Dogs At Weddings
Dogs at Weddings: Ira, Liz & Cooper
Pet lifestyle expert Serena Faber-Nelson is the founder of Pretty Fluffy. A contributor to Everyday with Rachael Ray, Modern Dog Magazine, Cesars Way and more; her modern, stylized take on DIY dog treats has seen her recipes viewed millions of times over.
Serena is the author of the go-to dog mom bible, Dog Mama, and the popular dog treat recipe book, Healthy Homemade Dog Treats.
I’m such fan of dogs at weddings and this stunning destination wedding is no exception!
When one of my favorite dog lovin instagram friends, Liz, got engaged, I just knew there was going to be one beautiful dog friendly wedding in the near future. Her adorable shih tzu, Cooper, or Coops as his friends call him, certainly made for one charming groomsman.
We especially love that Coops was not only included in the destination wedding, he even stayed for the party AND cake. All the love in this little family just beams through in these gorgeous photos.
Cheers to many years & dog kisses! xoxo
From The Bride
Ira and I have been together for almost a decade when he proposed. So, when we finally got engaged, much to everyone’s surprise, we had no idea what we wanted for our wedding. From the size of the wedding to the color scheme, everything was up for grabs. We were both the first of our immediate families to get married and we were in uncharted territory. To say that we were a bit “overwhelmed” is an understatement. Our good friend, Dayna, recommended that each of us go off separately and create a list of things that were important and unimportant to us in regards to the wedding. We each squirreled away and reconvened about fifteen minutes later with our lists. And of course, the first 3 things were both the same for us:
Wedding Must Haves:
2. Intimate Small Wedding
3. Laughter and Fun
Cooper is our shih tzu and our best friend. He has one blue eye and one brown eye (like David Bowie). We rescued him about 2 years ago and he has changed our lives. He has taught us how to love and be loved. He keeps us healthy and continues to make us laugh. So, clearly, he HAD to be a part of our wedding party.
We knew we wanted to have a small intimate wedding but we also wanted it to be exciting. In the 9 years that we had been together, Ira and I had never been to Hawaii but had always talked about vacationing there. So, in a moment of genius (or lunacy) we decided that a destination wedding in Maui would be the best way to celebrate our union. Not only would we get to get married in paradise, but we would get to vacation with our closest family and friends.
However, Hawaii came with a tiny hitch, it is a rabies free island. This meant that in order for us to bring Cooper to the island of Maui, we would have to undergo a very difficult and intricate process with the Hawaiian Government. In the old days, pets would be quarantined for 120 days. However, a couple years ago, Hawaii debuted the Direct Release Program (http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/animal-quarantine-information-page) where you could bring your pet to Hawaii without quarantining them. It was a long and expensive process filled with forms, mailings, and many vet visits, but it was all worth it because we were able to have Cooper be with us for our wedding.
Once the logistics for getting Cooper to the island were squared away, we began the fun parts: figuring out how to incorporate Cooper into our wedding. We had seen an incredible artist, Ayu Tomikawa, on instagram create a custom stamp of one of our IG friends. We were so impressed that we contacted her immediately to create a stamp of the three of us (Cooper, Ira, and myself) that would serve as the logo for our wedding. We featured the stamp on our invitations, place cards, and even on our wedding cake.
Another fun aspect was figuring out the attire for the groomsmen and pup. Ira is a huge Oakland Athletics Baseball fan and we knew he had to wear a green tie. I had been trolling the internet late at night and found Mrs. Bow Tie: a bespoke bow tie store that also specialized in making dog collars and leashes. They were beyond wonderful to work with. We were able to have both Cooper and Ira wear identical ties and even got a leash to match!
The day of the wedding, it was pouring rain, which was very rare in Makena. Cooper had spent the day with the groomsmen getting ready in the cottage on the property. Now, Cooper is a people dog and once our guests started arriving to the venue, he snuck out of the cottage and ran around greeting the guests in the rain. Ira had to send one of his groomsmen to try to go fetch Cooper. Luckily, our friend Argeesht was able to corral him (they’re good pup and dude pals) and return him safely to Ira’s brother’s arms soaking wet. An hour before we walked down the aisle, Cooper was dried and fluffed (again) and put into his bow tie and leash.
One of my favorite moments was my first look with Cooper. I hadn’t seen him since the morning. Our best friend Ryan brought Cooper in and he was just the most perfect thing I had ever seen. He was all fluffy and his little bow tie was just outstanding. I just remember holding him in my wedding dress and feeling his little heart beat calm my wedding jitters.
After that it was go time. Cooper and Ryan were the first down the aisle. Cooper was fantastic. He did slip out of his collar (it was too loose on him) but Ryan skillfully picked him up and carried him down to the ceremony site. After readjusting the collar, Cooper sat very quietly during the whole ceremony and loved meeting all of our guests afterwards. However, once dinner was served, it was time to cut loose! Cooper pawtied with us all night long from the cake cutting, to the flipbook, and yes, even on the dance floor. It was the most perfect day.
P.S. -Recently, we rescued another little shih tzu named Coco Snuggles. She is about 5 years old and is just a love. She and Cooper get along famously and can be seen cuddling or wrestling with Cooper.
We are so grateful to Sarah and Coco Bean for featuring us on Pretty Fluffy!
Wedding Planners: Darren and Shane of Bliss Wedding Design & Spectacular Events / Photographer: Anna Kim / Venue: Kukahiko Estate / Florist: Kuolani Floral / Rentals: Rio Event Design / Hair & Makeup: Ry-n Shimabuku / Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham / Shoes: Zara / Groomsmen Bowties: Mrs. Bow Tie / Best Dog Bowtie & Leash: Mrs. Bow Tie Pets / Invitations: Paperless Post / Stamp Artist: Ayu Tomikawa