Honeymoons 101: all you need to know to start planning yours

Honeymoons 101: all you need to know to start planning yours

After a packed wedding planning season this past winter, it’s refreshing to finally take time for focusing on other thrilling life events. One life event that’s extremely fun to dream big with? Honeymoons, and it happens to be one of my favorite topics to talk about with my clients.

It’s always delightful to hear my wedding clients’ love stories, especially when it comes to their honeymoon ideas. Watching couples’ eyes light up as they tell me their plans to visit exotic and exciting honeymoon destinations brings me closer to my clients…and also gives me one-of-a-kind travel ideas as an added bonus! Professional photography and caring for my clients go hand in hand, so I put together some statistics and considerations that will help shape your ideal honeymoon.

Where should you go?

It takes two to tango. A great honeymoon involves you and your bride/groom, so narrow down a setting that both of you can enjoy equally. Generally speaking, the tropics seem to be a win-win. According to U.S. News, top honeymoon destinations included St. Lucia, Hawaii’s Big Island, Bora Bora, Maldives, Bora Bora, and other waterfront locations where relaxation and scenery were key factors. Newlyweds spend, on average, about eight days enjoying their honeymoons, and invest approximately $4,500, or 15% of their wedding budget, towards their dream vacation. Couples also generally book four months before their wedding date.

What should you do?

That depends on where you go, and what brings you and your new husband or wife together! I’d recommend looking up activities in your desired honeymoon location, and decide what stands out to you both as memories you’d love to make during your stay. Keep in mind a lot of honeymoon hotels have all-inclusive honeymoon packages, where your entire trip is pre-planned and structured to be a carefree, luxurious, and thrilling adventure. If you like the planning to be done for you, a honeymoon package may be exactly what you are looking for.

Wrapping up, your honeymoon is all about what brings you two closer. If you both are world explorers with adventure in your veins, find out prices and hotels for siteseeing historical locations that speak to the both of you. Do you love your toes in the sand with the beat of steel drums rippling your tropical drink? Look at all-inclusive resort packages for coastal oases on your bucket list. Whatever destination you choose, make sure it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you and your S/O. And by the time you two return from your vacation, I’ll be almost done with your wedding album!

Hannah and Ryan: when two people just “click”

Hannah and Ryan: when two people just “click”

“Of myths and legends.”

One of my favorite parts of my work is hearing my wedding clients’ love stories: how they met, their spark, how they proposed, and why they have decided to spend the rest of their lives with each other. I recently worked with Hannah and Ryan as their wedding photographer for their casual ceremony and reception at Twin Oaks Golf Course, and completely fell for their movie-worthy storybook love story.

Hannah and Ryan first met in their college myths and legends class, where one fateful day, Hannah decided to sit next to her attractive classmate, who excitedly chatted with her until they hopelessly fell for each other. It turned out that their hobbies, hopes, and interests were one in the same, and it seemed destined for them to be together. When Ryan came to the conclusion that he didn’t want to spend another minute without Hannah in his world, he organized a proposal under the magic of a July 4th’s fireworks. With his parents and hers gleaming in the background, he got down on one knee right before the finale. And she said yes.

Their wedding was focused on fun and love. With a casual ambiance and 81 of their closest friends and family, they were wed with a sunset-stained violet mountains as their backdrop.

Hannah and Ryan focused on a maroon, blush, and white color scheme that complimented the natural beauty of their surroundings highlighted with string lights–it illuminated the intimacy of the event and looked fantastic in their pictures. The falling sun painted the reception’s outdoor seating and dance floor, where I witnessed one of the BEST choreographed first dances in my entire career! There didn’t seem to be enough of the happy couple to go around, as practically every photo booth picture included them! Each guest was sent home with a succulent as an easy-growing (just like Hannah and Ryan’s story!) memento of the wedding.

This story sounds like a fairy tale, but Hannah and Ryan are living proof of a dream. It was so much fun capturing their close-knit, lovely wedding and getting to know them personally. Here’s to lifelong, legendary happiness together, you two.

Engagement sessions are worth it. Here’s why.

Engagement sessions are worth it. Here’s why.

It’s an announcement and a memory rolled into one.

Ask any of my engagement photo shoot clients, and they will all tell you the same thing: engagement photo shoots are worth it. Getting engaged is, no doubt, a huge moment for you and your partner. It is a milestone in your relationship as well as a first step towards a new chapter together. But how do you best announce your engagement? Some couples just take a selfie or two and run with it. Some grab a dated picture of them when they weren’t so far in their relationship, or have a friend snap a semi-decent picture on a phone. If it works for you, then great. But some couples want their engagement announcement to truly reflect their happiness together, with professional photos that capture the excitement, warmth, and unbreakable connection between them. 

An engagement photo shoot opens big opportunities for you and your fiance/fiancee. 

First and foremost, it allows you to invite everyone you know to be a part of your biggest life event yet, getting married, with a personal and accurate visual of you both. Show friends and family how much they mean to you with a stunning image that they can hang up on their fridges, remind themselves of when your big day is, and be proud to say they know you. 

