Rick and Jay gay wedding at City Hall in NYC

Monday morning I got a call from Rick. He had seen my blog entry about Gay Marriage and wanted to know if I was available to photograph he and his partner getting married....tomorrow morning! I jumped at the chance. As a journalist, a wedding photographer and an avid supporter of gay rights I've been dying to document a gay wedding in NYC since we passed the marriage equality act. I met up with Jay and Rick at their hotel while they were getting ready. They bought matching suits eight years ago when they first met hoping one day to wear them on their wedding day, if and when that day would ever come. "They're a little out of date," said Jay, but they wouldn't dream of wearing anything else. Riding in the car on the way to the courthouse I could feel the anticipation and energy in the car....it was more than wedding nerves. Now. Today. In the next hour they will be legally married. Something neither of them ever thought they would experience in their lifetime. "Can I see your marriage license please?" asked the clerk. "Wow.....I never thought I'd hear that." The clerk looked like a Bruno Kirby look-a-like (wait, maybe it was Bruno Kirby), and in his thick New York accent he bellowed "By the Gr-r-r-rate State of New York I now pronounce you married!!!" Sobs of joy all around, it was hard for me not to lose it. Stay focused Kelly, literally;) There is a photo of Rick looking at the Marriage License and you can feel the weight of that piece of paper and what it means to him. "I'm equal...I'm now seen as equal." After the ceremony we all walked over the Brooklyn Bridge. While they were kissing under the umbrella a construction worker yelled out "Hey! I like your matching suits! You look good!" God I love this town. I could tell as they looked around the city that everything changed for them. They were equal, New York City saw them as equal and acknowledged their love. "We should move here." We'd love to have you! Congratulations Rick and Jay!

 

Hurricane Irene, Cindy and Richard and a dip in the pool

A hurricane on your wedding day. It's every brides worst nightmare. You've been planning for months, sometimes years....this was not in your plan! You have guests in town from all over the world, everything is paid for. Do you reschedule? Go for it and hope the weather reports are all just media hype? These are hard choices and I didn't envy any bride who had to make those decisions that weekend. We had two weddings booked for that Saturday. Friday morning I get a call from Sue the fabulous event planner at Wolffer Estates "Are you ready for this?" she asks, "They canceled?" I said, "Nope, they're doing it tonight at their house, can you have everyone out here by 2pm?" Yikes!! I called the A Team: Mike Nagle Photographer, Mike Canzoniero Videographer and Jordan Gomez Assistant. The biggest worry? All of them had their wedding clothes at the dry cleaners, other than that they were ready to roll on a moments notice. Mind you reports at that time were saying lower Manhattan may very well be under water not to mention the Hamptons (later mandatory evacuations were ordered right where the wedding took place!) But you wouldn't know any of that chaos was happening when you look at the photos. Looks like they planned this to be at their home from the beginning. Cindy was a cool cucumber who really went with the flow. Nothing was going to stop the love. Best part? After the party she and Richard jumped in their pool!! I have to say when I heard that I was soooo jealous I wasn't shooting, I've always wanted to document that moment. Mike and Jordan nailed it and even thought enough ahead to submerge large hurricane (ha!) candle vases in the water and use them as underwater housing devices for their cameras. Still think it doesn't make a difference to hire a photojournalist? We're all about thinking on our feet and improvising. We live for the spontaneous. The underwater shots are so incredible. The last photo reminds me of the famous Rolling Stone cover of John&Yoko, except this one is under water and Cindy is wearing a Monique Lhuillier designed wedding dress. Ok maybe I'm stretching it a bit. Photos by Michael Nagle with Assist by Jordan Gomez

 

 

