I co-founded WeDo over a year a go with my partner, event designer Ara Farnam. It's a members only wedding industry networking group, the only one of its kind in NYC. So when I tell potential clients that I can hook them up with amazing vendors, you know I mean it! I know everyone in this town in the event business. When you hire Kelly Guenther Studio to shoot your wedding I come with an entire network of amazing people at my fingertips. Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Having solid referrals from vendors you can trust makes it so much easier. That's why I started WeDo. I can't believe how far we've come in a year! And that deserved a party! No one knows how to party like those who throw parties for a living! Over 250 wedding industry insiders gathered to celebrate the 1yr Anniversary of WeDo. We started the party right away with a bar in the elevator serving bubbly. Guests were then given their first clue, a string of beads with a message encouraging them to make friends at the bar. The WeDo scavenger hunt had begun! Clues were sprinkled throughout the party that encouraged everyone to mix and mingle and eventually lead to The Golden Ticket and a spin at the prize wheel! Dimples Dakota played Vanna White cheering everyone on. Of course we didn't let anyone leave empty handed, WeDo sunglasses for all! Three Sixty degrees was bathed in a sea of pink and orange thanks to Nice Uplights. Rountree Flowers dazzled all with the decor, The Booth kept everyone smiling (see photos from The Booth here password click) and bands The Engagements and 45 Riots kept us dancing all night long! Best cake (thanks Sugar Flower Cake Shop) and cake cutting ever thanks to Batala, an all girl drum line troupe, who surprised all of the guests and got everyone pumped and ready to party! WeDo has come a long way in just one year. Our events always attract the best of the NYC wedding industry not only in their skills but personality. WeDo members are fun, open people who get the value of meeting new people and growing their networks. We have lots planned for 2013 and hope you can join us! Click here to apply for membership. We are so very grateful to our members who joined early on and helped WeDo grow to what it is today. WeDo love our WeDo members!
I met Steven and Katie via wedding planner extraordinaire (and WeDo member) Richard Newton of Atelier Weddings. Such an open, lovely couple. Katie is the kind of person who wears her heart on her sleeve-one of my favorite qualities in a bride to be. As you can see from the photos she is just beaming. I loved our walk around the city; I get a warm fuzzy feeling watching hardened New Yorkers soften when they see us walking up the street. We're all a bunch of softies. Heck even the hot dog vendor gave them the thumbs up and a complimentary pretzel! Once back at The Palace we took a peak at the reception room before all of the guests arrived and Katie immediately burst into tears "It's so us!". Richard and everyone at NY Palace did such a phenomenal job putting the room together. I LOVED the banquettes. I've never seen them in a formal setting. It really made the grand room much more homey. The ceremony room was also exquisite with all of the candles. So warm and inviting. Right after they said "I do" Steven and Katie were shuttled off to a side room and that's where I got my shot of the day. I was just heading out to give them time alone and Katie joyously raised her arms up. I love that shot. It's always the 5 min right after the vows that I get my favorite images of the day. I also loved the last shot....they went into 2 hours of overtime that night! They were just having too much fun to stop the party. I wanted to document what 2 hours of overtime looked like and I found myself going back to the table settings. Melted candles, half empty drinks, shoes, cameras and my favorite Katie and Steven's names written out in wikki sticks. I kept revisiting their table the last hour of the party and it kept getting better: a half eaten piece of wedding cake, Katie's shoes on the table, an unfinished glass of champagne. Sometimes the story is in the details.