It gives you the chance to celebrate in the picture-perfect way you dreamed about.

Remember when the love of your life got down on one knee and you started blubbering? Well now you can reenact that with a little more control of your emotions. In all seriousness, now you and your future bride/groom-to-be can take planned, heartfelt pictures that describe the love you two have for each other. You can capture the perfect photo that you want your future wedding guests to think of when they think of you two.

An engagement photo shoot lets you test out your photographer.

An engagement session is actually a great way to see if your engagement photographer would be a good fit as your wedding photographer. You can have a test run of sorts by feeling out the chemistry between you two and your photographer, as well as seeing if the way he/she takes pictures is what you’re looking for on your wedding day.

You can practice your picture-perfect smiles and poses.

Many people have never been in front of a professional camera before. Whether it’s a head-on smile or a candid laugh with your partner, taking professional photos can come very difficult to some. Practice how to “act natural” in front of the lens with an engagement photo shoot, so that you are 110% ready for your wedding photos.

You’re able to try out hair and makeup ideas.

Some of my clients use their engagement sessions as an opportunity to try out potential wedding makeup and hairstyles. You can see how long your hair/makeup will take to prepare and how your hair/makeup will appear with different light and from different angles. You can also test how it will hold up after an hour or two of picture taking. Play with any makeup ideas you are considering for your wedding day, and see how they turn out in your photos. You will either confirm how much you liked that style, or you’ll have plenty of time experimenting with different looks!

Thank you, clients! A badge earned for connecting with customers

Thank you, clients! A badge earned for connecting with customers

Thank you clients!

My top priority as a wedding photographer is to ensure my clients have an amazing time with me and that they receive unforgettable moments captured in their wedding photos. It’s because of my clients’ positive experiences in working with me that I get to continue growing my business. They often make my job the highlight of my days.

weddingwire photographer badgeSo when WeddingWire awarded me the WeddingWire Rated™ Badge, I was overcome with gratitude. It’s one thing to receive referrals from past clients, but there is an indescribable sentimentality in reading people’s reviews about my work. To read so many of my clients’ positive reviews is a career milestone for me, and each review gives me a fond memory of my work and connections with others.

Photography’s my job, connecting with my clients is my passion. It is an honor to work with all of my fantastic clients, and I can’t wait to continue exceeding expectations. If I didn’t say it already, thank you, clients!

Fates intertwined: Jaimie and Wes’ sweet love story

Fates intertwined: Jaimie and Wes’ sweet love story

It’s astonishing how our paths intertwine and change others’ lives in the most beautiful, surprising ways.

inspirational wedding story brant bender photographyI recently worked with this very cute couple and heard their even cuter love story, as I documented their boho-meets-military wedding on the shores of Lake Arrowhead. Jaimie and Wes hold a history that inspires you, uplifts you, and most importantly, makes you smile.

The backstory

Years ago, these two met in San Diego through a mutual friend. Their chemistry was evident, but fizzled over time, as Jaimie resided in San Diego and Wes lived in Virginia Beach. Then, upon hearing the heartbreaking news of their friend’s passing, their fates crossed again. A friendship formed from their grieving, and in honor of their fallen friend, Jaimie visited Wes for a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list

The wedding

Now, we flash forward to their serene destination wedding at Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, located in Lake Arrowhead, CA. These two bask in the outdoors whenever they have spare time, so this location served as the ideal place for their matrimony.

bride and bridesmaids pink orange whiteJaimie picked an array of warm tones like various pinks, cream, burgundy and orange to compliment the late summer colors of the lake, which also happened to pair well with the crisp white uniform of her military man. The towering pine trees, vibrant foliage, and clean sunlight that surrounded the resort provided a woodsy yet refreshing backdrop to their stunning ceremony. If there was any place in the world that embodied these two, they found it in Lake Arrowhead.

Dress Whites for military in weddingOn top of choosing a perfect location and hues for their wedding, it was also imperative to this couple to include family, tradition, and honor. Wes wore his Dress Whites; fellow military members wore their Dress Blues. Jaimie savored a special moment with her father, where he had his own “first look” of his baby girl before he would walk her down the aisle. The military sword detail in concluding Jaimie’s and Wes’ exchanging of vows emphasized their value of serving our country, and also provided a humbling experience for guests.

It was a fantastic event, and a heartwarming history to hear about. These two were so much fun to photograph, and it was inspiring to take part in celebrating their remarkable marriage. Wes’ and Jaimie’s story carries so much depth, and we can all agree that fate had a very special plan for these two.

Jamie and Wes’ love story emerged from devastation. Little did they know it would be their late friend’s biggest gift to them. Every part of this wedding meant something important to the happy couple, and the day was spent focusing on their bright future, their gratefulness to their friend, and the loved ones and experiences that made them who they are now. Cheers to Jaimie and Wes, whose romantic love story will serve as inspiration for those still waiting for their destinies to unfold.weddings lake arrowhead brant bender photography

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