Future brother-in-law surprises groom in sister's wedding dress

Published: Jul. 17, 2018 at 9:07 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 31, 2018 at 5:07 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Tucson couple's wedding photos are going viral - but not the ones you would think.

Heidi Zherelyev's soon-to-be husband Valentin was a little nervous before the ceremony and about getting to see his bride in her wedding dress for the very first time.

So she came up with a creative way to calm his nerves, a move that is going viral.

"Typical wedding day jitters, I was nervous," said Valentin Zherelyev, who married his Saguaro High School sweetheart in Pinetop.

"We're seeing him interact with everybody on the day of the wedding, and he was so stressed," said  Heidi. "So we knew we had to do something."

That something was Heidi asking her brother, Eric, to break the ice and surprise her soon-to-be husband before the first look photos by dressing up in a friend's old wedding dress.

The photos on Facebook have received tens of thousands of shares and likes on social media.

"I hear these gentle footsteps behind me," chuckled Valentin. "I feel the most gentle touch on my shoulder, and I look back thinking I'm going to see Heidi, so pretty and beautiful, and I look back and it's Eric. I just lose my mind, it was so funny. All of the emotions started flowing out and I was totally calm. It was just the best equalizer for the situation."

Wedding photographer Nichole Cline, who owns KevinChole Photography, originally shared the candid photos on a private Facebook group before the pictures and a blog about the wedding quickly went viral.

"It was hard to photograph because my eyes were watering, because I was laughing," said Cline. "Val's reaction was just timeless, it could not have gone any smoother."

"He's (brother-in-law Eric) one of those macho men, so seeing him in a dress was totally out of character for him, it was amazing," said Valentin.

"It helped ease my nerves too," said Heidi. "It was a really great start to the beginning of our story. What stuck out the most is how many people it has reached and how many people want to do the same thing, and just lighten the mood on their wedding day."

To read Nichole Cline's blog on the wedding and the photos, click here.

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