Anytime I book a destination wedding I do a little happy dance. Obviously it's awesome to go somewhere tropical in the middle of a New York City winter. But I also love the close bonds that I form with the couple, the wedding party and family over the days we spend together. The beauty of a destination wedding is it's a small intimate affair and the wedding isn't just an 8hr day, it's a love fest weekend with all your favorite people! Angela and Michael are such lovely, generous people. They were the ultimate hosts all weekend making sure everyone's needs were taken care of. And ahem, can we talk about the resort for a moment? The Viceroy is THE resort in all of the Caribbean right now-I've never seen such relaxed luxury! It was organic modernism and yet everything was beyond beyond. If you ever have the opportunity to go-GO! Perfect for honeymoons;) Highlights from the wedding: The double rainbow, playing on the beach with the wedding party, surprise fireworks and of course the unexpected dip in the pool by Angela at the end of the night! Amazing and a week I'll never forget. Thank you Angela and Michael for letting me be a part of your celebration and introducing me to the pristine island of Anguilla, I know I'll be back someday.....
And check out this awesome video highlight by videographers husband and wife team Ryan and Brittany Rossman from Moetic. They're as talented as they are fun!
I had to add a couple personal photos from the trip. Me on the beach hard at work and a little self portrait of me and the video crew from Moetic Films.
Then I extended my stay and moved to more humble lodgings;) I can't say enough wonderful things about the family at The Ferry Boat Inn, they adopted me right away and I had a blast! Here are a couple snaps I took with my iphone. Thanks to Christian, Brenden, Andy and the rest of the gang-I will be back!
When New York Magazine asked us if we had any unique NYC wedding moment photos to share I knew exactly which image to submit. Associate photographer Mike Nagle and recently wed Tae and Jade just happened to stumble upon the DUMBO Arts Festival during their portrait session. And how can anyone resist having their wedding photos taken with blindfolded wrestlers? Talk about a memorable day! That's just the kind of shooter Mike is, he sees an opportunity and he works it! I love this image, it's so layered and I mean C'MON!! How wacky is this?! We're thrilled that New York Magazine appreciates real wedding photojournalism, so much so that they gave us the full page. And just in time for the big New York Magazine Expo next week, Wednesday the 28th. We'll be there exhibiting, it's the only bridal show we participate in every year. It's hands down the best of the best. Click here to buy tickets. Stop by and say hello, I promise not to put you in a figure four leg lock:)
I know I usually just write about my weddings but I'm feeling inspired. I just came back from the Women in the World conference at Lincoln Center and the stories I heard from women around the world have me fired up. As most of you know I started as a photojournalist. I wanted to change the world with my camera. Over the years I've journeyed away from that profession for a number of reasons, but I have always felt that it is my true calling to use my camera to effect change in this world. I've been feeling that more and more these past couple months and am now actively looking for a project to work on. So it must have been fate that my friend offered me an extra ticket to this incredible conference. I went to be inspired and to find a story that needs me. I found so many I don't know where to begin. What happened to the Arab women who helped lead a revolution in Egypt? Will their Arab Spring turn into an Arab Winter? Will they have a voice in their new government? Or did they risk their lives for nothing? One of the revolutionaries summed it up: "There is no Spring without flowers and there can be no Arab Spring without women!" Or what about under age marriage? Everyday-EVERYDAY-in this world 25,000 girls under the age of 18 get married. It's still legal to get married in West Virginia at age 12! Or the Kamlari girls from Napal. I heard from Suma who at age 6 was sold by her parents to be a servant girl where she was beaten everyday. She was rescued by Room to Read Girls Education program. She wrote a song about her experience and sang it to us all. "Selfish were my parents, they give birth to a daughter..." listen to it, it will give you chills. To see her standing on stage, knowing all she suffered....20,000 girls a year are still sold into Kamlari. Then there was Molly Melching, who has been fighting to end female genital cutting for 20 years. She brought with her male tribal elders who ended up being her biggest asset. This man participated in FGM practice for most of his life. It was hard for me to believe that someone could honestly be ignorant that genital cutting is harmful but they simply didn't know any better and were doing what their fathers had done before them. It wasn't until he took a basic education class that he understood the consequences of this practice. "Intelligence is the only thing that will help to change a deeply entrenched tradition." Once he understood he was "deeply pained and saddened to say that every woman in my family had this done." He did his research, learned from Muslim leaders that this was not a religious necessity. He talked about putting on his shoes and going to see his extended relatives in other villages in order to educate them and bring about change. They believe that by 2015 the practice of FGM will be eradicated in Senegal. Or how about the Burmese Spring that's getting ready to bloom? Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was even freed from 15yrs of house arrest and is now campaigning for a parliamentary seat. We heard from Zin Mar Aung, a Burmese woman who was imprisioned for 11 years in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT for handing out pro-democracy leaflets. When asked how she possibly survived such isolation she said "Someone can imprision your body but not your mind."