NYC Wedding Industry Networking WeDo Event at The Green Building

Brides always ask me "Do you know a great caterer, florist, DJ, hair&make up person?" etc. and I've loved connecting them with professionals that I've formed relationships with over the years. I like making the referrals to my couples because I KNOW that the people I recommend are not only fantastic at what they do but they're fun people to be around on the big day. I think everyone can agree that getting a referral from someone you trust is much better than blindly searching for a vendor on the web. Having the ability to refer great vendors is a win win for couples and for our businesses. There are so many talented people in the wedding industry in NYC-the problem is getting all of us in one room so we can network and form relationships with each other that will benefit our couples. That's why I'm starting up a wedding industry networking group called WeDo, as in We Do photography, planning, cakes, flowers etc. It will bring together the best wedding vendors in NYC on a regular basis via monthly networking events where we will be showcasing our member talent. I've teamed up with Ara Farnam of Rock Paper Scissors Events to make this group a reality. Membership to WeDo will be selective but not snobby and we're in the process of signing up our Charter Members now. Through out the summer and fall we will be hosting Charter Member cocktail parties to tell everyone what WeDo is all about like this one we hosted at The Green Building. Everyone is really energized by the idea and our list of new members grows everyday. Our website www.WeDoNYC.net is under construction now. Until then follow us on Twitter @WeDoNYC or like us on Facebook http://on.fb.me/o8aoPk to keep up with WeDo news.

If you'd like more information about becoming a WeDo member, email info@WeDoNYC.net.

 

Post Wedding Blog: "I threw up on my wedding night"...

This is a wedding grad blog entry from one of my brides on A Practical Wedding. "It certainly talks about the hugeness of marriage and how on your wedding day, the tidal wave of enormous competes with the minutiae of moments in time, and it sometimes overwhelms us. It will help you remember what your wedding day felt like, how it changed you, and why."

Kate is a gifted writer who keeps it real. It's a great read, and the photos she chose really compliment the telling of her story.

Enjoy! Click here to see the entire post.

First Gay Weddings at City Hall in NYC

It's hard to put into words what it was like to witness so many couples finally able to legally declare their love for one another. I guess that's why I'm a photographer and not a writer. I was in with the crowd of well wishers across the exit from City Hall in Manhattan. Every time a couple would emerge from the doors the crowd would erupt with cheers, chant "kiss! kiss! kiss!" and beg the couple to cross the street and walk through what I considered to be the aisle so everyone could shower them with confetti and well wishes. I photographed couples who had been together for 37 years, 20  years, had children....it was an overwhelming outpouring of love and support that effected those who gave it, those who received it and those who documented it. We were all witnessing history, witnessing gay relationships finally being viewed as equal. It was powerful and moving.  I've already shared these images with some of the couples photographed and they were so thankful and appreciative....it was my wedding present. I look forward to documenting many many many more gay weddings in the weeks, months and years to come. Congratulations to all who married on this historic day!

 

 

 

 

Kris and Joanne at Prospect Park Picnic House

First can I just say how much I loved Joanne's bold use of color in her dress! The aqua ribbon train was so fabulous and fun, it really reflected Joanne's personality. We were all a little worried about the rain that day, but as usual on all my weddings the skies parted just before it was time for photos. I've got connections;) The ceremony started off with a great ice breaker; Joanne's dad knocked the bouquet out of her hand while hugging her, yet she some how managed this graceful back bend to pick it up. Had everyone in stitches! Well done lady, grace under pressure for sure. Because of the sketchy weather we had Prospect Park all to ourselves for portraits, so romantic. During the reception the kids stole the show. I had a hard time believing that the little Michael-Jackson-in-training ring bearer who had a dance circle around him for 70% of the reception was apparently very shy...until that night! When the music hits ya you gotta go with the flow-man that kid had some moves! To top it all off Joanne served pudding Snack Packs for dessert....you heard me, Snack Packs! It was awesome. That's her favorite thing to eat and that's what she wanted to serve at her wedding. I love it. It's the little personal touches that really make a wedding memorable for all involved and really, who doesn't love puddin'? Photos by Kelly Guenther with Assist by Tanya Salazar

 

Gay marriage passes in NY!

