Guests Wear Blindfolds During Blind Bride's Wedding & the Photos Are Breathtaking


James Day

It's tradition at a wedding for guests and even the groom not to see the bride until she walks down the aisle. But at Steph Agnew and Rob Campbell's wedding, they asked friends and families to partake in a twist on this custom. Instead of waiting for the ceremony to start before laying eyes on the blushing bride and her awaiting groom, the Australian couple provided blindfolds so that everyone could experience the moment the same way as the bride: blind. 

  • Steph has cone-rod dystrophy and went blind shortly before meeting Rob.

    Cone-rod dystrophy is an inherited condition that has left Steph unable to see anything besides some light and dark shapes.

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  • That means that the bride has never seen her groom.

  • "Steph felt beautiful even though she couldn't see herself and Rob couldn't control his emotions as she walked down the aisle looking like the true princess bride," the couple shared with CafeMom.

  • In order to make the day even more personal, guests were invited to wear blindfolds during the couple's vows to honor Steph's perception of their day.

    "When we lose one of our senses the others become heightened. This allows us to experience something as beautiful as these vows in a totally unique way. Today, we get to experience them from Steph’s perspective," the couple's photographer, James Day, tells CafeMom in a statement.

  • This allowed guests to encounter what Steph experiences each and every day -- during the most important moments of her life.

    The newlyweds are grateful that the blindfolds were received well by their 54 guests and that everyone was open to this new experience.

    "I took this photo to show the intimacy of their vows and the collective experience we shared," Day adds.

  • The venue was also somewhere Steph had been before losing her vision to help her visualize the ceremony.

    The couple explained to CafeMom in a statement that the venue was on the same road as Steph's great aunt's house, complete with stunning mountain views that she remembers from childhood. "She was able to picture the view on the day, they shared. "The day was perfect with the ceremony being the highlight of the day for both."
  • "I’ve never been so nervous before photographing a wedding," Day says. "It is a moment I will never forget."

    "In the 12 months leading up to this I have been searching for inspiration as to how to photograph a wedding for someone who has no sight. I pre visualized each part of the day and how I could add meaning to the moments that would unfold throughout the day," he adds.

  • They also planned for an owl from Raptor Vision to fly down the aisle and land on Steph's arm with the rings. 

  • All of the couple's vendors collaborated to include thoughtful touches for Steph and Rob to help enhance her experience.

    During the ceremony, it was important to Steph and Rob that they included tactile elements for the bride. Incredibly fragrant flowers were incorporated into Steph's bouquet so that she could enjoy her flowers. Day also added to the sensory element by giving Steph fabrics infused with different essential oils throughout different parts of the day so that she could be reminded of the varying moments as the wedding unfolded.

  • Steph needed more than just a "visual" ceremony, the couple explains, and everyone added personal touches to help with that.

    "During the experience, I discovered that my purpose in my work is to remind people of special moments, no matter what the medium. So, with the help of Steph’s brother, Cal, who studied textile design, we chose 10 different fabrics and 10 different scents that could be used throughout the day as texture and scent can be an effective way to trigger memories," Day explains.

    "During the day, different people would hand Steph these squares of scent-infused fabric, with the idea that these will help trigger those same memories when touched and smelled in the future. For example, Rob handed Steph an aloe­ vera fabric infused with roman chamomile just as they were about to say their vows."

  • This also allowed Steph's mom, who is also blind, to feel she was part of her daughter's big day.

    From the detailed beading on Steph's dress for both to feel to their videographer putting together a personalized film coupled with audio descriptions of each moment, creative thinking catered to their other senses. 

  •  "I'd be lying if I said I didn’t have a few tears myself. In fact, I was a bawling mess seeing Steph walk up the aisle," Day says. "It is a moment I will never forget."

  • The couple's videographers at Lemon Tree Film House felt the same exact way.

    "To capture Steph and Rob’s wedding day through film has to have been the most overwhelming experience of our lives," Toni-Jo and Shaun shared. "We  watched as Rob saw Steph for the first time and were reminded of the hundreds of times our brides have  told us that seeing their groom’s face as she walks down the aisle was the most important moment for them. And yet here was Steph looking so stunning that she took Rob’s  breath away, and yet she couldn’t see her own beauty nor Rob’s expression of complete  adoration herself. ... It’s humbling. It’s powerful. It’s love. It’s love that knows no bounds."

  • "The daily challenges they successfully overcome and the unwavering physical/emotional support they provide for one another far exceeds anything most of us have to contend with," they added.

    "Steph is a reminder to not take anything for granted, to appreciate every day that we’re privileged enough to look into each other’s eyes and to watch our children grow, but Steph’s incredible strength and resilience in the face of adversity is the ultimate lesson," the videographers added. "Rob is just as inspiring in his own right, having shown equal measures of strength and resilience whilst acting as a first responder ... and he uses that  same strength to support Steph while she does the same for him. Quite simply, they are amazing human beings."

  • "It was easily the most emotional wedding ceremony I’ve ever been a part of," Day tells CafeMom.