At this point my heart is full and my mind is spinning. There is so much that needs to be done. It's overwhelming and where do you start? It was then that 17 yr old Talia Leman took the stage. She started at age 10 organizing kids to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina. She and kids across America ended up raising $10 million! She started Randomkid.org, a place where any random kid can help solve real world problems. "You don't have to wait to grow up to be somebody, you already are somebody!" Then I heard "Think what can be, unburdened by what has been." by California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Those statements really hit a nerve for me. I think sometimes I don't try things because I feel they've already been done. I give up before I've started. Or I think I'm not good enough. Well guess what? I am good enough, and even if it's been done it hasn't been done by me. We all have the ability to make real change happen in this world. As one of my southern photography professors put it "Keep a fire in your belly". That's southern speak for stay informed and be passionate. Go out and be part an active part of the world!
All this said I'm getting involved. I'm still not quite sure exactly what that means but I'm going to start here:http://www.womenintheworld.org/learn-more. I plan on traveling the world and documenting women and girls in their struggles and their triumphs. Everyone is talking about socially responsible business these days. While I don't claim to be a business on par with the likes of FEED, I do want potential clients to know that by hiring me to shoot your wedding you're helping me to fund personal documentary projects that will help effect change in the lives and rights of women and girls around the globe.
It's through story telling that we gain awareness. Awareness will bring about education, and it's education which will bring about real change in this world. I've heard the call and I'm going to do something about it. So can you.
The first thing you notice about Allison and James is....well I was going to write a little joke about their size difference but now that I'm writing this I'd have to say it's their warmth and kindness. Ever meet people and you just like them right away? That's James and Allison. They're just good people. Ok there's that AND the fact that James is HUGE!!! Like "Does this guy play for the Giants?" big. And Allison is teensy tiny! I could not stop giggling when I was shooting the detail photo of their rings together. Allison's ring looked like it was sitting inside of a platinum bracelet. The weather looked pretty ominous that day...it was raining and everything was set for the outdoor ceremony on the roof. Looking out the window you could see the light rain on the puddles. But there was no going back. The wedding planners made sure everyone had umbrellas-we all just figured we'd get a little wet. And then it was like a love force field protected the roof or something because it was raining everywhere EXCEPT on their ceremony. I kid you not. I even made sure to shoot a wide shot to document this little wedding day miracle. Made my heart swell. The force field held out long enough to shoot family photos then BAM it poured! That was just fine with us because we were ready to go inside and party! They wanted the vibe to be relaxed and playful, they even had a pool table and video games to keep their guests entertained. The photo booth was a big hit and made for some of my favorite photos of the night. I'm not sure who danced more, Allison or their priest! That man had some moves. It was a fantastic party, just what James and Allison wanted. Congratulations you two!
We're psyched to be part of Williamsbrides, a new bridal show in Williamsburg. It's at a new venue with a unique approach to bridal shows. I'll be in very VERY good company. Some of my favorite vendors will be in attendance. This ain't your sister's bridal show;) Come on out and meet vendors who "get" you and your wedding. WeDo is a corporate sponsor so if you're a vendor, be sure to stop by our booth to find out how you can stay connected to all things NYC weddings.
