Janelle Rodriguez Photography Blog » Award Winning Wedding Photographer

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I’ve been reading a book called “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. It’s really about eliminating barriers to success but I’m finding so much of it also applies to relationships. For example, you have to be with someone that’s willing to be an equal partner through the big stuff and learning journeys. If they can’t handle real intimacy then RUN!! It’s true amongst all kinds of relationships–business, friendly, or romantic. And sometimes it just takes people some time to be able to give their all or take that leap. It took myself a long time to get there. But when the time is right and you meet your equal partner, a lot of magic can happen. Cassandra and Justin have that magic.

My favorite part about Cassandra and Justin? They cannot hide their love. With each glance, smile, and laugh it is so evident that they are crazy about each other. They have the kind of energy that is humbling and gives off a sense of peace to me. I am so SO excited to be photographing their wedding this winter. We met by the canal in Little Falls, New York to start off their engagement session and frolicked in the sunset at Justin’s parents home. It was a wonderful afternoon with these two lovebirds! Congratulations on your engagement, Cassie and Justin!!

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Danielle & Michael – Turning Stone Resort & Casino from Janelle Bonagurio on Vimeo.

It’s pretty evident that Danielle and Michael are a stunning couple. But after their wedding day it was also clear that Danielle and Michael are stunning both inside and out. They have a refreshing candor about the way they interact with each other. They both work very hard, Danielle being a lawyer and Michael working in a family business that builds houses. They actually met in high school and love sparked when they reconnected years later. And now, they’ve amassed their family and friends to witness their marriage.

I drove up to a beautiful home in Clinton, New York where Danielle and her bridesmaids were hanging out and getting ready for the festivities to begin. As I was speaking to Danielle’s mother she mentioned to me that she hand sewed every bead on Danielle’s wedding dress. I cannot believe all of the hard work that she put into it, hard work that was well worth it. The energy of the day culminated to the moment that Michael watched Danielle walk down that church isle and tears rolled down his face. And no, it wasn’t a wussy moment at all! It was a moment, a milestone, a beautiful growth in life to watch the person you’re spending the rest of your life with look that beautiful.

After a beautiful ceremony we were blessed with fantastic weather! We actually shot portraits and it began to rain right as we finished. Talk about perfect timing! Their reception took place at The Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. The ballroom had some of the most beautiful decor I have ever seen. I was mostly happy to see Danielle and Michael having such a good time. They were just taking it all in. And I advise everyone on their wedding day to do the same. Stop. Take a moment. Just look around, look at each other, and enjoy what’s happening. The dance floor was wild! And I mean WILD! I did not know that Michael could dance like that!

After dinner, there was a surprise. Everyone went outside to witness an epic fireworks display as Danielle and Michael cut their wedding cake! The finale left everyone roaring and cheering! It was so exciting and fun! The night was spectacular and the wedding day was perfect. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Lewis on their marriage!

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Photographer: Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Secondary Shooter: Gavin Law

Ceremony Venue: Saint Louis Gonazaga Church

Reception Venue: Turning Stone Resort Casino

Catering: Turning Stone Resort Casino

Natasha & Ryan – Wolf Oak Acres in Oneida, New York from Janelle Bonagurio on Vimeo.

Everything about Natasha and Ryan’s wedding was spectacular! From the horse and carriage ride to cotton candy to vodka inspired by Natasha’s home country, Russia to the Hora at the reception. It’s as though Natasha and Ryan read my mind about what a beautiful and fun wedding is to me. Natasha and Ryan met through work as urologists. If I knew a good urologist joke I would plug it in now. 😉 But seriously, after they told me about how they met and their journey to getting engaged (on a boulder in Hawaii!), I knew there was a lot of uniqueness in store for their day. And of course, so much uniqueness in their relationship. They both have a great sense of humor, bright minds, and a lovely balance to their bond. They attract awesome people and I know that from meeting their bridal party. I mean, I wanna be their friend. The next time I stop into their hometown I’ll probably bug them with a phone call to hang out.

