Our Pet Friendly Civil Wedding
Did you know the bipeds got married last summer? Yep! And what a day it was! A day that included loads of dogs too, because I had my own guest list! Oh yes! But first, let me tell you about the civil ceremony. I will save the spiritual wedding (held at sunset) for later.
As I mentioned in our post on the epic engagement in Prague; one of the reasons the bipeds were getting married was because of travel. Not all countries recognize Common Law as a legal and valid relationship status. So although the bipeds had been together for 10 years already – and were married in any way that mattered to them – the rest of the world didn’t see it that way and that irked. That meant that, although a spiritual ceremony would be vital; so was the legal part of marriage.
(All Photos by Eva Hadhazy)
Now… they could have just gone to city hall. And honestly that was the original plan. But they wanted to have just one wedding anniversary; hoping to do both the civil and the spiritual ceremonies on the same day… or at the very least the same weekend. But city hall wasn’t making it easy to find a convenient time slot.
Even more disappointing, city hall did not permit a dog to be present (unless a seeing eye dog specifically). And the bipeds where just NOT ok with that. As mom kept saying “but he is our best dog he MUST be there! I don’t want a bouquet in my arms I want him!” … and Dad felt the same way. A wedding without me just wasn’t going to happen. So what to do?
Ironically the solution presented itself on a dog walk! One day Dad took me out for a spin around the block. The weather was awful but I needed fresh air. As we gallivanted down one of the side streets in our neighbourhood, we noticed a sign in the window of a house that read “Wedding Officiant call: ###-###-####”
Feeling like maybe this was a sign Dad took a photo of the name and number to show Mom when we got home.
The next day, Mom called. The lady that answered the phone was SO nice! Mom got a “good feeling” from her right away. Mom asked if there would be a problem if I was present and all the lady said was “as long as you each have a human witness to sign the papers – of course not – it’s YOUR wedding!” NOW someone was talking sense!
We met the officiant in person a few days later. She told us what papers had to be filled out and when we needed to submit them to her to file and get our license etc. We talked about the desired vibe for the day, words that MUST be included in the ceremony to make it all legal, and of course we talked about the vows (the Bipeds wrote their own).
We settled on witnesses: Grandma for Dad (aww!!) and my awesome cousin Chris for Mom. We liked keeping the Civil Ceremony “just” in the family.
With a morning time slot and a date allocated for the civil ceremony in place, the spiritual wedding planning was also underway for that evening. August 19th was going to be one long day filled with love. But one thing remained elusive: location.
Since we could not use city hall due to their “no dogs” policy, we considered our home. But we were doing the spiritual wedding at home. It just didn’t feel right to do both at the same place given the florist, decorator and wedding party would be hustling about to get the space ready for the Handfasting that evening. Not very private. Then Mom had a brilliant idea. And Dear Reader I mean BRILLIANT!
It just so happened that the most spectacular floral sculptural display was underway in the park across the street. A once in a lifetime exhibit called MosaiCanada 150; in town to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday; a spectacular floral extravaganza. But they too had a “No Dogs” policy….
Still mom had one of her “gut feelings” again (and we always ask – just in case the rules are flexible) so she called the NCC who were responsible for the exhibit and even followed up with an email; since she could only leave a voicemail at the number she found. And then we waited.
It took 2 weeks for them to get back but it was well worth it! They had been trying to come up with a solution regarding … my attendance!
This is what they proposed: “Would you be alright to pay the $100 private tour fee? But then come BEFORE we open to the public? So let’s say 9:00am – an hour before opening? That way, we can have a guard escort you and you can bring your dog since no one from the public will be there – so no possible complaints. Does that work? I assume there will be the wedding couple, a witness each and … perhaps a photographer? On the up side – you get to take photos without tourists in the way. And no one staring at you while you have your ceremony. Does this seem like a good solution?” YES!! OH YES IT DOES!
And so that is what we did. On the day, Mom and Dad got up at 8:00am. They quietly got ready. They had decided on a bit of a retro look for this ceremony. In complete contrast to their evening looks I might add.
Wanting to be good minimalists they used clothing they already had. Dad and I re-wore the awesome pale grey suits we had worn to our friend’s wedding in Prague (remember that? I was in their wedding party – all three of us in fact!) and Mom … well Mom HAD to wear a very specific pair of shoes: The purple shoes. Those were the first thing Dad had ever bought her 10 years ago when their love story was just starting. She loves them and they mean so much to her. And so she paired it with a fun retro dress she already had. But … to feel like a bride she needed a little something. Our friend Michaela (yes from that same wedding in Prague!) came to the rescue, letting Mom borrow her birdcage veil. It took a little while to figure out how to put that veil on but Mom got it in the end!
I went ahead with Dad, to meet Grandma, the Photographer and Officiant at the MosaiCanada gates. Mom followed with Chris shortly after.
Things had not even started yet and it was already emotional… right from the get go. We walked in and all the gardeners working there kept making “Ooooooooh” and “Aaaaaaaaaaahhh” sounds as they saw us …. Well maybe it was me they found irresistible in my little suit and bow tie.
Under the enormous sculpture of Gaia (Mother Nature) and her quiet gaze; the bipeds got married. They cried, they kissed, Grandma read a poem in French and cousin Chris one in English. The vows had both Bipeds in tears. So it is, that with a gushing waterfall for a soundtrack, and 20 minutes later… it was done! And OH did it ever feel RIGHT.
And now … we had the park all to ourselves for another 40 minutes!
So Dear Reader the bipeds and I went and had the best photoshoot!
We took our time to enjoy the details…
…without the crowds to spoil it.
On the way home the bipeds were tickled pink. It had been PERFECT. And there was a whole day still ahead!
Dad and the guys were going to the barber, Mom and her ladies were going to get pampered at home… there was a first look near the Museum of Canadian History… a Handfasting, cake to eat, and a dog bar to enjoy! Not to mention fireworks to watch and a tango …and so much more to come! And was going to be a part of ALL of it!
To say they had love on their faces and joy in their hearts would have been an understatement.
Being forced to get creative because the Bipeds wanted their dog with them lead to a truly special moment; to unique and treasured memories.
These would never have happened if we could have just followed the norm and “just” gone to city hall. Outside the box thinking that comes from wanting to be inclusive with your canine companion can and often does lead to … magic.