"The bride Tammy's father is a retired fireman and not the type you'd think would be overly emotional," says photographer Jody Sie of Better Together Photography, who captured this special moment. "He was trying so hard not to cry during the father-daughter dance. I caught him just as the first tear was about to fall." Tammy and her father danced to the song "I Loved Her First" by Heartland. "The bartender and I cried so much that we went through a whole stack of cocktail napkins during their first dance," says Sie.
"I'm actually shocked I could see well enough through my tears to get this shot."
Both the bride and groom in this Australian wedding have been traveling to popular and picturesque Lake Tinaroo since they were children—so it was a natural choice for their wedding location. The father-of-the-bride, who now lives on the lake, admitted he was going to be emotional during the ceremony from the get-go, says photographer Matthew Evans, and lifting his daughter's veil after walking her down the aisle was no exception.
Bride Ashley is the youngest of five children and was the last daughter to get married. "When we talked about walking down the aisle, I knew I couldn't just link my arm through his; this moment called for us to hold hands," says Ashley, whose wedding was photographed by Chenin Boutwell. "And I'll never forget the strength of his hand that day. As you can see in the picture I am looking down because I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by all the emotion—but he didn't loosen his grip for even one second."
The bride adds, "When my dad saw this picture he was so surprised. 'I thought I was smiling!' he said. I cracked up because I make the same face when I'm trying to smile sometimes—yet another thing we have in common!"
"This situation just kind of spontaneously happened and I'm not sure the guys in the photo had any idea how funny it looked," says photographer Anna Harriman of John + Louise Weddings, who decided to start snapping shots when the bride's father, brother, and a friend created an impromptu tie tying train. "They were just doing what all men do before a wedding—struggling to put their ties on! Seriously, it's like a male bonding experience to help each other with ties."
"My dad, like many fathers, doesn't always show his emotions," says bride Christina, whose wedding was photographed by Katie Stoops. "But as he was walking me down the aisle, he whispered that he was nervous because he couldn't get through his father-of-the-bride speech without getting emotional. It was so sweet to see him emotionally invested in the wedding! During the father-daughter dance he was so happy. We danced to 'Landslide' by Fleetwood Mac, one of his favorite songs."
This bride's ceremony location didn't do much to quell her nerves walking down the aisle. The old New England meeting house had two off-center aisles, and with guests standing and her groom positioned front and center, she wasn't able to see him until she turned the corner. "It was super emotional walking down the aisle," says photographer Kara Pearson. "[The groom] was crying and it was just a special moment for all involved."
"This photo was taken directly after my dad gave his speech to all the guests at my wedding," says bride Sarah, of one of her favorite wedding moments captured by photographer Tom Tomkinson. "He wrote an incredibly heartfelt, moving speech that I will never forget. My dad has always inspired me to follow my passions. Through various stories about my competitive sports moments and career moves, he told our guests that he always believed in me and knew I would find success in life. His confidence in me has done so much for me throughout the years, and I was so happy to see that this moment of love and appreciation for my dad was captured."
"I have an incredible relationship with my family, but especially my dad," says bride Holly, whose April 2012 wedding was held on Lake Travis in Lago Vista, TX. The only daughter of three children, Holly and her father knew the wedding was going to be an emotional day and photographer Ryan Price was there to capture it.
"My dad kept saying that if could get through the three major points of the day without crying, than he would be proud: the walk down the aisle, his toast, and the father-daughter dance," says the bride. "He successfully got through the walk down the aisle and the toast, which were both amazing moments, and then it was finally time for the dance. As we were dancing there were no tears, but just reflection on the day so far. The picture was taken as the dance was about to end, and it just felt like what you would always dream of.
My dad, who has been such a significant part of my life—and even though I will always be his little girl—proudly gave his blessing to this new chapter in my life."
