We’ve seen couples pull wedding-day pranks on each other before, but this story has to be one of our favorites. Heidi Zherelyev, a bride from Phoenix, Arizona, was getting ready to say her I dos when she noticed her husband wasn’t exactly as cool and collected as she was. Her remedy? A hilarious first look photo prank that’s now going viral.
“He was a ball of nerves,” she told WFAA Arizona of her husband, Val. “His palms were sweaty. He was trembling.” She figured there was no better way to calm his nerves than to play a little prank—one she had thought of before, but didn’t think she’d ever actually go through with.
Heidi and her friend, Chelsea, said that they previously thought of the idea to dress up Heidi’s brother, Eric, in a wedding dress and have him surprise Val for the first look, and the need for a little levity looked like the perfect opportunity to put their plan into action. Right before the big reveal, Eric slipped into Chelsea’s old wedding dress and even applied Heidi’s deodorant and perfume so he would smell like her for that extra special touch.
“When we were zipping him up, everyone was laughing,” Heidi said.
The bride then watched from a window as her brother approached her fiancé, and said the prank made her soon-to-be husband look instantly more comfortable and at ease.
“He was already smiling when we did the actual first look,” she said. “We were able to have a very intimate, special moment because he wasn’t so nervous.”
Photographer Nichole Cline of KevinChole Photography captured the sweet (and hilarious) moment on camera, and it’s memorable snapshots like these that make her love her job. “Photography was always something I shared with my dad, and when he passed away, I realized he and I never actually got too many photos together,” she told Brides. “The reason I do photography is to help people capture moments that they can have forever, because photos will never change. I want to give people the ability to look back and see these moments even after those people or that period of time have passed.”
And speaking of memorable moments, Heidi said that after the reception, the family went around exchanging their favorite moments from the day.
“Mine were exchanging our vows and seeing everyone dancing and having a good time,” Heidi said. “And Val said, ‘Definitely seeing Eric in the wedding dress.'”