You May Now Bark at the Bride!

After the flamingos hired us to do their wedding, word must have gotten around. Now we were approached by this wonderful canine duo who wanted a small but special wedding for family and a few close friends.

Rusty and Samantha met at doggie day care. Even though Sam is an older woman (by a year), Rusty was instantly smitten. And how could he resist those big brown eyes and soft golden hair?!chickensmoothie com

Obviously it was love at first sight! Rusty came home that night and informed his mom Ashley that he’d met “the one”! He couldn’t stop dancing around the room and wagging his tail!

From that day on, Rusty and Sam were inseparable. He taught her to play ball; she taught him the correct way to bond with cats without getting his nose scratched! He taught her how to swim (even though she was a bit scared of the pool at first, he gradually coaxed her down the steps and into the water). They even went to one of the local parks and went down the slide! The result – two Golden Retrievers who could swim together, play ball in the pool, and go on all kinds of adventures!

They had a lot of fun dates together, and one of their favorites, of course, was going out for ice cream together. They had no trouble sharing the same bowl, and didn’t argue about who had more! And since Ashley paid for it, that was even better! Rusty and Sam Ice Cream Date

It wasn’t long before Rusty made the decision that he just had to propose to his lady love; he just didn’t know when to do it, or how she’d react! He thought about a Christmas engagement, but decided Valentine’s Day was much more appropriate.

So he planned the perfect evening. With the help of his mom, he selected a gorgeous ring, and even bought flowers and special Valentine treats for them to enjoy. He was a bit nervous, but when Sam’s mom dropped her off at Rusty’s house, he KNEW as soon as he saw her it would be a perfect evening! And it was!

But yes, he was more nervous as the time grew closer to “pop the question”! What if she said no? What if she didn’t like the ring? What if he dropped it and couldn’t find it? Poor Rusty….he was really starting to get to be a mess.

But then he remembered his mom had told him everything would be fine, after all, when Chris had proposed to her, he was a bit nervous, and even dropped the ring, but everything had turned out great. So why should he worry!?

Arf, arf……

But after dinner he got his nerve up, put the ring on his nose like he’d planned, and, well, the rest is history….of course she said yes! And she proudly wore the ring, and showed it off every chance she got!

Of course, planning a wedding for two golden retrievers was, well interesting, to say the least, because they really had their own ideas of what they wanted. Rusty and Sam’s moms suggested a double wedding for when Rusty’s mom Ashley and her fiancé Chris got married, but that idea was quickly vetoed. They wanted their own day! And who can blame them?

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They wanted something simple but pretty. The other dogs from day care as their wedding guests. And of course, their doggie parents and grandparents and Rusty’s favorite vet!day care guests

They selected the friends they wanted to be in the wedding, and chose their flowers, but then…where to hold the ceremony? It had to be just right. Something that reflected their personalities!

Well, where else but beside Rusty’s pool in his mommy’s back yard! Complete with rubber ducks, of course! Then they could always jump in and take a swim during the reception if they felt like it! Needless to say, the swimming wasn’t an idea that Rusty’s grandparents were overjoyed about, but anyway…..they wanted everyone to be happy!

So the big day arrived. It was beautiful and warm and sunny. A perfect day around the pool for a wedding. All of their friends couldn’t wait! They were so excited!

The wedding party was perfect. The best man and groomsman were perfectly dressed in their bow ties, and the ring dog, well, he performed his duties impeccably! He didn’t even drop the rings!

The maid of honor and bridesmaids and flower dog…well, what can we say…

However, as always, the bride and groom were absolutely beautiful… can you say that about the groom? Well, let’s make that handsome! Although Sam did make him change his tie after the ceremony. And lose the hat!

And of course, no wedding is complete without the perfect wedding cake. And this one certainly suited Rusty and Sam perfectly!

It was an absolutely perfect day, and after the reception, and a send off of bubbles, Rusty and Sam drove away for a romantic honeymoon in the Outer Barks.golden_retriever_put_out_the_tongue_bubbles

Their photographer also presented them with a lovely photo album of their special day!

And after all the fun and festivities, well, a lot of their friends got ideas of weddings as well that day! And we got to plan their weddings, too!

NOTE: Even though not all of these pictures are actually Rusty and Sam themselves, Rusty and Sam are actually a real doggie couple who are totally devoted to each other and are really sort of engaged! And you know how we just adore love stories….

