The buzz was happy at first.
Breana Pulizzi and Bria Nicole Terry are both professional wedding photographers in Texas. They also both happen to have photogenic children.
Pulizzi’s daughter, Ella, is 3. Terry’s son, Sullivan, is 5.
They’ve been wanting to do a photo shoot together with their children and recently made that happen by photographing Ella and Sullivan as a mini bride and groom in a make-believe wedding shoot.
Pulizzi posted an album of 15 of those photos to her Facebook page last week.
People started sharing the photos. The national media took notice. And then social media crashed the wedding like an uninvited jealous ex, prompting Pulizzi to post a warning to her Facebook page.
“All internet bullies will be blocked and banned from my page,” she wrote. “Please do not comment negativity on any images or posts. If you don’t like what you see feel free to keep scrolling.”
“That first day, the majority of the comments were positive,” Pulizzi told Redbook magazine. “I didn’t really see anything negative until the second or third day.
“I’ve been accused of encouraging child marriage, which doesn’t even make sense. I had someone accuse me of sexually exploiting my child for money, when I didn’t make a dime on this — I spent money to produce this shoot.
“I’ve been accused of encouraging pornography; someone else said that they were going to call CPS on me; another person said that I should be investigated for being a pedophile.”
A photo of the two children kissing — a moment Ella created when she kissed her friend unprompted — was a particular lightning rod, the one that had people threatening to call Child Protective Services on the moms.
Everything had started so innocently, the women said.
“They were holding hands and skipping around and giggling the entire time,” Terry told People magazine. “They’re really good friends. She told him that now they were getting married, they get to be best friends forever.”
The children were naturals in their roles, so much so that one point when their moms told them to stand close together for one shot, Sullivan went one step further.
“We put them side-by-side next to each other and Sullivan dropped down on one knee — we weren’t even ready and he popped right down!” Pulizzi told People. “We jumped back to take pictures and he put the ring on her pointer finger, which I thought was adorable.”
Pulizzi told Redbook she doesn’t understand why the photos have set people off.
“Like, how do you get any of that from this?” she said. “I absolutely adore my child. I’m a very proud mom. I want to be able to capture every moment. We had fun that day, and it’s very tainted now.”