A couple saved a ton of money — and allegedly fooled the Internet — with their Italy-dupe engagement shoot, and now the photos are going viral for a second time.
Originally posted in 2022 but recently resurfaced by the Today show’s Instagram account, the photo shoot has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times across various platforms.
While we’ve seen wedding photos go viral on social media before — like the bride whose engagement ring disaster was captured in her wedding photographer’s reception shots — this couple’s deceptive Olive Garden shoot is proving that engagement shoots don’t have to be exotic or expensive to be effective.
Shot by wedding photographer Hunter Lashea in 2021, the photos — taken outside of an Olive Garden in Tennessee — enjoyed viral attention after being posted online in July 2022.
According to Lashea, it was actually her idea to shoot the couple — Carlsey Bibb and Caden Mills — in a “sunrise session” in front of the Italian food chain’s venue.
“A little over a year ago I had the idea of doing a session at Olive Garden, I mentioned it to some friends but never got around to doing it. Fast forward to today, it finally happened and I am so happy with the outcome,” Lashea wrote in her Instagram caption.
“Carlsey asked if I had any ideas or anything new I’ve wanted to try for their engagement photos and I immediately said “Soooooo I’ve been dying to to a sunrise session at Olive Garden” & she was down for it so we did the dang thing🙌🏼🙌🏼”
The Today show later covered the photo shoot — and recently the outlet reposted the story to its Instagram, where the photos once again gained viral traction.
“People thought this couple’s engagement photos were taken in Italy,” their post reads. “They were actually at an Olive Garden.”
They continued, “Last year, this couple proved nothing says never-ending love quite like never-ending breadsticks.”
Thousands of viewers took to the comments to react to the Today show’s post.
“Stop it, no one thought that was Italy 😆” wrote @lalalalalianna, a comment which received nearly 8,000 likes.
“Anyone who thinks this looks like Italy has never been to Italy,” commented @roblizmak.
“Who are these ‘people’ you mentioned? Definitely not any American who lives within 50 miles of an Olive Garden. 😂” wrote @drchiddy.
However, not everyone was quite so critical of the couple’s photos. “I’m not looking that close at the background — when I see a young couple in love, I look at them. I think these photos are lovely!” wrote @angela__716.
After their engagement photos originally went viral, the couple was surprised during an interview with Good Morning America with a free honeymoon trip to Italy, paid in full by Olive Garden.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 24, 2022
Their all-expenses-paid vacation wasn’t the only way the couple saved money.
According to party planning website the Bash, the higher end of a destination photo shoot could cost up to $12,000 — meaning that while the couple might not have fooled everyone with their shoot, they did pinch quite a few pennies.
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