I'm overwhelmed with emotion that gay marriage finally passed in my state. It's about time! It seemed so odd to me that gays could marry in Dubuque, Iowa but not New York City?! I've never understood why government would tell it's citizens who they can and can not marry. I've documented over 250 weddings and gay or straight they are all about the same thing: two people committing to love each other for the rest of their lives. How is that ever wrong? I'm so happy that all New Yorkers now have the choice to marry in their home state. So, in honor of gay marriage being legalized in NY I wanted to share the wedding of Brad and Michael. They are New Yorkers who chose to be married in Provincetown, MA, not because they had to go to Massachusetts to be married, but because Ptown is an incredibly important place in their lives and relationship. Knowing that their wedding will be legally recognized in New York makes these images even more meaningful somehow. Congratulations to Brad and Michael and to gays all over NY! Photos by Drew Anthony Smith for Kelly Guenther Studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holdon's 1st Birthday at the Brooklyn Farmacy

I don't normally shoot 1st Bday parties, but Chrisann is a friend and hello? have you seen how cute her baby is!? That little Holdon is a heart breaker-I personally love the hair part. She also has a background in events (http://ducksinarowevents.blogspot.com) so I knew it would be a great party w/fun elements to shoot. If you haven't been to the Bklyn Farmacy it's worth the trip. It's like stepping back in time...the old fashioned soda jerks, the ambiance, everything about it is nostalgic but w/that Bklyn hipster twist. I loved the "Message in a Bottle"- Chrisann had everyone write a little message to Holdon and stick it in a bottle that will be opened on his 18th birthday. Such a great idea. I also loved the wrapping job on the rocking horse. I mean really, what other options are there? When it came time for the big Happy Birthday moment Holden was all smiles. It was his first synthetic sugar moment and the little guy couldn't get enough! So adorable. Happy Birthday Holdon-I can't wait for #2!

 

Kelly Guenther Studio and The Tonys

Some of you may have seen our name in the credits for the Tonys (unless you blinked then you missed it;). The sets for the big musical numbers were a combination of actual set pieces and digital LED screens. We spent days shooting thousands of photos of all the nominated musical sets. These images were then pieced together and animated by our own web guru and motion graphic genius Brandon Bell of Design-O-Matic. I've attached two videos below, one from the Anything Goes number and one from Sister Act. For Anything Goes, the only thing not digitized is the lower deck and the railing. The boat, the sky, all the portals...basically everything else are all digital animations using our photos. It's hard to tell the digital from the real thing. The big Mary in the Sister Act number? I took that shot from the balcony...more like I took 1000 shots of Mary from the balcony and they were all pieced together through the different lighting cues to make her come alive. Not literally of course, atleast I don't think so, I didn't actually see the show;) Anyway, we were thrilled to be a part of something so big as The Tonys. I apologize in advance if the Anything Goes song gets stuck in your head. And no, I can't get you tickets to see Book of Mormon.

What's it like working with me?

When you're choosing someone to shoot your wedding you're not hiring photographs, you're hiring a photographer. It's hard to get a sense of the person behind the camera by just looking at their photos. I always insist clients come into the studio to meet me and make sure that we're a personality match. But the question still lingers, "What's it like to work with her on my wedding day?" Well, that's why I put together these client testimonial videos (soon to be featured on my updated website). You get to hear directly from my clients what their experience was like working with me and get lost in their love story in the process. They're short and sweet and I even make a cameo or two. Thanks to Arianna&Richard, Nicole&Eric, and Mark&Sarah for participating. http://vimeo.com/24243332

http://vimeo.com/24244804

http://vimeo.com/21710709

"Our First Year" album....wow, they've been busy!

In one year I've shot Rebecca and Jason's engagement, bridal (just Rebecca, not Jason;), maternity and baby portraits. Yesterday Rebecca and sweet baby Haley stopped by the office to put together an "Our First Year" album. It's been so much fun for me to document their growth from a newly engaged couple to a family. Here are a few of my favorites (and yes, that is the baby in Jason's hockey helmet-his idea!):

 

 

Video of Kelly Guenther Studio @ NY Magazine Weddings Event

Check our this fun little video of our Studio at the NY Magazine Weddings Event last week (shot by our very own Ben Norman-damn that kids got talent!). That place was packed! We met tons of brides (yes, Tiffany I shoot weddings in Tobago, twist my arm;), made new friends (Greg & Bella from Kate's Paperie) and reconnected with some of our favorite vendor friends (Hello Super 8, Rewind Pics). Everyone loved the sweet treats provided by 24 Carat Cakes, we could hardly keep them on the table. But most importantly, the people that came by the booth got what we did. People lingered, watched the slideshow&video, chatted with Allison and Joy and signed up for our raffle for a free engagement portrait. (Congratulations Janine!) Over and over I heard from brides what a breath of fresh air our photos were. We wish we could have spent more time with each bride, but we were swamped (as you can see). So if you liked what you saw at the show, call us and set up an appointment today, I'll even be sure to have more sweet treats on hand. http://vimeo.com/22090515

