I will never forget that scene in Father of the Bride when Mr. Banks (played by Steve Martin) opens the bathroom door and finds a swan in the bathtub. I always thought that animals at weddings were ridiculous and that it was something that was only done in movies – I couldn’t have been more mistaken. There are many couples who hire special services to have animals at their celebrations, some go for the classic options like pigeons, ring bearer puppy, or the carriage pulled by horses, and then there are the others who are not satisfied with the conventional and need something a bit more exotic like butterflies, camels, elephants, llamas, and even snakes.
In recent years there has been an increasing number of ceremonies that feature butterflies as a special guest. Couples hire farms to bring the insects trapped in boxes and then, right after they’re declared men and wife, the butterflies are released creating an effect that seems pulled out of a Disney movie.
A story that has been making the rounds through news outlets lately is the one of a man in Las Vegas riding an elephant to pick up his wife. The couple of Indian origin chose the animal because it brings good fortune in their culture. They paid, allegedly, $10,000 to rent the creature.
Another couple decided to seek the company of llamas. Since these were the favorite animals of his bride to be, the groom decided to bring them as a surprise on their wedding day. She got really excited and after the ceremony, the guests lined up to have their picture taken with the animals.
There is also an account of another groom in Cincinnati who wanted to surprise his girlfriend so she took her in a surprise trip to the aquarium, and there, inside the penguins’ area, he knelt and asked her to marry him. As it turns out, their case is not unique. For a price of $350 anyone can get engaged surrounded by penguins. Other animals that are becoming favorites for weddings are monkeys and snakes.
Of course, as it usually happens, not everyone is happy with the new trend. Many animal rights activists are angry because they argue that weddings are no place for exotic animals. It can be dangerous for both the creature and the person.
There are places where the use of elephants for recreational purposes is strictly prohibited and right now, in New York, the mayor is preparing a bill that will be voted at the beginning of next year to ban horse-drawn carriages.
The reality is that, very often, businesses that use animals in this way are exploiters and people trapped in a romantic bubble are unable to see the price these creatures have to pay for making their day “special”. It is always important to run a background check whenever you hire a service, but it is crucial when other living beings are involved.