It was four years ago that Cindy Gauthier and Jean-Nicola Barile’s The Notebook-inspired engagement pictures originally went viral, but thanks to the 10th Anniversary of the movie release, this Canadian couple’s photos are once again wowing people all over the world.
Inspired by a stunning engagement shoot based on the animated Pixar movie Up, Chelsea Gray of Blushing Bride Studio suggested a movie-inspired session and quickly learned that her new clients, Cindy and Jean-Nicola, were both fans of The Notebook. “It all happened very organically,” says Chelsea, “but what surprised me most was the luck we had that day.”
Turns out the series of photos featuring the couple in, around and beside a vintage red truck was somewhat of a fluke. Scouting for other locations near Jean-Nicola’s cottage, where they were shooting, they found the truck just sitting there on the side of the road. So they did what we all would do: they plucked the “for sale” sign from the window and started snapping pictures.
And according to Cindy, it never rained during the photo shoot. But, as every fan of The Notebook knows, the kissing-in-the-rain moment reminiscent of the Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling’s movie poster was a must-have. So it was her brother-in-law who gladly hosed them down. “He enjoyed every second of it!” she says. “He held the hose over us as I ran towards Jean-Nicola and jumped into his arms. All those present can vouch—not as elegant and steamy as the Hollywood actors, but passionate in our own way.”
Crediting Nichloas Sparks for inspiring her to make beautiful images, Chelsea and fellow photographer Roberto Ugarte poured themselves into this project, even creating custom props to illustrate key moments, even at the last minute. The night before the shoot, Chelsea watched the movie for the first time and realized that they required a year’s worth of letters. “So I set to dipping envelopes into cups of tea for an aged effect,” she said.
It was that attention to detail that made this special collection resonate so much with people around the world—that and how one real couple breathed life into this famous novel. “The movie definitely influenced the photography but having read the book before seeing the movie, I loved the representation of Noah and Allie and their beautiful love story,” says Cindy.
“This photo shoot was done for the sheer enjoyment of celebrating the engagement of a couple in love,” says Chelsea. “We had no intention of our photos ever being seen by anyone else or going viral.” But she admits she shouldn’t have been too surprised, “the fans were so supportive and positive about the images, especially since Cindy looks so much like Rachel McAdams. It’s uncanny, really, how much she resembles the actress!”
So what’s happened since this photogenic (maybe even star-worthy) couple who posed for this now-famous photo shoot? Cindy and Jean-Nicola just celebrated their 4th wedding anniversary on September 4th. And they are parents to a healthy, energetic and charming two-and-half-year-old son London, who will soon add big brother to his list of accolades as the family is expecting a baby boy in January.
Cindy also revealed that she has enjoyed many of Nicholas Sparks’ books, “but I liked The Wedding the most because it shows the ups and downs of real life love.” And for her, that’s what it’s all about: “We have a fun and strong relationship. And we have beautiful, real, love stories to inspire us. We hope to share the rest of our lives together…”
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