Melissa was the picture of old Hollywood glamor in her dress. It fit her beautifully and when she walked it's like she was gliding on air. So graceful. The Foundry is one of my favorite venues in Brooklyn because you can get married outside rain or shine thanks to their clear top tent! The lights strung between the railings gave the wedding a kind of night time in Paris vibe (I've never been but I'm sticking with my description because I have a vivid imagination and watch lots of movies;). Tip of the Tongue did the food....OMG! Soooo crazy good. My favorite were the passed desserts at the end of the night. They were festive and delicious and refreshing, especially the mini ice cream cones. Guests pounced on them! I hardly had time to take a photo! After the wedding when Michael and Melissa picked up their photos Michael thanked me for making them go outside during the sunset. Those were their favorite photos of the evening. It's always a delicate situation for me to pull a bride and groom away from their guests. But I also know that this light and these photos will only take 5 min. to shoot and they'll cherish them for a lifetime. Thanks for indulging my creative whims and congratulations! Photos by Kelly Guenther with Assist by David Filipponi
Tae and Jade hired us about a week before their wedding. They live in L.A. and were having the big wedding in London (where Jade is originally from). They had to get married in the states to make things legal over here before they headed across the pond and figured, why not have a party for all of our friends and family who can’t make the trip to London? It was a cozy affair at Aureole with all of NYC watching through the big windows as the couple said “I do”. I love the photo of the guy giving them the thumbs up in the reflection of the window! So New York. After lunch the couple went to DUMBO for portraits. As luck would have it the DUMBO Arts Festival was in full swing. What follows are some of the most original wedding portraits I’ve ever seen! My favorite is the image of Tae and Jade framed with the ropes and all the action from the blind wrestling match. That’s right BLIND WRESTLING! It’s just all so surreal, and so Brooklyn. Photos by Michael Nagle for Kelly Guenther Studio
I'm not big into astrology, but all the stars, planets what have you must have been in alignment on Ben and Booke's wedding night. Everyone was in the best mood! I know that's kind of a given at weddings but this was something different....I don't know what it was or how to explain it really. Maybe it's the fact that half of the guests were from Texas. Have you ever hung out with Texans? They are just always up for a good time and full of positive energy. Ben and Brooke and their friends are also super-smarty-pants kind of people (yes, that's a technical term) and their toasts were honestly the funniest I have ever heard! I had a hard time keeping my focus I was laughing so hard behind the camera! It was just truly one of the most joyful nights I've been a part of. Things just clicked that night. I was reflecting on this wedding afterwards and was kind of amazed really. I've been shooting weddings for 10 years now, that's well over 250 weddings and I can honestly say that I'm enjoying this job more and more. It's just getting better. Maybe it has something to do with age and confidence. I'm not as stressed out as I used to be...I'm still working as hard as ever but I'm able to relax into the evening and absorb some of those good vibes around me. I'm truly a very lucky woman to be able to be around so much happiness. Documenting all the smiles for Ben and Brooke to enjoy for years to come....not a bad way to make a living;) Congratulations Ben and Brooke and thank you so much for such a joyous evening!
Photography by Kelly Guenther, Assist by Tanya Salazar, Photo Studio by Drew Anthony Smith
This wedding was just a blast from beginning to end. First, Lauren and her mother Ronnie are a treasure and a true joy to work with. The wedding took place on Ronnie's estate in Long Island-the entire place is like one big art instillation. It has such a positive energy, it's no wonder Lauren and Alex wanted to get married there. The first look took place under this enormous old tree. I'm a sucker for old trees, they just ooze wisdom and I find them very soothing and calming. It felt to me like the tree was blessing them and wrapping them up in its branches....ever read The Giving Tree? It was like that but w/o the sad ending...anyway. Everything about the wedding just felt so much like Lauren and Alex, so fun and genuine and a tad bit quirky;) The table settings were the most original I have seen in my 10 years of shooting. Ronnie mixed in some of her antiques with rentals. Everything was mix and match bric-a-brac yet it somehow came off very polished. Kind of like fashion models with perfectly tousled bed head; you know it took a heck of a lot of work to look oh so casual. It just made you smile, so much to look at and a surprise around every corner. I mean, a table called "Damn it Feels Good to Be a Gangsta"?! Genius. We did the videography, photography and set up a side tent just for the on site photo studio. DJ Shakey (Julie Covello) had the most booming sound system! It was like being at an NYC night club. The only time the guests left the dance floor was to visit the photo studio or to bask in the full moon light. It was one of those nights where the moon was so bright you could see your shadow by it. I had to take Lauren and Alex down to the dock for a quick portrait session. I love shooting in low light, so dramatic and romantic. A truly magical night for a magical couple. Congratulations Lauren&Alex! Photos by Kelly Guenther, Assist by David Filipponi, On Site Photo Studio by Jordan Gomez, Videography by Mike Canzoniero coming soon!
