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Over 4 decades ago a handsome young Air Force soldier met, fell in love with and married a beautiful Taiwanese young woman.  Their playground was the streets of Taipei and Taichung and all parts in between.  listening to the stories of how my father would whisk my mom around town in his flashy little sports car and no matter where they were treated like royalty.  Entrance into all the crowded nightclubs, prime tables at any restaurant they wanted and so much more.  You see, at that moment in their lives, the movie Dr Zhivago had been playing and the people at these clubs, restaurants and even in the streets thought that my dad was OMAR SHARIF!!!  The lead actor in Dr. Zhivago.  Can you imagine that your doppelganger is in the height of his career and well, you can see why the royal treatment =)  Regardless, imagine that you are young, in love and having the time of your lives and able to create and share in these amazing moments.  This is their story… Quite often when I speak of my childhood I know that there may be people in my company that could question the authenticity of my escapades.  Only because I have had the opportunity to live a very colorful life.  Having been born in Taiwan and living their until I was 4 I was privy to many things because of my mother’s family.  I was a little princess in the eyes of my Grandfather and even though he spoke no English, communication was a non issue.  I spoke fluent Taiwanese ( as much as you can expect for a 4 year old) and my Father spoke conversational Taiwanese.  I am told that despite the language barrier between my Father and Grandfather they would talk for hours.  People around them thought they were crazy that they could not only understand each other but could carry on highly emphatic conversations filled with laughter and debate.  Before my Dad’s tour in Taiwan was over my Grandfather had a conversation with him that still holds so much weight.  My Grandfather made my Dad promise that he would love, provide for and honor my mother for always, no matter what!  Shortly after, we moved to Michigan.  This would be the first move in my life of many.  Growing up in a military family is very similar to being a gypsy.  Always moving.  A new place.  New people.  Never having roots but the experiences, ohhhhhh the experiences.  These experiences are a whole other blog post reserved for another time.  My mother chose my father and he chose her.  Then in the early 70′s, together they left Taiwan with me and my  brother.  Leaving everything she knew and her family, my mother made a new life with her growing family.  Through the years I have learned a lot from their relationship.  First, nothing is ever perfect.  There were tough times and there were celebrations.  Resilience as you grow older together and change is so important in sustaining a relationship.  If you want longevity then you must know that love is work.  You work at it every day.  You work hard if you want to keep it.  You don’t judge.  You support.  You stand by each other and like my father has repeated to me on more that a dozen occasions, you love each other NO MATTER WHAT.  No matter if you age, gain weight, lose weight, have poor fashion sense, bad eating habits, new hobbies, new friends, old friends, pressures with life, jobs, kids etc….  Life, much like love is what you make of it, what you put into it and the insight you gain from these experiences mold you and those around you.  So today on your anniversary, I wish you both many more decades of ups and downs and all the things that kept you together all of these years!  I love you both so very much I hope you are doing something today that helps you to remember the “why”.  Why you fell in love, why you married, why you raised three beautiful, amazingly talented, super smart, kids (it’s my blog, I can brag if I want to, hee hee)  Happy, Happy, Happy Anniversary !!!!!!

What do you get when you rent a mansion on the beach and add an MTV DJ, a beautiful son helping his parents get ready, a groom clapping when he sees his bride walking down the aisle, a sexy shower gnite shot and a runaway Wedding Planner?  Jenn & Ryan’s freakin rockin wedding that’s what!  More about the MIA planner later.

Despite arriving to find that the Planner was a no show, we did like we do.  We rolled up our sleeves and jumped in to help where we could for one very important reason, to create a space for Jenn, Ryan and their families to enjoy in the day and to not worry about the things that needed to be done.  We did just that and I can hold my head high knowing that today we did more than just document and create.  We facilitated, we organized and we rallied!  As a  result of our hard work we were able  to be present and available to capture these beautiful moments for such a deserving, fun and loving couple.  Ryan’s reaction to seeing Jenn walk down the aisle is one of my all time favorites.  He was so excited for this moment that he started clapping with enthusiasm.  So adorable!  This brought tears to Jenn’s eyes. I of course smiled while clicking as the scene unfolded.  Just one of many moments that are embedded into my memories of their day that bring a smile to my face when reflecting.

