Blind bride, 32, and her new husband are brought to tears as they're surprised with an incredible 'multi-sensory' wedding album
'She can now relive the day in its entirety': Blind bride, 32, and her new husband are brought to tears as they're surprised with an incredible 'multi-sensory' wedding album
Stephanie Agnew, 32, married Robbie Campbell in a stunning ceremony in Maleny, Queensland
Ms Agnew has Cone-Rod Dystrophy - she is only able to see some light and some dark shapes
The couple have been handed a multimedia wedding album so Ms Agnew does not miss a single memory
Australian bride Stephanie Agnew, 32, married the love of her life, Robbie Campbell, in a unique ceremony in November 2018. All their guests were blindfolded during the couples vows so they could experience the wedding the same way as Ms Agnew, who has Cone-Rod Dystrophy and is only able to see some light and dark shapes.
And now the couple have been given a multimedia album of the day so that Ms Agnew can relive the day in it's entirety. The wedding's photographer, James Day, enlisted the help of Lemon Tree Film House and Vision Art to create the spectacular album.
Shaun and TJ, from Lemon Tree Film House, wrote of the emotional day where they showed Ms Agnew and Mr Campbell the film and album they helped create. 'Just over a month [after the wedding] is when we got to really surprise Steph and Rob,' he said. They said they waited an hour before they were supposed to meet to tell the newlyweds to meet them at the Private Sony Cinema.
The people behind the film house said they were excited, nervous and very emotional as they had worked to put Ms Agnew and Mr Campbell's story together for a year. Their film constantly had audio throughout to give Ms Agnew a picture of what was happening on the screen, including how Ms Agnew first told Mr Campbell she loved him after believing she could lose him in the Bourke Street 2017 terror attack where he was a police officer.
'We've always had a strong belief that audio is just as important as visuals in a great film. But in this case, audio was more important than the visuals so we set out to capture as much of a narrative as possible so that Steph and Linda [her mother, who also has Cone-Rod Dystrophy] would be able to relive the wedding day in its entirety,' they wrote.
They said on the day itself they described as much as possible so that not one detail would be missed. After, Mr Day presented the couple with their incredible album he helped create with Vision Art. Mr Day instructed Ms Agnew, who is a long-time friend, to run her hands over the front of the beautiful black album made of linen. Upon opening it sat ten fabrics and essential oils that they had handed to her throughout the day so they would be associated with specific memories. 'It is a moment I will never forget,' Mr Day said of the wedding at the time.
When Ms Agnew pulled out one of the oils from the box, she began to get emotional. 'Oh god, now you're going to make me cry,' she told those around her as Mr Day asked Ms Agnew's mother Linda to do the same. Mr Day then instructed them to open the album itself and lean in.
What they saw was a photograph made with prints in a flash, or PIAF, by Vision Australia, which enhances the image by heating and raising the dark parts of the image. The Audio of Mr Campbell's voice then began to play from the album.
'Steph, I woke up today with a smile knowing that today I marry the girl of my dreams,' he could be heard saying. You are my inspiration and I can't wait to begin my life as your husband.'
Ms Agnew began to break down as she went through the album, calling it 'amazing'. 'I couldn't even imagine. I have never seen anything like this before,' she said. 'I can't even talk because I am so overwhelmed.'
Instead of watching the ceremony in Maleny, Queensland, unfold, the 54 guests were asked to wear blindfolds so they could experience each moment just like the bride - without sight.
The staff were amazing and spent a lot of time with Steph describing the visual features of the whole venue. They were instrumental during the day by helping her feel the tactile elements that were a part of the ceremony and reception. We chose the venue as it was on the same road as Steph's great aunt's house. It had the same amazing view over the Glasshouse Mountains that she remembers seeing as a child when she had sight. She was able to picture the view on the day.
Each part of the ceremony was carefully thought out, with Ms Agnew's bouquet made up of fragrant flowers that staff took the time to describe to her thoroughly. They also had an owl from Raptor Vision fly down the aisle, land on Ms Agnew's arm and deliver the rings and all guests wore blindfolds during the vows.
'The blindfolds were received well by the guests as they were experiencing that moment in the same way Steph and her mum, who is also blind, were experiencing it,' Mr Campbell said. Ms Agnew said she felt absolutely beautiful and the moment she walked down the aisle in her breathtaking dress, Mr Campbell couldn't hold back his emotions. 'I couldn't control my emotions as she walked down the aisle - she looked like a true princess bride in the dress,' Mr Campbell said.
The celebrant, Jarrad Bayliss, also made sure the ceremony was special and memorable with his unique and personal touches. He knew how important the day was and went above and beyond to ensure the ceremony was more than just 'visual'.
'All of our vendors put in special efforts to make sure that Steph could appreciate all of the sensory elements that made the day especially the videographer, Lemon Tree Film House, who is putting together a film with extra audio descriptions from the day so Steph can experience it audibly instead of visually,' Mr Campbell said.
Ms Agnew met Mr Campbell in October, 2016, after living next door to him for 18 months. 'We had been living 1.5 metres apart but because I was in real estate and he was a policeman we never really crossed paths,'
'We met that October at a drinks function our building was hosting and we didn't really get off on the right foot - he was almost too much - but then he wooed me and a month later we went on a date and it was fantastic.
'I've never seen him. I know his build - he is six foot four and I am five foot four so he is a lot taller than me - and I know he has broad shoulders but other than that I have to rely on descriptions.'
Just over a year later on Christmas Day, 2017, Mr Campbell proposed. 'We had spoken about marriage and I said if he ever proposed I would want my family there or involved somehow,' Ms Agnew said. 'We were all there and I felt the box and he had given me an Apple TV but apparently my face dropped because it wasn't a ring box but then he surprised me and got down on one knee and did a little speech. 'I was so thrilled and it was just a beautiful, surprising moment.'
Mr Day joined the couple on their romantic journey on day one and was asked to capture the moment she selected her dream wedding dress back in April. Ms Agnew asked him to capture every moment of the wedding process in the hope that one day she may be able to relive these moments if medicine progresses and they are able to restore her eye sight.
'My mum was diagnosed with Cone-Rod Dystrophy when I was 18. At first they thought she had a brain tumour but it was this retinal dystrophy that leads to blindness. They thought it was a new gene mutation as we had no family history but I was diagnosed a year later when I was 19 and now three out of four of us [my siblings and I] have been diagnosed'.
'I gave in my licence when I was 23 which was really hard as I was a property manager and my sight then stabilised as it was for a while before deteriorating very quickly between the ages of 27 and 30. I'm now left with light and dark perception and can see some shapes and shadows.'
Ms Agnew hopes that by sharing her experience she can inspire and help others who are losing or who have lost their sight. 'When people tell you that you can't do something you can't let that affect you,' she said. 'It has pushed me to want to succeed even more.I was really unsure about the whole bridal process to the point where I wanted to just go to the registry because I didn't think I could deal with it. But it's been such an enjoyable process.
'Everyone has hurdles so it's important to dig deep within yourself and understand that life can be hard but there are always ways to deal with things.'
How was the album made?
The album was created using various multimedia elements. Photographer James Day led the charge and took his incredible photographs to Vision Australia. There they used a prints in a flash machine, also known as a PIAF, which raises the dark sections of the photograph so the viewer can feel it rather than see it.
Audio elements courtesy of Mr Day and Lemon Tree Film House were also added so that when the person looking at it can also hear monologues.
Throughout the wedding, Mr Day handed ten fabrics which were covered in essential oils so that memories were associated with the touch and smell. They were put into a box that held the album. The album was then put together by Vision Art
The above article was taken from the Daily mail