Tory + Stephanie / by Jeff Frandsen

A few weeks ago, I got to be part of something that I never imagined I'd ever witness: a SURPRISE wedding. Yep, you read that correctly. Tory, with the help of friends and family, planned a proposal AND wedding for Stephanie... without her knowing. Early in the morning, my fiancée Liz and I were camping out in front of a white gazebo overlooking the Schukylkill River in Philadelphia. We waited for Tory + Stephanie to come at 11AM, when Tory was scheduled to propose to her. I honestly think I was more nervous for his proposal than I was for mine! They appeared a few minutes after 11 and Tory dropped to one knee and asked for Stephanie's hand. Of course she said yes! But Tory had much more planned. He walked over to the end of the gazebo, where family and friends were down below. He explained that he had a second ring for her and pointed toward the river. They would be getting married at 1PM! She was shocked, excited, and in a daze. The photos below show it. Her mother had picked out three dresses and three pairs of shoes for her to choose from. I tucked myself inside the restaurant's tiny women's bathroom with Tory, her mother and a handful of friends as they helped her make her selections and get ready for her wedding. One of the most wonderful stories to come from the day was learning that Stephanie's grandfather had been able to be there to marry them. Stephanie was so overjoyed to see him and to have him share this remarkable moment with her. I took Tory + Stephanie for a short walk to take some portraits and Tory shared stories of how the plan was almost ruined. When they arrived, the valet asked "are you here for the wedding?" and Tory quickly hushed him. Stephanie had admitted that she wasn't interested in the idea of planning a wedding, but had a strong desire to just be married! I asked Tory if there was even a sliver of worry in his mind and he quickly said zero. What a day to be a part of and definitely a moment I will never ever forget. It was such a blessing to see this plan work flawlessly and to share it with their families. I can easily admit that I've never seen smiles so big in my entire life. -Jeff