Helping Animals When Getting Married

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Helping Animals When Getting Married

Congratulations – your are engaged! This is an exciting time of your life and one where all the focus is on YOU – the bride-to-be. If you are a die-hard animal lover then you may be thinking, OK I finally have everyones attention – so how can I use this to help homeless animals.

Well we got you covered – and a special thank you for caring so much that you found this post!

Here are a few ideas that you can incorporate into your big day to help animals that are spending their time in a shelter or rescue instead of their forever home! And if you are really really really an animal lover than you can take a peak out our list of places to have weddings that benefit animals!

Kitten Hour Instead of Cocktail Hour

Wedding Idea Helps Rescues
image credit: F–k Yeah Weddings

We could not love this idea more! It is almost like having a kitten wedding instead of a people wedding!

A Seattle couple skipped the traditional open bar idea and went for what they called a “kitten hour” for their attendees. We think it is so awesome that a couple were able to find their related “cat mate” – since they both are clearly cat lovers, there is truly a match out there for everyone! They are parents to 2 special needs cats – so they reached out to the Seattle Animal Shelter with their idea and the shelter was totally on board.

The shelter picked the most social kittens they had and the happy couple not only made a donation to the shelter but asked that all their guests do as well in lieu of gifts.

Oh – and the best part – all the cats from the wedding were adopted.

Another great example of promoting your favorite rescue at your wedding is this couple! A paid of veterinarians who wanted to do something completely different and brought 2 rescue kittens to their wedding to promote a rescue where they often volunteer.

Table Numbers or Candles With Adoptable Pets

Photo Candle For Wedding With Adoptable Pets
image credit: Detroit Dog Rescue

By working with your local rescue organization you can give a great gift – exposure! With limited resources it is all too often that a rescue or shelter cannot get all the animals in their care the exposure they need. The table number can have an image of the animal with their important details such as age, size, personality etc. and the shelters contact information on the back in case anyone is interested in learning more about that particular animal.

If your shelter cannot get the information to you – see if you can make some time to swing by a few days before your wedding to get the information – you can even ask your photographer if they would be willing to take some time to photograph the animals for the shelter which would be an added bonus!

See if they can create the table cards too – many photographers who love animals would absolutely do this to help the animals!

If you love candles another option we love which was inspired by an event that Detroit Dog Rescue did was this creative candle. A batter operated candle with an insert of an image of one of their adoptable pets was displayed on each table.

This is a great idea for any wedding! Each table with their own candle – with and image and short description of the animal that is looking for their forever home is a beautiful accent piece that is doing something great!

Door Of Adoptable Pets

Image credit: Wedding Wonderland / Photo Credit: FrancescaFrancesa

We are not sure if this is specifically what this was because the website we found it on is in Italian, but we were inspired by it and thought it was a great addition for any wedding!

We love the country chic rustic feel of this door and the way the flowers are displayed throughout – it just gives it a sense of warmth and feelings of home and accents the images beautifully. But this can be used in any style wedding – a modern door with a more modern floral look and ribbon accents would also be a gorgeous accent! Or how about a large mirror with a gold or silver ornate trim accent surrounded by a wreath of images of local pets available for adoption.

Using prints of various pets that are in a local shelter and printing their information on the cards are a perfect way to bring exposure to animals who may otherwise not receive any.

You can also just print the images of the pets and attach them to a pretty paper then handwrite the pets details if that will fit in better with your wedding theme. There are so many ways this can be done!

Furry Friend Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

Yes – we know this is all about hanging with the besties, but why not make a pit stop beforehand to a local shelter to drop off some goodies and snuggle some puppies.

The impact a party of this size can make on a shelter or rescue is huge! Spend an hour of your time – together with your friends walking some dogs, snuggling with a senior cat and just do something together before you head out for a night on the town in your best duds!

I would like to thank Rochelle, from The Broke Dog for inspiring this idea! She is a friend from a pet loving community we both belong to and when she posted pictures from her sisters bachelorette party I was all giddy inside.

All of the girls got together with a bunch of goodies and delivered them to a local rescue – Eleventh Hour Rescue in NJ and while they were there – they got to snuggle puppies. What a way to kick off a fun night out!

Bachelorette Party Helps Animals

Make Your Kissing Count!

Rochelle is also in the process of planning her own wedding – so congratulations to her! When I contacted her about the bachelorette party for her sister she was kind enough to share something she is implementing at her own wedding that we thought was a fabulous idea as well.

There is the tradition of tinging glasses to get the newly married couple to kiss at the reception.

At her wedding they are changing things up a bit.

They will have 2 jars on their table – one for a charity her new husband will choose and one for the charity they adopted their dog from.

Every time someone puts money in one of the jars, they will kiss!

To top it off – they are having a little friendly competition between them, and are going to donate an additional $50 to the jar with the most money in it at the end of the night. Seriously in love with this idea and think this should completely replace the glass tinging as a way to get couples to kiss!

Wedding Favors – Money Wasted Can Be Money Well Spent!

If I could tell you how many little bottles of wine and bags of fancy candy I have received over the years from wedding favors – it would probably be enough to feed a shelter dog for a month.

No one drinks those wine bottles.

No one eats those candies.

And I am sure there are a lot more wedding favors either sitting and collecting dust or are long gone in the dump.

Why not take that money and make a donation to your favorite animal organization instead?

If you know you are going to do this before you send out your invitations you can let your guests know ahead of time and also ask them to consider donating on your behalf as well.

Below is an example from the North Shore Animal League for a card you can place at each table letting guests know about your donation. Even better would be to add an adoptable pet on a card letting guests know they are available for adoption!

wedding donation card example
image credit: North Shore Animal League

Offer Alcohol Brands That Do Good!

Did you know you can even offer alcohol brands to your guests that give back to animal organizations?

From wines to rum and more – you can see our list of alcohol brands that help animals.

Wild Tiger Rum Helps Indian Tigers

Do You Really Need Those Wedding Gifts?

Weddings Helping Dog Rescues
image credit: Bernd Rac

Statistics show that people are getting married later in life – so you have more time to build a career and save money. If you are fairly comfortable in your life – how much do you really need the monetary gifts that your guests will give?

Think about the impact you can make for a local shelter or rescue by having your guests donate instead of giving you a gift.

A couple in Las Vegas did just that!

A pair of true animal lovers who had recently adopted 2 dogs from a local rescue wanted to come up with a way to make a difference at their wedding. So they requested that in lieu of any wedding gifts that their guests donate to their favorite animal rescue.

This resulted in a $4,000 donation to A Home 4 Spot in Las Vegas.

Another example of this was NFL player Logan Ryan who married his wife in St. Lucia and asked their guests to donate to a local rescue there instead of giving the newlyweds a gift.

This couple are two awesome examples of animal lovers having also created a social media presence to help shelter dogs – largely pit bull breeds – find their forever homes. Visit Ryan’s Monthly Rescue to learn more about what they do!

You can also ask guests if they can bring food, toys and other items that shelters and rescues need instead of money!

Rachel Caren


Rachel has been an intern with CharityPaws for several years and is currently attending the University of Rochester to study Biology. Her passion for cats and reptiles combined with her love for Biology shows through in the content she creates! When you want to know why or how something happens with animals, she is the girl to ask!

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2 thoughts on “Helping Animals When Getting Married”

    • Hi Tracy, unfortunately we do not have any locations in Yorkshire and are focused on the US for this list. We may try to secure locations outside the US in the future, but as a small blog we do not have the resources to do that research. I am sorry!