Home garden weddings are growing in popularity like a lush green lawn after a summer of rain. And it’s no surprise when you consider that there are some serious cost savings to be made. Plus – if you have a raft of unusual wedding guests that you want to include, why not? That’s exactly what Erica and James did when they got married. Scroll down to read all about their DIY home garden wedding.
How did you start planning your wedding?
My cousin got engaged a year and a half before we got married and it made us think..uhhm we should probably get a move on! But we first started planning by organising the church stuff, then marquee then my mum helped ALOT.
How did you find planning your wedding?
My mum did a lot of the planning, I just kind of okay-ed and didn’t okay things. The things I did organise I found okay. The most difficult thing I found was the family politics of planning a wedding, which was STRESSFUL!
How did you bring your individual personalities and your values in to your wedding day?
I’m a dog walker and we love our dog so naturally he was the ring bearer! We also had alpacas – we love animals quite obviously!! We wanted to have the wedding reception at home so we could include all of our pets – 1 dog, 2 cats, several ducks and a rabbit!
Which venues did you choose and why?
We got married at the church where family members had previously been married at. The church was also next to the cemetery where my late father is buried. We chose to have our reception at home because we wanted lots of people and used the marquee and field at the back of our house. It was cheaper than hiring a venue.
What is your advice to other couples getting married? What would you do differently?
Do what you want, try not to be too dictated by family members. Write a detailed list of who you want to thank so you don’t forget anyone. Don’t tell anyone where they are going to be sat on the seating plan in advance or just don’t have one. And have music playing constantly, it gives a good flow!
You may or may not know this about me, but I am a serious dog lover and I really pride myself on being a dog friendly wedding photographer. My dog George is my absolute world, so I can completely appreciate when couples want their dog to be a part of their wedding. Having your pet involved in your big day is so special and I wanted to share with you the different ways you can safely style your pooch for your wedding day. This blog post is everything you need to know about dog wedding style!
Here are the stars of the shoot and what they were wearing.
Belinha hails from the streets of Brazil. Thankfully those ears are now a permanent resident of London and you can follow her antics, adventures and reviews on the excellent London lifestyle blog The Dogvine.
Here she is wearing the White Rose and Peach Peony Silk Flower Collar available from Cupid Collars.
Rocking the Lilac Rose and Yellow Sunflower Silk Flower Collar available from Cupid Collars.
Dressed for the evening wearing the Red and Yellow Bow Tie Bandana available from Giddings Gifts.
Shining bright in the Gold Holographic Bow Tie available from BarknBow.
Little Bowie was the baby of our pack, when we took these photos he was just a cheeky little pup. Here he is wearing a White Rose and Pink Daisy Silk Flower collar available from Cupid Collars.
Grabbing a quick drink in his Mustard Wool Tweed Bow Tie available from Bow Dickie Design
Big sister Hendrix likes to show her brother who’s the best behaved Chihuahua in town. Doesn’t Hendrix look gorgeous in her Yellow and Pink Flower Collar available from Giddings Gifts
Getting dainty in her White Rose Silk Flower Collar available from Cupid Collars
Lovely Captain was a sweet old fella. His dashing tiger stripes and chocolate brown eyes made it hard to not stop and cuddle him all the time. Here is his winning hearts wearing White and Pink Peony Silk Flower Collar available from Cupid Collars.
Captain showing us his smile in a blue and orange bow tie bandana available from Giddings Gifts.
Getting floral in his Pink Silk Collar available at Cupid Collars.
Little Labrador pup Cobo bounded in to our lives and away with our hearts. Wearing a pink holographic bow tie available from BarknBow.
Rocking the Pink and Mauve Bow Tie Bandana available from Giddings Gifts.
Look at that gorgeous face wearing the Rainbow Bow Tie available from BarknBow.
About to make her maiden speech wearing the Sweetheart Collar with Pastel Pink Roses, White Orchids and White Hydrangea petals available from Cupid Collars.
Meet Harley Quinn
Cool bean Harley Quinn the French Bulldog bought some ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to our photo shoot. Doesn’t she look fabulous in this Peaches and Cream floral collar available from Cupid Collars.
A Love Story needs a Love Story collar with Country Garden style flowers available from Cupid Collars.
She’s a hipster and she knows it. Wearing the Hipster Dog Bandana Black Leather Bow Tie available from Giddings Gifts.
