Lenore Cusick didn’t have many demands on her wedding day, but her grandmother, Jean “G” Altman, had a few things she wanted. Most importantly, she wanted to make sure that the wedding photographer captured one very particular shot on her only granddaughter’s wedding day.
“G requested weeks prior to the wedding that she would like a photo of her holding the bride’s dress,” photographer Virgil Bunao tells The Knot. “I almost forgot about it. Then, she brought it to my attention during the family photo session, and said, ‘When are we going to do my photo?'”
“G is a very energetic, strong, tenacious and sharp, 92-year-old woman,” the photographer continues. “She has style. She knows what she wants. She gets what she wants.” Amid the chaos of the wedding day, Bunao said he very nearly forgot to take the requested shot, but the bride, her wedding planner Heather Barrie of Gathering Events, and Altman all made sure to remind him.
The stunning image, which has since gone viral, features Cusick moments before stepping into the ceremony at the First Scots Presbyterian Church in Charleston, S.C. with the train of her elegant wedding dress held up several feet behind by a very serious-looking Altman.
“I remember G that day as this super energetic and sharp woman who knows what she wants,” says Bunao. “She loves her granddaughter and felt really proud to witness to be there to witness it all.”
The photo, which Bunao took on his 1956 Rolleiflex camera on Kodak film, is at times personal and universal, representing the passing down of tradition from one generation to the next.
“I’m her only granddaughter and she passed down her love of fashion to me,” Cusick told Yahoo Style. “She always let me play dress-up in her closet, and since my wedding day was the ultimate dress-up occasion, we had to capture it! My mom and I were showing her some of Virgil’s photos from previous weddings, and we came across one of a bride and her grandmother; she was insistent that we add it to our shot list and didn’t let us forget on the big day.”
Cusick added that she was more than happy to grant Altman’s simple request, and was grateful that she was there to help commemorate her big day.
“My grandmother has always helped celebrate the big and small milestones in my life—she even came the day I got my ears pierced!” she said. “So it was really important to me that we captured the special role she played in my life on my big day.”