It started out simply enough: When Brittney and Kody Frysinger got engaged, they asked photographer Lindsey Berger if she could re-create a photo Brittney had seen on Pinterest. The couple posed with Kody’s best friend, Mitch Jolliff, and made a clever visual pun of his third-wheel status. Berger Photoshopped “I” onto Brittney’s boot, “Do” onto Kody’s, and “N’T” onto Mitch’s.
“We’ve been friends for seven years now, since we were in high school,” Kody tells Yahoo Style about his bond with Mitch. “Every single day, we’re in touch or with each other. Always together, always doing stuff together.”
In addition to meeting Mitch in high school, Kody also started dating Brittney while they were in high school — it’s safe to say the trio have spent a lot of time together, since Kody and Brittney both liked the idea of highlighting that time shared in their engagement photos; Mitch, not so much.
“At first, I was not a big fan of it,” Mitch tells Yahoo. “They actually had to persuade me quite a bit to take the pictures. I’m not a big picture taker.”
But the results were so good that during their wedding, the photographer was inspired to shoot a follow-up: Brittney’s boots say, “I won,” while Mitch’s say, “Shut up.”
“It was magic. It was perfect,” Berger tells Yahoo about the photos. Still, as a photographer in the small town of Forest, Ohio, she did not expect her post to go viral. She posted it, took a nap, and woke up to 300 shares. “All of a sudden it just kept doubling and quadrupling. In about six hours, it was up to 16,000 shares, and it exploded.” As of publication, the post has more than 138,000 shares, 103,000 likes, and 37,000 comments.
“I think it’s so relatable,” Brittney says of the image. “Everybody has that friend who third-wheels with you, who’s always there.”
Many of the comments being left on the post are from couples planning their own weddings and tagging their third-wheel friends with half-joking requests for similar shoots. But Berger doesn’t think that just anyone can pose for this kind of photo.
“[The photographer] absolutely needs to know who they’re working with and make them feel as comfortable as possible,” she says. “They have to 100 percent nail the picture, or it’s not going have the same effect. Whoever that best friend is, they are the star of the show. They have to be as authentic as possible.”
The newlyweds, along with Mitch and his girlfriend, Bree, have all been on a group text since the picture was posted on Sunday, marveling at their sudden Internet fame. The Frysingers are enjoying the attention from afar while they’re on their honeymoon, and Berger is getting requests to photograph weddings as far away as Australia. Meanwhile, Mitch thinks he has some time to think about how his buddy will pay him back one day.
“I’m sure when my girlfriend and I get married, he owes me some favors in photo shoots,” he says. “In good time.”
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