So on to our runaway planner.  It makes me so mad that anyone would contract for a job and blatantly blow it off.  For real?  This is someones wedding day.  There is no do-over.  Unfortunately I’ve seen a surge of people who suddenly decide that they are a planner or a photographer or a fill in the blank because their mom told them they were so amazing at it.  Listen people!  Stop taking and potentially stealing moments from people who place their trust in you!  Get some training, put in the work, practice your professionalism and maybe then think about assisting or interning with someone in the industry to gain experience.  Don’t practice on actual clients…  I had a chat today with my friend Christina Hill of cHill weddings

We were discussing what a planner’s role should be and why it’s so important to hire someone that is accredited, has a reputation of proven success as well as documented positive reviews online.  Here are a few key reasons that Christina says hiring a real planner is important:

  • you, your family and friends can be present and enjoy in the moments of the day
  • a Planner will make sure that everything from the timing to the vendors are smooth sailing
  • Crisis and Wedding day emergencies are dealt with without interfering with your enjoyment of the day
  • your Planner  is a neutral party and can be a great go between for you.  They can buffer situations arising with family, guests and vendors
  • your Planner is on Your Side!  They will fight hard for your vision and bringing things to fruition is their absolute pleasure
  • They are a Professional, they will show up, they will make your life easier
  • Merissa Lynne - Seriously? The “planner” just didn’t show?? That blows my mind!! Jenn & Ryan are sure lucky they had you and your amazing team! You can add “crisis management” to your resume :-)

I remember so specifically the day that Siobhan & Jason walked into my studio for the very first time. Lilli happened to be hanging out with me because she was on 24 hour watch. The poor little puppy had a throat injury and had her teeny tiny neck was all wrapped up. Normally I don’t take her to work because she is a distraction to anyone near her. Her cuteness assaults you like a strong wind whipping your hair around and her cuddle factor makes it nearly impossible to get any work done. Since she was on 24 hour watch to make sure she did not try to take the bandage off or further injure herself she was with me that day. It took Lilli about 1 1/1000th of a nano- second to squirm out of my arms and into Jason’s once they had a seat in my consult area. It took about the same amount of time for her to wedge herself comfortably between Siobhan and Jason, creating a warm little nook for herself with their legs. Lastly her signature head nuzzle against their hands were rewarded with comforting rubs and scratchies. I thought to myself, that little attention seeker, jumping ship!!! Ha. The funny thing is, Lilli is a momma’s girl. She rarely leaves me for long. Sure, she’ll make her rounds but after she says hello she comes back. Lilli must have already known that they were full of kindness, gentleness and love. Yep, she stayed with them for the duration of the consultation, I apologized for her neediness but her snores kinda trumped anything I was saying =) So that was the beginning…

Wann read the rest of the post and see some more images? Well pop on over to

Pop on over to the Beloved Experience site to see what’s new with the studio!  We’ve been busy this year shooting and developing our path.  We have evolved into a full service hybrid studio.  What does that mean to you?  Well, the experience we create will now include all of the emotion and advantages of video.  Inquire via our contact page to learn more.  In the meantime, here is a little taste of one of our new offerings.

This is a sneak peek of Lauren + John’s Session =)  Yes, that’s video and we over here at Cindy Guessford Studios  are L-O-V-I-N-G it!  Our cameras are capable of so much and there is a beauty in the world of motion that really enhances the still frame.  Session images and blog post soon to follow =)

One thing that I truly love about spending time with the many people who we come into contact with is hearing their stories.  You always think that people have no interest in hearing the details of your life because maybe we think that the day to day happenings are just ordinary.  When in reality nothing really is ordinary at all because good, bad, indifferent and all of the in between constitutes what molds us and shapes us and in and of itself those moments can lead to very extraordinary things.  Listening to Angela tell Lori and I the details of going to the shore early on in their relationship and together they purchased a sea shell that had two little fish kissing and the word love above them.  Their relationship was new and so full of promise, they were happy and at that moment marriage wasn’t even in mind, just happy to be in love and looking forward to each day.  Now whenever she looks at the shell it makes her smile and reminds her of that time so long ago when things were just starting.  Matt described the day that he proposed and how he bought a bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate.  He made a scrapbook for Angela and on the last page of the scrapbook he had placed the engagement ring.  He said that moment when he proposed was one of the best he had experienced in his life and to see the emotion in his eyes as he relayed his feelings just touched my heart.  I’m a sucker for a good love story and theirs truly is…  I’m very excited to have my studio document their day and Lori is even more excited to be shooting such a beautiful couple in love =)

  • Jenna - These pictures are wonderful! I love the way you captured the sparkle in my beautiful baby sister’s eyes…best of luck Ang and Matt!

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M o r e   i n f o