The animals in fairy tales steal our hearts: Cinderella’s songbirds, Bambi’s butterflies and the Darling children’s Nana in Peter Pan. But how about incorporating these icons into your own real-life fairy tale? If you want to bring animals like these into your wedding ceremony, you can certainly do it. But to make sure you get the happy ending you dream of, here are a few important things you should know.
Releasing a dove is a symbol of hope. During your ceremony, you could release just two doves to symbolize your union and future together, or a flock to represent the support of your family and friends.
• The doves used for this purpose are white homing pigeons with an innate ability to find their way home within a 500 mile radius.
• Use a professional dove release company to ensure the birds are properly trained and cared for.
• Unprofessional sources may use ringneck doves, who are not strong fliers and do not have the instinct to return home, leaving them vulnerable to predators.
• Contact the National White Dove Release Society to find a responsible company near you.
Setting butterflies free during your ceremony is a dramatic representation of transition. Butterflies can be purchased individually or in masses.
• Butterflies are bred by reputable companies specifically for this purpose, so be sure to reserve them in advance.
• Butterflies are housed in envelopes until their release. It’s instinctual for them to fly once the envelope is opened.
• However, temperatures must be over 70 degrees for them to fly. Consider the average temps in your area and wedding month.
• Warmth, daylight, clear skies, and low wind are the conditions these beauties need for a successful release.
• Look for companies associated with the professional organization, International Butterfly Breeders Association, Inc. (IBBA) for responsible handing.
You may have a fur baby you’d like to include in the ceremony. Here are some tips to make your day stress-free. (well, almost!)
• First, make sure the venue allows animals on the property.
• If your pet is the ring bearer, for example, use some sort of harness or collar with a pouch to store the precious cargo.
• Use a leash to guarantee that an unexpected distraction will not cause down-the-aisle chaos, and assign someone NOT in your wedding party to walk with the leash in hand.
• No one can control when nature calls, but if possible, have someone walk your pet in a private place just before the ceremony. Don’t forget the pooper scooper!
• Ask a friend or neighbor to be ready with the get-away car to take your furry family member home after the ceremony or after the family formals are taken.
Your wedding ceremony should be unique, expressing everything that is special about you and your spouse-to-be. If a fairy tale wedding is something you’ve always dreamed of, why not complete the scene with creatures of nature? Discuss this idea with your officiant. That’s what we’re here for.
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Cindy Dumont is a Justice of the Peace in North Hampton, New Hampshire.