New Client testimonial videos for Kelly Guenther Studio

I'm so excited to finally share these videos! They've been months in the making and I'm so proud of them. I got the idea during my pick up meetings. My couples are always soooo excited to see their photos for the first time and I always thought I should film them. I finally did it with the help of Associate Photographer Ben Norman and Editor Milner Ayala. Each video tells the story of one couple and their love story, the wedding day and their experience working with Kelly Guenther Studio. They're short, funny, beautifully shot and just fun to watch. A special thanks to Eric&Nicole, Arianna&Richard and Mark&Sarah for participating. Your guys are the best! Enjoy and please share the video and let me know what you think. http://vimeo.com/21707540

http://vimeo.com/21710709

 

Kelly Guenther Studio @ New York Weddings Event

I'm so excited to be exhibiting at the New York Weddings Event again. Like I tell all my brides, New York Magazine Weddings is the only magazine you need to buy to plan your wedding in NYC, and their event is the only one worth going to. Over 100 highly selected  vendors (ahem;) will be represented. Everything you need to plan your wedding is under one roof.  Be sure to stop by our booth for the chance to win a free engagement portrait session, meet the team and sample delicious goodies courtesy of 24 Carat Cakes. Many of the vendors exhibiting are on my referral list: Nine Cakes, Ray Jarrell Entertainent, Generation Events, Loli Events and many more. If you go, be sure to check in your gift bag for an amazing Kelly Guenther Studio give away for NY Mag Wedding attendees only. I don't want to give it away, but can you say Kelly Kash? Too much w/the K's? I'm no marketing genius, I'm a photographer. Photos from the show coming soon!

Josh and Liz in Cuernavaca Mexico

Josh and Liz are born and bred Brooklynites. They knew if they got married in NYC they'd have to invite, well, all of Brooklyn. They wanted a more intimate wedding. Since they were keeping the guest list small, they decided the perfect location would be a little boutique hotel in Cuernavaca Mexico, Las Mananitis, where they had been vacationing for years. The town is known for their secret gardens, and Las Mananitis has some of the most beautiful gardens around. You'd never know it from the outside, but behind the high stone walls literally lies paradise. Guests took over the entire hotel for the weekend and enjoyed the heck out of the amazing weather, especially since NYC had just been hit with it's second blizzard of the season. Josh and Liz are both in the food&wine industry so you can bet that there was plenty top of the line spirits and nosh all weekend. Liz looked amazing in her dress with hand embroidered floral details that accented the local flavor. All guests were encouraged to wear bright colors. It's a toss up for me who wins most colorful guest award: the gentleman in the pink floral sports coat w/matching pants or grandma in the green dress (it's the white shoes that put he over the top). I think it was the first time this Mexican based orchestra played the hora, I don't think they knew how to end it! It went on an on....don't get me wrong it was a blast! I was just worried the guests were going to faint from exhaustion. But everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and that's the most important thing. Congrats Liz and Josh, and thanks for choosing me, I needed the sunshine;) Oh! And for helping me get over my fear of birds! Part of the charm of the hotel were the peacocks, flamingos and other large stunningly beautiful birds that would wander the grounds. I had just unpacked my bag and I opened my door to explore the hotel and there standing in my doorway was a peacock in its full glory just staring at me! We both screamed (ok, peacocks can't scream but I could tell it was startled) then ran away from each other. I eventually stopped running and started laughing and that was the end of my fear of birds.

