A Bride Wore a Decoy Dress for First Look to Surprise Husband at Alter

  • A bride in Washington surprised her husband by wearing a decoy wedding dress for their first look.
  • But for the ceremony, Amanda Kitchingman Roban-Cook changed into a custom black wedding dress.
  • She told Insider her husband was “underwhelmed” by the decoy, but teared up seeing the real one.

Something is loading.

Thanks for signing up!

Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you’re on the go.

download the app

A bride in Washington surprised her husband in a black wedding dress after she wore a decoy for their first look that left him “underwhelmed” – pulling off the ultimate wedding day prank.

Amanda Kitchingman Roban-Cook, 28, and her husband Alex tied the knot in September after they began dating in 2016, she told Insider. The couple met while working as EMT basics on ambulance night shifts in Reno, Nevada. They currently live in Washington where Amanda works as a cardiac nurse and Alex is a firefighter.

After their engagement in 2020, Amanda said she began looking into bringing her vision for the perfect wedding dress to life. Inspired by Morticia Addams from “The Addams Family,” she told Insider she wanted to design a black, caped dress.

The couple during their first-look photoshoot.

The couple during their first-look photoshoot.

Almida Meyer Photography

But a month before the wedding, which took place an hour north of Seattle by a national park, they decided to do their vows in private. 

“I had spent the better part of a year working on that dress, designing that dress, picturing what it would look like with me coming down the aisle and him looking at me and his reaction,” she said. But by doing their vows privately, she said she was worried she’d miss out on the experience of seeing Alex’s live reaction to her dress as she walked down the aisle.

That’s when she got the idea to surprise Alex by wearing not one, but two wedding dresses on their special day.

The couple sharing a kiss on their wedding day.

The couple sharing a kiss on their wedding day.

Almida Meyer Photography

Amanda told Insider she dug out a silver gown she bought for $300 on Pinterest five years ago to wear for their first look and vows, tricking Alex into believing it was the real wedding dress.

One thing about their relationship she shared she loves is how they’ve never stopped having fun together.

“We kind of both vowed to never take ourselves too seriously and never grow up,” Amanda said. “Especially early on in our relationship we played a lot of pranks on each other.”

When Alex saw her in the decoy dress, Amanda said she could see a hint of disappointment in his eyes as he had previously been so confident she’d wear black. “I don’t think anybody else would have really caught it, but I could just see the slightest ‘What?’ in his face,” Amanda said. 

Amanda's dress featured a removable skirt.

Amanda’s dress featured a removable skirt.

Almida Meyer Photography

But thankfully, she had a style “switcheroo” in store. After their vows, with the help of two friends, she swapped into her real gown – a Lace & Liberty black wedding dress inspired by Morticia Addams, which cost roughly $5,000 to custom design.

“I wanted something very unique and very dramatic,” Amanda said of the gown, which featured a cape veil, a lace overlay with star details, and a removable skirt that she said made her feel like a princess.

Walking down to the altar with her father by her side, Amanda told Insider that seeing Alex’s reaction made the prank worth it. “I saw Alex have the realization wash over him that this was a totally different dress,” she said.

Amanda said Alex

Amanda said Alex “absolutely lost it” when he saw her walk out in her real wedding dress.

Almida Meyer Photography

Not one to usually cry, Alex couldn’t help but shed a tear seeing Amanda in her real gown because it was so much more her style, she said.

“He just absolutely lost it, he had to turn away and ask for a tissue because he said he was about two seconds away from ugly crying up at the altar,” she said. And it wasn’t just Alex that got emotional seeing her in the black gown. Their wedding was intimate, she said, with just 50 guests in attendance.

“I think I made at least half of the crowd cry,” Amanda said. “Our friends and extended family were blown away.”

And having spent so much time designing her perfect wedding dress, Amanda said she has zero plans to keep it in storage. Amanda told Insider that her mother-in-law made a comment about how she can now “put the dress away and never look at it again,” at the wedding, to which Amanda said absolutely not.

Amanda said she definitely plans to wear her wedding dress again.

Amanda said she definitely plans to wear her wedding dress again.

Almida Meyer Photography

“I have to find something to wear this to, even if it’s just putting it on and walking in the park and scaring little children,” she said.

Jokes aside, Amanda told Insider that she may break out the dress for an upcoming Vampire-themed Ball in Seattle. 

“There’s an opportunity to wear it again,” she said.