Funny Stuff

Engaged couple looking to one-up friends takes "Save the Date" photos inside active volcano

October 25, 2016

(Shutterstock / llaszlo)

OTTAWA, ON—When Tad Wilson and Margot Von Thatcher began planning their wedding, they knew the one element they had to execute perfectly was their "Save the Date" photoshoot.

"It sets the tone for the whole wedding," Von Thatcher explains before recounting her whirlwind engagement. "When Tad proposed to me but somehow forgot to hire a secret photographer to hide in the bushes and capture the moment, he knew how devastated I was. Thankfully, he staged a second proposal and paid a team of actors to sit in the park and recreate the candid moment. That whole debacle really shifted things into focus for us."

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"Having subpar proposal photos is one thing but your 'Save the Dates' is where you really have to establish your brand as a couple," she continues.

Von Thatcher first started noticing her friends were pulling off more and more elaborate "Save the Date" photoshoots a few years ago. It began when her best friend Denise got married and hired famed German documentarian Werner Herzog to create a feature-length film of the couple's journey, which they then downloaded onto Blu-ray discs and mailed out to their wedding guests.

"I thought the 'Save the Date' documentary was interesting conceptually, but they had a lot of issues obtaining the copyrights," Von Thatcher shares. "Plus, there's always the risk that as technology evolves people won't be able to watch a Blu-ray disc in the future. We wanted something classic and timeless."

The couple's first idea was to recreate a scene from Pixar's Up. But after spending four years building an exact replica of the house from the movie, they were unable to find a contractor who would help them launch the home into the air with the thousands of non-refundable balloons they had purchased, so they grew discouraged.

The Wilson-Von Thatchers encountered logistical hiccups again when they strapped GoPro cameras to their heads as they were launched into the air by a gigantic t-shirt gun at an NBA finals game. Unfortunately, the GoPro's live feed stream to the Jumbotron failed at the last minute and the images were lost forever.

The couple then briefly toyed with the idea of trying to get captured by a group of actual seafaring pirates. "We are both huge fans of the Pirates of Caribbean franchise," Von Thatcher explains. "But it was taking too long to get taken."

The frustrated couple finally came up with the winning idea: taking their photos inside of one of world's most highly active volcanoes, Mount Kilauea.

Von Thatcher summed it up by saying, "We felt it was the perfect balance of danger, inordinate expense, and whimsy. Plus, Tad LOVES pineapple. So we thought it would be kind of hilarious to get the photos done in Hawaii."

After securing a chopper pilot and purchasing rappelling gear and personalized heat-resistant suits from NASA, they were ready. Although they both admit the journey was terrifying and horrifically expensive, Von Thatcher says she'd do it again in a heartbeat.

"I'll never forget the look on Tad's face when the scorching hot liquid magma was licking the tail of his peach gingham blazer. I just feel so blessed we were able to capture that moment and share it with our friends."

The couple is to be married this spring in a small private ceremony with 417 of their closest friends.

Speaking of weddings...

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