A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding

I can hear you all the way over here. Pet friendly how? What is “Urban Baroque”? And isn’t a Pagan wedding known as a Handfasting? Well then allow me to share with you some memorable moments of my bipeds recent wedding!

Note: All photos by Eva Hadhazy.

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

Some of my guests that day! (Me, Gretchen, Oliver and Chloe)

Pet Friendly – My Dog Guest List

I had my own guest list! There were my two friends you may recall from the epic wedding we attended in Prague. Oliver and Chloe came from far away with their humans Michaela and Jeremy.  All of them were in wedding party. Our other bridesmaid Christine (of Kanine Kerchiefs) well … she brought Gretchen to hang out with the ladies during the morning prep and later her partner Dan brought their other dog Gibson along. And let us not forget our lovely senior grand lady: Peanut. Peanut belongs to our dear friend Florence. They both joined later and Peanut opted for some amazing colours dyed into her fur (safe non toxic!) rather than a fancy outfit. Loved it!


Peanut getting some love from Dad. Jealous…me?

Us dogs had it so good! First off we got to be with our bipeds all day and evening. I know I enjoyed it very much. To be there as a witness to it ALL!  In my case, even the beautiful Civil Ceremony that was the prelude of the day.

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

On mom’s lap as she was getting her hair done.

AND … we had our own DOG BAR! Yep … complete with pet sitter from Dayna’s Pet Sitting Inc. to entertain us fully during the ceremony so no pup would run across the sacred circle and break it (it’s considered a bad omen)… and treats and our own water bowls and pillows!

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photos by Eva Hadhazy

I mean LOOK at all this awesomeness!

Oh AND we all got our very own party favours too! Gorgeous damask bandanas made by Kanine Kerchiefs. I mean how cool is that?

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

treats, bandanas and … the BEST sign ever!

I DO need to take a moment to share with you the one big BLACK MARK of the day. Now I will TRY not to be offended by the fact that Mom literally FORGOT ME (I can barely type the words) as she went to join Dad in the park for their first look, and subsequent photos. I mean … she had a lot on her mind and they realized quickly what had happened and called the wedding party to bring me along when they joined them for the wedding party photos but still… I will admit … I’m a little shocked that this happened. I mean … excuse my language but that was a total WTF moment. I am working on this “forgive and forget thing”.

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

Dad calling the best man or maid of honour to sort this nonsense out!

Urban Baroque – A Style

The bipeds have always really enjoyed odd juxtapositions when it comes to style. Things that you would think should never go well together but then somehow do. The first time they both came across this “old world meets modern” was in interior décor. Think of those stark concrete modern spaces with an antique Louis the XIV chaise. That’s’ the sort of thing that they just really love. The thinking behind this style is that both elements are enhanced by that juxtaposition.

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

Mom as a bride on the day — just before the first look.

In our home you’ll see antique mirrors and frames and white painted crown moulding; but the dining room table will be a modern glass piece with stainless steel legs. You get the idea right? Well that was the inspiration and theme for the day. So think: What would the baroque influence look like if applied to today’s spaces and fabrics? What would you do as a guest? Would you wear baroque earrings with a modern dress that has a damask print? Would you go for tulle skirt but pair it with a white crisp shirt like the bridal party had? Men… would you wear an ascot?

How did that juxtaposition play out for the décor and ensembles on the day? Thanks to designer Justina McCaffrey, the design on mom’s bodice was a traditional damask pattern made out of Swarovski crystals; but was made modern by being on a completely sheer fabric “like stockings” with no corset. And we had urns for the floral arrangements but with modern orchids inside thanks to Pollen Nation!

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

See that baroque heel on the shoe?

Same thing for dad’s and my tux! Modern cut but with baroque influenced details. Did you notice all the embroidery work on Dad’s tux? (see above B&W picture). And may I take a moment to point out that the trim of MY jacket by Foo Foo Fido was the SAME fabric as mom’s dress? Mom sent it ahead – using remnants Justina no longer needed – to incorporate.  It turned out wonderfully. I certainly felt like a count! I mean I even had a brooch on my black lace ascot! And can you SEE the gold embroidery with black crystals on my jacket? Oh yeah baby!

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

I think bridal bouquets have got NOTHING on me!

