Love comes in bulk at Costco, at least for a Minnesota couple who had engagement photos shot inside the St. Louis Park wholesaler.
In their photo set, Karinne Tarshish and Dan Klamet of Hopkins gaze adoringly at each other alongside pallets of milk and corner displays of office chairs. They canoodle with pounds of pork butt in their arms, held like a baby. Their hands touch, one adorned with a diamond ring, over a strawberry cheesecake. They share a supersized hot dog.
Tarshish explained that the photos, which began as a joke, served a dual purpose. For one thing, she and her beau didn't like the idea of traditional engagement photos. And "we do love Costco."
The idea was sparked after people repeatedly asked the couple whether they were going to take engagement photos. They hadn't planned on it, but the photographer they hired to shoot their October wedding, Emmerlee Sherman, offered a free session so they could get comfortable working together before the big day.
So, Tarshish reconsidered. "I thought it would be pretty funny to take the romantic poses and put them into something very mundane like grocery shopping," she said.
In fact, Costco is a big part of the couple's life. They shop there once a week. Tarshish's father, who makes an appearance in some of the photos on a scooter behind the couple, goes to that Costco "every day."
Sherman and the couple held the photo shoot at the big box store about a half-hour before closing to avoid alarming shoppers or store personnel. They did not get permission from the company.
"It's always a balance of doing something for a couple and not being obnoxious in public," Sherman said.
To keep a low profile, Sherman had to forgo the usual tools of the trade, namely her lights. "I like to do creative lighting, but you're not going to cause a scene," she said. So, she made do with Costco's bright fluorescent lighting.
The photos took on a viral life of their own over the past few days, after Tarshish posted them on Reddit. (http://tinyurl.com/zyasxse)
Since then, Tarshish and Klamet's unusual engagement photo story has been featured on the "Today" show and in publications from the United Kingdom to Hong Kong. The experience has been "surreal," Tarshish said.
"You look at stuff on the Internet that's going viral and just move on with your life," she said, "but it's weird to be that content."
The spread has people wondering what's next for the couple. One Reddit user wrote on the social network, "I look forward to the Wal-Mart wedding shoot."
Tarshish responded: "That's where my bachelorette party is."