From pauper to price, former Romanian street dog Kai could be my Valentine anytime in the Valentine Collar available from Cupid Collars.
Wearing the pink and white hydrangea with roses collar from Cupid Collars.
Romantic collar with the Blush antique silk flowers rose bandana available from Giddings Gifts.
Doggie Wuffins anyone?
If you’re looking for a tasty treat your furry friend can enjoy on the big day – check these out. Available from The Barking Bakery. The original bone themed Woofin is a moist, low fat, light and fluffy sponge exploding with biscuit shaped bones. Made to share or for our larger furry friends.
Your Dog at Your Wedding
If you’re keen to involve your dog in your wedding why not check out my other blog posts?
I love my pooch, and most dogs for that matter! I especially love photographing dogs at weddings. When I’m not photographing and editing weddings I volunteer my time for Mayhew – a brilliant animal charity based in North West London. Mayhew is one of the most effective animal welfare organisations in London, helping thousands of dogs and cats to escape a life of abandonment, cruelty and neglect each year. Their mission is to help animals in need gain a better quality of life by delivering a broad range of community-based animal care, education and welfare projects.
Being an animal lover I can completely understand when a couple want to involve their dog on their wedding day. However I know that my dog is a bit special and I would need to carefully consider how he would fit in to a big event like a wedding. I spoke with Deputy Head of Animal Welfare, Tanya Madden at Mayhew for some top tips to think about when planning to include your dogs at weddings.
Think about the personality of the dog, will he cope with being at the wedding? What is he like when he is with new people, in crowds, around children and with unfamiliar people? Is he going to become scared, snap, be stressed or pee up anyone’s dress?! A wedding is not a suitable place for all dogs
We advise not to dress up dogs in outfits, this is because they can be too constrictive, become stressed and get too hot etc. It is far better to use a bandana, fancy collar or snazzy lead if you want to co-ordinate your pet with the wedding theme. Be sure to check that anything attached to the collar (like flowers or a bow-tie) or lead isn’t going to come off and end up getting swallowed.
Think about the time of year of the wedding what is the weather going to be like – if it’s a hot day, don’t keep him out in the sun or make him walk on hot pavements (remember the 5 second rule! If you can’t hold your hand on the ground for 5 seconds it’s too hot for a dog to walk on). Does he have anywhere to sit in the shade? If it’s cold, keep your dog out of drafts and keep him dry.
Make sure you have a dedicated person who will take care of the dog and all his needs – keep his routine as normal as possible, don’t disrupt his feeding, make sure the person taking care of the dog knows him well and knows what his reactions will be to people and to look out for signs that he is becoming stressed and will know when it is time for him to leave.
Don’t expect too much from your dog and try to pack him into you busy wedding schedule – make sure he has time for toilet breaks and quiet time away from everyone.
Don’t keep him there for the full day as it will be too stressful, just have him pop in if you really want him there and plan where he will be for the rest of the day – take him home or to be with a dog sitter–don’t leave him alone at home for longer than he is used to.
Make sure your guests know not to constantly fuss the dog – especially if there will be a lot of children around, your dog handler should know when the dog has had enough and will need to take the dog away and ask people to give him space.
You’ll want the dog to enjoy being with you and he can be a part of your day, if you plan things right and consider all his needs – just keep it short and sweet.
If you haven’t already guessed by now, I really love my dog George. He accompanies me where possible, so I can completely understand when couples want to plan a dog friendly wedding. However I know that he’s not super comfortable in all situations, and I don’t want to push him out of his comfort zone. So if you are getting married, what should you consider if you want your pooch to share your day? Katie is a professional pet carer and offers her clients a pet chaperoning service for their wedding day. I spoke with Katie at Star Paws to ask her advice.
“You only have to look at pet industry trends and figures on pet care spending to appreciate how important our pets are to us. For many they are a very important member of the family. Wedding trends indicate that more and more of us want to celebrate our special day with our special four legged friend by our side, but there are many things to consider before we make that important decision.”
Your Dog’s Temperament
“Is your dog excitable, nervous, boisterous or obedient? Weddings can be pretty stressful occasions with lots of people bustling around, children running around and lots of noise. How will your pet cope with this? If your dog is nervous it might not be a good idea to give them a big role on the day, or even have them there. This is the first question you need to ask yourself going forward. Even if you don’t include them on the day, you could include them in the wedding theme – incorporate them in the seating plans, or have photos of them on the table number cards or make your wedding favours in tribute to your beloved pooch.”