Photo Sources: 1st Row: – 2nd Row: personal files – 3rd Row: personal files – 4th Row:; source unknown – 5th Row:; 6th Row: personal files – Amanda Hedgepeth Photography – 7th Row: source unknown – 8th Row: personal files – 9th Row: source unknown;; source unknown;; source unknown; source unknown – 10th Row: via pinterest; via pinterest; via pinterest; threegreenleavesphotography; via pinterest; source unknown; source unknown – 11th Row: –12th Row: thecleverlittlecupcakecompany – 13th Row: source unknown – 14th Row: – 15th Row:;;;; source unknown;;

Can’t I Just Plan It on Pinterest?

Pinterest is one of our favorite sites! We can actually get lost on there for hours. It’s addicting. One pin or one board leads to another, and before you know it, well, let’s just say you’ve added a lot of pins to a lot of different boards! And thank goodness for that feature they added that tells you if you’ve already pinned that picture, because I used to find myself pinning the same thing three or four times on the same board! Guess I really liked it, huh?main-pinterest-board

Almost every bride has her own wedding dream board, or boards, that she uses to save all of her ideas. Sometimes she started the boards before she even had a ring! Or in some cases, before she was even dating anyone! Well, a girl can never be too prepared!

Thank goodness they added that secret board option, and now they even have an unlimited number of secret boards rather than just three! You can pin all the wedding dresses you like, and your fiancé won’t be able to snoop around on your board and see any of them! (Assuming he’s on Pinterest!) They’re making it all too easy for us to get lost on there.

And yes, you can certainly use Pinterest as a planning tool. In fact, we even encourage it. We certainly have our share of wedding boards on Pinterest! But there’s one very important thing to remember. Not all of the great ideas you see on there are as easy to do as you think. Or as affordable. Using some of those ideas can easily add another $3,000-5,000 on to the cost of your wedding by the time you’re finished! inspired ecard

How can that be? Easy. Most of those pictures on Pinterest are professional photos, not photos taken by family and friends. The cute DIY favors and table decorations are really gorgeous, but when you start to make them, they don’t always look like the picture! Unless you have a really crafty friend to help you. (Fortunately, we have a number of talented and crafty people who can put together some amazing decorations.) And you can find yourself spending a lot more money than you’d planned, unless you have a lot of those “40% off one item” or “25% off your entire purchase today only” craft store coupons, and several friends to go shopping with you with extra coupons!board-a-reality

You can sometimes go wild with ideas on Pinterest, and decide on an over-abundance of things that you just HAVE to have, and when you start putting it all together for that day, well, there’s sometimes not enough room on the tables for the food! Or you can’t see around the centerpieces to the people across the table from you. Or you decide you like two or three different styles of decor, but unless you know what you’re doing, it can look like two or three different styles that don’t look right together! Or you may fall in love with a certain style of bouquet and decide to make it yourself, but when you’re done, it doesn’t look right with your dress, or it’s too big or too small for you, and it just looks wrong! Then you’re scrambling at the last minute to find someone to help you out!wedding-ideas-board

And all those photo ideas….there are some really great ones, but please don’t pick out 20-30 poses you just HAVE to have, and give them to your photographer. Five or six, yes, but discuss with him/her what your ideas are and let the professional decide what to shoot. He/she most likely has ideas just for you and your fiancé that are perfect for the two of you and no one else! You hired the photographer because you trusted their work and their creativity. Let them do their thing!

One other very important point. Someone has to be available to place all your decorations around the venue, as well as collect them afterwards, and let’s face it. You certainly aren’t going to have time to be doing that, and neither are your attendants, or your family! You have other things to do that day!

Bottom line, if you’re a DIY bride, or a Pinterest bride, that’s fine, but make sure you have someone trustworthy to help you that knows how to put everything together. (Like a wedding planner!) Your friends may tell you they can put all the decorations out for you, but what happens when they forget something, or don’t get to your venue in time? Or even worse, are too sick from the night before to be able to do what they’re supposed to do! It may look easy when you’re pinning all those things you just HAVE to have, but trust me, when you start trying to put everything together, unless you’re really creative and organized, you’re going to get overwhelmed and miss some important details! And your wedding day is NOT the day to have that happen!wedding-planner

Remember…it’s your wedding! You want it right. And we’re ready to help you make your day as special as you are!planning

And be sure to follow us on Pinterest!

Barking Down the Aisle?

What happens when the bride really, REALLY wants to have her dog(s) included in the day’s events?

