We’ve been shooting weddings together for over 15 years now and each year we see an amazing range of individuality coming through at each wedding. But 2019 definitely topped it, for one reason – the number of animals we saw taking part, with dogs, horses, and alpacas turning up as ring bearers, witnesses, and guests. So, we thought we’d write a blog to share everything you need to know about having your horse or pet at your wedding!
Being equine and wedding photographers, we were really excited about this, an amazing creative opportunity. Its always been my dream to have horses at weddings – two huge passions colliding!
We’ve been asking our couples why they chose to include their pet in their day, how it felt and any key tips they would offer to couples who are planning on going down this route.
What Our Couples Say About Pets at Weddings
Tracey & Duane got married at the stunning Whatley Manor in the Cotswolds in February with a small, intimate ceremony. They had their two beautiful dogs, Libby & Maggie as ‘ring bearer’ and ‘flower girl’ for their day:
Duane told us: “Maggie & Libbie are key members of our family, it was important to us that they were involved in our big day. While they were extremely well behaved, having Bev on hand from Beautifurz to keep them occupied during the ceremony made sure that everything ran smoothly and with everyone at Whatley Manor along with Jo and Nic paying them plenty of attention, we are certain that the day was just as special for them as it was for us!
Having the photographs to look back on is wonderful, they definitely stole the show !“
Louise & James tied the knot in a very relaxed ‘wedfest weekend’ at Tonedale House, in Somerset in May. As a fun touch, the couple had three alpacas at the venue on the wedding morning, for the guests to meet and walk around. Later on at the drinks reception, Louise’s stunning Portuguese horse, Eddie, came along as a surprise for the guests:
Louise told us “My horse Educado (‘Eddie’) is a huge part of my life and my husband knew how important he was to me from the start of our relationship. The theme of our wedding was “planes and horses” to reflect our common interests and hobbies so it really did make sense to have him there.
“It was an amazing moment having all of our family, equine and human, present on our special day. The guests absolutely loved Eddie, who adored all the attention (and polos) in return. His presence in some of the photos and video really adds a certain something to the frame! “
Dee & Ben got married June at Cripps Barn, near Cirencester. Having worked with Dee and Ben with our equine photography before, we knew their day would have some furry aspect to it, and they didn’t disappoint!
Dee told us “Rodger our little Norfolk terrier, is a very big part of our lives, so it seemed silly not to have him play a big part in our wedding at Cripps Barn. He was so lovely and a real highlight of the wedding, he was with me when we all got ready and then went with the guys, his outfit matched Ben’s and it was wonderful to get pictures with him, they are probably some of our favourite photographs of our day.”
Horses have and always will be another big part of my life, they have taken me all around the world, I work with them in my job and I have met so very many people through them in one way or another, including my husband, who I met at Hartpury University studying whilst he was over from New Zealand on a rugby scholarship. So having a horse and carriage was another big thing. “
Dee added: “Even though it didn’t go quite to plan with the horses, it makes for a funny wedding story, & I’m so pleased we had horses at our wedding!”
“Dogs and horses have bought Ben and I closer together in many ways through the almost nine years we have been together. They are a big part of our lives and really a wedding is about celebrating all that is important to you as a couple. I would highly recommend it! “
In July, Catherine & Paul got married in Warwickshire. Catherine’s thoroughbred gelding ‘Nilson’ was stabled at a beautiful house with stables, just down the road from the church and reception venue, on their wedding day.
As well as having photographs with Nilson (and Paul!) on foot, Catherine was our one bride who braved getting on her horse, to ride in her wedding dress, side-saddle – amazing!
In late July, Anna & Richard got married at the stunning Ston Easton Park in Somerset. The couple live in the Philippines, and when we met at the venue to do some planning, Anna mentioned that she and her family were horsey, and that one of her childhood horses, ‘Whisper’ was based near the family home, just up the road. Of course, I couldn’t resist suggesting having Whisper at the wedding!
“Whisper has been part of our family since he was a yearling. He’s 22, so we have grown up together! I now live overseas so only get to see him when I am back for Christmas and over the summer – I miss him greatly! I didn’t really consider having him at our wedding until we met Jo and Nic. Even then, I was unsure how he would fit into our day as the ceremony was mid-afternoon, and I had to convince my husband-to-be that it would be a good idea!
It wasn’t until I read the comments to an article posted by Horse and Hound from people who shared their special day with their horses that I decided to go for it. I am so glad I did: we now have amazing photos to treasure forever. He behaved like an absolute dream and seemed to enjoy the attention – I am pretty sure he was the star of the day! “
We could feel the buzz and excitement that having pets at these weddings added to the mix, making for some incredibly special and wonderful memories for our couples.
Top Tips for Pet Friendly Weddings
A few tips from our brides to help any of you planning to have your dog, horse or other pet at your wedding:
- Think carefully about your timings, and how you will fit them into your day
- Make sure you have permission from your venue
- Have wet wipes handy, so you and your guests don’t spend the rest of the day smelling of horse/dog!
- Remember horses especially, maybe be sensitive to a big crowd of people so plan how guests and your horse ‘interact’ carefully
- If you have your pet at your wedding, things may not quite go to plan, as long as you can let go and enjoy it anyway, you will be fine
- Don’t stress about the small stuff, it’s your day, just enjoy it!
If you’re planning your wedding in 2020 or beyond, and are looking for photography, feel free to drop us a line or call us to talk through ideas, we’d love to hear from you!
We hope this gives you some useful tips on everything you need to know about having your horse or pet at your wedding!