Shea Cravens is a Cookeville, Tennessee-based photographer specializing in dreamy engagement, wedding and maternity photos. So, when Carlsey Bibb and Caden Mills hired her and requested something special, Craven gave them what she called, “Tennessee but with a little Italy spice.”
Cravens, who operates Hunter LaShea Photography, had come up with the notion of using the exterior of a local Italian restaurant some time ago but hadn’t yet put it into action. So she proposed (no pun intended) the concept to the couple, who were friends of hers, and they were more than willing. They showed up at 6 a.m. to avoid interruptions and capture the glow of sunrise.
The photographer shared the stunning photos on her Facebook page.
“A little over a year ago I had the idea of doing a session at Olive Garden, I mentioned it to some friends but never got around to doing it,” Cravens wrote in the post. “Fast forward to today, it finally happened and I am so happy with the outcome. Carlsey asked if I had any ideas or anything new. I’ve wanted to try for their engagement photos and I immediately said ‘Soooooo I’ve been dying to do a sunrise session at Olive Garden’ and she was down for it so we did the dang thing.”
Cravens, who has an eye for unique settings, noticed the possibilities while eating lunch with her family at the fast-casual eatery.
“I looked over at the building and said to my mom, ‘This would be a cool spot to take some photos’ … When we started planning to do Carlsey and Caden’s engagement photos, Carlsey had full trust in my idea, and I’m so grateful,” Cravens told BuzzFeed.
This TikTok video with clips and photos from the photo shoot has garnered more than 24,000 likes, thousands of shares and hundreds of comments.
@hunterlasheaphotography tennessee but with Italy Vibes✨ #engagementphotos #engagementphotoshoot #engagementpictures #bride #weddingtiktok ♬ original sound – Shea Cravens
“These pictures look great though,” commenter Jaime wrote. “If it works it works.”
“If you threw those on the gram and tagged #italy I honestly wouldn’t even give it a second thought!” wrote Madison S.
“So this is where @Olive Garden enters the comments and offers to cater the wedding, right?” suggested Cullen Bilyeu.
It turns out this commenter was spot-on, because during their appearance on “Good Morning America” on Aug. 24, Olive Garden surprised the couple with a honeymoon in Italy. And the restaurant chain is sending Cravens, too!
Congrats to the happy couple — and their creative photographer!