Theirs may have been a traditional Indian wedding, but the favorite photo from their September nuptials was anything but:
In front of a colorfully clad bridal party and bride Rita Shah, groom Krshna Patel pops a just-shaken bottle of champagne and a million tiny white bubbles are frozen against a backdrop of dark sky.
"It's so raw, and you can see clearly everyone's emotions," said Shah, 30, of Logan Square.
The wedding party stayed miraculously dry, but photographer Tyler Boye of Blue Bell and his $10,000 camera got soaked.
Wet photographer? No worries. Sticky camera? Worth it! Super-messy wedding venue? All is fair game when Instagram favorites and Facebook likes are at stake. And this champagne shot — which went viral when Boye posted it five years ago — is making the wedding circuit: The number of Pinterest "saves" for champagne-popping photos was up 116 percent from March 2017 to last month, company spokeswoman Amanda Switzer said. She said an increase in champagne shots initially popped up on the site almost two years ago, mostly for weddings, but also for Greek-life events and graduations.
"The first time, I thought the champagne was just going to go up a little bit, people would smile and laugh, and I'd take the picture," said Boye, who first tried the shot when a groom requested it in 2013. It's become his niche — now 70 percent of brides ask him for it; and it was this shot that first attracted Shah to Boye. "What I didn't know was that the groom would spray it right at me."
But it was worth it. He saw the bubbles frozen in midair, and he was hooked — as were, seemingly, everyone else. "It was posted and literally caught fire right away."
Now, Boye wears a raincoat and protects his camera the best he can, but "if it's done right, the camera gets champagne on it," he said. He just makes sure it's his last shot of the event.
Of course, sometimes even the participants get wet — not ideal when that's before the ceremony. That was the case for Catherine Calderon, 26, of Phoenixville, when she and her bridal party were getting ready for her April 2017 wedding and she thought to get everybody on the bed to pop some champagne. Having spent several hours with the stylist trying to get her straight hair to curl, one bridesmaid couldn't help but run off the bed every time the champagne popped — which resulted in Boye attempting the shot three times and the bridesmaid earning the nickname "runaway" for the rest of the day.
Media photographer Gabriel Fredericks first took the shot six years ago and now takes it a handful of times during his 75 annual weddings. In the beginning, he kept it from the venue staff and stealthily cleaned up after himself. But once a manager at the Crystal Tea Room saw the picture, he gave photographers the green light, and now the venue has staff at the ready with mops. Of the 12 weddings held there each month, five or six have a champagne-popping shot.
Only once did things go awry: A cork hit a painting on the wall and the glass shattered.
"But we allow it because it seems to be the one picture that people ask about," said Thomas Finley, vice president of Finley Catering, which runs the Crystal Tea Room.
Most venues ask that the shot be taken outside, Boye said. And other photographers, locally and around the country, put their own spin on the shot.
For Kait and Kevin Stephens' wedding in June, Fredericks took the champagne shot on the Art Museum steps. Kait Stephens, 28, who grew up in Medford and now lives in New York, posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook, which got about 1,000 views.
Upon seeing one of the champagne shots, Gina McGarvey knew she wanted one taken at her May 2016 wedding. With the bride in white and the groom and bridal party in black, the white bubbles seem to float down as snow.
"I'm obsessed with the way it turned out," said McGarvey of Chestnut Hill. "It's an awesome action shot with the capturing of the champagne and bubbles, and everybody in the picture looks like they're having a great celebration."