Snowy frontier to sunny beach: Leslie and Jared’s dream wedding

Snowy frontier to sunny beach: Leslie and Jared’s dream wedding

Looking for Alaska San Deigo

I’ve got another amazing love story for you: Leslie and Jared, the soul mates from Alaska that wanted their dream wedding in sunny San Diego, surrounded by their kids, family, and friends. From what started as an algorithm-spurred brunch followed by a romantic pawn shop peruse, these two found the perfect partner within each other, and after building a life together equipped with laughter, children, and sleep, these two just finished throwing the wedding of their dreams at the Prado at Balboa Park.

Skiing+napping+sarcasm=the ultimate love spark.

Leslie and Jared filled me in on their favorite things to do together, which easily explains how much fun they were to work with! They thrive on laughing with one another, combining parenting forces, skiing, hiking, biking, and other cool Alaskan outdoorsy stuff. Oh, and they are both proven sarcasm experts.

Bringing Alaska to San Diego

Jared and Leslie dined at the precise restaurant that they visited on their first fancy date. Jared had so much more than a Groupon in his pocket: he popped the question to Leslie! From there, the duo set out to orchestrate the wedding of their dreams. Fun fact: destiny would have it that their daughter be born exactly five years after the proposal! And, they blew themselves and their guests away by bringing elements of Alaska to the breathtakingly historic Balboa Park and by having an interactive celebration for every single guest, especially their kids, to participate in. Bonus fact: these two were married January 11, 2020 - marking their six-year anniversary! 

Leslie and Jared got ready and had their very sweet first look at the US Grant. Leslie even got to have a first look with her boys! The famiy-centric wedding focused on fun and play, while staying classy and graceful. Bliss Events‘ Ashley coordinated a jaw-dropping environment for the bride and groom, with notes of deep rasberry reds mixed with greens and other earthy tones based off the natural beauty of Alaska. To include their family spirit at the wedding, Jared and Leslie made sure their kids as well as their other guests played important, real roles throughout their celebration.  And, if you ask any of the younger guests of the wedding, those hula hoops, games, face painting and that play area made for a great party scene!

This happy couple’s story was so much fun to learn about, and what a sweet, creative wedding I was able to witness. To Leslie and Jared, congratulations you two! Wishing you and the kiddos many naps, laughs, and powdery ski trips for many years to come.

Five New, Original Location Ideas for Your Next Event

Five New, Original Location Ideas for Your Next Event

“Location, location, location,” - real estate agents everywhere.

And yet, the saying still holds true: location is extremely important to where you’re having your next big event. Whether it be a first or 60th birthday party, a wedding, modeling head shots, a company event, a performance, or anything in between, finding the perfect place to host your event can be tricky without knowing the right places, people, and websites to look. A simple web search of your desired event location will most likely bring up popular event spots. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a safe guess that your desired date might be booked, that it will be crowded with people not in your party, and that there won’t be enough parking for everyone.

Whenever I work with clients who rent a private space to call their own, I always notice the freedom they enjoy, the privacy and the relaxed atmosphere that they get to soak in for themselves. Imagine you have an entire place reserved in your name to host that surprise party, or that corporate event, or an upcoming graduation photo shoot, for the hours you need it, on the date(s) you want, with only the people you want there with you! Enter Peerspace: basically, the Airbnb of meeting and event space rentals.

Using Peerspace‘s search results, here are five quick event location ideas that are unique, personal, and completely yours for your next event, whatever and whenever that may be. Happy location finding!

1. A getaway equipped with everything needed for the perfect house party.

Sometimes, having a party in a cozy chateau is the perfect place for a family get-together. It’s a chance to turn a professionally designed and well-kept house into yours, with those renovations you’ve always dreamed of, without the worry of having to move anything or clean up too much.

Peerspace examples:

- La Jolla Country Casa Event Space

– Versatile Beachside House - Lifestyle and Products- Great Lighting, Spacious, Custom Designed

2. An estate for bringing your guests and you together in an intimate, unique setting with no other distractions.

These types of rentals are especially popular for weddings, where an immaculate estate is available for everything a bride and groom may need. Estates provide a private environment where couples can get ready onsite, walk to their ceremony and their reception, and enjoy the estate as if it was their own.

Peerspace examples:

- Spacious Villa with Breathtaking Views for Events, Meetings, Photo Shoots!

– Country Elegance on Hilltop with majestic 360 views. Spectacular outdoor spaces

3. An outdoor space that can handle the band, the fans, and the drum solo!

For musicians looking to hold a private party for themselves and their biggest fans, renting a private space to hold a concert is a great way to add hype and exclusiveness to the event. It also allows for the band to play without any permits, interruptions, permissions from the city, etc., since, the space is entirely theirs to do what they please with it!

