In October of 2012, I met a fire performer. Fire and photography. I was hooked. Before she even proposed to her girlfriend, I called "dibs" as their wedding photographer. For a while in 2013-2015, there was a trend of using fire in "trash-the-dress" sessions. Based on the various behind-the-scene videos, we mocked at how careless most of those sessions were. One day, one of us suggested that we should try to burn the wedding dresses at the ceremony. The idea took off and we ran with it. October of 2018. Wedding weekend came.
Their names are April and Bethany. They are professional performers specializing in fire, whips, and pretty much anything that grabs their fancy. You may have seen them on TV. The Gong Show. Guinness World Records. Today Show. The Late Late Show. They are also very big on fire safety and provide safety lessons to others in the fire performance community.
The brides bought their wedding dresses from Goodwill. The gowns were used in previous performances and trial runs. Slightly stained and worn along the edges, it was time to do one last big thing and send these wedding dresses off in a spectacular fashion.
With a wedding party consisted of mostly fire performers and medics, the brides proceeded with the wedding ceremony. As the sun set, guests were treated to awesome entertainment by other performing artists. I had asked Sherry (Facebook, Instagram) to join me in shooting, as I knew I wouldn't have time to take all these photos. My focus was on the finale.
Near the end of the ceremony, the brides put on their wedding gowns. The dresses were altered earlier after the formal portraits were taken. With the fire safety procedures in place, the brides stepped up to the altar, in front of 200+ friends and families, and lit into viral history.
Wedding was on a Saturday. By Wednesday, the behind-the-scene video went viral. Needless to say, it was an interesting experience to see a wedding you attended, plus the photos you took, being shared around the world. The story was on broadcast and cable television stations, radio stations, newspapers, and numerous online sites. I didn't have a line item of "going viral" on my bucket list. But, that line item is there now. And it is checked!
Here are some of the sites that picked up April and Bethany's story:
Huff Post News
Kansas City Star
New York Post
The Storm Media
And, finally, April and Bethany's engagement + wedding slideshow.