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

 

 

We’re psyched to be a featured vendor at the New York Magazine Weddings event again this year. It’s the best bridal show in NYC. Mark your calendars for March 28th. Click here to purchase tickets.

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!

We DO Event from MCM PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

 

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