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Kelly troy henningson F

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or Kelly, taking care of foster children and giving to others are easier than being taken care of herself. For twelve years she opened her home and gave every resource available to foster children, even starting her own nonprofit to help teens in the foster care system. All of her time and money were spent helping others, with no expectation of anything in return. Then she met Troy. “Dating as a foster parent was always difficult,” Kelly said. “When a prospective suitor found out, they didn’t last very long. [But] Troy was different, as it didn’t faze him.” Troy recognized and appreciated Kelly’s heartfelt generosity—and found a once-ina-lifetime way to give back to her. Before proposing to Kelly, Troy nominated her for “The Ultimate Wedding Gift,” an all-expensespaid wedding provided by the Manhattan Wedding Collective, a group made up of one vendor from each wedding industry. Lauren Heim of Lauren Heim Studios first proposed the idea for the Ultimate Wedding Gift, and her wedding-vendor colleagues were immediately supportive. The goal was to determine the most deserving Manhattan couple and deliver the ideal wedding for free. “[We wanted] to give back to a couple that genuinely sacrifices themselves for the community as well,” says Bronwyn Douglas of Kistner’s Flowers. The Collective’s decision was unanimous; Troy and Kelly were the

perfect couple to receive a day that honored their devotion to each other and to the Manhattan community. Troy collaborated with vendors to pull off a flawless proposal. “Kelly had waited her whole life to get married and never thought it was in the cards,” Troy says. “She had taken care of so many youth; finally she was being taken care of.” For months after their engagement, vendors met with Troy and Kelly to plan each detail, from flowers to photos to even picking out the rings. The Manhattan Collective shared their time and talents to create many unique touches in what would be a priceless wedding experience. The project profoundly affected many of the vendors as well. “Looking around at my fellow vendors and realizing how selflessly each one of them had given of their time and personal resources for a deserving couple in our community literally brought me to tears,” Bronwyn says. No detail was spared, and vendors pitched in extra to ensure the day was perfect. “Extra hours were given to not only shoot but to help other vendors set up and make the day perfect for Kelly and Troy,” says Wrenn Pacheco of Wrenn Bird Photography. She arrived at 7:30 a.m. to meet Bronwyn to both load and unload arrangements to the Blue Sage Barn at Prairiewood Retreat and Preserve, set up chairs in the meadow with a large

group of other vendors, and begin shooting for the day. Working directly with one another also allowed the vendors creative freedom and collaboration not found in more typical wedding planning. “It was amazing getting to work with all the top vendors in Manhattan on this day,” Wrenn says. “Usually, I get to work with or photograph one or two talents on a wedding day, but this day we all worked together.” On November 11, 2016, Kelly stepped into the reception hall at Prairiewood Retreat and Preserve for a sneak peek before the wedding. Tears filled her eyes as she looked around at all that each vendor had provided, but a flower wall in particular caught her eye. “The flower wall was planned to be a wall of gradient colors … [but] the night before the wedding I was inspired to design it based off of the flower prints that Lauren Heim had created for the invitations,” Bronwyn says. “[I] have never had the opportunity to truly surprise a bride with a flower creation that she had no idea about, and it was so thrilling to be able to channel my inner artist and create a flower work of art.” Wrenn agrees. The act of being able to give back to such a selfless, giving couple was the experience of a lifetime. “I can’t write in words how grateful we were for this great gift,” Troy says. “It was the most memorable day of our lives … the vendors are some of our favorite people in Manhattan.”

Profile for Sunflower Publishing

Kansas Weddings, 2018  

Our 2018 issue features inspiration for all couples as they plan their perfect Kansas wedding.

Kansas Weddings, 2018  

Our 2018 issue features inspiration for all couples as they plan their perfect Kansas wedding.