Heather and Matt Koehler were married on a sunny September day in small town Michigan. Surrounded by family and friends, Heather walked down the aisle to Ellie Goulding’s "How Long Will I Love You” and exchanged vows with her husband (who was sweet on her in high school). The day was picture-perfect….except for the picture part.
The photographer Heather booked didn’t show up….something Heather only found out five minutes before her ceremony started. According to Heather, the photographer mixed up the her wedding date.
We can’t imagine how devastating that was. For those of us who have walked down the aisle, we know there is only one chance to capture those memories. And all the effort that goes into making your wedding personal and perfect are done definitely knowing that you will have photos as a keepsake for the rest of your life. No doubt about it, Heather’s no-show photographer should be lucky to get gigs snapping toddler birthday party photos in sticky half-lit Chuck E. Cheese ball pits after this epic career fail.
Instead of turning into Bridezilla (kind of like we did just there), Heather kept her composure, but admits that it was disappointing.
“It was in the back of my mind all night though, not having professional pictures of Matt and I’s first dance, or the daddy-daughter dance, or the ceremony,” she said.
But what Heather didn’t know on her wedding day that one of the guests was the cousin of uber-talented photographer Dana Gruszynski. When Dana heard what happened on Heather’s wedding day, she wanted to make it right.
On her blog, Dana writes:
“She [Heather] filled me in about what had happened and I knew that I just had to do something special for her. I got to know her a bit more, and though I had all these ideas in my head, I kept it simple and told her I wanted her to slip back into her dress and I would, free of charge, do a intimate bridal session. After all she AT LEAST deserved that.”
Over the next three weeks, Dana secretly worked to recreate Heather’s wedding. Tiny details, from a perfectly frosted cake, table decor and even the song the bride and groom shared their first dance to, were all brought together by Dana and other local businesses who wanted to help out the couple (the bridal bouquet and cake were donated). It was all very much a surprise to Heather, who burst into joyful tears as soon as she found out how her friends and family - all there on wedding re-do day - worked behind the scenes to make it happen.
Dana says the re-do was the best day of her life. “My heart still aches for them knowing they don’t have a single professional photo from the actual wedding. I know I did not have to do this for them, but they truly deserve it after everything they went through,” she writes.