Janelle Rodriguez Photography Blog » Award Winning Wedding Photographer

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And the New Year has officially begun with an engagement session in Ithaca, New York! I haven’t met Kailey and Eric in person before this past Saturday so on the drive I was pondering how awesome it is that technology can bring people together. Just over the phone hearing Kailey’s excitement I knew that I’d love their company. We chatted about how they met at Ithaca College. They are both musicians and teach music. And they are so very excited to be getting married this coming July. 

When Kailey and Eric arrived for their engagement session they were smiling big and waving hello. And because we’re all huggers, hugging commenced! Yup, these people are fantastic. And of course since they met at Ithaca College we took some photos around campus. The air filled with nostalgia as we walked to their old music building. The next place we went to was Ithaca Commons where they also used to hang out. And lucky me got to incorporate their beautiful golden doodle, Matilda into their session! She’s a sweetheart, I love her, period. Ever need a dog sitter? I’m there!

We ended the session right at sunset, my favorite time of the day! We decided to get cozy by the water at Stewart Park. The light was gorgeous and I couldn’t ask for a more beautiful afternoon well spent. It was such a joy to finally meet these two beautiful people and see the sparks that they create together. I foresee continued awesomeness at their wedding and I cannot wait! Congratulations to Kailey and Eric on their engagement!

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I love Walt Disney and I love Disney World. When I met Sarah and Jonathan they told me about their love for Disney and I was like “yesss, they’ll understand me!” My family takes frequent trips there and let’s just say some of us (in our 30’s) will never get too old for Disney World. So based on an adventurous engagement session and getting to know them, I knew their wedding was going to be something absolutely magical. And once New Years Eve came around I headed East to Albany. I pulled in front of 60 State Place, a historic Bank nestled right in downtown Albany, New York. You walk right into grandeur and Beaux-Arts neoclassical awe. Knowing Sarah and Jonathan, it was the perfect venue for their New Years Eve wedding. 

I found Sarah and her ladies in the back of the bank getting ready. Hair spray was dancing through the air and I heard the chatter of ladies excited to party into 2016. Sarah was stunning. Her hair by Mike Rich and makeup by Arielle Turner was right on point. And that Maggie Soterro dress!? Swoon! Gorgeous! Sarah lit up the room as she put on her finishing touches of sparkling jewelry and Badgley Mischka shoes. We planned on doing a first look and I just KNEW that Jonathan was going to shed a tear or perhaps many when he saw his bride to be.

The first look took place in the VIP room on a level below the bank. Through an epic vault and swanky lounges we found a private circular room where Sarah and Jonathan saw each other for the first time. And was I right or was I right? He teared at the sight of her and clearly they were so excited to be getting married. 

The ceremony took place in the center of the bank ballroom. Flower petals drizzled the floors and everyone cozied into their seats. The ceremony was sweet and beautiful and ended with a classic story book kiss. Sarah became Mrs. Starring and Jonathan had a gorgeous wife! They began their celebration in the lower level lounges and vaults. Cocktail hour was full of people excited for their new marriage and for the clock to strike midnight. The bank quickly transformed into a ballroom for Sarah and Jonathan’s reception. Every table had beautiful clocks and center pieces inspired by Disney films. 

The reception was beautiful in every way possible. A delectable dinner was served by Healthy Cafe and people were dancing all the way to midnight. But before the clock hit midnight guests were given hats, streamers, and all kinds of New Years toys. The minute to midnight everyone formed a circle around Sarah and Jonathan and something magical indeed happen. Everyone let their streamers go and Sarah and Jonathan had the most romantic kiss I have ever seen. It was definitely a New Years to remember and I’ll never forget the look on Jonathan and Sarah’s face when they realized that they just experienced an amazing wedding night, a perfect one. Congratulations to Sarah and Jonathan!

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Photography: Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Secondary Photographer: Sara Hulse

Hair: Mike Rich

Makeup:  Hair and Makeup Artistry by Arielle Turner

Dress: Maggie Sottero

Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Rings: Mayfair Jewelers

Catering: Healthy Cafe

Venue: 60 State Place

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Why do I love getting weddings featured and published? It’s a pretty gratifying feeling for both married couples and I. When people work really hard on building a certain esthetic to their wedding day, I believe in working just as hard to document those efforts. And I’m very happy to say that some of my weddings have been featured on wedding blogs and published in wedding magazines. Having a wedding that inspires the wedding industry is a huge accomplishment. That being said, the wedding industry is competitive and fleeting! This blog is about giving a fewer pointers to making your wedding more publish friendly.

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I get asked all the time, “What does it take to get my wedding published?” And that’s a fantastic question because if you’re willing to do the dirty work then it’s a greater possibility. Trends are very season specific and personality trumps Pinterest any day! I’ll start with personality first, wedding publications love all things unique and cohesive. If you’re bringing an idea that you haven’t found on Pinterest, they will love that. I will praise you! There’s one thing to take an idea from someone else or another wedding but it’s another to use the inspiration to create something new! So the wedding industry is looking to be wowed and shown something they have never seen before. Get creative!