Natasha and Ryan had a beautiful wedding day with warm weather and clear skies. Everything took place in a big barn tucked in the woods called Wolf Oak Acres in Oneida, New York. The barn was filled with decor that represented Natasha and Ryan’s fun personalities. I would describe it as sophisticated with a touch of fun! Their ceremony took place at the pond by the barn. There was a decorated altar with gorgeous flowers and the sun was sparkling along the water. As they said their vows and kissed, a horse and carriage awaited to give them a ride around the property. Talk about a fairy tale!!

At the reception Natasha and Ryan had a beautifully choreographed first dance that left me with memories of Natasha’s dress flowing through the air. And I just cannot get their song out of my head. I certainly appreciated the fact that Natasha and Ryan created a kids corner for their guests in the barn. Many of their guests had children so they made sure that their wedding was family-friendly. So while the kids played the dance floor filled up. This was certainly a wedding where every single person busted a move. And to add to that, really good dance moves! To cap the night off, everyone released Chinese lanterns into the sweet, warm, Summer night air. It was an amazing wedding day and an awesome first day as husband and wife for Natasha and Ryan. Congratulations to you both!!

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Photography: Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Secondary Shooter: Sara Hulse

Videography: Gavin Law

Venue: Wolf Oak Acres

Florist: Whistletop Florist

Catering: A Moveable Feast by O’Connors

Entertainment: The Mere Mortals

Olivia & Chris from Janelle Bonagurio on Vimeo.

An artist and a doctor and high school sweethearts, could it get any sweeter than this? I first met Olivia and Chris at our engagement session in Sackets Harbor Battlefield. They have opened my eyes to the beauty of western New York because I was too young to remember my last travels there. But after their engagement session I was already anticipating their wedding because they’re such amazing people.

They have been together through high school, higher education, distances, and now marriage. I’ve always been in awe of that kind of relationship. High school sweethearts that get married always have this wise beyond their years feel about them. And it’s true! They have managed to flourish a relationship through so much and throughout many years of changes. That’s a lot of hard work and I admire them for it.

Olivia and Chris’s wedding day took place in the Watertown and Clayton area of New York. These places hug the 1000 Islands region and the St. Lawrence River. It’s so beautiful there that you can’t help but stop to watch the sunset. Both Olivia and Chris were so relaxed the morning of. I was quite amazed but it was obvious they were ready to tie the knot and the only nerves present was for standing in front of crowd. Olivia looked stunning and goodness, those Manolo Blahniks! Chris was handsome as ever but the best moment, seeing him look at Olivia at the end of that isle. Take a peek below because Olivia’s father was definitely feeling the moment too!

After a beautiful wedding ceremony we headed to the lighthouse at Cape Vincent for photos. The sun was reflecting off of the water and the breeze felt amazing. I’ll never forget that drive, the most relaxing travel to a photo spot, ever! And the reception took place at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. A stunning venue right on the water. The room was filled with bright, beautiful flowers and a lot of people ready to dance! And dancing they did! The sun began to set and I stole Olivia and Chris for a few sunset shots. The St. Lawrence River was breathtaking. I loved everything about that moment. Two people in love, newly wed, smiling and laughing by a beautiful sunset. Congratulations to Olivia and Chris!

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Photography: Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Secondary Shooter: Elisha Hill

Hair Stylist: A New Attitude Salon and Spa

Venue: 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel

Catering: 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel

I have been so lucky to have my hometown always supporting me and my craft. Every time I get an inquiry from someone that I went to the same high school with I’m tickled to think that their childhood was quite similar to mine. I grew up in a small town in central New York where everyone knew everyone and when I look back at those days, it was humbling. Although Erica has moved on from that small town living it was fun to reminisce with her. She told me about getting her degree from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, life in the Albany area, and of course, meeting Justin. And I was excited to meet the man that has swept Erica off of her feet. We all met in Cooperstown, New York for their engagement session and Justin was exactly who I expected. He makes Erica light up. They laugh and play and that chemistry is easy to photograph, so thanks Erica and Justin, for making my job easy. It was so awesome to finally see them together and get a better understanding of their relationship. I’m very excited to watch them get married and live happily ever after. Congratulations, Erica and Justin!!

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