The Missouri dental assistant and her husband forwent traditional bridesmaid bouquets in lieu of something a little ... closer to the heart.
Burky, an avid animal lover, had her each of her bridesmaids carry a senior pup from Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary down the aisle instead of the traditional flowers.
“I have been donating to Haven for the last 8 years,” the bride, 29, told People of the shelter, which she said she began visiting and donating to after they helped her rescue two neglected pooches.
The animals were also symbolic to the couple. After all, it was their now-9-year-old dog, Tank, that ultimately sealed the deal for Burky and her groom. “I’ve always had a soft spot for animals, but it was after I rescued a pit bull puppy, that we started dating,” she told the magazine of her now-spouse. “He treated him so well, and that’s when I knew, he was the one. Since we’ve been together, we have always fostered, taken in rescues and spread the word of adoption.”
Burky’s nontraditional plan went off without a hitch. Not only did the canines majorly up the cuteness factor in her wedding photos, most also found their own happy endings, with five of the six dogs featured in the nuptials going on to be adopted—just as the bride had hoped.
“I thought, maybe, by having them in our wedding just one might get adopted," she told People. "With that adoption that is one more opening for another rescue. It’s a never-ending cycle, but I’m hoping I can make a small impact.”
The duo also had a dollar dance at their reception to raise donations for the shelter. "We plan to use the donations they give us to go towards the fund for a new mobile adoption van," Jennifer Silverberg of Haven of the Ozarks told People. "Ours is on it’s last leg and it is vital for getting our dogs and cats out to larger cities for mobile adoption events every weekend to give them a better chance at finding homes!”
The newlyweds' kindness didn't end there: They also hope to sponsor the adoption fee of Yazzy, the last pup in the bridal party searching for a family to call her own.
“She’s a sweet 6-year-old gal who’s senior owner passed away,” Burky shared on Facebook on Thursday, May 23. "She just wants to nuzzle up on somebody’s lap and watch wheel of fortune.”
As Burky told People, “Animals don’t have a voice, but we do. By having them in our wedding I wanted to share my compassion and show how important it is for us to be their voice. They count on us.”