimizing the guest list is the best option. In some cases, certain vendors may be more flexible than others in terms of credits. Connect with your vendor to learn more about their policies and how they’re willing to work with you during these trying times.

Remember to be gracious and understanding. This time is just as challenging for couples planning a wedding as it is for the businesses who rely on said occasions to stay afloat. Only when both parties are flexible can you make the best of the situation!

When you are ready to make decisions about the entertainment that will perform at your wedding, EBE is here to help. Contact us today to find out more information about our DJs and live bands!

Want to learn more about our EBE Team Members? Vendors We Love? New Products?

Where to Take Engagement Photos in the Philadelphia Area

Where to Take Engagement Photos in the Philadelphia Area

By | Uncategorized, Ask The Experts

Are you one of the lucky couples who got engaged over the holidays? Congratulations! Even though we’ve entered the new year, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still leaves wedding planning up in the air. Forget thinking about the guest list and venue for now. Instead, soak up the joy of being engaged. If you’re planning to have engagement photos taken to share your big news with friends, there are plenty of beautiful places in and surrounding Philadelphia that will make for some great engagement shots.

These are the top five locations to take engagement photos in the Philadelphia area.

Old City. If you and your significant other were born and raised in Philadelphia or frequent downtown, Old City is an ideal location for your engagement photos. Get candid outside of your favorite Old City bars, restaurants, and hot spots. Then, take a few posed shots in some of the area’s more iconic locations. From the old cobblestone paths of Elfreth’s Alley, the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited residential street, to the Merchant’s Exchange Building and the 18th Century Garden, there’s a location for every couple hidden within Old City.

The Navy Yard. Are you an adventurous couple? Have your engagement photoshoot in Philadelphia’s bustling Navy Yard. Several businesses operate out of this location, including the very contemporary Urban Outfitters. As such, there are a wealth of landscapes and backgrounds to choose from, including historical buildings and, of course, Urban’s photogenic campus.

Longwood Gardens. If you consider yourself an outdoorsy couple, Longwood Gardens is the perfect location for your engagement photoshoot. The botanical gardens are beautiful all year round, but you may be able to get some extra special shots depending on the time of year you schedule your shoot.

Covered Bridges. For a romantic engagement photoshoot, visit one of Bucks County’s 12 covered bridges. They’re the perfect location for the couple that enjoys the farmhouse style vibe. With locations in New Britain, Erwinna, and Tinicum, and Springfield townships, you have plenty of options to get the perfect shot. Choose the destination that speaks to your relationship or the one that’s closest to where you live.

Lambertville. While Lambertville is technically in New Jersey, it sits right on Pennsylvania’s border and offers some pretty amazing views of the Delaware River. Pro tip: have your engagement photos taken near the bridge to New Hope — this way, you can have a few shots taken in each quaint town! From railroad tracks to antique shops and canal waterways, there are a ton of unique locations to have engagement photos taken in Lambertville.

Choose any of these Philadelphia engagement photo locations for some beautiful shots! And when you are ready to make decisions about the entertainment that will perform at your wedding, EBE is here to help. Contact us today to find out more information about our DJs and live bands!

Want to learn more about our EBE Team Members? Vendors We Love? New Products?

Dani Ostroff Bat Mitzvah – The First of our Hall of Fame Series

By | Uncategorized

Our brand new Bar/Bat Mitzvah Hall of Fame series spotlights families of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs who have thrown some of the most AMAZING events we have ever seen and gives you a behind the scenes look at how they made it all happen. All of the information and photos were submitted directly from each family, so we are sharing their first-hand experience. We hope this helps you find inspiration and ideas to make your own event Hall of Fame worthy!

Dani’s Bat Mitzvah was an easy choice for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Hall of Fame (her Dad is an industry pro after all). What really made her tropical colored, survivor themed, event stand out was the level of detail and thoughtfulness they used to plan each and every aspect of the day. Dani and her family’s genuine excitement and appreciation for all of their guests created a warm, welcoming atmosphere and of course, they had a dance floor that NEVER stopped! Mazel Tov, Dani, on being inducted to the EBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Hall of Fame!

