It was a typical post-wedding photo shoot on Saturday for Detroit photographer Faith Rowley, owner of Faith Rowley Photos. Then the unexpected happened.
There was the backdrop of Dodge Park in Sterling Heights. Friends of the bride and groom, Thomas and Santina Connolly, blocked the entrances to a bridge so Rowley could take the perfect photo overlooking the Clinton River.
As they finished filming, a group of kayakers heading for the bridge sang along to the popular Dixie Cups’ 60s song “Going To The Chapel of Love”.
âIt was a time you will never forget for the rest of your life,â Rowley told The Detroit News.
The moment itself, as described by the photographer and the newlyweds, was both amazing and chaotic. Moments earlier, an older couple approached the couple and told them that they would now be sharing an anniversary, making the performance even more emotional.
Rowley said she had never seen a scene like this in her five years of photography.
But despite the unique situation, she knew how to film it. âIt was also, however, a time when you knew, ‘If I record this it’s gonna get big on TikTok,â she said. âSo I opened my bag quickly and grabbed hold of me. my phone before they passed because it all happened so fast. “
In fact, it went viral. Rowley’s TikTok racked up over 2 million views on Sunday afternoon.
In the video, Santina and Thomas looked surprised by the serenade. While Thomas didn’t recognize the song, Santina did – like it was fate, she had heard it scroll TikTok herself.
Commentators also weighed in with their stamps of approval. They called the scene “blessed”, “enchanted” and “so cute” to name just a few of the hundreds of comments left on the video.
Rowley places text on the video asking if the couple’s wedding day was in fact a romantic comedy. Thomas, equally impressed, told the group “I should have hired you for the DJ” as they passed.
âIt was a lovely icing on the cake there,â he said.
Thomas and Santina, who met four years ago when they were both students at Grand Valley State University, said the whole wedding was full of strangers giving them compliments. It was a great way to celebrate their special day, which has been brewing for a year.
The couple are both originally from Metro Detroit, which makes it important for them to have their wedding in the area, Thomas said.
And Thomas said he was grateful to be able to get married without public health restrictions. But they have yet to book a honeymoon, feeling too worried about the state of the pandemic to plan a trip months in advance. They will take time off the following week and spend their honeymoon at a later date.
For now, they still feel like they are surrounded by friends and family – and unfamiliar singers.
âCertainly the kayakers caught us off guard, but in a good way,â said Santina. And, “They were actually very, very good singers too.”