COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A girlfriend catching the bouquet at a wedding can make any boyfriend nervous - but a selfie of a young Columbus couple capturing a genuinely silly moment is getting some unfair attention. However the young couple isn't letting internet haters get in the way of their faith-filled love.
A post to Reddit on June 21 captions the candid photo perfectly: "My friend caught the bouquet. That is her boyfriend in the background."
Ashley Stevens, 21, was super excited to catch the bouquet at a cousin's wedding in Norfolk, VA on June 20. Her boyfriend, Chris Reed, 21, Stevens and her father joined in for a selfie that's now all over the internet.
"We decided to take a silly picture and it all times out perfect! Her, me and her dad to my left. We never expected it to get as huge as it did, so quickly," Reed said on Wednesday.
Millions of people have shared the photo on social media, and created a multitude of memes from Reed's face. Despite the good-hearted and silly nature of the original picture, some on the internet have been negative about the picture, most of the comments directed at Reed and his appearance in relation to what his girlfriend looks like.
"We've had some pretty rude and nasty comments, but we've mostly ignored them as tons of friend and family have taken time to correct the hate and explain how great of people we are and how much we mean to them," Reed said.
The couple, who've been together for nearly two-and-a-half years, continue to love through the shallow hate – and their families are backing them up.
Stevens, the sweet girl smiling in the picture, took to her Facebook profile on Monday to defend her amazing boyfriend, and address the "haters" who won't stop their love. She also shared her status on Twitter by saying: "And as of those rude comments, this is how I feel about them."
"If you have seen the comments on our photo that went viral, they are pretty shallow and rude," Stevens said. "Well, let me just tell you, I won the jackpot with Christopher. He may not have rock hard abs like the world tells girls to want in a guy, but really, why does that even matter when you are trying to really find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with."
Stevens called Reed her best friend, and their love and strength in God is reflected through their relationship and their support system.
As for if and when he might pop the question, Reed said their engagement picture will reflect their true selves - but wedding bells might come after they both graduate from Columbus State University with degrees in sociology.
"And if I were to pop the question, we would definitely take another epic selfie and show you our true colors, once more," Reed said.
On July 17, Ashley and Christopher appeared on Good Morning America, you can check out their appearance by clicking here.