Dani’s Bat Mitzvah Details

Parent: Ben Ostroff

Bat Mitzvah: Danielle (Dani)

Event Date: 11/16/19

Bat Mitzvah Project: Making custom blankets for dogs in dog shelters

Service Location: Temple Brith Achim – King of Prussia, PA –  https://www.brithachim.org/

Reception Location: Radnor Valley Country Club – Villanova, PA – https://radnorvalleycc.com/special-events/

Afternoon or Evening Affair: Evening 

Guest Count: 100 Adults, 100 Young Adults

Theme and/or décor color palette: Survivor/Tropical Island

Who/What did you hire from EBE? What didn’t we have?! Dreamtime, MC Josh Smilk, DJ, 3 Dancers, 2 photo booths, Lighting, A/V screens, Videography and more. www.ebetalent.com

I cannot say enough great things about everyone! From top to bottom, everyone made an effort to understand our needs, learn our vision, and then did everything they could to turn that vision into a reality. This could be as simple as the bandleader Andriana playing the perfect pop versions of songs on violin for our cocktail hour, Josh and the DJ keeping the kids entertained and the evening on schedule throughout, the band learning a few new songs for us, etc. Who really stood out was EBE’s Lighting and Production Director, Tara Buchanan. She coordinated all of EBE’s lighting and production. She even met me onsite the day before the party as she oversaw all the installation of everything, met many of the venues quirky challenges (such as a low roof), and made sure everything was setup as I expected. The band was on fire throughout the party, and the dancers made every effort to keep kids and adults alike active and involved all night long. Cannot say enough great things about everyone involved. Thanks again for everything!

Who was your Planner? Planned everything myself

Who was your Caterer? Radnor Valley CC provided the food

Who was your Photographer? Jordan Cassway Photography – http://casswayphoto.com/mitzvah/. 

He was amazing! Danielle’s was actually our second Mitzvah. For our first (for our twins) we actually hired a different photographer. That’s photographer’s photos were OK at best. Nothing bad, but not one photo that made me say, “Wow!” Was the total opposite experience with Jordan. He took the time to learn what specific photos we wanted and made sure that he captured them all. I had even mentioned to him offhand one time how that first photographer didn’t get a single picture of my older daughter with her friends at her Mitzvah. Jordan went out of his way to make sure to get these shots as well, and it wasn’t even her party! We literally just last week printed and framed some of Jordan’s pictures, so I get to appreciate his work every time I’m in my living room.

Who was your Videographer? EBE Talent – www.ebetalent.com

For videography we actually used EBE (as we did for both of our parties). Was a perfect capture of the day. Was wonderful getting to not only relive all of the great moments of the night, but also to experience all of the things that we missed. Plus, his drone shots were amazing!

Who was your Decorator?  Vito Russo. www.xtraordinaryevents.net

At the time he was with another company, but he has since opened Xtraordinary Events. Cannot recommend him highly enough. Everything looked beautiful, and he went above and beyond to come up with ideas to match the theme that we had in mind. He gave us that wow moment that we were hoping for when all of our guests entered the ballroom. Cannot recommend Vito highly enough!

Did you include any fun extras?

We gave hoodies to the kids (OK, I have one too and actually wore it just yesterday!), gift cards for prizes, dance floor hand outs, and had two photo booths (one for green screen and one traditional enclosed booth).

Where did you find your family’s formal wear?

Ben (Dad) wore a custom suit from haberdasher Tom McKendry – https://www.tomjames.com/shop/

Allison (Mom) wore a black, beaded knee-length dress from Berta Sawyer –  https://bertasawyer.com/

Dani’s pink knee-length dress was from Party Girls – http://www.partygirlsnewtown.com/

Who were your hair and makeup artists? Angelic Hair + Makeup Designs (Angel Simpkins) – https://www.facebook.com/Angelic-Hair-Makeup-Designs-318721998578934/.

