3 Times Having an Animal at a Wedding Went Terribly Wrong

Planning Tips
Including Animals In Wedding

Photo: Erin + Tara

Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007. Here, the pro planner reveals that having a pet at your wedding doesn't always go as expected.

I have nearly eight years and 500 weddings of planning experience to draw from and I'm going to tell you something straight out: having animals at your wedding isn't always a good idea. Here's proof:

— Our island has literally thousands of semi-wild horses roaming everywhere so it's not uncommon for a bride to request horses at her wedding ceremony — either to arrive or depart on, or to tie to the arbor as décor. Most wedding gowns aren't terribly horseback friendly unless you're a true equestrian, so you have to keep that in mind. Also, you can't tie horses to something covered in flowers — they will munch on them during your wedding ceremony (great blooper pictures but very distracting). Finally, horses aren't decoration. They aren't trained wedding personnel. And when one steps on your wedding veil as you're walking away into the sunset and you stand there and scream, it makes for a hilarious video but an embarrassing memory.

— Some religious traditions call for love birds (doves) to be released during the wedding ceremony. At one wedding, they fed the birds for two days at their villa and then they wouldn't fly away as they did the big release. Instead they sat in a tree above the wedding table and pooped. Then they went and sat, appropriately, right on the bride's dinner plate.

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— They may look cool, but live fish are not good centerpieces. You have to have a plan for getting them set up. Then you have to consider the guests who think you're torturing the fish — we had a waitress who kept moving the fishbowls out of the sun because she was afraid we would hurt them. (Nevermind they're fish and can survive in water when the sun is out.) Finally, what are you going to do with the fish afterwards? We had a grand plan to return them to the fish store (we didn't want our money back), but the owner got sick and the store closed down the day before the wedding. As a result, every child in my neighborhood has a fishbowl now. It was the best solution, but a huge hassle.

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