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How animals have become the latest wedding trend

Photo of beautiful fluffy dog in festive clothes with bow tie, sits on wooden chair, waits for wedding ceremony outdoor. Animals concept

Trends are constantly changing and seem to be becoming more and more quirky. From practicing yoga in a sauna to people taking pictures of themselves lying down on famous monuments and back round to finishing a whole pint of something unorthodoxly concocted before nominating your friend to do the same in the name of charity.

Some trends are quicker to take hold of our society than others while some trends just don’t have the longevity in them. But the use of animals on your special day is becoming more and more popular in today’s society. Although some see the big day as the most important in their lives, it’s no wonder weddings are thoroughly thought out with plenty of stress along the way.

Weddings are meant to be for celebrating love, life and understanding between two people, so surely its just to fill that day with things that give you these emotions. Lake District Country Hotels, whose venues in Cumbria have hosted countless weddings, share their thoughts.

Where it all started

Its unclear when the first animal appeared at a weeding. Many countries with sacred religions include animals as part of their special days. Elephants are symbolic to religions in Asia and especially so in India where the trend has been apparent for centuries, and still feature in many weddings to this day.

Bride and groom in forest with horses. Wedding couple. Beautiful portrait in nature.
If you do decide that having animals at your big day if for you then ensure that you source your special guests ethically

It is of common belief that elephants symbolize good luck and prosperity, their presence therefore goes hand-in-hand at weddings where religion is rife, a day where these notions play a vital part. A Baraat is a groom’s wedding procession in Northern parts of India, where the groom will travel to the wedding location atop a mare, or in some cases, an elephant, accompanied by his family members, with a sheathed sword on his person. Doves are commonplace at weddings and they have been enshrined as markers of love in many cultural traditions. From the Philippines to China, Ancient Greece and Rome, doves have been regarded heavily as symbols of purity, love and devotion.

A huge variety

It seems that many have now decided that the traditional white dove is too cliché for their wedding. Meaning that doves are facing competition from more exotic species such as llamas, monkeys and in some cases even spiders!

Although with the range of animals being used, different ethical considerations are apparent. Releasing butterflies into the air just before a photo is taken isn’t crossing any sort of ethical boundaries, but plucking an elephant from it’s natural habitat to use a party prop is another matter, argues PETA. Although the inclusion of exotic animals may seem like a nuptial novelty to some, campaigners have argued that the process that goes into training these animals fit for purpose isn’t ethical, claiming that these animals are subjected to cruelty in order to perform on the big day.

In more recent times, people are earning a living from setting up businesses where you can rent out animals for your special day. These businesses usually cover common domestic pets, but some even have more unusual ‘novelty’ creatures to make your wedding photos pur-fect. . Elephants have been a part of traditional southern Asian ceremonies, whereby the groom arrives riding one of the magnificent creatures, decorated in extravagant jewellery. However, some American wedding businesses have cottoned on to this elaborate spectacle, claiming it as their own and embellishing the elephants uncomfortably. By using these animals in such a way, they become little more than a statement, and the abuse that they face is deemed worthwhile for the sake of the wedding. Various undercover operations have captured the extent of the cruelty which has been inflicted onto elephants under these circumstances, and many people have invested up to $6,500 (£4,992) in support of this treatment, at parades, corporate events and festivals as well as at weddings. Public awareness has undoubtedly grown in relation to the issue, with ethical treatment being a key concern for many.

Doves can make your first moments as man and wife truly breath–taking, releasing them to mark the celebration of your union with family and friends. However, some observers have also noted that doves come with their own set of ethical issues, as they are bred solely to be released and for this reason they are seen to lack survival skills.

bride and groom on the wedding day with a brown dog and a white dog sitting at their feet
Pets are often considered as family members. So why not give your four legged friend a special role in your wedding ceremony?

Ethical consideration

If you do decide that having animals at your big day if for you then ensure that you source your special guests ethically. Get in touch with a local llama shelter if you’d like a different kind of ring–bearer to hold your wedding ring at your ceremony, or simply make the photographs unique with these furry accomplices. Consider a horse and carriage if you are looking to make a bold entrance on your big day, these majestic animals are quintessentially calm and regal, perfect for making the journey to the venue a time to treasure forever. Some couples may even choose to make their venue an animal haven, by choosing animal sanctuaries or petting farm’s. By doing so, you can enjoy having a whole host of fluffy friends from micro pigs to lambs. This can be an alternative kind of wedding experience, that no doubt you and your guests will remember for years to come.

For the love of pets

Pets are often considered as family members. So why not give your four legged friend a special role in your wedding ceremony? Dogs and cats have become an essential for couples saying ‘I do’, with their four legged friends acting as ring bearers. Some couples even choose to get their beloved felines and pooches dressed up, with replica bridesmaid dresses and suits becoming a popular novelty for couples who just can’t bear the thought of leaving their companions at home or in the kennels. Of course, there are still so important considerations to make when it comes to bringing your pets along to your ceremony, for example if your furry friend has a shy temperament, then a wedding venue could be quite an overwhelming experience. Of course, you know your pet better than anyone else so this one is more a matter of judgement!

So, animals at weddings can make the memories of your day last a lifetime, whether you choose a llama or simply get your favourite pooch to confirm yours and your partner’s love by delivering your wedding rings. Some traditions use animals in a way which is less popular now, but it simply reflects the changes in perception of our counterparts from the animal kingdom.