 Have never seen my wife and daughters look so beautiful!

Who made your cake? Sweet Jazmine’s Bakery – www.sweetjazmines.com

Who created your invitations? Invitations of Distinction: Invitations of Distinction | Facebook 

What was the most meaningful/memorable part of the whole thing to you and your family?

You only get a handful of moments like this throughout your lifetime. Particularly coming just a few months before COVID hit, you really just appreciate celebrating life’s moments with family and friends. So thankful to everyone involved for doing so much for my family.

What was your favorite part of the event?

It’s a family tradition where we jump on stage and sing Springsteen with the band. My curse in life is that I LOVE singing, but am so bad at it! Despite how bad we were though, LOL, you could really see how much the band enjoyed celebrating with us in this way. Watching the video you could see that they were having just as much fun as we were!

What was your least favorite part of planning?

I love planning, so my least favorite part was when the party ended. You put so much time and effort into planning the night, and then at the snap of a finger it’s all over. Need another occasion so that I can plan something else!

What is the best advice you received during the planning process?

Don’t wait until the last minute. The best vendors always get booked quickly, so make sure to procure your entertainment, etc. right away. If there’s anything you cannot envision your event without, grab it before someone else does.

What tip or advice you would give to anyone else planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?

More than anything else, see how hard a vendor is willing to work to earn your business. If it takes days and days and multiple attempts to get a hold of somebody, no matter how good their product is, they aren’t worth your time. If that’s how hard they’re willing to work to earn your business, expect that they will work even less hard for you once they have it. One of the best things about EBE was that I never went more than one business day for someone to reply to me.

Top Wedding Songs of 2020

Top Wedding Songs of 2020

By | Uncategorized

This year, the wedding industry was entirely disrupted by COVID-19. There were cancellations, postponements, and downsized receptions. However, those who did have the chance to celebrate were able to use music to keep some of the best wedding traditions alive. From the couple’s first dance to the reception entrance and last song of the night, our Philadelphia wedding bands and DJs have compiled a list of the top wedding songs of 2020.

Top 10 Couple’s First Dance Song 2020

1. You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
2. At Last – Etta James
3. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
4. All of Me – John Legend
5. Speechless – Dan + Shay
6. Beautiful Crazy – Luke Combs
7. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
8. Say You Won’t Let Go – James Arthur
9. Yours – Russel Dickerson
10. Make You Feel My Love – Adele

Top 10 Last Dance Songs for a Wedding 2020

1. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
2. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
3. Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
4. Ho Hey – Lumineers
5. Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
6. History – One Direction
7. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
8. Rain On Me – Lady Gaga
9. Love On Top – Beyonce
10. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore

Top 10 Bridal Party Entrance Songs 2020

1. Good as Hell – Lizzo
2. Higher Love – Kygo, Whitney Houston
3. This What You Came For – Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna
4. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates
5. Crazy in Love – Beyonce ft. Jay Z
6. I Don’t Care – Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber
7. Sucker – Jonas Brothers
8. Timber – Pitbull ft. Kesha
9. Cake by the Ocean – DNCE
10. Raise Your Glass – Pink

Couples chose everything from classic ballads to timeless party songs, new country, and top 40 hits for their first dance, last dance, and bridal party entrance songs this year. If you’ve moved your 2020 wedding to 2021 or later, take a look at this list and see if any of your favorites made the cut. Although these hits may not be from the year of your wedding, they’ll still resonate with your family, friends, and guests and put a smile on their faces.

When you are ready to make decisions about the entertainment that will perform at your wedding, EBE is here to help. Contact us today to find out more information about our DJs and live bands!

Want to learn more about our EBE Team Members? Vendors We Love? New Products?

How to Choose a DJ for Your Wedding

How to Choose a DJ for Your Wedding

By | Uncategorized, Wedding DJs

4 Ways to Celebrate Your Original Wedding Date During COVID

By | Uncategorized

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has postponed events for many people. If you were planning a 2020 wedding that had to be delayed because of the pandemic, fear not — there are still plenty of ways to celebrate! Gather your family and friends in a fun and safe way to celebrate your original wedding date with these unique ideas.