Bride Thy was orphaned at a young age and then raised by her uncle, who walked her down the aisle. "Vietnamese have a ceremony where they pay respects to their parents, so she had been very emotional and crying," says photographer Jennifer Tai. "When it was it was time for the Westerm ceremony, Thy's uncle told her that it was time to smile, like this," and the photo gives a perfect idea of what he wanted.
"I've been to enough weddings now that I know to turn around and peek at the parents during the vows," says photographer Jesse Holland. "It was an all-around emotional day for the father of the bride as he was witnessing his youngest daughter get married. Even though they had a traditional church wedding, we all hopped in pedi-cabs after the ceremony to do the rest of the photos around town."
Erica and Tyler were married at Muir Murray Winery in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. "Shortly after their ceremony, and in between portraits, Erica's parents decided to show the newlyweds how it's done!" says photographer Jeff Cooke. "It also happened to be the parents' wedding anniversary so it was perfect."
Bride Kate married in the church she grew up attending. Her father, a minister, officiated the ceremony and this photo captured the moment just before they walked down the aisle, says photographer Katie Stoops.
"The mood was very sweet and peaceful," says photographer Julie Whitlock. "There were many emotional moments between the bride and her father but this was certainly the best, taken right after the ceremony ended."
"This photo was taken just before we got out of the car before the ceremony. I was so nervous but my dad made me laugh the whole way to the church," says Brides own digital content director Lisa Harman Gooder. "Our wedding was the night before Father's Day and my brother and I had the caterer bring out a whale-shaped ice cream cake from Carvel that said, 'You're a whale of a dad'—just like when we were kids."
"I can remember my father walking through the door," says bride Melody, of this moment captured by Dani Leigh Photography. "I was trying so hard not to tear up but it was really no use. It was the only time I cried the whole day! My father was there when I picked out my wedding dress but it was a whole different feeling for him to see me in it the day of. He whispered in my ear that he remembered when I was once his only littlest daughter and now I'm all grown up."
Bride Jessica was the third generation to walk down the aisle this gorgeous wedding dress, the same gown her mother wore to marry her father. "On my wedding day, the one thing I was actually nervous about was the moment my dad would see me in the dress my mom also wore on their wedding day," says Jessica. "I'm a daddy's girl for sure, and my dad's only daughter, so our moment together was a big deal. Now, my dad is a strong guy, not shaken by much, and still my hero. (It doesn't matter that I'm 27 years old.) But the moment that he walked in the door to see me all ready to go—well, his pure emotion and love floored me."
Photographer Tara Kneiser of Dixie Pixel Photography was just as stunned. "Jessica and her father are family friends of mine, and I was so shocked when he choked up—I never expected him to do that. They really are a sweet family. I was crying when I took the photo!"
"My dad has truly been the rock in our family and has raised my sisters and I with strong morals and values," says bride Emily, reflecting on this moment captured by Kallima Photography. "This moment during the wedding truly captured a lifetime of gratitude and honor felt for him. It was an overwhelming yet joyous moment. I can honestly say I do not know where I would be without having had him by my side growing up."
"After putting on her dress, her dad came into the room for his 'first look,' which resulted in a big bear hug while the bride's mom looked on, hardly holding back her tears," says photographer Jeff Cooke.
Making a father-of-the-bride speech is a daunting task—and this one needed to sit down to recover! "The bride's father had written an incredible speech, but he wasn't sure he would be able to make it through due to his emotions," says photographer Katie Stoops. "So each of the bride's uncles took a section of the speech and read it their own way. It was amazing."
"My father mentioned to our wedding planner that he would need about 20 minutes or so blocked off during the reception for this father of the bride speech. She panicked, but I told her let him take as much time as he needed," says bride Anne-Marie, whose October 2008 wedding was held in Westchester County, New York. "During his speech, time flew. Literally. He talked about my childhood and how he used to sit in the parking lot during my high school dances—something I never knew! He talked about how proud of our family he was, and what a good job my mom had done raising us.
He talked about his faith, which is one of the things I admire about him most, and he recited a poem he had written just for the occasion. He had the whole room captivated. Not a single person moved for 20 minutes."