ANIMAL AT YOUR WEDDING?  (But not the one from the Muppets!)

The Humanist ceremony of marriage offers couples a great deal more freedom than traditional church or civil ceremonies, and the content can be pretty light hearted in nature, allowing couples more freedom of choice. Although the ceremony must be a dignified affair, it’s okay to do things a little differently and to have a bit of fun too!

And one way that some couples choose to do this is to incorporate either their beloved pet or other animals in to the ceremony. Here are a few suggestions…

YOUR PET POOCH AS RING BEARER – for many couples and families, their pet dog is as much a part of the family as the humans and for those who genuinely love their pet dog(s) and trust that they will behave, having their dog as ring bearer can mean the world to them. This of course all depends on the venue, as many will not allow this, but for those venues that are a little different, or for couples marrying outdoors, it’s certainly an option.

OWL/HAWK/KESTREL AS RING BEARER – I have experienced this on a few occasions, some of which worked perfectly; others didn’t go quite as planned! Again, this is a bit risky and will depend on the venue, but when an owl or other type of bird is used to deliver the rings as part of the ceremony, the handlers tend to be highly experienced and the birds are normally very well trained. This can be a really beautiful gesture which can be a real crowd pleaser with guests.

RELEASE OF DOVES – For thousands of years, white doves have been a traditional symbol in wedding ceremonies. To the ancient Egyptians, the dove represented quiet innocence. The Chinese saw it as a symbol of peace and long life. To early Greeks and Romans, doves symbolised love, devotion, and caring. It was also the sacred animal of Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love. White doves at a wedding therefore symbolize love, peace, and good luck. As you may know, doves usually pair up for life, so they are a beautiful representation of the lasting commitment being made during the ceremony. It is said that if doves are seen on your wedding day, a happy home is assured.

RELEASE OF BUTTERFLIES – The butterfly is one of nature’s most symbolic and beautiful creations and is a lovely symbol of new beginnings and rebirths. What better way to celebrate the beginning of a new life together than with the releasing of butterflies on your wedding day? There is an old Indian legend about making a wish as you release the butterflies and I am sure that this appeals to many.