12 Apr 2014
A Mastiff and Salmon Sliders
As a wedding Officiant, I get the opportunity to work not only with interesting couples but also with lots of animals in my weddings. Couples in their search for something different, something authentic, something entertaining, will use animals to create some interest in their weddings. In most cases, the dog or cat is part of the couple’s family and holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the couple.
I see dogs more than any other animal. Recently at a very upscale hotel, a huge 195-pound Mastiff was the best man, dressed to the nines with cuffs and tie. He behaved perfectly during the ceremony, although he thought the rose petals might be dog biscuits and had to check this out when the flower girl came down the aisle. This gorgeous animal scared a young lady carrying some salmon sliders during cocktail hour. He woofed at her and the salmon sliders lived up to their name and slid everywhere! He just wanted one – after all, it was cocktail hour!
Once there were two tiny Chihuahuas dressed like the bride and groom and carried in a basket by a bridesmaid. They were so cute. Then in June there was a little Jack Russell dressed as the ring bearer in a sweater in 100-degree heat! Really! Poor little girl – she was better behaved than most of the bridal party! I just think the sweater in the heat was too much!
Sometimes I see a cat, but I think like our friend Grumpy Cat (otherwise known as Tardar Sauce), most cats are far too superior to participate in such an event; it would be beneath one’s dignity. (Smirk!)
Another thing I see is the use of birds… especially the hawk who “delivers the rings.” The hawk doesn’t really bring in the rings but gives the illusion that it does, which makes it really cool. The best man pretends not to be able to find the rings; then he turns around and puts on a glove with a treat for the hawk, while in the back of the audience a licensed falconer releases the hawk. Then the hawk flies to the best man for the treat, ostensibly delivering the wedding rings. The Officiant removes the rings from the thumb of the best man and the hawk then flies back to the falconer. The guests are really wowed by this display of falconry and bravery.
Doves are also used as an impressive statement at the end of the wedding ceremony. When done correctly, this is so sweet. The doves are released by the bride and groom or sometimes the entire bridal party. The doves simply fly back to the roost they came from; somehow they know where to go… sort of amazing, actually.
Other animals like horses are used to either pull a wagon or cart to bring the bride and then take the couple away from the ceremony site. Or the groom can ride in on a white horse like Prince Charming. In Indian weddings, sometimes an elephant brings the groom to the ceremony location.
Another interesting custom in India, used to ward off bad spirits, is the marriage between human and animals. Although animal/human marriage are not officially recognized, they are still practiced in a few places.
So think about how you might include your animal friend in your ceremony. This could be a unique and fun way to embrace something different for your wedding ceremony!