Together Fur-ever

Bow Wow Vows: Six Local Couples Tie the Knot Alongside Their Pets

You've got to read these beautiful wedding 'tails.'

August 1, 2019 Published in the August 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

If your wedding party is made up of your nearest and dearest, why shouldn’t Fido the dog or Mittens the kitten be included? That’s a question many brides and grooms are asking these days—and the result is furry best friends walking down the aisle as an integral part of their humans’ big day. We found six couples who tied the knot along with their four-legged partners.

Kate and Christian with Wyatt Earp, their Scottish terrier

Wyatt Earp

Kate, Christian and Wyatt Earp

Wedding planner: NK Productions Wedding Planning

Kate and Christian Rahe met during a chance encounter at a Washington, D.C., bar in early 2010. A few years later they were serious enough that they committed to sharing their love and their home with a Scottish terrier. When they decided to tie the knot, the couple knew Wyatt Earp, now 6, would be the furry ring bearer. Outfitted with cuff links and a collar that doubled as a bowtie, Wyatt Earp had the perfect preppy, elegant style for the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club at Boca Grande and the Rahes’ sophisticated wedding. “He fit perfectly into the wedding and setting,” says wedding planner Nicole Kaney. Says Kate, “We couldn’t have imagined Wyatt Earp not a part of our wedding.” —Giulia Heyward

Steve, Kate and Joe the goldendoodle

Kate, Steven and Joe

Wedding planner: NK Productions Wedding Planning

Latvian-born Kate Selakova met her husband, Steven Marks, over drinks at Jack Dusty at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. As their romance blossomed and the couple decided to get married, Selakova knew she had to include one of the other males in her life in the ceremony—her 8-year-old goldendoodle, Joe, who she’d adopted when she and her son first moved to the United States. Kate arranged for a family friend to bring the dog to and from Selby Gardens where she and Steven took their vows.  “I adopted him when he was a baby,” Selakova says. “He’s our family dog. I don’t have family here, and my son is an only child. Joe is really my second son.”—Megan McDonald

Rachel with one of her beloved cats

Guests surprised the couple by holding cutouts of Bentley and Jasper's faces.

Rachel, Robert, Bentley and Jasper

Wedding planner: NK Productions Wedding Planning

When Rachel Beaudoin and Robert Miller met, they didn’t just start their own relationship—they also were matchmakers for their adopted cats, Bentley and Jasper. “We met at a Las Vegas nightclub, and one of our first dates was to adopt the cats,” says Rachel, who grew up with cats. “I was supposed to get Bentley, and he was going to get Jasper. They fell in love as we fell in love.” So it made sense that Robert—also a lifelong cat lover—surprised Rachel on their wedding day by bringing Jasper and Bentley to Selby Gardens so the four could be in photos together. “I was completely in shock. I just fell to the ground and started crying,” Rachel says. “They are my fur babies!” Rachel’s sister-in-law also had masks made of the cats’ faces so the guests could hold them up during the couple’s first dance. And to top it all off, Jasper and Bentley featured prominently on the cake topper. —Megan McDonald

Angelica, Jonathan, and Tempo and Tesla the goldendoodles

Angelica with her pups

Angelica, Jonathan, Tempo and Tesla

Wedding planner: Jennifer Matteo Event Planning

Angelica Oquendo and Jonathan Joyner met through their sons, who played soccer together, so the couple knew the boys would get along. But Oquendo, who moved to Bradenton from Puerto Rico when she was 7, also loves her goldendoodles, Tempo, 6, and Tesla, 5. “I knew I had to find someone who loves dogs,” she says. Joyner, a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy, did, so he and Oquendo both said “I do” at The Westin Sarasota. Tempo and Tesla were invited, of course, and stayed in the hotel room during the rooftop ceremony. But they came down for the reception on the lobby terrace. “I had to have them in our pictures,” says Oquendo. “They’re family.” “It was an aww moment,” agrees wedding planner Jennifer Matteo. “Pets are almost like the new flower girl.” —Susan Burns

Emily, Andrew and their dog kissing booth. 

Trooper-themed cocktail napkins

Emily, Andrew and Trooper

Wedding planner: NK Productions Wedding Planning

Emily and Andrew Foster were planning their wedding, and they knew Trooper needed a role. They adopted the German shepherd mix two years ago from a shelter and ever since he has been part of the family. “He is so fun-loving and important to us; we knew he would have a blast at the wedding,” she says. The couple chose to get married in Boca Grande at the historic Gasparilla Inn. As a member of the bridal party, Trooper settled into his accommodations at a nearby pet-friendly hotel with friends of the couple. “He slept in between them in their king-size bed; he loved it,” Emily says. Trooper has a playful, puppy-like personality, so Emily decided it was best to save his appearance for the reception, where he made a grand entrance, posed for photos with guests, gave lots of kisses and ate plenty of treats. “Guests loved walking into the cocktail area and seeing him,” says Sarasota wedding planner Nicole Kaney. “It added such a sweet element, and he was so well-behaved.”
—Hanna Powers

Meghan, Cliff, Oscar and Olivia share a happy family moment

Andrew proposed to Meghan via their dogs' tags.

Meghan, Cliff, Oscar and Olivia

Wedding planner: Jennifer Matteo Event Planning

When Meghan Curran and Cliff Pierce got married at Longboat Key’s St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, they knew there was no way to have their high-energy French bulldogs, Oscar, 6, and Olivia, 3, there. But they were determined to include them at the reception at Selby Gardens. (After all, Cliff had popped the big question by spelling it out on their dog tags.) An employee from Tampa-based FairyTail Pet Care brought Oscar and Olivia to the gardens, hiding them nearby until the couple was ready to appear. “You could hear the difference after the guests first started cheering for us; when they saw the dogs, the noise got louder,” Meghan says. “They are our babies. We just adore them.” The little dogs’ outfits were adorable, says wedding planner Jennifer Matteo: “They stole the show.” —Kay Kipling

Filed under
Show Comments