Animal Attendants in your Ceremony

Animal Attendants In Your Ceremony
Posted on August 19, 2017 | Author Cynthia Dumont

The animals in fairy tales steal our hearts: Cinderella’s songbirds, Bambi’s butterflies and the Darling children’s Nana in Peter Pan. But how about incorporating these icons into your own real-life fairy tale? If you want to bring animals like these into your wedding ceremony, you can certainly do it. But to make sure you get the happy ending you dream of, here are a few important things you should know.

Releasing a dove is a symbol of hope. During your ceremony, you could release just two doves to symbolize your union and future together, or a flock to represent the support of your family and friends.
• The doves used for this purpose are white homing pigeons with an innate ability to find their way home within a 500 mile radius.
• Use a professional dove release company to make sure the birds are properly trained and cared for.
• Unprofessional sources may use ringneck doves, who are not strong fliers and do not have the instinct to return home, leaving them vulnerable to predators.
• Contact the National White Dove Release Society to find a responsible company near you.
Here is a very good wedding guide from Cindy Dumont of North Hampton, NH

Setting butterflies free during your ceremony is a dramatic representation of transition. Butterflies can be purchased individually or in masses.
• Butterflies are bred by reputable companies specifically for this purpose, so be sure to reserve them in advance.
• Butterflies are housed in envelopes until their release. It’s instinctual for them to fly once the envelope is opened.
• However, temperatures must be over 70 degrees for them to fly. Consider the average temps in your area and wedding month.
• Warmth, daylight, clear skies, and low wind are the conditions these beauties need for a successful release.
• Look for companies associated with the professional organization, International Butterfly Breeders Association, Inc. (IBBA) for responsible handing.

Furry Friends
You may have a fur baby you’d like to include in the ceremony. Here are some tips to make your day stress-free. (well, almost!)
• First, make sure the venue allows animals on the property.
• If your pet is the ring bearer, for example, use some sort of harness or collar with a pouch to store the precious cargo.
• Use a leash to guarantee that an unexpected distraction will not cause down-the-aisle chaos, and assign someone NOT in your wedding party to walk with the leash in hand.
• No one can control when nature calls, but if possible, have someone walk your pet in a private place just before the ceremony. Don’t forget the pooper scooper!
• Ask a friend or neighbor to be ready with the get-away car to take your furry family member home after the ceremony or after the family formals are taken.

Your wedding ceremony should be unique, expressing everything that is special about you and your spouse-to-be. If a fairy tale wedding is something you’ve always dreamed of, why not complete the scene with creatures of nature? Discuss this idea with your officiant. That’s what we’re here for.

Contact Cindy Dumont at her beautiful website 

Make Sure Your Wedding Fits You

Pre the swinging ’60s, when your grandparents were young adults, the idea of living together before marriage was socially unacceptable. While some couples dared to try it, they dared not do so openly – for the judgment of society could be cruel. Gay couples also were in jeopardy of social condemnation.

In 2014, however, living together before marriage has become more the rule than the exception – the “new normal.” And gay relationships too are becoming mainstream in the eyes of most Americans. Recognizing this cultural shift is important for Justices of the Peace who help couples design their wedding ceremonies. Often the old words and assumptions underlying the “traditional” wedding ceremony don’t work anymore and need to be updated.

In the last few years, every couple I have married lived together before tying the knot. Some brought children to the wedding. We worked to bring these little ones into the ceremony. While traditional wedding verbiage might still work in these cases, the modern wedding ceremony should be able to accommodate the reality of children born before wedlock, or the realities of second or third marriages. The outdated Victorian notions of the “virgin” bride and groom – and one marriage for life – rarely reflect the circumstances of couples getting married today, who deserve nevertheless to have a wedding that honors them.

In addition, same-gender couples are entitled to feel that the modern wedding ceremony captures and respects their experience. I worked with an older same-gender couple a few weeks ago to remove heterosexual biases from the language of their wedding script. After 25 years together, with two children entering high school, the laws of their state and country have finally recognized the legitimacy of their union. They deserve to have a wedding ceremony that befits and validates their deep love and commitment to one another and their family.

With the turn of the 21st century, our culture has turned a corner in our views of sexuality and marriage. Today, many young couples test the waters with each other before taking those serious steps down the aisle, and gay couples are delighting in their freedom to participate fully in our societal rites and customs.

If you are gay, have children, contemplating your second, third or fourth marriage, or simply have a different idea about what your marriage ceremony should look like, don’t be shy about asking your Justice of the Peace to modify the language of your ceremony to fit your circumstances and ideas. Of course, most JPs are more than willing to adapt your ceremony in any way that feels meaningful to you. But make sure you select the JP that you feel respects your need to be fully “you” in your wedding ceremony.

(This blog was originally posted on the blog. is THE site to find advice and guidance about wedding officiants.)

Beyond “I Do”: Incorporating Religious Elements (or Not) in your Wedding Ceremony

If you are planning a wedding, you may be wondering which elements of your marriage ceremony are absolutely required by law and which are optional. How much of the ceremony can you create from scratch to reflect your and your fiancé’s beliefs and sentiments?

When my daughter asked me recently whether a religious homily was a requirement of a Catholic wedding, I began to consider what sets religious weddings apart from secular weddings. I posed this question to my clergy spouse: “What is the absolute minimum verbal exchange required for you to sign the marriage license?” Her answer: “Asking both persons if they agree to be wed — and getting a positive response, of course.”

Saying “I do” before a person licensed by the State to marry you is all you need! Obviously, however, that is not nearly enough for most couples. Most desire a much richer ceremony, one that is particularly meaningful to them. And we Justices of the Peace are eager to help you fashion the wedding ceremony that you desire.

How do you develop a wedding ceremony that is true to you? Most JPs have samples of language that you can consider. I begin, for example, by sending you a list of the items in a typical ceremony. For each item, I present alternative wording, from very traditional to quite contemporary. I make it clear that everything is optional and can be excluded or revised. This works well for most couples, who are thankful to have a blueprint upon which they can build their unique vision.

And that Catholic homily — can that be included in a secular wedding as well? Yes! Just because your wedding will be officiated by a JP doesn’t preclude you from incorporating spiritual readings or prayers into your ceremony.

On the other hand, some couples want a purely secular wedding. One groom-to-be recently wrote to me: “My bride and I are non-religious and want to stay away from any reference to God in our ceremony.” Are you permitted to leave God out of your wedding? Of course! It’s your wedding! Your JP will help you follow your own philosophy in the design of your ceremony.

As JPs, our goal is to make the wedding as meaningful as possible. So don’t be afraid to ask your Justice of the Peace for what you want and expect in your wedding ceremony. Remember that the only real requirement is for you both to say in your own words: ”I do.”

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