Debbie Gerlach’s lost her fiancé nine months before their wedding to motorcycle accident, but she still succeeded in taking wedding photos with him, which has gone viral.
Gerlach and her fiancé, Randy Zimmerman, were to get married on Nov. 11, 2018. Sadly, Zimmerman was killed in a motorcycle accident in February. But Gerlach discourage her from capturing her supposed-to-be biggest day of their lives, with him by her side.
Gerlach, a few months ago, wore her wedding dress and posed for photos alone in the Tucson, Ariz., desert. On their supposed wedding day, she shared those photos with her late fiancé in them.
The post as of Monday afternoon, pulled 308K reactions and 29K comments on Facebook.
Photographer Kristie Fonseca who took the shots has experience in Photoshopping late loved ones into pictures she’s taken.
Fonseca says “I’ve done similar requests but never for a bride and groom,”. She recently did a shoot for a girl whose father had died. “I actually enjoy taking on challenges like this because, if portrayed with love and passion, the end result will be forever cherished,”.
So, when Gerlach realized the idea, she was referred to Fonseca.
Fonseca tells Yahoo Lifestyle that “When I first spoke with Debbie, she told me her tragic story and asked if I was able to insert her fiancé into what should have been their special day. A special day that was carelessly snatched from her, “After listening to her heartbreaking, story I just knew I had to do something very special for her.”
Fonseca felt emotional about making these pictures flawless. “It was supposed to be her day. It was supposed to be the day they expressed their love for each other. My thoughts were going a mile a minute coming up with ideas, poses and images that would mimic her special day with him.”
She took Gerlach to the desert, where Gerlach posed alone in her gorgeous gown. In some photos, she’s holding an urn with a Z on it, with Zimmerman’s ashes in it.
Some of the pictures edited include a transparent version of Zimmerman. In one of the pictures, the couple is seen arm in arm, and in another, he’s kissing her cheek. There’s even a photo of Gerlach looking up at Zimmerman and one of him sitting on his motorcycle behind her.
Fonseca explains “I started the session as I normally would for a bridal shoot, and then I posed her for some as if he was there,“She naturally posed for the photos as if he was standing right beside her,” She recalls. “Her smile had a warmth as if he was talking to her. Even though he wasn’t there, she moved as if he was.”
During the shot session, Gerlach narrated to Fonseca how she and Zimmerman desperately tried to sync up with the sunset for their engagement photos but failed. “We shot her whole session under a white blanketed sky. Both of us thinking once again we would not get a picturesque sunset shot,”
Fonseca remembered “However, while she was finishing up her story, the most bright and colorful sunset appeared behind her as the clouds spread widely across the sky as if commanded. As I watched her embrace the warmth of the sunset, you could see his memory and the love she had for him was still strong,” she added
Fonseca continued “I told her his love is forever as he gave her a sunset kiss goodnight. It was truly a magical moment.”
Gerlach loved the edited images. “She never expected for them to turn out as good as they did.” But she decided not to share the photos until the planned wedding day. She explained
Though Fonseca maintained that the session was just “for the bride and their loved ones,” the photos have been shared 158K times. “We never in our wildest dreams imagined that it would spread across the globe. There have been comments from all over the world and heartfelt messages sent to Debbie … it is truly incredible,” Fonseca said “I am humbled and honored to have been part of it and to be able to give her something so special that she can look at and hold on to forever.” She said
Gerlach is eager to send a message with these photos, so the more they spread, the better.
She wrote on Facebook. “Please I beg each and every one of you that reads this post, WATCH FOR MOTORCYCLES, stop at stop signs and drive with care because you never know whose whole world is on that bike,” “Maybe if that person stopped, I’d be marrying my Randy, my best friend, the love of my life.” She said in her post.