Couple hopes viral wedding photo of man in dress inspires others to cure jitters with laughter


TUCSON, Arizona– An Arizona couple’s wedding photos are going viral–but for a different reason. 

Heidi Zherelyev’s soon-to-be husband Valentin was a little nervous about seeing his bride in her wedding dress for the very first time,so she came up with a creative way to calm his nerves. 

Groom, Valentin Zherelyev said, “I was nervous, kinda stressed, kinda everything coming full circle, so much planning happening.”

Zherelyev was like any typical guy on his wedding day in Pinetop, Arizona–he was nervous.

Bride Heidi Zherelyev said, “So then we’re just seeing him interact with everybody on the day of the wedding, he’s just like this, and so stressed, so we were like, yea, we gotta do it.”

So his soon to be wife Heidi, his high school sweetheart, asked her brother Eric for the ultimate wedding favor.

Heidi asked her brother, “Can you dress up in Chelsea’s old wedding dress and go surprise Val for the first look photos?”

Valentin said, “And I hear these gentle footsteps behind me and the most gentle touch on my shoulder, and then I look back– I’m like, there she is, so pretty, so beautiful and I look back…”

Not the blonde he was expecting!

“I just lose my mind, so funny..all the emotions kind of start flowing out and I was just totally calm, hilarious.”

Wedding photographer Nichole Cline originally shared the candid photos on a private Facebook group before the pictures and a blog about the wedding quickly went viral.

the post has thousands of shares, tens of thousands of likes, and more than one million interactions…

Cline said, “It was hard to photograph because my eyes were watering because I was laughing underneath my breath as much as possible…Val’s reaction was just timeless, it could not have gone any smoother than it did.”

Valentin said, “He’s one of those macho men so seeing him in a dress was totally out of his character it was amazing.”

Heidi explained, “It actually helped ease my nerves too, it was a really great start to the beginning of our story.”

As their honeymoon ends, and married life begins, the couple hopes their creative game of “break the ice” inspires others to do the same.
“That’s what stuck out the most is how many people it has reached and how many people want to do the same thing, to just kind of lighten the mood on their wedding day.”

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