No one can resist chocolate – especially when it comes in the form of a four-year-old Labrador retriever.
Carly and Shane Barnes’ pet, a chocolate lab named Millie, walked down the aisle at their wedding in the dual role of flower girl and ring bearer.
“She had a custom veil, a ring pillow collar and a ‘Here Comes the Bride’ sign. She was the last one to walk down the aisle before my dad and I,” said Carly, 27. “She zigzagged down the aisle making sure she visited everyone. When she got up to the front, she laid right in front of all the groomsmen’s feet. She was so well-behaved.”
After the ceremony, Millie checked out the rest of the guests, mingling with everyone while still wearing her veil.
Their furry friend’s participation in the ceremony was easily one of their favourite things about the day, said Carly.
And there was a lot to like.
Carly married Shane Barnes, 28, on June 14, 2014. They wanted an elegant wedding, but also one reflecting of the season in which they wed.
“Springtime vibes” and “two lovebirds” was the theme the entire wedding became based around.
It was reflected in the soft grey-and-yellow invitations, wedding cake, decorations, and more.
Lovebirds, made by Bauwerk 3D Printing in Parry Sound, topped the cake.
The bridesmaids, groomsmen and groom were dressed in grey with yellow bouquets and boutonnieres. Instead of real flowers, the couple chose a company that specializes in creating fabric bouquets.
“I loved how original it was. I’d never seen anything like it before,” said Carly.
As well, the centerpieces were simple but elegant, with grey stones and yellow flowers submerged in water underneath a floating candle. Yellow flower petals were strewn atop the white linens.
Grey ribbons adorned the chair backs at the reception, and grey and yellow hanging puffs dotted the ceiling.
The Orrville, Ont. couple also hired a wedding planner to help pull their theme together – a decision Carly called “so worth it.”
Going along with the couple’s spring theme was a fresh menu.
An assortment of hors d’oeuvres were served during cocktail hour: mini quiches, smoked salmon cucumber cups with pickled onions and capers, stuffed sausage and roasted red pepper-baked pastry, bruschetta and garlic crostini.
For dinner, the 130 guests had garden salad with honey Dijon mustard, red wine-braised chicken, prime rib, mashed potatoes and vegetables.
To top it all off, dessert was a delicious New York-style cheesecake with fresh berry coulis and whipped cream, along with Greek pita with cinnamon simple syrup, fresh berries and ice cream. Shane’s Aunt Sheila also made the wedding cake.
But the best part of the food menu did not come until later in the evening, Carly said.
A late-night food truck, owned by the caterer, served up poutine and pulled pork sliders. It was a “huge hit!” she said.
While guests enjoyed the evening, Carly’s dad delivered a speech worthy of an Oscar for Most Emotional Speech.
“He brought a sign out that he made when I was born in 1987 that said ‘It’s a Girl!’ that he said he placed proudly in his car window the whole month of September (when I was born),” Carly said.
“He had kept it all this time, and I had no idea. He managed to get it into the wedding without me noticing. His speech was extremely emotional and very touching.”
When the day was over, Carly reflected that the key to having the wedding of your dreams is not waiting until the last minute to plan everything, said Carly.
“Do as much in advance as you can. I’m so happy I did that. We had a two-year engagement, and I ended up doing pretty much everything within the first year,” she said.
“I wanted to be as relaxed as possible the week of my wedding. It worked! Everything came together perfectly.”