Peerspace example:

Barrio Logan indoor/outdoor event space

4. A space dedicated to targeting your customer base.

Good entrepreneurs know their customers; what their audience looks like, does for a living, does in their free time, and what their pain points are. If you’re a business owner reading this, renting a space to market a product or service in a location that captures your targeted audience’s attention will not only get your brand noticed, but will also help you stand out from your competitors, too.

Peerspace examples:

– Smart & Sleek Conference Boardroom - Edison

- Light and Bright Yoga Studio

– Artistic Urban Gym

5. A garden flourishing with the most beautiful greenery you never knew existed.

Gardens are an attraction as well as a location, and from a photographer’s perspective, they are particularly gorgeous in the background of a headshot or grad photo. To create an entirely different environment filled with living, growing flora, booking a garden as your next event location will be as exotic as it will be breathtaking.

Peerspace example:

Canyon Perched A-Frame Home & Art Studio

Great Pictures Lead to Great Publications: San Diego Spotlights Brant Bender Photography’s Star Clients!

Great Pictures Lead to Great Publications: San Diego Spotlights Brant Bender Photography’s Star Clients!

A wedding so beautiful, it had to be shared with all of San Diego.

On October 6, 2018, I was lucky enough to capture all-star couple William and Richard’s whimsical wedding that took over San Diego’s famous and jaw-dropping historical landmark, Prado at Balboa Park. Inspired by the World’s Fair that took place at San Diego in 1916, their wedding featured coattails, top hats, bow ties, and happy-go-lucky dancing and fun.

I worked with Richard and William on their engagement shoot and wedding photos, where I learned about how they met, the spark between them, and what they envisioned as their perfect wedding day. I can confirm their (en)vision came true; the wedding was seamless and stunning, where every photo I took, candid or formal, included a huge smile or a teary grin (huge kudos to the master of wedding planning, Courtney at Breezy Day Weddings!) Their captivating love story and wedding served as inspiration for couples brainstorming their very own creative, unique, story-telling wedding that would take place in the San Diego area.

San Diego Style Weddings, a local magazine that shares the best resources for all things weddings, provides readers southern-California-specific tips, vendors, services, and inspiration, from engagement to post-wedding. S.D.S.W. picked up Richard’s and William’s wedding photos and included them in their December 2019-January 2020 issue. Check out page 118 to see how Richard and William celebrated a stunning World’s Fair Wedding together with their guests and loved ones at the iconic Prado!

Seeing these photos and their wedding story in S.D.S.W. fills me with so much happiness. I remember taking those photos with Richard and William, and I remember loving to capture them and their guests on the happiest day of their lives in one of the most beautiful buildings in Southern California. Working with them was a highlight in my career so far, and to see them bring inspiration to all of San Diego reminds me of how proud I am to be their wedding photographer! Congratulations once again to William and Richard, I can’t wait to see what you both accomplish together - and how you inspire others together - next.

Hailey and Tyler’s Beachy Bohemian Wedding

Hailey and Tyler’s Beachy Bohemian Wedding

Ballerina Meets Party Foul.

Tyler and Hailey met at a college Halloween party. The ballerina (Hailey) and party foul (Tyler) got to talking, and soon a relationship blossomed. They found out how much they love to bake together, watch scary movies together, and adore their rescue Corgi, Leo, together. They discovered how much they love hiking, camping and exploring new restaurants with each other too.

A Garden Proposal.

Tyler popped the question during their trip to Miami, Florida a little over a year ago. Surrounded by the stunning greenery of the renowned Vizcaya Gardens, Hailey was completely caught off guard when Tyler asked her to marry him. To Tyler’s delight, she said yes!

50% Beach, 50% Bohemian, 100% Romance.

With bohemian scents of lavender, rosemary, and pink roses drifting through the air under a clear blue sky on the beach, Hailey and Tyler tied the knot in a lovely, sweet, free-spirited fashion at Hotel Del Coronado. Their dusty rose, gold, sage, and cream wedding colors superbly matched the vintage water color elements and wood accents of the glimmering beach and sunset. Hotel Del couldn’t have been a more picturesque location for this laid back celebration of love.

Personally, I had a blast watching guests tear up the dance floor to a live band, enjoy edible cyclones of cotton candy, and party with the newlyweds on the toasted sands of San Diego’s esteemed historic (and extremely picturesque) hotel. And extra kudos to the wedding’s event planner, Korie, of Bliss Events, for coordinating a flawless event filled of fun and romance! 

