By now, there have been countless stories about science-adoring couples marrying during the Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21, but The Knot can reveal how one to-be-wed pair opted for an eclipse engagement session during this week’s nationwide event.
Future newlyweds Tyler Harris and Katie Matheny were first introduced to the creative concept by their photographers, Missouri-based husband-and-wife duo Charis and Kyle Rowland. “We were shooting a wedding at Silver Oaks Chateau about a month ago, and one of the owners invited us for the eclipse,” Charis tells The Knot. “From there it just kind of snowballed.”
The Wildwood, Missouri-based venue, Silver Oaks Chateau—where Harris and Matheny will marry come November—just happened to be in the path of totality; For two complete minutes on Monday, eclipse observers experienced darkness in the daytime. “We thought the light was probably going to be pretty magical,” Charis adds. “Katie and Tyler were at our house about a week later to talk through wedding plans, and when we brought up the idea, they jumped on board.”
“Obviously, I was not going to turn that down,” the future bride, 22, adds. “It honestly ended up being one of the coolest things I had ever experienced.”
With it being the first total eclipse to dawn upon North America in 36 years, there were naturally multiple challenges for the group. “It was all one big experiment,” Charis says. “We assumed the light would be really interesting before and after totality, but it was definitely a risk since we’ve never actually experienced a total solar eclipse. We were so grateful that [the venue] offered their rooftop for the shoot. It was totally worth climbing up a ladder with our gear.”
At 1:16 p.m. local time, totality finally took place. “We shot a few photos right when the sun was fully blocked, and then, we just stood there… shocked,” Charis continues. “Even the moments before and after were wild. It was crazy to see a 360-degree sunset and other strange things. The whole experience was mind-blowing… It felt so surreal.”
The resulting images are descriptively moody, deep-tone imagery that include a slight glimmer of haziness. The session, in other terms, was a success.
“My favorite photo from the shoot is probably when Tyler and I are in the field and we’re laughing,” says the bride. “It captures the joy and happiness that we bring into each others’ lives.” While the concept was unique, the couple is opting for a more traditional theme for their fall wedding as opposed to something celestial.
Harris and Matheny, meanwhile, tell The Knot it was hard to select one outstanding image. “If we had to pick one, it’s when they’re on the quilt,” the photographer concludes. “They’re both fully engrossed in the eclipse. It was moments before totality, and the light was so bizarre and amazing.”