As you know, we publish beautiful, emotional, and inspirational photos from real weddings every single day here at BRIDES. And in order to select said images, our editors pour through thousands upon thousands of photo galleries, Instagram feeds, and blog posts—you'd think it would get old eventually, right? Well, it doesn't! Every single time, in every single wedding gallery, we spot never-before-seen photos that stand out and moments that, quite frankly, stop us in our tracks (in which case, we naturally send screenshots to other editors with captions like, "Look at that smile!" or "OMG, he's crying!").
Of course, these photos often include the firsts—the first dance, the first kiss, the first look—but the one moment we always fall for is the ceremony exit (and, no, it's not because of the confetti toss or rice shower). Why do we love this moment, you ask? There are a few theories, but mostly we love that the ceremony exit is a purely candid moment. It's the moment when the couple realizes, "OMG, we did it!" Some brides cry, some grooms throw their hands in the air, and others sneak in another kiss. But no matter what the couple's reaction is, it's special to them. And in one photo, the photographer has (hopefully) captured all that joy and happiness. We love that—and we thought you would, too.
Here we give you a curated gallery packed full of emotional, candid, real photos. We hope these newlywed couples inspire you and get you excited for your own march down the aisle!
Mary and Madison
After exchanging vows in a circle of their nearest and dearest, Mary and Madison exited hand-in-hand to applause.
A Beautiful Elopement
This couple may have shied away from a big wedding—“We’re both behind-the-scenes people. That’s kind of why we eloped,” says the bride—but they were definitely the center of attention during their rice-filled exit.
Elizabeth and Colin
After a celebratory exit, the newlyweds moved to the farm's lawn for cocktail hour, where the bride's close friend played the guitar, harmonica, and violin.
Carly and Oscar
After exchanging traditional vows during their church ceremony, Carly and Oscar exited to the bolero classic "Besame Mucho" as a nod to their Mexico City location.
Hillary and Gab
After their intimate, personal ceremony in Italy, the couple's guests tossed rose petals as the groom scooped up his new wife for a kiss!
Chanel and Eric
Chanel and Eric exchanged vows under a chuppah made with the bride’s grandfather’s tallit and then ran off as Father John Misty’s “Real Love Baby” played. “My heart still melts every time I hear that song,” she says.
Grace and Thomas
After exiting to “Handel’s Hornpipe," the newlyweds popped champagne as they made their getaway on a trolley.
Lucilla and Filippo
The couple married in a traditional Catholic ceremony at a private chapel on the family’s property, which was filled with thousands of pastel-colored petals. After exchanging vows, the newlyweds exited to a shower of more petals and doves flying away.
Chloe and Joseph
After their rainy, outdoor ceremony, this couple invited groomsmen to sing “Beth Rest” by Bon Iver for their recessional. “It added to the romance that Joseph and I were feeling,” Chloe explains.
Jimmy and Chris
As soon as these grooms were pronounced married, they were draped with pink “husband” sashes and surrounded by hundreds of bubbles. Says Chris, “With the skyline in the background and bubbles everywhere, it made for some really special pictures!”
Pernille and Philip
Pernille Teisbaek and her groom made their official exit from the ceremony in a Porsche Speedster decorated with cans, streamers, and paper hearts made by the bride's beautiful bridesmaids.
Erin and Brooks
This Charleston-based couple exchanged vows in a chapel covered in flowers before celebrating surrounded by even more floral beauty.
Layne and Bucky
We think this groom likes the look of his new bling.
Solange and Brian
This photo is evidence that a rice toss always makes for fun photos!
Enlist the Band
This couple embraced their destination wedding venue by enlisting a mariachi band to play for the recessional.
Yasmine and Patrick
These Brooklyn newlyweds exited to a shower of petals and plenty of applause! And how about the bride's epic reaction, right!?
Amanda and Emily
After each walking down the aisle with their parents, these newlywed brides walked back down the aisle—this time, together!
Make it Fun
This groom matched the confetti exit to his bright red pants!
Jillian and Jimmy
This couple included their children in their walk down the aisle for a sweet family moment.
Keep it Classic
Sometimes, a bride and groom must brace themselves for what's to come (in this case, a shower of rice!).
Chelsea and Ashley
This bride wrote the entire ceremony, including the recess to an instrumental version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up,” a fun, upbeat song that would be the start of their celebration.
Add in a Pet
This bride and groom included their adorable dog (wearing a flower crown!) in their exit.
Isatu and Philipp
A flower-filled exit was perfect for this wedding in the English countryside.
Joanna and Dean
Ribbons were the accessory of choice during this couple's church exit.
Molly and Joel
Molly and Joel had their wedding party line the stairs as they made their grand exit, which doubled as their grand entrance as a married duo!