Sweet like cotton candy and classic like Hotel Del, Hailey and Tyler are the perfect pair in so many ways. May every day together feel like a day at the beach, and your future smell as delicious as rosemary and lavender! Congratulations you two, it was so much fun working with you and I’m so thrilled to see what comes next for you both!

Elegant Simplicity: Malihe & Amine’s Intimate Church + Country Club Wedding

Elegant Simplicity: Malihe & Amine’s Intimate Church + Country Club Wedding

Elegant, sacred, and intimate.

Those three adjectives come to mind when I reminisce about Malihe and Amine’s recent wedding day. These two envisioned an elegant and simple wedding and reception surrounded by the love of their friends and family, and their wedding knocked it out of the park, or should I say, country club.

Over 150 guests joined Malihe and Amine at the St. Therese of Carmel Catholic Church to witness their eloquent wedding ceremony. The two’s exchanging of vows under their faith meant so much more than words can say, to themselves, to their church, and to their loved ones. From the church, guests and the wedding party headed over to the Del Mar Country Club for a tasteful, spark-filled, romantic reception with the bride and groom. The night included unique elements like a drum line entrance, live music, belly dancers, and a sparkler tunnel! Ivory, blush, and notes of gold wedding colors brought an extra warmth and end-of-summer crispness to the aura of the reception, too. It was a sweet close to the day full of connecting with loved ones, dancing, and of course, looking forward to the exciting future ahead for Amine and Malihe.

This wedding had a couple of noteworthy hires that completely blew away the happy couple, their guests, and myself with their phenomenal talent in giving the bride and groom exactly what they asked for. The two’s wedding planner, Gisele Chalhoub, did a second-to-none job of coordinating the timeless and tight-knit wedding that Amine and Malihe dreamed about. Their all-star, award-winning band, Republic of Music, ignited the night and connected with the audience in a way that got everyone dancing and sparked fun and joy for every guest.

To Malihe and Amine: congratulations to you both, I’m so excited for your next chapter of life together, of which I am positive will be filled with love, friends, and family! You are both perfect for each other, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you two.

Five Creative Fall Photo Shoot Ideas, Other Than the Pumpkin Patch

Five Creative Fall Photo Shoot Ideas, Other Than the Pumpkin Patch

For the record,

I am a big fan of pumpkin patches.

But there are only so many holiday pictures at pumpkin patches until you realize you want to do something different - something unique - something with originality. Here are five creative fall photo shoot ideas for you and your family to savor through the years, that don’t involve wheelbarrows full of pumpkins and sitting atop hay stacks.

1. The beach!fall photo shoot creative brant bender photography

The beach is forever astounding because it is truly a wonder to see, especially if you have holiday cards to send out of state. You can (pumpkin) spice up your fall photo shoot with outfits involving plaid, boots, darker jeans, corduroy, etc. for a more seasonal vibe in front of those glimmering sands and cerulean waters. Nearby, beautiful, and classic, our local beaches are one of the best parts of living in San Diego - take advantage of it!

2. A winery

family photo with fall vineyard photoshoot

Consider a family portrait surrounded by green-turned-amber vineyards, as well as the rustic tractors, barrels, and barns that are part of a winery. The rustic woodiness of the cellars, combined with the turning of fall seen on the vines, will ring in the perfect seasonal feel you’re looking for in your family’s fall photo shoot. The Bernardo Winery is my personal go-to, where there is never a bad shot and its timeless setting fits any season, any weather, and any kind of day.

3. The town of Julian

julian san diego apple orchards brant bender photographer

There is nothing like the cozy and utterly delightful mountain town of Julian. If you don’t mind spending a little extra time and money on driving to Julian for your fall photo shoot, I’m here to tell you it is the small town photo op of your dreams. Julian is just far enough east to make visiting a nice day trip for the family, and to observe real seasonal changes in the environment. Think about scheduling your fall photo shoot at one of their historic landmarks, a picnic site painted in fall foliage, or their renowned Volcan Apple Farm. Not only will your family visit a town full of endless charm, but you are also guaranteed amazing photos here.

4. Railroads

railroad family portraits san diego ca

Railroads convey the warmth and nostalgia of “a simpler, easier time.” Their old-timey, resilient and age-old tracks are perfect for unique family pictures. And for all you new parents out there, kids love the train. A railroad photo shoot may give you the perfect chance to capture pure joy on your children’s faces, making for an authentic holiday postcard.

5. Lakes

creative family photo shoots brant bender photographyWhen the twilight sun hits a lake just right during autumn, photos of the scene can be breathtaking. Grab your family for a fun-filled day at a local lake, and capture the golden yolk of a falling sun on water illuminating your loved ones. For an added bonus, find a wooden dock or large rock to create an isolated, end-of-summer. nature-y feel to your photos.

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