Photographer recreates wedding for newlyweds after original fail - WNEM TV 5

Photographer recreates wedding for newlyweds after original failed to show

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Courtesy: Dana Gruszynski Courtesy: Dana Gruszynski
BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

A lot of money and planning goes into, what can arguably be considered the biggest day of your life, your wedding.

When you get married you vow to spend the rest of your life with that person in front of your closest friends and family.

You dance, you eat cake, and you make memories that are going to last a lifetime.

But once the day is over, all you have left are the memories and the photos.

A lot of couples spend a pretty penny on a photographer to capture their special day. The average cost of a wedding photographer in the United States in 2014 was $2,556, according to The Knot. They’re not cheap.

So you can imagine the heartbreak one Mid-Michigan couple felt when their photographer never showed up.

Heather and Matt Koehler got married on Sept. 12, 2015 without a photographer. The photographer they had paid for never showed.

They didn’t have professional photos to look back on for years to come to remember their beautiful wedding they had taken months to plan.

The day after their wedding one of their guests was talking to her cousin about the wedding and how the photographer failed to show.

The photographer, Dana Gruszynski, felt heartbroken for the couple.

“I’ve shot a fair share of weddings and I couldn’t explain to you how much I LOVE weddings. Not just the fact that I get to photograph them, but it’s a day all about love. And if you know me, you know I love love,” Gruszynski posted on her blog about the Koehlers.

Gruszynski, of Bay City, knew she had to do something for this couple. Even though they were strangers and they didn’t know each other, there was something in her that felt the need to make it up to them.

She contacted the bride Heather and asked her to meet for coffee to talk about what had happened at their wedding, Gruszynski said.

“I knew that I just had to do something special for her,” the blog post said.

Gruszynski told Heather to slip back into her wedding gown and she would do an intimate bridal session of the two of them, free of charge.

They set the date for three weeks later and Gruszynski went to work to do something even more special for the couple.

Gruszynski contacted Heather’s sister and had her get together as many family members as she could. She also contacted one of the groom’s friends to get together Matt’s side.

Gruszynski used cell phone photos taken at the wedding to recreate the day as best as she could for the Koehlers.

She contacted Rick and Renee Zuchnik, owners of Country Gardens in Bay City, and told them the Koehlers’ story and what her plans were. Gruszynski showed them a photo of Heather’s bouquet and the owners donated a similar bouquet and boutonniere for the couple.

Gruszynski’s sister-in-law makes cakes and she agreed to remake the Koehler’s wedding cake for free.

Then Gruszynski went to work to try and find every decoration the couple had on their table. She went shopping at Hobby Lobby and bought several decorations that matched the theme of the wedding.

The Koehlers got married at My Sisters Barn in Fairgrove. It was a rustic, outdoorsy themed wedding. Gruszynski contacted her cousin who has a backyard that fit the theme and she agreed to let Gruszynski have the event there.

Keep in mind, the couple had no idea Gruszynski was doing any of this. They thought it was going to be a nice bridal photo session.

When the day finally came Gruszynski had all of the Koehlers’ friends and family park on a side street so the couple wouldn’t be suspicious.

“All Matt and Heather knew was that we were meeting up at my cousins, taking a few pictures in the back, then we were gonna head to Frankenmuth to do the bridal session,” Gruszynski said.

Instead, Gruszynski completely remade their wedding day. From the flowers, to the cake, to the music, to the guests, Gruszynski had all of the bases covered.

Once the Koehlers arrived, Gruszynski met them at the door and handed them the bouquet and boutonniere. She then led them out to the backyard where their wedding venue had been recreated.

Heather immediately burst into tears when she saw when Gruszynski had done for them, Gruszynski said.

The couple was able to have their first dance all over again, eat cake, and have the wedding photos taken that they never got.

“I feel so blessed that God led me to this couple. My heart still aches for them knowing they don’t have a single professional photo from the actual wedding. I know I did not have to do this for them, but they truly deserve it after everything they went through,” Gruszynski said on her blog.

Since Gruszynski posted the story on her blog on Oct. 28 it has been shared more than 1,200 times.

To view more photos and read their story visit Gruszynski's blog.

Mobile user? Check out our slideshow from the photo shoot.

Copyright 2015 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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