I've known Naomi and her lovely family since I first moved to the city almost 14 years ago. I even traveled to London for her brother's wedding many moons ago. I was so touched when Naomi wanted to hire us to document her wedding day. I felt like an honorary member of their family all day, it was such a lovely shoot. The little ones almost upstaged Naomi and Rob during the ceremony. They were running around, clapping & giggling, it was really sweet. The littlest flower girl took a shine to me and stood right in front of me while I was sitting in the aisle just when Naomi and Rob were getting ready to say "I do." She just stood there and kept saying "Hi! Hi! Hi!" She was not going to be ignored. I finally said a hushed "Hi there!", patted her on the head and off she went on her merry way. We all had a little giggle over it. The portrait studio was a huge hit! It was non-stop from the time the booth opened. Guests had a blast and we were hustling to instantly get everyone prints. As usual the staff at the Botanic Gardens were wonderful and the food was just delicious. Congratulations Naomi and Rob! Photos by Kelly Guenther, Photo Studio by Drew Anthony Smith, Assist by Tanya Salazar
About six months ago I teamed up with Ara Farnam (Rock Paper Scissor Events) to form WeDo; A professional wedding industry networking group connecting the best vendors in NYC. It all started because my couples are always asking me for referrals and over the years I've referred some of the best in the biz. I love making the referrals, it makes the planning process so much easier for my couples and I get to work with professionals I know will do an amazing job. So much of my business comes from word of mouth referrals that last year I decided to throw a wedding industry networking party. It was such a success that all my industry friends were asking me when I was going to throw another one. I realized that we were all hungry to network with each other and there is nothing consistent in NYC that brings all of us together on a regular basis. WeDo will do just that and so much more. WeDo is a curated group of wedding professionals. We'll hold monthly networking events where we will showcase our member talents ie. a different venue, caterer, DJ every month. Think of it like a monthly business to business bridal show with the feel of a mini reception. We will also offer educational workshops and the WeDo website will help keep the connections going online. The WeDo launch party was a great success and we plan to begin our monthly members only networking parties in January. It's the beginning of something big, something the wedding industry has needed in this town for a long time. Thrilled to have co-founded this dynamic group with so much potential. Below is the blog about the party.
To learn more about WeDo visit our temporary website here.
WeDo can throw a party!
This was the event the wedding industry was waiting for. We've been telling people about WeDo for months and the industry insiders came out in droves to see what we're all about. Ramscale looked amazing decked out in a wash of pink and orange light (thanks NiceUplights) with flowers by Rountree Flowers and rentals by Taylor Creative. Guests were encouraged to play WeDo Connect Four (created by Melangerie) all night, a little ice breaker to help everyone mingle and make the most of the people around them. The game card encouraged everyone to, "Meet a new Planner X, Meet a new Makeup Artist X, Visit the WeDo Lounge X, Make an Introduction X." People loved it! And besides the obvious business benefits to playing the game, there were prizes! See the list below for our winners. So many told me after the party that they made the most connections at our party than any other networking event they'd attended. That's been our big goal all along! WeDo is not only fun, but will help you connect with a curated group of NYC wedding professionals that in turn will grow your business. And if you happen to have fun, oh say visiting the GoFlipYourself photo booth or dancing to music by Jarrell Entertainment, well then all the better. (I'm still irritated at myself that I didn't get to make a flipbook, I'll just have to make sure one of my clients book them in the future so I'll have another opportunity;) Did I mention all the yummy food? Naturally Delicious was, well, delicious and Elegantly Iced gave all us sweet freaks something to swoon over. Seriously the best cupcake I've ever had! All of this would not be possible with out the brilliance (and patience, my God does she have patience) of Sarah Pease from Brilliant Event Planning. She came on board 6 weeks ago and pulled everything together. All of which was brilliantly captured by our featured photographer Craig Paulson Photography (Craig, Jean and Courtney).
