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)

Our Pet Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

Entering the civil ceremony location with the bipeds!

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.

Our Pet Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

Who needs a bouquet when you have a Best Dog?

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.

Our Pet Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

Those shoes! Mom is wearing the first thing Dad ever bought her …. over 10 years ago.

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.

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

Going to the park across the street for the civil wedding!

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!

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

How goofy happy is Dad? keep it together man!

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!

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

Under Gaia’s watchful eye as wild horses and bison run…

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.

Our Pet Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

and just like that they are legally married and the world sees them the way they always did.

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

Time to go explore!

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.

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

So much to admire — and me off-leash in a “no dogs allowed” exhibit! Whooooot!

And now … we had the park all to ourselves for another 40 minutes!

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

A train seems apropos for us travelers!

So Dear Reader the bipeds and I went and had the best photoshoot!

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

… and so much kissing!

We took our time to enjoy the details…

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

Hey! purple was the colour to go with it seems!

…without the crowds to spoil it.

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

“Arroooooooooooooh” Howling to the moon! (see the wolf to the right?)

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.

A Unique Dog Friendly Civil Wedding - Montecristo Travels - Eva Hadhazy Photo

THIS is what joy and love looks like!

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.

56 Comments on “Our Pet Friendly Civil Wedding

  1. Congratulations! I love these photos. And despite these silly “no-dog policies” you clearly got a better situation in the end. And those purple shoes are wonderful.

    • Sometimes what looks like a road block is in fact just an invitation to think outside the box!
      And yeah … the shoes… 10 years later and they still look, smell and feel just as nice. That’s a great pair of shoes!

  2. First of all, what beautiful photos! I love the last one of the three of you crossing the road – pure happiness :) I’m so happy it all worked out well and all of you could be together on your special day!

    • Thanks – that photo we call out “Vinyl Cover” photo! LOL yes … in the end it was magical and we got exactly what we wanted… more in fact.

  3. Congratulations! I love that you guys did it your way with just the three of you! Love the photos! Wish you many blessings and continued love for eternity!

  4. OOooh how romantic!!!!!!

    Much better than a simple and boring AND no-dogs-allowed room in a soulless building ‘somewhere’.

    What a wonderful story :-)

    • Glad you enjoyed it!! :) and yes … was gorgeous right? So glad we pursued that idea even with the “no dog” policy on all the signage for the event. Goes to show … ask! It can’t hurt and … you might be surprised!

  5. Mazal Tov, what an awesome wedding and beautiful place to have it, loved the photographs and so agree with you about having lil one part of entire ceremony.

  6. These photos are amazing! It sounds like a perfect morning and I love the clothes all of you wore. I’m so glad that park was able to come up with such a brilliant solution!

  7. The ceremony sounds perfect! And you can’t beat that location. Private AND you got to bring your pup. Love the matching grey suits and of course your dress. What a fabulous day, with equally awesome pictures to remember it by

  8. Monte, thank you for a wonderful recount of the special day we were part of. It’s great to read the details of the part of the day where only family attended the ceremony. You three looked fabulous, and I am happy I could be of help to your mom. Eva did a fabulous job on the photos, and you three being veteran models look superb of course! My absolutely favorite photo is the last one. What a fun moment!!!

    Love you three,

    Michaela, Chloé, & Oliver

  9. Wonderful post of a magical day. Love the photos! That is why I go by the simple adage “It never hurts to ask” and that made all the difference for your special day!

  10. Perfect Valentine’s Day post and great to see all of Eva’s photos of you all and Mosaii Canada 150. I’m sharing it as so many of my friends have become Montecristo fans. Social media isn’t all evil.

  11. What a beautiful, special day! Those gardens are just amazing! We got “married” twice (1st was legally, second was for party reasons) due to military deployments and both had different vibes and I love each one for different reasons! Congrats!

  12. CONGRATULATIONS – How Romantic!!! What a perfect wedding. I remember the lovely engagement post from last year, and this wedding post is just as beautiful. Tell mom she looks stunning in her dress – and fabulous purple shoes! I’m so glad they worked to include you in the wedding, but how could they not?? Just beautiful!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • THANK YOU! and I am flattered that you remember the engagement post! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm with us — warms the heart.

  13. Congratulations on tying the knot! Our biggest regret for our very tiny wedding in San Francisco was not being able to bring Babu to it, because it was in a flower conservatory which had a no dogs inside policy. Your wedding is so simple yet beautiful, made super meaningful by your fur baby’s presence.

  14. Congratulations and what a feel good post that was to read!! Your pup is quite the storyteller, the pictures were amazing and you can feel the love all around.

  15. OMG what absolutely stunning photos, isn’t it amazing how fate intercedes and you had what looks like, the most beautiful wedding day. Congratulations!

    • Some would say it’s a stubborn streak … but yes! Serendipity was on our side! And thank you Eva is an amazing photographer. Truly.

  16. Audrey Hepburn lovely! I was “oohing” and “aahing” as I read. Your dad does look ridiculously happy, but I completely understand why. What a special treat to have the entire park to yourselves for your humans’ special day. I’m sure you will all cherish these photos for years to come. Congratulations!

  17. Oh, this just really hugs the romantic in me! What a beautiful, special, perfect day! Love all the fab pics, and to have you it all done so you could be there in your little tux…just so heartwarming! Wishing your bipeds – the beautiful couple – a lifetime of happiness…but they sure do look pretty happy right now! Oh, and PS – tell your Mom I love her shoes and that there is such a lovely story behind them! Congrats and happiness all around!

  18. This is the BEST wedding story ever! We had tears of joy in our eyes reading about your special day. Congratulations on having the wedding of your dreams, and thanks for sharing it with us. Your wedding photos are just gorgeous.

  19. Huge congratulations on your marriage! Absolutely beautiful photos and I’m so happy all of the plans finally worked out in the end. I’m so very happy for you three on the continuation of your beautiful life together.

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