Many of my wedding couples over the years have included their pets in their wedding day celebrations, in particular dogs. Although horses have been included on several occasions, so far we haven't seen any (or many!) cats. However at King Family Vineyards in Virginia, Frank the cat almost always makes an appearance at weddings there. I've photographed several weddings over the years there and he's typically around for each one of them. Last time I photographed a wedding there, he and his "girlfriend cat" who's a bit more shy, joined the vendors for dinner on the crush pad! They were hoping for handouts :) Even though he's the vineyard's cat, he really is everyone's cat.
If you are thinking of including your pet in your wedding day, one great way is to have them stand in as your flower girl or ring bearer (a friend calls them Ringbarkers!). Or since one of my couples, Steve & Rebecca, had an indoor ceremony back in December and their venue didn't allow for pets, we arranged to do some portraits with their sweet girl, Fiona, beforehand. Steve and Rebecca did do a first look too, allowing time to do all portraits outdoors in downtown Durham before the ceremony, including with their dog. I loved Fiona's floral/greenery collar. She knew she looked adorable!
As for Chris and Taylor's wedding, their dog Olive just had to be a part of their big day. She's family after all and has lived through many of Taylor's milestones (and now Chris's too!). Olive recently became a big sister to a baby brother too :) Olive was their flower dog and you could just tell she was so happy her humans were tying the knot. Chris and Taylor's wedding was recently featured in 1808 Greensboro's Magazine. Its a must read, so please follow this link to the magazine's online version - Wedding Story: Chris & Taylor Sullivan | 1808 Greensboro Olive also wore a floral collar & her sign "I Loved Her First" was about the sweetest thing I've ever seen. Their venue, Revolution Mill Events, was kind enough to allow Olive to be there for their outdoor ceremony. Having a pet-sitter take her after the ceremony and portraits were done, was a good plan.
One of my favorite memories is from a wedding I photographed 11 years ago. Bleu and Anna were married on her family's beautiful farm. Anna is now one of my assistant/second photographers (and I'm one of her's!) & a dear friend, so its always fun to look back and talk about that day. Bleu and Anna included many of her family's animals in their wedding. The morning of their wedding, Anna's dad called me to tell me that she didn't know it yet, but she'd be riding her horse Buck in to her ceremony in her wedding dress! And that she did. After Bleu and Anna said their vows & being pronounced as husband and wife, the two of them jumped back onto Buck and rode across the field. Their wedding is featured on my old blog & can be found HERE. Forgive me for the poor quality of the blog and film scans. I was still shooting film then & the scans were not the best - times & technology sure have changed!
If you're worried about including your pet in your wedding day plans or your venue simply won't allow pets, consider scheduling an engagement session with your fur baby. Curtis and Becca are getting married this fall on a North Carolina farm that already has animals & doesn't allow for outside pets, however they wanted their dog Rae to take part somehow. When Becca reached out to me to see if it was okay to bring Rae with them for their outdoor session at Belle Isle in Richmond, I jumped on the opportunity and told them yes, by all means! Their friends joined us so they could help out with Rae, so that Curtis & Becca could do some photos with Rae and some without.
Hopefully I'll see more of my couples choosing to have their pets included in their wedding day and/or during their engagement session! I love animals of all kinds, so please reach out to me to see how you can include your fur baby too.