“Does your venue allow pets? Is your reception in a pet friendly place where there is outdoor space? If having your dog at your wedding is one of your main priorities it’s worth considering outdoor venues such as farmyards, barns or marquee field type locations. Even if pets aren’t allowed inside the venue, they could feature in wedding photographs taken outside.”
“Informing your photographer that you’re planning to include your pet in the wedding photos will allow them to prepare photo ideas that work with your pet; and help to prepare them for any unpredictable pet behaviour.”
“Who will be responsible for your pet on the big day? It’s unrealistic to expect your guests to look after your pet and you will be far too busy to be able to keep an eye on them. Employing a pet chaperone means you have someone solely responsible for looking after your dog, allowing you to enjoy the day.”
“Notify guests that you are going to include your pet at your wedding on the save the date cards and again on the invitation. Anyone with a pet allergy can plan in advance and still enjoy your special day.”
“It would be unrealistic to expect your pet to be present for the entire day. Decide what part of your special day you want your pet to be there, and consider where your pet will spend the rest of the day.”
Photo by www.sharoncooper.co.uk
Your Pet’s Role
“There are many ways you can include your pet at your wedding. They could be your usher or direct people to their seat. Perhaps you’d like them as your ring bearer or flower girl? Walk down the aisle with a bridesmaid? Or maybe you just want them to be there to celebrate with you. If you want to dress your pet for the occasion, keep it very simple, their comfort is paramount, make sure any accessories won’t come loose and pose a choking hazard to your pet.”
Photo by www.wildheartsphotography.co.uk
“Make sure you rehearse with your dog so they have some idea what will be expected.”
“It’s important to have a relaxed attitude as pets can be unpredictable! But most importantly it’s your wedding day – have fun! ”
If you are planning a dog friendly wedding and want a wedding photographer that knows how to work with dogs be sure to check out my portfolio and prices.
Thank you to my fellow wedding photographers for lending me their images of dogs at weddings.
Thank you to Katie at Star Paws for her expert advice. Star Paws is a friendly pet care service based in Northampton. Services range from dog walking, pet home visits and a pet taxi service. Additionally the business offers a unique dog chaperone service which allows couples to include their special four-legged friend on their special day. Star Paws At Weddings provides a range of wedding packages where your dog can be groomed and pampered before attending the wedding, will be a part of your wedding ceremony and stay for the all-important pictures.
Want to pin the details of this blog post? Pin this poster to your Pinterest board
This is my dog. Big George. He’s big in size and big in personality. I wanted to write about him because he does a fair amount of work here behind the scenes at Parrot & Pineapple. George is the main reason that I am a dog friendly wedding photographer. As I write this he’s doing the very important job of lying down looking at me with great big puppy dog eyes. That’s not the only thing he does though. Most importantly he reminds me to keep things fun. George’s zest for life is infectious! Everyday I wake up to the sound of him drumming out a beat on the bedroom wall as he wags his tail enthusiastically. He gets so excited at the start of a new day.
George is a rescue dog of unknown mixed breed. Most likely some kind of staffy cross. He came in to my life in early 2014 and he was adopted from the RSPCA in Putney. His back story is quite sad, he was found in the road with a broken leg after being abandoned as a puppy. Because of his injury he spent a long time at the RSPCA hospital. He didn’t have much opportunity for training or socialising; so when we found each other he had virtually no manners!
I remember the first time I took him for a walk. I don’t think there was any time when he had all four paws on the floor. It was like trying to walk a flying dog. And he was a flying dog that had a particular ‘interest’ in sweaty females. I will forever be indebted to the running ladies of North West London. Pretty sure no one wants a massive hound jumping on them with unbridled lust as you’re out for a morning run.
Thankfully he’s a completely different dog now days. Three years of almost constant training, trial and error in his diet, a steady learning curve and regular socialisation mean that George is now a gentle giant. Although he is a pretty silly gentle giant. It’s been such a reward, and seeing him happy is the greatest boost to any hard day. George has taught me a lot of patience and how to be calmly assertive. I consider these essential skills for any dog friendly wedding photographer! I practise these skills by regularly donating my time to The Mayhew Animal Home. My hope is that my photographs will help other dogs find their forever home.
If you are a dog owner getting married and you want your dog to be a part of your wedding photos I would love to hear from you. I’m a dog friendly wedding photographer so get in touch to tell me about your plans, and most importantly your dog!