A photograph of a would-be-bride tells the story of a wedding that would never take place. Debbie Gerlach and her fiancé, Randy Zimmerman, were set to be married on Nov. 11, 2018. Sadly, her husband-to-be was killed in a motorcycle accident in February 2018.
Despite her loss, Debbie decided to pay tribute to her betrothed in a photoshoot, which took place during summer. She had contacted Kristie Fonseca, a creative photographer with experience in superimposing images onto her clients’ photos, to make the idea into a reality.
It would be Fonseca’s first wedding shoot.
“I actually enjoy taking on challenges like this because, if portrayed with love and passion, the end result will be forever cherished,” Fonseca told Yahoo! Lifestyle.
“After listening to her heartbreaking story I just knew I had to do something very special for her.”
Camera in hand, Fonseca went with Debbie into the Arizona desert, where her client posed, alone in her wedding dress, minus her would-be-husband. Debbie smiled bittersweetly from the inside.
“You know she was in love, you know she was happy,” Fonseca told KOLD 13. “And for her to put on that genuine smile after and still going through her loss, touched me … I saw it, I saw it, deep in her.”
Later, Fonseca created montages by adding semi-transparent images of Randy onto the photos they had shot on-site. Debbie shared these photographs on her blog page and with them a message pleading for drivers to be aware of motorcycles on the road with her own story as an example:
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.
Amazingly, Debbie’s post went viral online and was shared over 165,000 times with over 300,000 reactions to date. Neither the would-be-bride nor her photographer expected the bittersweet message to be so well received.
“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.”
Photo courtesy of Debbie Gerlach.