The graffiti in Scott's photography studio just happened to read "what we need in the world is more love", but came to best describe this wedding in unprecedented times. mediadrumimages/ScottSprague/@ssfoto

By Alexander Greensmith


THIS COUPLE had a gas mask-themed wedding in an abandoned building to mark getting hitched during a pandemic.

Powerful images show the loved-up couple holding hands and wearing real gas masks in an old run-down factory.

Other photos capture the pair kissing and the absent mother-of-the-groom watching the wedding via FaceTime.

Personal trainer and model Matthew can be found on Instagram @matthew.detroit.muscle, where he has over 10,700 followers. Lilly’s is @itssliliyaa, where she has almost 12,000 followers as of June 2020. mediadrumimages/ScottSprague/@ssfoto

The photos are courtesy of photographer, Scott Sprague (50), who snapped personal trainer Matthew Engelke (36), and behaviour technician, Lilly Engelke née Ayrapetyan (28). The groom and photographer, from Detroit, USA, have been friends for over a decade so were very open to these wedding photos with a twist.

Scott, who shot on a Nikon D810 with 35mm and 70-200mm lenses, expressed his thoughts on what images he liked the most.

“My favourite photo is one with the gas masks and in between them reads a message that states ‘what we need in the world is more love’,” he said.

The graffiti in Scott’s photography studio just happened to read “what we need in the world is more love”, but came to best describe this wedding in unprecedented times. mediadrumimages/ScottSprague/@ssfoto

“I had this whole idea to pay homage to the American Gothic picture in my head [by 1930s painter Grant Wood], which has a couple wearing white and black, just like a wedding with a bride and groom.

“So we created this whole story with the wedding photos for art, saying this is where they now live due to the pandemic.”

The happy couple from Michigan state first met at Wayne State University in 2016, and wed on March 20, 2020 after their April courthouse wedding was under threat by closing imposed by lockdown.

YOU MAY NOW KISS THE BRIDE – Photographer Scott Sprague had been waiting for the perfect moment to use these masks. mediadrumimages/ScottSprague/@ssfoto

The couple estimate they spent a little under $1000 on the small but sweet ceremony. Ten guests plus the minister and photographer Scott witnessed the ceremony.

The wedding and industrial-like photoshoot took place entirely in the Russell Industrial Center building of Scott’s BlindSpot Photography Studio. Scott’s workspace covers 4000 sq. ft.

Fitness model, Matthew, had this to say.

The fitness-loving couple, who met as university students in 2016, intend to have a larger ceremony after the pandemic. mediadrumimages/ScottSprague/@ssfoto

“I asked my Mom to join me on FaceTime and it was as simple as that,” he said.

“My father was on a conference call that he had to host on the exact hour of our wedding. It was so short notice though we couldn’t really blame him for it. We’d always planned on doing a bigger wedding anyway at a different time.

“To couples considering if they want to delay, I say if you want to get married, get married. Don’t wait. ”

A headshot of the happy couple’s wedding photographer and friend, Scott Sprague. His portfolio can be found at mediadrumimages/ScottSprague/@ssfoto

Lilly expressed her thoughts on the big day.

“Engagement wasn’t a big deal. We’d already been feeling married for a while now,” she said.

“We only organised the wedding the week before we got married and two days later we went to my parents’ house and Matthew asked hand in marriage. Six days later we were married.

Married on March 20th, 2020, the Engelke’s felt a powerful pandemic themed wedding shoot would encapsulate the occasion in these strange times. mediadrumimages/ScottSprague/@ssfoto

“Some friends that I had that were getting married were a little disappointed to move their wedding, but the way I see it is the wedding will always be there you can always have a big get together later.”

More of Scott’s photography can be found on @ssfoto, where he has over 1,800 followers as of May 2020. His website is The newly-weds can be found at @itssliliyaa and @matthew.detroit.muscle.