Engagement photo shoot at Cookeville Olive Garden goes viral

Hunter LaShea Photography
Posted at 3:27 PM, Sep 01, 2022

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A couple’s engagement photo shoot at Olive Garden in Cookeville went viral, and then they were given a free honeymoon trip to Italy.

There's something romantic about stone architecture, flowers and Italian cypress trees. It's why people from around the world travel to Tuscany. And for a taste of Italy, they also flock to the Cookeville Olive Garden.

"Honestly like a year ago my family and me were here eating, and we were coming out the door from eating, and I looked at my mom and I was like: 'This would be super cool to take photos at,' And she was like, 'Really Shea?’” photographer Shea Cravens said.

Most Tennessee couples shoot engagement photos by waterfalls, or in a flower field. But at Hunter LaShea Photography, Shea Cravens decided to break away from the status quo. Cravens snapped engagement photos of Carlsey and her fiancée, Caden Mills, at the Olive Garden off Interstate 40.

“I was all down for it. I knew whatever she had up her sleeve would be great,” Carlsey Bibb said. “I was like Olive Garden? But we love 'em. They were great.”

Engagement photos at Olive Garden

"I actually went to the coffee shop across from my work the other day and they were like, 'Are you the Olive Garden girl?' And I was like yea," Bibb said.

"It’s definitely something we will never forget, it’s made our season of engagement that much more enjoyable. I know wedding planning is usually pretty stressful, but we’ve had fun with all of this," Bibb said.

Shea posted a TikTok video about the shoot, and they were even on the national news.

"Some people had mixed emotions about it. I was hoping that that would be the case, but I had a lot of people who were like 'I thought this was a vineyard in Tennessee,' or something, and I was like no, it’s actually Olive Garden," Cravens said.

And now another dream is coming true. Olive Garden is surprising the happy couple with a free honeymoon trip, and their photographer gets to go to Italy too.

"I’m so excited," Cravens said.

She said other couples are now requesting out-of-the-box photo sessions.

In the meantime, Carlsey is preparing to get married in October.

"It’s been a whirlwind," Bibb said.