The same idea was applied to the wedding party; the bridesmaid’s hair was up with a crystal brooch and bow; Mom even wore a crown! But you’ll note that the crown is a modern design of teal, emerald and cobalt crystals. And the hair… well one bridesmaid had pink and mom had her signature teal!

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

See? Pups too! Not just me.

And let’s not forget the dog’s outfits! Oh yes… because I wasn’t the only pup at this wedding to sport an amazing outfit…Oh no no no! I do admit I was particularly impressed with Gibson and Gretchen’s outfit’s made by their mom. I mean …woa….


How is THAT for some serious amazing outfits! Christine and Gretchen – Dan the man was amazing helping out with music and bar… with handsome Gibson. Note the matching vests.

Pagan Wedding – A Handfasting

A Pagan wedding is often referred to as a Handfasting. It’s very different in its approach. I’ll briefly go over the things that stand out as “other” the most.

For starters – it’s not a prescribed script. The couple write the entire ceremony, not just their vows. Also, the guests participate. In fact, a quarter of the ceremony occurs just amongst the guests without the bride and groom even present. Let me see if I remember this right.

First all the guests hold hands and make a BIG circle around a flower wreath hanging from above. In our case hanging from the ceiling in our living room! Then the high priestess (a dear friend) invites the guests to bless the rings. The rings go in opposite direction, cross mid-way and return to her fully blessed with well wishes from every single person in attendance. Next, two peeps from the wedding party enter and help the guests create a circle on the ground made up of flowers and herbs. This is the sacred space.

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

Creating the sacred circle.

Finally, the next four from the wedding party enter with male and female alternating. Each representing both a cardinal point and an element (ex: South = Fire). Finally the groom enters the space and then the bride walking alone. At this point the circle is closed behind them. The cardinal point representatives provide a blessing symbolic of their element… and then you have vows and a ring exchange …etc.

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

Mom saying her vows… and JUST then the sun shines on her. TADAH!

Finally the hands are literally bound together. In a final blessing made not by the Priestess alone but by ALL the guests. It’s very much an audience participation scenario rather than theatre. When it’s all done the guests “break” the sacred circle and toss the petals up in the air in celebration. That’s sort of how that whole confetti and rice thing came to be in more traditional weddings.

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

The third knot being made….

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

I think it is safe to say it was JOY all around! Toss the petals people they are MARRIED!

After that well there was a glass ceremony (like a sand ceremony but using glass beads then sent to a glass blower to create a piece of art) and the cake cutting of course!

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

I am going out on a limb here and saying the cake was good

There was a first dance … the bipeds opted for a tango… this is where mom’s choice to opt for separates for her dress came in handy! Skirt switch! you can actually read the sweet story (and see more photos!) about this tango on Off Beat Bride.


And fireworks were enjoyed by all thanks to the bipeds planning the wedding on the evening of the Ottawa firework competition grand finale. We have a view of this and it provided free entertainment!

A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding - Montecristo Travels photo by Eva Hadhazy

That is what I call good timing!

And throughout all of this not only was I able to smooch loads of snuggles off everyone; so were my canine guests! So yes… when I go to doggy daycare and my peeps ask me if it was a day to remember I have to admit. It was. I was so honoured to be included and not just me but my best buds too! Not just for a photo op … not just for one part of the festivities but pretty much the entire day I was around. Ah it is good to be so loved. Plus… admit it…. I make a petty darn good “bridal bouquet” don’t you think?

40 Comments on “A Pets Welcome Urban Baroque Pagan Wedding

  1. WOW! What a great day that was! We were so honored that you invited us, Thank you so much Monte. We will never forget this epic day and evening. ~ Gibson & Gretschen

    • Just glad you all came and thank you Mom for standing with the bipeds. Super special!! And Gretchen I still have no idea how you were ok with that adorable headband all day! and Gibson … you and Dan in matching vests? EPIC!

  2. I’ve been so excited to see the photos from this wedding, and it was worth the wait! The details are just amazing. I love all the choices your bipeds made, so unique and stunning. Try to forgive them for leaving for their photos without you, because as the best dog/dog of honor, I think it was up to you to remind them! It sounds like it was indeed the perfect day to celebrate their love! Now I have to visit Offbeat Bride and see some more photos of your incredible day!

