- US Marine Corps Corporal Caleb Earwood and his fiancee Maggie, both from Asheville, North Carolina, said ‘I do’ on Saturday
- Their photographer, Dwayne Schmidt, captured an image of them shortly before the ceremony holding hands and praying together
- The couple kept their eyes closed and turned away from one another during the prayer so they didn’t see each other before the ceremony
- The image, which was shared on Facebook by the photographer, has received nearly 25,000 likes since it was posted on Saturday night
A US Marine and his new wife who captured the hearts of the nation when their wedding photographer shared an image of the two of them praying together just moments before their wedding ceremony on Facebook, have revealed what was going through their minds during those emotional few mintes.
US Marine Corps Corporal Caleb Earwood and his fiancee Maggie, both from Asheville, North Carolina, stood back-to-back with their eyes closed as they each said a prayer, during which Caleb explained he thanked God for blessing him with such a beautiful wife.
‘We were about to take our first steps in life together, and we didn’t want to take a step without it being in God’s will,” Caleb, 21, told Today.com.
‘I prayed to God for my beautiful and intelligent wife that he blessed me with and the amazing family I was marrying into.’
In order to avoid seeing one another before the ceremony, the couple positioned themselves facing away from one another, and kept their eyes closed during the prayer, which Maggie, 22, said helped her to feel all the more confident about walking down the aisle alongside Caleb.
‘When I first grabbed his hand, he was shaking really bad, so I knew he was really nervous,’ she explained. ‘It relieved me to know the person I was getting ready to marry felt the same way about God.’
Photographer Dwayne Schmidt, who shot the powerful image, shared the photo on his Facebook page that night, writing: ‘I have photographed a lot of weddings. This has to be one of the best things I have ever got to see much less photograph.’
He explained: ‘Before the ceremony and before they saw each other Caleb said a prayer for their marriage and lives. AWESOME. [sic]’
The couple had no idea that the image would prove so incredibly popular, however Caleb added that he hopes their love for one another has helped to inspire other people in their own lives.
‘We’re thankful that our picture is able to bless so many people and touch that many hearts,’ he said.
Caleb and Maggie, who began dating two years ago, after first becoming friends during high school, will now begin their honeymoon in Dollywood, Tennessee, before moving into their marital home together.
According to Today.com, the couple plan to live in Jacksonville, North Carolina, which is near Camp Lejeune, where Caleb, who has been serving in the military for three years, is stationed.
Nearly 25,000 Facebook users have liked the picture since it was posted on Saturday, with many people leaving comments of praise for the couple.
‘I almost cried looking at this pic and don’t even know this couple! WOW! PRECIOUS! Always put God first! [sic]’ Shannon Conner wrote.
Darlene Taylor added: ‘This is a great way to start on a journey together.’
Meanwhile, others complimented Dwayne’s photography skills.
‘Beautiful picture. It brought tears to my eyes,’ Rebecca Warren Helms noted. ‘The bride is showing some raw emotion and love. You captured how affected she was by his words.’
And Loretta Buchanan Revis wrote: ‘Probably the best pic you’ve ever taken. I can see it on the cover of something! Blue ribbon material! [sic]’
The happy couple said ‘I do’ in front of their family and friends at an outdoor pavilion at Camp Daniel Boone in Canton, North Carolina.
Maggie’s mother Lisa Helton Edwards, who shared a photo of the couple Facebook page, received numerous comments about the wedding’s stunning location.
‘It’s beautiful up there, you just got to dress it up some to make it pretty for a wedding,’ she noted.
Meanwhile, Tina Renee Helton, who attended the ceremony, added: ‘This was the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended, and I have been to quiet a few.’
Maggie also took to her Facebook account to celebrate her recent nuptials, sharing the popular image on her page, where it has been shared by her friends and family more than 200 times.
The newlywed also changed her last name from Edwards to Earwood, her married named, and made the photo of her praying with Caleb her new profile picture.
Unsurprisingly, Caleb has been a popular fixture . In October, Maggie posted numerous engagement photos, which the couple had professionally taken.
The overwhelming level of online interest in the image comes just one year after a YouTube video of a US Marine surprising his sister on her wedding day took the internet by storm, receiving more than 14 million views over the course of the year.