A Chicago couple had quite a crowd for their wedding over the weekend, and not all of it included invited guests.
It was a real-life version of sorts of the movie "The Wedding Crashers," as a sea of NATO protesters marched into the wedding photo shoot for Beth and Tim Alberts. A video of the scene turned into an instant viral sensation, with photos grabbing headlines in newspapers as far away as Australia and the United Kingdom.
"We were looking for something, you know, cool, a little piece of history in our wedding photos," said Beth Alberts when reached by telephone during her Hawaiian honeymoon. "We're actually smiling, walking into the crowd. People were really supportive at first, and then, it got a little scary."
That's about when the 27-year-old's smile turned into the sneer that made headlines worldwide.
She said she reacted that way because she had yet to walk down the aisle, and the sea of NATO protesters started closing in on her white, mermaid-cut, Vera Wang dress.
"It was really intimidating and kind of an intense feeling to be surrounded suddenly. That hurried look is me actually yelling at my maid of honor to find my bouquet, because I didn't know who had it," she said.
Alberts, née Potts, and her new husband were college sweethearts at Eastern Illinois University. They dated roughly eight years and booked their wedding last February. They chose the tony Waldorf Astoria in the Gold Coast, miles away from the site of the NATO Summit at McCormick Place.
When the announcement came a few months later that their wedding coincided with the summit, it was too late to change plans. They instead decided to embrace the event, and use it as a backdrop for wedding photos.
Tim Alberts said that when the crowd converged on the wedding party, his thoughts turned to his then-bride to be.
"I absolutely wasn't worried about myself at that point. I was just kind of looking around, making sure she was okay," he said.
She was frazzled, but not injured. She collected her belongings along with her thoughts and hustled off with her wedding party to an awaiting limousine bus. It was a bus that had brought them down the Loop because the couple wanted some candid wedding shots with NATO protesters.
"Obviously, we were a little out of place, but it was all intentional. It got great shots, and we really kind of in the heat of it all," bridesmaid Rachel Britnell said.
The wedding was far hotter than the couple ever envisioned, but they managed to start their journey on a memorable note.
"We definitely have a lot more photos and video than we thought we would to kinda look back in the years to come," Tim Alberts said.
"It's kind of cool to show our grandchildren one day, you know, that we were in the news. Otherwise, I think we'd like to go on with our lives," Beth Alberts said.
The Alberts are both Chicago residents. He works as a law clerk at Brady, Connolly & Masuda. She is a medical aesthetician at Cellular Intelligence MedSpa in the Gold Coast.
Ironically, Beth Alberts serves as the bridal expert for her spa, ensuring brides-to-be look their best on their big day.
Her boss complimented Beth Alberts for keeping cool as things got hot around her.
"The press has made some unpleasant comments that are unnecessary and untrue. She was the most gorgeous bride I've ever seen," said spa owner Dara Levy.