The very first thing Mark Ballas noticed about BC Jean was her voice.
The Dancing With the Stars pro, 30, had agreed to perform at a friend’s charity fundraiser, and in true L.A. fashion, the home was packed with hundreds of people when he arrived. “It was so busy in there, I couldn’t see her; I could only hear her,” Ballas tells The Knot in an exclusive interview. “So my first connection with BC was just the sound of her voice. I turned to my cousin Sal, one of my groomsmen, and said, ‘…That’s a God-given gift.’”
Then he saw her. “I’m expecting to see someone who looks like Janis Joplin,” he recalls of her vocal chops. “And there she was. I was like, ‘No way that voice came out of that cute little blonde. No way!’” For the next three months, Ballas pursued the singer-songwriter. Jean finally agreed to a taco date, which lasted 5 hours. “We ended up being there all night,” Ballas says. “And now, here we are.”
The couple got engaged in January 2016; 11 months later, they married at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, California. For the bride and groom, finding the perfect venue was the most challenging aspect of the entire planning process. It was at that point that they sought the help of celebrity wedding planner David Tutera, who found the ideal location with his team.
“Once we explained our style and everything, David introduced us to Slomique Hawrylo,” the bride, 29, tells The Knot. “She totally gets our bohemian style. She fit perfectly with me and Mark.”
The bride expressed her love of nature and how she wanted her wedding to be held outdoors, “under the stars,” she muses. “Once we stepped foot on the Calamigos Ranch, we knew that was the place. We saw the 100-year-old oak tree, which was where the ceremony was held. The ambiance of all the nature and the trees, the twinkling lights, and the carousel was magical. We wanted something that was very fun and festive and ‘us,’ and very bohemian, yet still timeless and magical. We can look back and it will always be special to us.”
The couple continued marking off their checklist, securing the date (November 25) and selecting the aesthetic (neutral tones with a splash of vivid colors). “I wanted everything to be pretty much just neutrals and creams and whites. I even had all the girls wearing whites and creams,” she says. “And they were in bridal gowns… gorgeous dresses.”
Jean’s decision to dress her bridesmaids in white–though polarizing to some–made sense to her. “I’ve been a bridesmaid before, and the last thing I wanted was for everyone to spend money on a dress they would never wear again, or put them in an ugly color,” she explains. “I wanted everyone to feel like it was their wedding day, too. I wanted everyone to feel glamorous. I wanted nobody to have bad energy. It wasn’t just about me and Mark; it was about the people standing next to us, our families and friends that came to support us, and we wanted to make sure that everyone felt that.”
Celebrity stylist Monique Lauren had the bridal party try on pieces by Idan Cohen and Mac Duggal. “We just fell in love,” Jean says. The excursion, however, made Jean reconsider her gown choice. “I decided with Monique that we needed to get me a better dress. The one I had was beautiful, but it was much more relaxed,” she says.
The bride immediately fell in love with designs by Israeli designer Idan Cohen, who was in Tel Aviv at the time. Despite the distance, Cohen agreed to custom design Jean’s gown, and somehow the designer managed to incorporate all of the elements requested by the bride. In fact, Jean didn’t see her finished dress until two days before the ceremony.
“He knew I wanted to look like a bride–a traditional bride with that timeless feel–but I still wanted to look like me,” Jean says. “I’m usually in rocker gear and black clothing and wild hair. I think he nailed incorporating all these different effects into one dress… I didn’t know that it was going to fit my personality so perfectly. From the sketch, I was thrilled, but you just never know until you put it on.”
Among Ballas’ groomsmen included childhood friend, fellow dance pro Derek Hough, and a lady! “We have been best friends and really close for 20 years now, so it only seemed right that she’d be on my side,” he tells The Knot. “We were calling her ‘grooms-maid’ the whole week.”
The bride and groom, who chose neutral hues for the color scheme, infused rich blue and velvet accents into the space. Rustic elements were included in the decor. The couple’s families sat on vintage couches during the ceremony, while guests enjoyed plush matching chairs provided by Pretty Vintage Rentals.
The same company offered vintage gold mirrors, accent pillows, flatware, goblets, and plates to dress the gorgeous specialty linens provided by La Tavola Linen.
Her bouquet and floral arrangements by Mille Fiori Floral Design Studio incorporated a vibrant mix of lush colors. “My typical style is blacks and whites and grays… but my style is very bohemian, so we definitely wanted to incorporate color,” she says. “It was just incorporating it in the right way, with the rich greens and blues and dark purples. They did an amazing job of helping me with them. [It] was just beyond gorgeous.”
Ballas and Jean’s guests weren’t the only ones who were in for a surprise on the couple’s big day. The bridal party walked down the aisle to the Vitamin String Quartet’s renditions of some of the duo’s favorite songs, such as “Bittersweet Symphony” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” but when it was Jean’s turn to make her way down the aisle, the DJ accidentally played the original version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“It was what we originally thought we wanted to do,” Jean says of the song snafu. “Then we thought, ‘Let’s just keep it classy [without] lyrics, and when we get to the party, we can [rev] it up a bunch. But that’s not what happened, and it was perfect.”
The couple’s beloved dog Hendrix played the important role of ring bearer. “I think he barked during the ceremony once, and it was when I said something funny, so his timing was impeccable,” Jean laughs.
For the reception, Ballas and Jean dreamt up a massive party atmosphere. Guests enjoyed a photo booth… in a bus! The concept from Booth & Bus, Co. offers a vintage-style photo booth inside a ‘70s VW Bus. Specialty lighting was executed by Amber Event Production. Treats (gold-gilded stars and moons included!) were provided by A Sweet Design. Calligrapher Kelly Patrice added beautiful touches to the stationery and more.
Then, the booze and dancing. “Instead of doing a champagne toast, we did a shot of tequila,” Jean says. “[We had a] salsa band, and we had a DJ play all the top 40 hits. Nothing was traditional musically. By the end of the night, we had glow sticks… We had it progressively getting more wild throughout the night.”
The couple shared their first dance to Coldplay’s “Magic,” but surprised their guests by breaking into a tango halfway through the dreamy tune. (It was, after all, Mark Ballas’ wedding!) “No one has [really] seen me dance,” Jean continues. “I’ve never seen myself do the tango either, so it was fun to get a sexy little number in. Everyone’s faces were priceless.”
Ballas proposed to Jean on November 25, 2015. The pair loved the idea of marrying on their engagement anniversary, but with their busy schedules, the date was difficult to nail down. The day after they mailed out their wedding invitations, they found out they were moving to New York. “We thought we might have to change the date again, but we luckily made it all work out,” she says. “It seemed very symbolic for us, and we’re so happy we got to do it on November 25.”
Looking back, Jean has some personal wedding advice to share with The Knot readers. “Don’t blink; it goes by so fast,” she notes. “Incorporate all the things that are you. When you’re planning a wedding, there are so many people [who] love you and want to help… People want to give overwhelmingly.” In the end, says the bride, “Keeping it true to [yourselves] is very important.”
The newlyweds are settling into married life and loving every moment. “Everything gets elevated,” Jean concludes to The Knot. “We just look at each other and constantly feel lucky that we’re in this place together. We feel special, and we love each other so much. It’s just been a fun ride, and we’re excited for the adventures to continue. We’re trying to keep the fun, and we’re doing a good job, I think.”
— With reporting by Esther Lee.