  3. Monte, thanks for sending my bandana home with my bipeds even though they drove off to Canada without me for your bipeds’ wedding. Be happy your bipeds only forgot you for one part of the event. Anyway, thanks for writing your account. “You are there” canine journalism at its best!
    Your phurry Philly phriend,

    • Dino!! Oh how we would have loved to have you! I was so happy to send a bandana home for you. A little something from your brother from another mother up North! Was good to have your bipeds with us.

      As for forgetting me … I will get over it. Just need time. 🙂 Thanks buddy!

  4. What an awesome wedding with the best furry guests! I didn’t know anything about pagan wedding before reading this, so interesting 🙂

    • Most people don’t know about handfastings. It’s so beautiful. Our guests all got a written letter explain gin things so they knew what to expect. 🙂

  5. Your mom forgot you? FORGOT you? Forgot YOU? MOUSES!

    Hmmm… I suppose it was HER big day and all. And I suppose she did have lots on her mind. But still, I can TOTALLY understand how you’re havin’ trouble forgivin’ and forgettin’.

    But since it WAS HER big day, might I suggest that as long as she never does it again, you give her a pass just this one time? PURRS.

    • Yeah … one time deal. And really she had an entire “army” of ladies and no one else remembered either! so … yeah. I will have to get over it.

  6. Oh how wonderful (minus that black mark you mentioned)! I love the baroque antique style and details. Those shoes , oh my! I just adore the doggie outfits and love all the candid lovely pics! Thanks for sharing these wonderful memories with us! Love!

  7. AMAZING! The photos are a beautiful collection of moments from your special day. Congratulations. I especially loved the coat rack with all the adorable little outfits. AND…..THOSE….SHOES!!!!

    • The dog clothes were amazing… we should have done our own canine fashion “cat walk”!! and yeah … Mom’s shoes. They are something!

  8. How perfect the sun came in as she said her vows and shined on her! Beautiful! I absolutely love their style – it’s my style too!
    Handfastings are absolutely the best!
    I am truly sorry you were forgotten, even if momentarily.
    Moms get pretty nervous on their wedding day and thankfully she got her wits about her fast!
    The wedding, after all, would not be complete without you!
    Oh and her dress! OMD!!! It’s PERFECT!

    • Thank you Joely! I am SLOWLY moving past the oversight. Since it was rectified very quickly.
      The dress was Mom’s own design but made for her by the amazing Justina. It’s 4 pieces. A body suit, a skirt, a belt and the train. She plans on wearing them sprightly over the years. 🙂

  9. Oh you guys have the best times.

    Montecristo you could make a fine living as Rent A Baroque Bouquet! Fame and fortune await. The event would have been much poorer without you and what a dream event it was!

    • Oh now there is an interesting career choice! I may need to look into that! $$$
      It was a dream come true kind of day. Cheesy but true.

  10. WOW what a fantastic wedding, your dress was stunning and I love the crystals, what a day to remember especially as you had the fireworks in the background.

    • Every year the city puts on a firework competition that finishes off with a grand finale where all the participants do their “best bit” in a collage of sorts. Then the winner does the whole show that won once more. It’s usually different countries but for us … it was Provinces. They changes things up to celebrate Canada’s 150th. So it was an all Canadian event. Kinda extra fun for us. We watch them from our balcony every year. The year before the wedding a neighbour had a huge family do at their place … it gave mom the idea to get married at home!

  11. Oh my dog!! How beautiful and fun! What a festive event this was! Everything is gorgeous and so unique! I’m sorry your bipeds forgot you in the pics. Why not have a re-enactment and capture those lost moments?! Love and woofs to all!

  12. Congrats! What an amazing day and lovely wedding!!! Many happy years to come!

  13. Ooo this was beautiful and true to you. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures. I also didn’t know where the rice/flower throwing came from. What a lovely tradition. We threw lavender at our wedding!

  14. I enjoy seeing dogs included in weddings and this wedding was super special…so much pageantry and glamor. This day will certainly be remembered and celebrated for years to come.

  15. What a gorgeous wedding! I love how much you included your dogs in your wedding! It sounds like you had everything planned and ready! Any dog (or human) would have been lucky to attend. Congratulations!

    • It’s considered the event of the year for 2017 among our canine and human friends. I am glad it all went so well…. well most of it. 🙂

  16. Oh my, this was just lovely! The whole process is fascinating. I have friends who have had pagan weddings but I’ve never attended a hand fasting myself, so appreciated the description.

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