Dress for the occasion. Wear your wedding attire on your original wedding day. Dressing to the nines can help make the day feel just as special and memorable as it would have initially. Whether you invested in an elegant wedding dress or thrifted classy suits, putting on whatever you were supposed to wear to your wedding will get you into the spirit of the day.

Hire a vendor or two for an at-home gathering. Were you really excited about the band you booked for your wedding? Perhaps you couldn’t wait to devour the food being served at the reception. Many vendors are willing to go above and beyond for their clients during these unprecedented times, so contact yours to see if they’d be ready to help you celebrate the original day in any way they can. Maybe your band will send a virtual recording of your wedding song or your caterer will send you a tray of food. Then, reach out to friends and family who feel comfortable gathering in your home to celebrate.

Set up a Zoom call. If you want to see the friends and family who would have attended your original wedding day, you can still do that! For those who are more comfortable staying home and social distancing, organize a Zoom call on your special day. Encourage your guests to set up drinks and snacks to enjoy while you toast to your nuptials. To keep everyone entertained, carve out some time to play games — wedding-related optional.

Plan a date. If you’re unable to gather family and friends on your original wedding day, you and your significant other can still make plans to celebrate each other. If the weather allows, head to your favorite restaurant for some outdoor dining. Book a weekend getaway or a couple’s spa trip to spend some quality time together. Regardless of what your date entails, as long as you’re doing something you both enjoy together, your original wedding day will still feel special.

Whether you pushed your wedding into 2021 or opted for a smaller, more intimate ceremony at home, there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate your original wedding date.

Want to learn more about our EBE Team Members? Vendors We Love? New Products? Contact us today!

How to Choose Your Virtual Wedding Playlist

By | Wedding DJs, Ask The Experts

Are you a 2020 or 2021 bride? If so, listen up! You can still plan and execute the wedding of your dreams, despite the restrictions that may be imposed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. From backyard weddings to small, intimate gatherings indoors and even virtual ceremonies, there are plenty of ways to tie the knot during these unprecedented times.

If you’re one of the brides who have chosen to make it work and are hosting a virtual or micro wedding instead, you’re going to need an amazing playlist! Coronavirus can’t stop you from safely getting married! So you’ll want to add songs to your playlist that remind your friends and family that nothing can stop you from celebrating your love!

How to Pick Songs for Your 2020 Wedding

You may not be hosting a typical cocktail hour or reception at a micro or virtual wedding, but you should still incorporate some classic, slow songs that transport your friends and family back to their own wedding days. Additionally, you want your guests to get up, move around, and dance as they would have at your venue. Aside from classic wedding songs, think about songs that became popular during the quarantine. Did the kids in your family memorize TikTok dances while at home? Give them a chance to show off their skills!

Here are some of the best wedding songs for your virtual wedding.

  1. Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake.
  2. Happy by Pharrell Williams.
  3. Can’t Help Falling In Love by Various Artists.
  4. Twist and Shout by The Beatles.
  5. (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life by Bill Medley.
  6. Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen.
  7. Intentions by Justin Bieber.
  8. You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates.
  9. Sucker by Jonas Brothers.
  10. 1999 by Prince.

Having your loved ones with you on your wedding day is important, no matter how they attend. Choose songs that are meaningful to you and your significant other, connecting you to your virtual guests through your phones and computers. Overall, remember to curate a group of upbeat songs to keep the mood light, fun, and festive.

Incorporate these songs on your virtual wedding playlist to get your wedding guests excited, even though you may not have everyone together for your special day. If you’re a bride in 2020 — we’re here for you! Want to learn more about our EBE Team Members? Micro Bands and Ensembles? Industry Professionals We Love? New Products? Contact us today!

Finding a Wedding Band During the Pandemic

By | Bands, Ask The Experts, EBE Real Weddings