Many things come to mind when thinking of wedding day traditions: the bride wearing something borrowed and something blue; the throwing of the bouquet and tossing of the garter; and of course, the “first look” — when a photographer captures the very first glimpse a bride and groom get of each other on the big day.
For newlywed Tom Gardner, that “first look” turned out to be a little different than most. Because instead of turning around to see his wife Beth standing in a floor-length wedding gown, he instead turned to find her sporting a giant T-Rex costume. (Seriously.)
Their videographer, Jon Murray, captured the hilarious encounter on camera and now their private laugh is going super viral.
The couple, who were married last month on Bald Head Island, North Carolina, tell Babble that getting Internet famous has been pretty cool, albeit unexpected. According to Beth:
“I honestly thought the video would only get shared among our family and friends; but now it has gotten millions of views. I never expected this kind of reaction! It just makes me so happy to know that other people got a laugh out of this moment too; because that’s the reason I did it in the first place, to give my husband a pre-wedding giggle.”
As for the inspiration behind her awesome dino costume, Beth tells Babble that it actually had a bit more significance than you might think:
“My mother’s maiden name, and my middle name, is Rex,” Beth shares. “So, I thought it would be funny to wear the costume on the day I would go from a Rex/Hundley to a Gardner. I even had my bridesmaids take pictures of me the day before the wedding (in the costume) holding a sign that said: ‘Today a Rex, tomorrow a Gardner.'”
How awesome is that?
Keeping in her laughter as she approached Tom couldn’t have been easy, but Beth says that all she was thinking about was whether or not he’d find it as hilarious as she did.
“I kept thinking ‘I hope he laughs. I hope he won’t be mad!’ on a loop,” says Beth. “I was so worried that he would be ‘upset’ that I had ‘ruined’ a once-in-a-lifetime-moment because I am incapable of being serious.”
Luckily, Tom’s response was pretty much everything she could have hoped for.
With all the time, money, and effort that goes into planning a wedding, I have nothing but respect for Beth’s lighthearted approach to the big day. The lead-up can be stressful — but keeping a sense of humor about things can make all the difference. Especially for your wedding crew.
As the Gardner’s videographer Jon Murray tells Babble, “I think I can safely say this was the most fun to shoot out of all my weddings. It’s definitely going to be hard to top that moment.”
And how could it not be? How often do you get a bride willing to dress up as a giant dinosaur?
Not very often at all, Murray shares.
“I’ve been very blessed to have fun brides and not a single bridezilla,” he continues, “but in the end Beth just loved to have fun and do crazy things so it made the whole day just a great time. The bridal party ended the night by shooting water cannons at each other if that tells you anything!”
As for Beth’s husband-to-be? Tom says he was “floored” by the prank — in the best way possible.
“[I was] completely and utterly surprised at what she did,” he says. “I thought I was being romantic holding her favorite flowers with love notes tied to them, but then I turn around expecting my beautiful bride in a white dress, only to meet a T-Rex. I was totally disarmed and could not stop from bursting with laughter. It was just so, her. It validated for me all the planning that went into that day and started things off right and kept it lighthearted, I knew I was marrying my partner in life. It was one of my happiest moments of that day and it’s something I will always remember.”
Beth wasn’t the only one with a few creative gestures up her sleeve that day, though — Tom says he’d been sending each of his groomsmen to her every hour leading up to that moment, with a sunflower and a hand-written love note. (So sweet!)
As for that T-Rex costume, it’s not exactly about to be put into retirement any time soon. Beth admits
“I hope I can make him laugh like that for years to come,” she tells Babble. “The T-Rex suit will be making a couple more appearances at family events over the coming years!”
(Seriously, how do I somehow join this family? Because they seem awesome.)