those three words | kenny + meena

So how do you go about filming a wedding photographer's wedding? We must admit, filming this wedding was incredibly surreal. We've worked with Kenny Kim on numerous shoots before. We've stood side by side, capturing the anticipation and joy of other couples, but now here he was—no longer behind the lens but in front of it. While it was strange to see Kenny without his finger on a Canon trigger, that's actually not what made it surreal for me. We've known Kenny for a long time. We met at the University of Illinois, attended the same church, and eventually became friends. We knew him when he doubled as a Starbucks barista/aspiring wedding photographer. Years down the line, after he started making waves in the wedding industry, he began photoventuring around the world and set his eyes on Italy.


Having been to Italy, we had a shared appreciation of the beauty and culture that Italy afforded to its visitors. The slow pace, rolling hills, medieval towns, ancient architecture, and let's not forget the food, the wine, and the people. If there were a place where a wedding photographer would choose to get married, Italy would be it.

So the question of where Kenny would get married was answered early on. But the question of whom he would marry is one that we all would continually wonder about. Who would be the one to stop Kenny "GO-GO-GO" Kim in his tracks?

Fast forward to the wedding week. We find ourselves in the company of a small group of friends and family, walking around the idyllic scenery of Cortona, strolling along the banks of the Arno River in Florence, enjoying private wine tastings in Spello—thinking, yes, this is exactly how we imagined it to be.

For all its breathtaking sights and experiences, it was witnessing the answer of whom he would enjoy the rest of his life with that would leave an indelible impression.

Meena is one of the most genuinely kind people we have ever met. You don't have to spend too much time with her before this truth sets in. Witnessing her effect on Kenny on their wedding day is very telling of the type of person she is. I don't know Kenny to be a very emotional kind of guy—fun and adventurous, yes, but not emotional. From what we saw on their day, it's clear that Meena is more than the perfect fit for Kenny.

So how do you go about filming a wedding photographer's wedding? Put the surroundings behind. Put the people in front. Sit back and experience it. Raise a glass, and say that olden time Italian phrase, "Evviva Gli Sposi!" "Hurray for the bride and groom!"

Location: Cortona, Italy | Wedding Photography: Mike Colon assisted by Kenny Nakai | Wedding Planning: Cristiana Chiacchierini & Max Brunelli of Very Italian Events | Accommodations: Villa Marsilli

happy boy happy girl | neil + caili

During our pre-wedding Skype session with Neil and Caili, we felt like we got a good sense of how their wedding day would play out. In the morning, Neil would start with a groomsmen hangout while Caili and the bridesmaids got ready at the hotel. Afterwards, they would do a first-look, followed by a photo session, afternoon ceremony, and evening reception--the logistics seemed simple enough.

But so much of the wedding day isn't just about getting a sense for the logistics. For us, it's about getting to understand the couple, because understanding the couple affects how we approach filming the day. So, we asked Caili and Neil a simple question: what do you do during your free time? While the question usually yields standard answers such as "we like to eat" or "we like to go to the movies", Neil and Caili's answer was a little different.

"We're kind of sentimental--we enjoy the little things. We like to have themed date nights. You know, if we cook Mexican food, we'll play music and dress up, wear hats, that sort of thing."

We continued our conversation and found so much more than whether the cake cutting would take place before or after the speeches. We learned about two people who revel in the small things and turn even the most simple moments into significant ones.

Yes, we felt like we got a good sense of how their wedding day would play out. We had a good sense that we'd be filming two people in love. We had a good sense that their love was going to saturate the day. We had a good sense we were in for something special.

Location: Naperville, IL | Reception Venue: Arista Hotel | Wedding Photography: Kenny Kim