This Local Couple Invited Their Photobomber to Their Wedding

How a spontaneous urge to photo-bomb turned into a hilarious engagement picture, viral social media post and an invitation to a stranger’s wedding.

Ryan Mulvey proposed to his now-fiancé Emily Rhodes outside the Milwaukee Art Museum. He hired a professional photographer for the occasion, and when they were sifting through the final pictures, something – or really, someone – stood out. 

“I got like 70-plus photos back, and this one has the best story ever,” Rhodes says.

That photo features – unintentionally – Matthew Herman. He was biking along the lakeshore last May when he noticed the photoshoot. In a spontaneous moment, he thought it would be funny to duck into the frame and throw up a peace sign as he passed. 


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“I just saw a cameraman getting into position and getting ready to take that perfect picture,” Herman says. “It was a split-second decision and I never thought about it again.”

That is, until the newly engaged couple decided to use social media to identify their mystery photobomber, and … invite him to their wedding this September. “[It would] be hilarious if we recreated the photo when I’m in my wedding dress,” Rhodes says. 

The couple’s post went viral in a Milwaukee Facebook group, amassing more than 1,700 likes, 70 shares and 126 comments – one of which is from the photobomber himself. “That’s me,” Herman wrote. “I don’t know if I’m flattered or ruined the picture.” 

The trio have since been trading messages and plan to get together before the nuptials so that they’re not “total strangers.” As it turns out, Rhodes and Herman have something pretty significant in common: They’re both teachers. 

“I think it’s really cool to meet people in those happenstance ways,” Rhodes says. “[This] could blossom into a friendship that lasts a really long time.”

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s Weddings issue.

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