Do furry friends have any place at a wedding? Oh, yeah! Amy Shearer investigates how to make it fun and stress-free for them and for you
One dog. Two unicorns. Three alpacas. That’s not a snippet of the passenger manifest from Noah’s Ark, but just some of the extra guests you might like to consider inviting to your wedding for a sprinkling of extra fun. As furry four-legged friends become an increasingly common sight in wedding photographs, we thought it was time we took a look at the logistics of injecting some creature comforts into your day. Is it as lovely as it looks? Or are there hidden pitfalls to avoid? Let’s start with the dogs.
Can you imagine leaving this little guy at home while you’re off getting married? Thankfully, ‘doggy chaperones’ like Spotlessly Chic make it easy for the pooch to be part of the day (Photo: Nikki Leadbetter)
Barking up the right tree
There’s no denying it: dogs are properly part of the family. We spend every day with our beloved pooches, so why should things be any different on your wedding day? But how exactly will that work? Who’ll keep the dog calm amid all the noise and laughter? Who’ll take it for a walk when it needs a break? What if a guest slips it a sausage roll or a haggis bonbon or some other food it’s not supposed to eat and it ends up being sick all over the best man’s brogues?
The best solution could be to hire a ‘doggy chaperone’ such as Julie Hunter at Spotlessly Chic. She helps out at dozens of weddings each year, putting together fully bespoke packages that allow your cherished canine companion to be at your big day too.
“I completed a dog grooming course and was offering boarding for pets too, which is when I had the idea of providing a service to couples getting married,” explains the Aberdeenshire business owner. “It’s unfair to give a guest or a family member the task of looking after your pet all day, so I take on all that responsibility, allowing you to have the day of your dreams in the knowledge that your dog is there and being well looked after.”
As well as providing a full luxury grooming service for the dog ahead of the big day and transporting it to and from the venue, Julie will be on hand to look after your pooch during the wedding and ensure it’s looking good for the photos. As an extra bonus, she’ll also look after your little darling the night before and after the wedding!
Being the national animal of Scotland, it’d be rude not to invite a unicorn to your Scottish wedding, wouldn’t it? Couples looking to sprinkle a bit of magic on their big day can have Scotland’s most famous unicorns attend, brought by mother and daughter duo Sandy and Amy Trimmer at The Unicorn Experience.
Kids (both big and little) will be sure to be swept away in the excitement of it all, with the special animals – aptly named Tinkerbell and Princess – being available for 1½ hour, two hour or all day visits during the day and additionally to meet and spend time with the wedding party at breakfast time, at the venue.
Owner Sandy says the experience isn’t just for the wee ones either: “Surprisingly nearly half of our bookings are weddings that don’t have any children. The adults love queuing up to meet the girls and take photographs. The wee ones can take them for a walk and spend quality time with them too.”
Sandy also can match the mystical animals to the decor and couples can have them act as confetti bearers too – who wouldn’t love that?
Alpaca-ing a punch
Is there a more adorable creature than the friendly, fluffy alpaca? If you think not, you could organise an alpaca meet-and-greet to delight and entertain your wedding guests. A supplier like Claireville Alpacas, which is based in Fife, will bring along some of its herd to mingle with guests, as the sweet alpacas pout at the camera and keep the wee ones (and, let’s be honest, the big ones) entertained.
Claire Blyth loves the comical creatures and says they’re always camera-ready: “We’ve been bringing our alpacas to weddings for the past two years and they always go down an absolute treat,” she smiles. “We set up the petting pen, which we can decorate with flowers and sashes. Guests love being able to interact with the boys – they are such sociable animals and love posing for photographs!”
Claire is happy to bring her handsome herd to weddings across central Scotland and the surrounding areas, and can offer various packages depending on how much alpaca action you want on your day. “We have three ‘al-packages’ for you to choose from,” she says. “We can have the boys be your ring-bearers, greeting your guests or on hand for getting great snaps with the happy couple. We can also dress them in their bow ties.”
How about some awe-inspiring feathered friends for your w-day? Imagine how incredible it would be to see an eagle or an owl swoop over your guests’ heads, landing at the top of the aisle and delivering the rings to the best man. A company like Elite Falconry can make that happen. The Fife-based business can also provide an interactive flying demonstration to entertain your guests while you’re off being photographed.