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Small arms, big heart: Bride dresses as T. rex, surprises husband-to-be

Millions have viewed a video of a bride, dressed as a T. rex, surprising her groom. See her actual wedding look and read the couple's story.
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

Planning a wedding can be stressful, and for Elizabeth Gardner, when the big day finally arrived, she was looking forward to sharing some laughs with her husband, Tom.

But Gardner, who got married this past November, has made more than just her groom laugh at her attempt to lighten the mood on their wedding day — millions have recently viewed a viral video, shot by Jonathan Murray of Jon Clark Weddings, that shows the Chicago, Illinois, woman surprising her husband before their wedding ceremony, dressed as a Tyrannosaurus rex.

"You can take the calmest person in the world, throw them into the middle of planning a wedding and they will lose their minds," Gardner told TODAY. "This was just my way of breaking the tension and giving my soon-to-be-husband a good laugh before all the wedding day madness kicked into full gear."

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Gardner visited her husband in the T. rex costume during the couple's "first look" — a time set aside by some couples to see one another and take photos before their wedding ceremony.

Murray, who shot the video, says the first look trend is a growing one, as it cuts down on the time a couple spends taking photos during the time when they should be enjoying their wedding reception.

"It helps to allow more time to do fun, creative types of shots and to cut down on how long the guests have to wait to begin the reception," Murray explained. "The groom is typically staged in a location and the bride comes up behind him and taps him on the shoulder or he just simply turns around and sees his bride. It makes for a very sweet moment."

Elizabeth and Tom Gardner wedding, Raleigh Wedding Photographer Paul Seiler
Before their wedding ceremony, Elizabeth Gardner surprised her husband-to-be, Tom, by visiting him dressed as a T. rex.Paul Seiler / Paul Seiler Photography

Gardner says she and her husband still had their "sweet moment" — she reappeared in her wedding dress after the T. rex reveal to spend some quality time with Tom before the ceremony.

"He must have said, 'I love you,' about ten times," Gardner recalled. "After that we just talked about how our day had been so far. We had not seen each other since the night before and we wanted to catch up."

RELATED: Photographer explains T. rex in 'best wedding pic ever'

Gardner says her mother's maiden name is Rex, as is her own middle name, making a dinosaur pun too funny to pass up.

"I thought it would be funny to wear the costume on the day I would go from a Rex-Hundley to a Gardner," she said. "I even had my bridesmaids take pictures of me the day before the wedding holding a sign that said, 'Today a Rex, tomorrow a Gardner.'"

Tom and Elizabeth Gardner T. rex wedding
Tom and Elizabeth Gardner had fun with their wedding party by holding a water gun battle at the close of their reception.Paul Seiler Photography

The couple's sense of humor carried over into other parts of their wedding as well. At the close of their reception, the bride, groom and wedding party had a water gun battle.

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Murray says shooting the couple's wedding video — and the funny first look — was a touching experience.

Tom and Elizabeth Gardner, Raleigh Wedding Photographer Paul Seiler
Photographer Jonathan Murray said he enjoyed filming the couple's wedding and seeing how much fun the two have together.Paul Seiler / Paul Seiler Photography

"It just truly showed the dynamic of their fun relationship," he said. "They’re a couple you can see will make the most of their life together."