We will be doing this every month! Want to be at the next party? To fill out an application to be a WeDo member, click here: click here.
Grand Prize winners of the WeDo Connect Four game: Parris Whittingham winner of B Spa Bar facial Evija Mehra and Maryla Colandrea winners of a free face peal and 1 laser hair removal session from Tres Belle Spa Lindsey Gamble winner of a massage from the The Pipper Wellness Center Amy DeGiulio winner of the two night weekend stay at the Hotel Roger Williams Sarah True winner of the 1yr membership to WeDo
Check out a video highlighting the event here!
Featured Vendors from the Launch Party:
Brilliant Event Planning Rountree Flowers Naturally Delicious Jarrell Entertainment Melangerie NYC Nice Uplights Elegantly Iced Craig Paulson Photography Go Flip Yourself Taylor Creative Rentals Ramscale Penthouse
Ok, so I'm the Bridezilla* and so is my friend in the biz Megan Hill from Hello Super 8. Wedding planners extraordinaire Leslie Price and Eyal Tessler of In Any Event threw an amazing party at Guastavino's last night to celebrate their 10 years in business. Since it was Halloween and full of wedding industry folks I thought the Bridezilla thing would be a riot. We bought our dresses at a thrift store in Bushwick. The staff were so taken w/us trying on dresses.... "You look so pretty! When is the wedding?!" I didn't have the heart to tell her it was for a costume, so I patted my belly and said "Two months!" We recruited makeup artist Sharon Becker with SB Beauty to do our hair and makeup. It went against every fiber of her being to do bad bridal make up but she nailed it! Bad color choices, gobs and gobs of mascara and highlighter in all the wrong places. She added 10lbs to my face! And my hair! My god I looked like Joan Cusack from Working Girl-Sharon's got skills. We stuffed our tails, sewed ourselves into our dresses then stuffed ourselves into a cab. Everyone was so into our outfits! Mark Ingram actually told me my dress was coming back in style! God I hope he was kidding. Megan and I had a back story we told anyone who would listen: We were sisters who were marrying brothers Timmy and Tommy tonight at Guastavino's, but we were left at the alter and decided to join the party instead. All said w/a thick New Jersey accent from 1987 of course. What? Accents can be dated....anyway. Jason Fioto from Generation Events was spinning some mad tunes all night long. Songs we all hear when we work our weddings but can't dance to. We all made up for it! It was so much fun for all of us to cut loose together. I don't know what came over me, maybe it was all the tulle but I danced my brains out all night long. Twirling, jumping, strutting, throwing mock temper tantrums anytime someone would step on my train. Good times. We work hard making our couples' dream weddings come true, we needed a party to celebrate a successful season and blow off some steam. When I got home I realized I was stuck in my dress!!! I literally ripped it off and buttons went flying! So liberating, I highly recommend it. I know where you can get a dress dirt cheap, just tell them your wedding is in two months;) Below are snaps I took w/my point and shoot while wearing 4 inch green witch finger tips. No judgment. *I picked up all my Bridezilla behavior by watching television. I'm proud to say that in my 10 years of shooting weddings I have honestly never personally encountered a Bridezilla. Can someone knock wood;)