We know that all those pictures on Pinterest of the brides with their dog on their wedding day are absolutely beautiful. We particularly like the ones that show the dogs as ring bearers (some even with a ring pillow on their collar!) or flower dogs with a wreath of flowers around their collar. You’d never even think that those adorable four-legged balls of fur would ever, EVER, do anything to mess up your wedding day. Right? They just love you and your fiancé so much that they’d never EVER embarrass you!

Well…not always. In your dreams your dog will walk perfectly down the aisle and go right to you and sit where he/she’s supposed to be. Or your dog is brought in with one of your attendants, walks perfectly down the aisle, and sits/stands right where he/she’s supposed to be through the whole ceremony. That’s the way it’s supposed to go. Right?

Are you really seriously thinking that? Are we talking a 5 pound Yorkie or an 80 pound Golden Retriever? Or something in between?

Before we continue, let me say this. I love pets. We currently have two dogs, and three cats. They’re part of our family. We’ve had cats and dogs for as long as I can remember. And you know your family is supposed to be part of your wedding day. Right?

Here’s how you imagine it. It’s almost ceremony time. You’ve already had the pre-requisite pictures taken in your beautiful wedding gown with your wonderful golden retriever looking lovingly in your face, maybe even putting his paw in your hand, licking your face, or even posing beside your very fragile bouquet. Then you and your faithful friend go out, and he walks down the aisle (wearing his best wedding bow tie) with one of your bridesmaids and takes his place beside your mom on the front row so he can watch everything. After the ceremony he’s there for more pictures, and you and your groom have some great shots with the dog looking lovingly at both of you. Then there’s the picture where he’s balancing the rings on his nose….

You get the picture, right? That’s in the perfect world.

Who really lives in that perfect world? Who has a dog that’s trained that well to behave like that? Without being on a lot of doggie tranquilizers, that is! And who would want to do that? No matter how well trained your pet is, there are just so many things that can go, well, wrong.

Let’s imagine how it would really go. You’re getting dressed on your wedding day. Just a few hours to go. Your hair and makeup are perfect. Your dress is gorgeous, and fits perfectly. In comes your dog, who sees you and promptly wants to jump on you, because, well, he’s a dog, and he’s excited! Even on a leash, he’s still going to be excited and jumping! And unless you have a little tiny dog, can you imagine what would happen next? And how you’d fix the dress so no one can tell? He or she may be cute and adorable, but at that particular moment, CUTE is not in your vocabulary!

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Or let’s say you just want the dog to walk down the aisle and carry something (and please NOT the real rings!). Tied to his collar, of course, because I don’t know any dog that’s going to cooperate enough to carry something in his mouth the whole time without ruining it! Or dropping it along the way. You sure don’t want one of the groomsmen or bridesmaids to be your dog handler, because they’re going to have enough to do, and they certainly won’t want to risk getting their clothes messed up either! (Well maybe a little dog might be more cooperative, but that’s still questionable!) And there certainlly isn’t any guarantee that your flower girl or ring bearer is going to be successful!

Maybe hire a professional dog handler to do it, and hope your four-legged friend cooperates? That’s all well and good, but when Rusty sees everyone sitting there, what’s the first thing he’s going to do besides try to run over to everyone and kiss them? In their good clothes? BARK! And the sound of barking to the wedding music is not exactly something you or your guests are going to enjoy! And if you were to try to have him sitting and watching the ceremony…he’d be thrilled to bark while you’re saying your vows…IF he decides to sit still! And what about when he sees something that distracts him? He BARKS, and wants to go chase after it!

And what if your dog is at an outside ceremony and there’s, well, shall we say, a call of nature???

Pictures afterwards? You have the same situation. Wanting to jump, and now, not only is your dress in danger, so are your flowers, your new husband, and your bridesmaids! And as good as your photographer may be, he/she is going to quickly lose patience trying to get the dog to cooperate…it’s hard enough sometimes with the wedding party! And that’s going to mean most likely your pictures are not going to end up looking like you’d planned!

Not to mention that most venues frown on having animals there, unless it’s an outside venue. If you’re really insisting your dog be a part of your day, ASK before you commit to your location, and be sure it’s in writing! And you certainly don’t want to have the dog attend the reception! After all…..

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So….what’s the solution here? You love your dog. You want him or her to be part of your day. But you have to remember, he’s a dog, and he doesn’t understand what’s going on! There’s so much excitement and so many new people, he’s not going to know what to do!

