13 Grooms Describe How They Felt When They Saw Their Bride For The First Time

Photo: Sergii Sobolevskyi / Shutterstock
bride behind groom

Weddings are notoriously extensive experiments in testing the range of human emotion. No matter how minimalist or non-traditional a nuptial ceremony may be, those getting married experience an avalanche of feelings in a very short amount of time.

Right smack dab in the middle of this hurricane of feels is the apex of the event: That One Moment You See Your Beloved At The Altar.

We asked men to tell us what really went through their minds when they first saw their brides coming down the aisle. Here are the best groom reactions to their bride.

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1. I was laughing and crying.

"I just started crying. I don’t remember what I thought, but all this emotion just bubbled up and spilled out and I was laughing and crying all at once. I looked gross and she looked like royalty."

2. I felt so relieved.

"I don’t remember my exact thoughts, but I felt this HUGE sense of relief once she was in the room. I’d been going nuts navigating all this craziness without her all day and once she was there, I was like 'Oh thank GOD, she’s finally here!' It was more like feeling like the rest of my team had arrived than someone who was just going to take care of me."

3. I thought, "Uh oh."

"'Ohhh f*ck' was my first thought. My second thought was realizing that my first thought was a serious red flag I couldn’t do anything about at the moment. It was terrible. My heart dropped and suddenly it felt too real like I hadn’t really considered the gravity of what we were doing until she was physically in the room with the dress and the flowers and the preacher. We were divorced within a couple of months but it only lasted that long because I went right into denial mode to get us through the wedding and honeymoon."

4. I was so ready to marry her.

"I totally remember thinking 'OH HELL YES!! LET’S DO THIS!!' and I legit wanted to yell 'Woo!!!' But instead, I restrained myself and just went for a  high-five when she got to me out of my excitement. Her face was priceless, like 'Whatcha doing there, big guy? Alright, party!' I was giddy as hell the whole rest of the day."

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5. She looked like a star.

"Apparently, I just went 'Oh wooooooooooow...' out loud, which you can see on the video, even though I don’t remember it. I just remember thinking she looked incredible."

6. I was too nervous to remember.

"I don’t remember what I thought. I was so nervous that whole day."

7. I was speechless.

"My wife and I didn't think the 'seeing her in the dress for the first time' was going to be a big deal. We'd been to so many weddings where the reception was delayed forever while the wedding party took pictures that, out of annoyance, we scheduled our pictures right BEFORE our ceremony, so our friends could get to eating and drinking faster. So I didn't see her in the dress for the first time in the chapel. Instead, she just strolled into a room at our reception venue where I was finishing up our groomsmen pictures and she hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I'd seen the dress before on a hanger but just wasn't prepared for how much my soon-to-be wife would bring that dress to life. Without a word, everyone (photographer included) realized the gravity of the moment as I just gasped at her and left us alone to stare at each other and recover in privacy. It was kind of amazing."

8. I told myself not to f*ck it up.

"I first thought, 'Oh my god here she is. Okay. Not playing around anymore. Don’t f*ck this up. Don’t f*ck this up. Don't f*ck this up.' And then I kept thinking that for the next week."

9. Everyone else melted away and it was just the two of us.

"I’d been really going through it in the weeks beforehand — cold feet, calling exes, drinking way too much at our pre-party events, really questioning the whole thing. The morning of, I was seriously considering shutting it down, but when she showed up and looked perfect, I was like, 'Oh yeah! THAT is why you proposed in the first place, assh*le!' I know this will sound stupid, but all the people around us melted away and it felt like just us. My nerves completely vanished after that."

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10. I was happy she picked the dress I liked.

"'Yay! She went with that dress!' There was no grand, overwhelming emotion. We’d done all the prep work on the wedding together and had spent the morning tying up loose ends. We’d only been apart for about an hour just to get ready. The only surprise of the day was what dress she’d picked, but the whole thing felt so natural and easy and stress-free, which was a real blessing."

11. I immediately got a boner.

"This is embarrassing, but I was immediately distracted by my boner. We laugh about it now, but at the time I was like 'NOT NOW DUDE.'"

12. I felt like I could see the finish line. 

"All my heartache and loneliness were gonna be over forever. I’d defeated all the obstacles and climbed all the levels, and I’d finally gotten my princess in the castle. I was just standing there thinking 'Walk faster!! I don’t want this to get thwarted somehow!'"

13. It was completely organic.

"We walked down to the beach together, and she’d had me zip her into the dress back at our bungalow, so I didn’t get a big reveal. I like that it felt organic and normal without some weird, old-fashioned 'presenting-the-bride' show in the middle. It felt more intimate to help each other into our wedding clothes and hold each others’ hands through the whole thing. That’s what marriage actually IS once the ceremony is over. We both love that we’ve had the same MO from the very beginning."

Liz Pardue-Schultz is a writer whose work has appeared in Huffington Post, Time Magazine, XOJane, Medium, SheSaid, HelloGiggles, Ravishly, and Thought Catalog.