Emily Rhodes and Ryan Mulvey’s wedding to-do list has included the usuals, like picking a venue, caterer, dress, DJ, decorations …
But also, tracking down the fella who photobombed their proposal to invite him to their big day. Midwestern hospitality at its finest.
Here’s the backstory.
His proposal at the Milwaukee Art Museum went exactly as planned — except for the photobomber
The museum had become a “special place” for the Waukesha couple over their five years of dating.
“When we go there, we unplug and just spend hours uninterrupted with each other,” said Rhodes, a childcare teacher.
So that’s where Mulvey decided to propose.
“Between the inside of it, and the history Emily and I have going there, and then going outside and having that beautiful backdrop — I’d say the best in Milwaukee — that made it a pretty easy decision for me,” said Mulvey, a payroll administrator at a vehicle dealership.
He hired Natalie Jane Photography to capture the monumental moment. They met up ahead of time to plan out exactly where he was going to pop the question: right behind the Quadracci Pavilion, along the lakefront.
On a “beautifully sunny May day,” the couple walked around the museum for hours, then along the lake.
“I finally mustered up the courage to do it,” Mulvey said.
While Mulvey said he “blacked out” during the proposal, Rhodes remembers how it all went down.
“He starts shaking and said, ‘I’m sorry this took me so long, I’m sorry this took me so long,’ ” Rhodes said. “I was like, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK.’ And then he said, ‘I’ve known I was going to marry you right from when I first met you’ … ‘I love you so much, I can’t imagine my life without you. Will you marry me?’ “
Rhodes said “yes.”
About a month later, Rhodes got their proposal pictures from the photographer. She noticed there was a third person in one: A man zooming behind them on a bike, throwing up a peace sign and sticking out his tongue.
The couple had been photobombed.
“I thought it was funny right away,” Rhodes said.
She used social media to find the photobomber
When Rhodes was thinking about the image days later, she wondered if she could figure out who the photobomber was. She took to social media in June to give it a try.
Rhodes posted the photo in a local Milwaukee Facebook group and said:
“I got engaged last month by the lake right outside of the Milwaukee Art Museum. The photographer caught this dude on his bike at the absolute perfect time and this is now one of my favorite photos ever.
Does anybody know or recognize this awesome dude? I kind of think it would be hilarious to send him an invite to the wedding or at least show him this photo and say thanks for the funny memory. Thanks y’all!”
Reactions and comments came pouring in. And within hours, the photobomber himself came forward.
Why they wanted to invite the photobomber to their wedding
“He was there for the moment that is now why we’re getting married, so it just kind of made sense. And also we find it quite humorous,” Mulvey said. “Why not have him share that moment with us?”
The photobomber is planning to attend, the couple said.
The wedding will be held in September at The Treasury, a Delavan special events venue that used to be a bank.
And yes, the pair is hoping to re-create the iconic photo on the big day.
‘Totally encapsulating’: A look at their love story
Just over five years ago, both Rhodes and Mulvey were home from college for winter break. Rhodes was back in Waukesha and Mulvey in Pewaukee.
Both were swiping on the dating app Tinder and matched.
Just two weeks after meeting in person for the first time, Mulvey told Rhodes he loved her and asked her to be his girlfriend. She said “yes” then, too.
“We haven’t looked back since,” Mulvey said.
“When you know, you know,” Rhodes said.
One of their favorite things to do is save the best TikToks they come across throughout the day, then show them to each other before bed. The self-described “homebodies” also enjoy spending time with their dog Stella, a 3-year-old miniature pinscher.
“When Emily and I are just hanging out, we just laugh so much,” Mulvey said. “We laugh and laugh and laugh, and then I open my eyes and I look at her, and she’s about the most beautiful girl in the whole wide world. It’s a totally encapsulating feeling that she gives me.”
“Ryan makes me feel safe, and I felt that way immediately when I met him,” Rhodes said. “He takes care of me, he’s always there for me and we have fun together, which I think is an important thing in our relationship. We are one another’s best friends.”