There are other ways to include your dog. Engagement pictures are a great way! You’re not wearing the most expensive dress you’ve ever worn, and there aren’t a zillion people around to distract and excite him/her. Just you and your fiancé and the photographer. And that’s still an interesting time, because he/she is still going to be excited, and trust me, dog cooperation is NOT going to be the rule at the photo shoot! A good photographer can get some good pictures with you both and your dog(s), but they aren’t necessarily going to be what you envisioned! Our daughter’s engagement photographer Amanda Hedgepeth was excellent, and she got some great pictures with the dogs, but they still didn’t cooperate the way Ashley expected them to! (But aren’t they cute?)

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The other suggestion, if you really, really want pictures of your dog with you while you’re wearing your gown…do it AFTER your wedding day. You’ll be more relaxed, and not quite as worried about your dress. Your hair may not be quite the same style, and you may need to use a silk bouquet instead of your real flowers, but isn’t that better than risking disaster on your wedding day? You can even make prior arrangements with the tux rental store to have your fiancé keep his tux a few days extra, or he can just wear a suit for the pictures. Either way, it’s still going to accomplish most of what you wanted! You’ll have wonderful wedding photos, and you’ll also have great pictures with your four-legged friend!

And no memories of barking down the aisle! Arf!!

Golden Wedding

Photo Sources: 1st Row: Apollo Beach Wedding Photographer on WordPress; Christine Farah Photography on StyleMePretty; Flickr from The Cottage Cheese – 2nd Row: RuffledBlog; Pfeiffer Film Photography on GreyLikesWeddings; Lynn Brubaker Photography on EastonEvents – 3rd Row: MichelesCottage on Etsy; Milou and Olin Photography – 4th Row: Source Unknown; HeartLoveWeddings – 5th Row: – 6th Row:; Ira Lipke Studios on InspiredbyThis – 7th Row: – 8th Row: Amanda Hedgepeth Photography – 9th Row: Source Unknown

Engagement Photos

A few weeks ago our daughter Ashley went from Virginia Beach to Honolulu to visit her friend Erin, who is also one of her bridesmaids. A portion of this blog is re-posted with Erin’s permission from her blog, Crafty Girl Problems.

“Aloha! During Ashley’s visit she asked me to make a few things for her upcoming engagement photos. I said, “uh duh, yes.” We made a few stops at craft stores around the island and we got our materials. I spent all week working on little signs in our down time. I even had the bride to be help with the base painting and top clear coats. She pretty much let me do my thing and trusted my artistic hand all while giving good ideas and opinions to make the signs turn out even better. I think I taught her a few of my crafty ways too!
Ashley and her fiance Chris are huge dog lovers. Between the two of them they have two fur babies and have their minds set on another pup before their wedding in 2015. Ashley and I were throwing ideas out there for her signs and we came up with a sign specially for the pups! With that, my pallet addiction took over, yet again. I honestly think that the sign for the pups could possibly be my favorite of my recent crafts. I just love the little milk bone on the left side of the sign. Be sure to tell me what you think.
Our Humans

When I first walked into this local craft store (a week before Ashley got here) I had my eye on this little string of hearts. I was teetering on buying it for Kristen’s wedding but for the life of me, I couldn’t think of how to use it. When I took Ashley to the craft store I was pretty happy when she wanted to get it.

We had the best idea to print her wedding date on it and I love how it turned out.
Finished Hearts

After seeing all of my chalkboard paint works of art, Ashley knew that she wanted one for herself. Here is what we came up with. A beachy sign for the beachy couple.

Such a busy touristy week and I still had time to make all of these little cuties! Can’t wait to see how the engagement photos turn out! Congratulations love birds.”

Erin, you and Ashley did a great job, and I promise you will be helping out with more decorations and ideas for the big day in 2015!

Ashley and Chris had their engagement photos taken this week, and we’re so excited about how they turned out that we have to share. The signs were used perfectly, and their dogs actually cooperated with our photographer! Course, they were all dressed up in their blue polka dot bow ties, so they had no choice!
dogs with signs
Please follow this link to see more of Ashley and Chris’ Engagement Photos. We love how all of the signs were used, as well as how beautiful these pictures of our daughter and future son-in-law came out. Special thanks to our very talented photographer, Amanda Hedgepeth Photography in Virginia Beach. And for those of you who read our blog featuring the starfish wedding cake toppers, how do you like Ashley’s photos with her ring being worn by the starfish? (I just wonder how Amanda got her to actually take it off her finger??!!)

Feel free to leave your comments on either our page, or our photographer’s page.