Our wedding industry networking party at Parlor Club was a huge success!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Parlor Club last night. We had a huge turnout for the event, over 150 wedding professionals. The space looked amazing and as a little surprise to all who showed up-open bar all night! There was no shortage of yummy food thanks to Naturally Delicious and Nine Cakes. As usual with those two everything tasted as good as it looked. Sarah's brightly colored flowers (Blossom&Branch) were stunning. Allison from Tres Belle Spa greeted everyone at the door w/a uniquely designed name tag courtesy of Brandon of Design-o-Matic. (I just loved them, I think I'm going to wallpaper my bathroom with them;) Sounds like everyone had a great time and more importantly, made connections with other vendors. I was so glad to see so much potential business happening. I love bringing good people together, helping them make connections and ultimately making our brides happy with all the services we can offer. I know my brides love it when I refer them to vendors that I know will do an amazing job for them. I'm no wedding planner, but because of my referral list I hand out to all my clients, many weddings I shoot turn out to be Kelly Guenther Studio productions: they hired the caterer, dj, stylist, make up artist and florist all because of my referrals. I hope everyone that attended the event last night will update their own vendor lists with some of the fantastic people they met. The big question I heard over and over last night is of course "When's the next one?" Let a gal recover a bit then I'll get on it, I promise. We will for sure be doing this again. Photos by Ben Norman for Kelly Guenther Studio

We're hosting an industry networking event at The Parlor Club March 8th

If you're in NYC and in the wedding industry you do not want to miss this networking opportunity. I've teamed up w/The Parlor Club (NYC's new exclusive members only club), Nine Cakes, Naturally Delicious, Blossom&Branch, Generation Events, Kage Konsulting, Tres Belle Spa and Design-o-Matic to make this event possible. It's amazing what's possible when we all pool our resources together. It's going to be a big event, the first of many I predict. The RSVP's are pouring in! We'd love to see you there. Click here for more information and an invitation.

Ingrid and Philippe at The Palm House Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Ingrid and Philippe live in Singapore. We finally met in person just a couple weeks before their wedding and I could tell that this was going to be a fun party. They had friends and family flying in from all over the world for this wedding. The evening was a mixture of Western, Jewish and Chinese traditions. They were married under a hoopah, danced the hora and performed a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony for their parents. Can I just say that Philippe is one smooth cat? He actually strutted up the aisle w/Ingrid after the "I do's" and pulled it off! Very impressive. I love the photos of Philippe popping in on Ingrid while she was changing into her traditional Chinese gown. She didn't want him to see her in the dress and he eventually covered up his face with a napkin so as not to ruin the surprise. They also played a few embarrassing get to know you games, another Chinese tradition. They were good sports about it, and everyone had a good laugh at their expense. Towards the end of the night I grabbed them for a few night shots in the snow. The sky was this crazy orange color emphasized even more due to my long exposure. I like to think of it as a little Brooklyn wedding gift. I'm sure it's good luck.

Mark and Sarah at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit

I met Mark and Sarah well over a year ago at the Bam Bridal show. I was giving a talk about how to hire the right photographer. They came right up to me after and said "We don't have a date or a venue but we know we want you to be our photographer." Sounded good to me. None of us had any idea at the time that the wedding would end up being in Detroit. But like I say have wedding, I'll travel;) Nothing like a destination wedding in Detroit in the middle of winter. I'm not knocking Detroit, quite the contrary. I grew up in Toledo so Detroit was the big city to me as a kid. I've always had a soft spot for the motor city. We flew in Saturday morning and got right to work. Sarah looked stunning! We headed out to meet Mark for the first look moment. Mind you its freezing cold. I was so worried about her toes-I'll be damned if I lose a bride to frost bite! She had adrenaline and the love from her grandmother's wrap to keep her warm. Mark was waiting in the cold by the scenic Detroit river for his bride to be. They're both private people and wanted that first look moment to be just between them. Then we took a stroll around downtown Detroit, even stopping to "give daps" to the Joe Lewis fist. The ceremony was a blend of Jew"ish", African American and their own traditions all mixed together. Their rings were wrapped in Sarah's mother's scarf (who passed away over three years ago) and were then passed around the church for blessings from all the guests. It was very moving and powerful.  During the reception we had the On Site Portrait studio set up and the guests really had fun with it. The band was incredible! They all tour w/famous Motown artists so you can imagine how loud and funky the horah was. Mark however does not tour w/famous Motown artists but that didn't stop him from surprising everyone, especially Sarah, by singing Barry White. Oh what a night! Such a fantastic group of people, I'm honored to have spent the weekend with them (and a night at the Detroit airport with some of them, but that's another story...).