Another aspect that is important to editors is cohesiveness. Whether it be a color theme, flower arrangements, or decor, make those elements resonate throughout your entire wedding from the morning preparation time to the ceremony to the reception. Stories are best told from a wedding publication when weddings are all wrapped up in a pretty little package. Meaning a strong color theme was presented the entire day at every location or those stunning flowers were displayed in the hotel room, ceremony, and reception. This creates cohesiveness.

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Last but not least, seasons. Publications are competitive and move quickly. Weddings get categorized very specifically. Editors look at the season first and foremost to see when is most appropriate to feature the wedding. No bride wants to get inspired for there Summer wedding by viewing a Fall inspired story. So if you’re going to base your wedding on being very seasonal expect your publication to inspire for next year.

Editors aren’t just looking to feature a cool, pretty wedding, they’re looking to help future brides get inspired to create their own wedding. If you flip through magazines today or browse wedding blogs you will see that people have the ability to really make their personalities shine. Some people just really have a talent for bringing new ideas to their wedding. And some know how to make a theme really be impactful. So get those creative juices flowing and more importantly, have fun with it!

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I’m excited to announce that I’ve given birth to my first child, Lily Elena on November 3, 2015. I was very blessed to have a healthy pregnancy and finish all my 2015 weddings easily. And what a way to end a wedding season? With a beautiful baby girl! I couldn’t have done any of it without my amazing husband lugging around my heavy equipment and my awesome friends second shooting and assisting. If you worked with me at all this year you may have noticed my wonderful husband helping as much as he could. Dressing up to look good for every wedding and even helping pose for photographs. He’s my everything. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about being pregnant and the arrival of Lily. It was one of the most crazy and incredible experiences of my life. I catch myself staring at her in amazement that the love between my husband and I led to the creation of life. Love is a powerful thing and the past year has made me appreciate marriage and weddings even more.

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After a wonderful maternity leave of staring and changing a million diapers for Lily, I’m excited to start off 2016 with a wedding bang! So keep an eye out for Sarah and Jonathan‘s New Years wedding on the blog. And I must say, after all the meetings and engagement sessions, my 2016 couples are incredible. They are all vivacious, intelligent, kind, and wildly in love. I sense a lot of beautiful photography in the air and great new relationships. I look forward to what 2016 has to bring and I cheers to what an amazing year 2015 was. From my family to yours, happy holidays and have a safe new year!

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It seems like just yesterday that I was photographing Lauren and Everett’s engagement session at their newly purchased home. We roasted marshmallows by a fire and it was the first time seeing them interact with each other. We talked about their house and how much they love it. It’s a beautiful old building that they dedicate a lot of time into renovating and fixing. After conversing with them I realized that their love is very much like how they view their home. They have a classic love that no matter the weathered storm or how much time goes by, it stands strong much like the house that they love so much. When I got the opportunity to speak to Everett alone, he told me about how shy he is and that he was nervous to speak to Lauren. But once they were able to talk, love developed. And next thing you know, they’re getting married.

I arrived at Hayloft on the Arch which is a stunning venue. It’s a barn laid on a beautiful rolling hill next to a babbling brook. Every time that I photograph there the details are always elegant and spot on. I went downstairs to where Lauren and her bridesmaids were getting ready to find Lauren halfway done with her makeup and already looking incredible. Who can pull that off? Lauren! Doll Face Artistry by Ann Erny enhanced her beauty perfectly. And it was a delight to see all her bridesmaids in great energies and children playing amongst them. Then Lauren put on that Maggie Sottero dress and left all of us speechless.

Knowing Everett, I was so excited to see his face during the ceremony. Just the way that he talks about her, it completely melts my heart. And Everett certainly delivered. Lauren walked gracefully down that aisle and Everett was in heaven. It was a beautiful, cozy ceremony officiated by Everett’s father. It left everyone in applause, cheering, and anticipation to celebrate their love.

Lauren and Everett’s reception was a full blown celebration of love. They had Black Tie Entertainment hosting the show and getting the party started. The room was amazing with the scent of pie in the air and details of soft vintage heaven flowed through the building. Lauren and her dad surprised everyone with a wild dance and the speeches made for great laughs. After drinks and delicious food, the dance party began. Everett even surprised Lauren and everyone by singing a song. Such a spectacular night! All in all a perfect wedding day for Lauren and Everett. It was enchanting and certainly one for the books! Congratulations to Lauren and Everett!!

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Dress: Maggie Sottero

Shoes: Ziggy Soho

Makeup: Doll Face Artistry by Ann Erny

Venue: Hayloft on the Arch

Entertainment: Black Tie Entertainment