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!

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.

Katy and Rocky’s Golden Kona Kai Wedding

Katy and Rocky’s Golden Kona Kai Wedding

 

They fell fast, & fell hard.

“I’m going to marry you,” Rocky assured Katy, the night they first met, at a bar nestled in Hermosa beach. That bold pickup line was the perfect one–as it seemed to foretell a romantic prophecy that would unfold soon later. It didn’t take long for these two to know they both met their soulmate. Katy and Rocky fell for each other, and fell hard. Rocky soon dropped down on one knee and asked the big question. Katy gave her answer. Their wedding day was set for September 7, 2019.

A Golden Day

These two picked the perfect day to tie the knot, on a private beach, on a breezy summer’s day at the gorgeous Kona Kai Resort and Spa. Katy and Rocky nailed the intimate, beachy and romantic wedding aura: every single guest seemed to truly enjoy the closeness and beauty of the event. And yet, their laid-back vibe hit hard, with a dance floor sitting above the sand in front of a quiet, sun-soaked harbor partially blocking the horizon. Their blissful ivory and ocean blues color scheme fit well with the summery on-the-sand backdrop, and the subtle white candles found at every reception table provided a golden glow that seemed to keep the close-knit party going long into the evening.

From September 7, 2019 onward…

What a beautifully woven relationship between Katy and Rocky. I couldn’t be more excited for them in this next chapter together, and I feel very lucky to have captured their big day. You can catch this power couple enjoying the simple things together as husband and wife: enjoying each other’s time, jogging along San Diego’s golden-flaked beaches together, and finding happiness in being a complete, happy family with their husky puppy, Yeezy! 

Congratulations, you two. A (virtual) toast to a lifetime of happiness for you both!

The Ultimate loophole to themed weddings, just ask Daniel and Michael

The Ultimate loophole to themed weddings, just ask Daniel and Michael

Themed weddings can be so much fun to photograph, and even more fun to attend. If done right, themes are the fibers of a wedding that connect people to your wedding experience by immersing your guests in a memorable, joyous celebration. But themes can come at a price, both financially and emotionally, for couples when budgets topple or when venues use strict policies that prevent planners from going all out with a desired wedding theme.

Daniel and Michael, our heroes (and the power couple) of this story, found the ultimate loophole of themed weddings: leveraging the wedding venue their theme. By choosing the San Diego Safari Park as their wedding venue, Daniel and Michael not only gave an unforgettable and breathtaking experience to their guests, but also saved big on time, energy, and cash spent pinpointing specific decor and elements that would have been costly to purchase and set up.

So how did they actually pull off this big secret to a flawless themed wedding? It really only took two major considerations.

1. They remembered their biggest moments together.

Michael and Daniel’s first date was at…you guessed it, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. From there, their relationship blossomed into what is now a blissful partnership that will only continue to grow for the rest of their lives. Their story began as a true adventure, surrounded by wild animals and an exotic environment. Their wedding would convey that sense of fun and spark that Michael and Daniel share to this day.

2. Their wedding location was an experience first, venue second.

In selecting a zoo as their wedding venue, Daniel and Michael didn’t need to seek out any extra decor to add to their wedding experience–it was already all around them! From the building architecture to majestic giraffes and rhinos baring witness to their ceremony, this couple had a more authentic and detailed theme than what would have been mocked up at a different venue location. On top of it all, no extra money or effort was spent to recreate what was already embedded within the safari park.

Daniel and Michael pulled off a truly amazing themed wedding. If you’re looking to plan a themed wedding, start looking at the most cherished memories you and your partner share together. From there, find a place that really speaks to you both. It doesn’t need to be a cookie-cutter wedding venue; it just needs to bring a smile and a warm memory to both of you.

And to Daniel and Michael, congratulations to both of you, wishing you many years of love and adventure to come!

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

-On top of being a historical icon of San Diego, Balboa Park means something different to so many people. For William and Richard, Balboa Park means a beautiful future with each other. In honor of pride month, a sweet love story and for everything love stands for, this post is dedicated to finding the right person and never letting go. This is for William and Richard.

-What began as a harmless, albeit boozy brunch in Uptown, Texas, transformed into spark-filled and spontaneous courting for over a year. Thanks to many more brunches and friends urging the two to get together, Richard and William became an official couple in late 2013.

 The two moved to the sparkling, sunny town of San Diego with their eyes set on the beaches everyone seemed to rave about. Yet it was Balboa Park that really caught their attention. It became one of their most cherished spots to spend time together. On an unsuspecting Saturday, Richard and William climbed the Park’s California tower to catch the breathtaking views of the shimmering sea and San Diego’s skyline. William felt something important was coming…and he was right. Richard took a knee and popped the question, in the most perfect setting possible.

The rest is history–their 1916 World’s Fair-themed wedding brought their friends and family together for a day of love and togetherness. And of course the wedding took place at the most memorable spot in their lives, Balboa Park.

On a personal note, working with these two was a blast! They are a great couple that I was lucky enough to work with, and watching them together is a perfect example of what being in love looks like. And a especial thanks to Courtney from Breezy Day Weddings, who ensured Richard and William’s wedding ran smoothly! All the best to Richard and William, and here’s to many more happy years to come!

 

 

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.

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