The Olive Garden Engagement Shoot That Looked Just Like Italy

Olive Garden is known for many things, including its fresh and colorful salads (actually, the best casual dining salad around, according to nearly 50% of those recently surveyed by Mashed), the FREE breadsticks, and the fact that the food it successfully passes off as Italian is actually blatantly American, albeit an American riff on Italian-style dining. There are also quite a few things that Olive Garden would rather that no one know. But let's put that aside for another time because we're here to talk about the Olive Garden secret that only a small slice of the population knows, or at least that was the case until just up until very recently. 

In perfect meta-fashion, not only does Olive Garden pass off American food for Italian, but it's also quite proficient at passing itself off as a romantic Italian grotto – as in a cozy, seaside (or not), sun-dappled, well-gardened stone structure located walking distance from the canal in Venice, or perhaps somewhere off the Amalfi coast. But it really doesn't matter where in Italy we're talking about. The point is that one particular Olive Garden located right here in the U.S. of A. recently did an outstanding job at standing in for a picturesque Italian venue during a recent engagement photo shoot for one couple and their wedding photographer. Here are all the deets on the Olive Garden engagement shoot that looked just like Italy.

This isn't what it looks like

If you've been paying attention to Olive Garden in the last few years, perhaps you've noticed that this American-Italian casual dining institution has been ever-so-quietly burrowing its way into the wedding space, or at least a space adjacent thereto, even if not necessarily by design. First, there was the veritable love letter that the Pioneer Woman's eldest daughter sent to Olive Garden in the hoopla surrounding her wedding to Mauricio Scott. Then, Olive Garden joined in the lovefest by offering to treat Alex and Mauricio to a celebratory meal as a wedding gift, which the couple readily took Olive Garden up on.

Now, it looks as if at least one Olive Garden – the one in Cookeville, Tennesee, is allowing folks to use its stone architecture and lush perennial gardens as a backdrop for their wedding-related photos. And that's precisely what an engaged couple did, thanks to the ingenuity of their Tennessee-based wedding photographer, Shea Cravens, according to Today. Apparently, using Olive Garden as a faux-Italian backdrop was something Cravens had been thinking about for some time. So, it was serendipitous that her friend and client, Carlsey Bibb, along with Bibb's fiancé, Caden Mills, was down for it. From the response to the now-viral story of the Olive Garden faux-to shoot (via Buzzfeed), it would appear that social media users largely agree that the Olive Garden engagement shoot, did, in fact, look just like Italy.