Vow-wow-wow proudly presents:
Heartfelt Ministries is a partnership of minds between Rev. Kelly and Rev. Zita, two animal lovers and wedding officiants.
The spark for Heartfelt Ministries started with Rev. Kelly’s own wedding in 1998. Kelly found that she had just two options; a church (with everything that entails), or a judge and a short, impersonal ceremony. Neither suit their personalities.
Their wedding day was fun and intimate, but it was not exactly the wedding of their dreams. Years later, Kelly discovered The Universal Life Church and Universal Ministries, organizations which allowed her personal spirituality to blossom. She was ordained and began her ministry in 2007. To her surprise, she performed over 25 weddings that first year. By 2008, she realized that there was a tremendous need for her open, non judgmental ceremonies, so Rev. Zita joined Heartfelt Ministries, adding another voice and point of view.
Now their lucky couples get their perfect weddings, from short and sweet to long and luxurious and everything in between. Their goal is to help every couple’s wedding be THEIR wedding, specially those that include their furry family members!
How do you accommodate dogs, and their owners?
Like every couple, these couples are individuals and have individual views on how their four footed children should be included in their wedding. Some couples have had their furry children take on the roles of flower girl and ring bearer by attaching pillows and baskets of (edible) flowers to their collars. Some couples have had their doggie friends escort them down the aisle. Some couples have had their weddings in their back yard just so their four footed companions can wander the yard and mingle with the guests. How a couple chooses to include their dogs is up to them, it is our job to find out how the couple wants to have their pooch in the wedding and do our best to honor that desire.
Do you have a great dog/wedding story?
Of course, although this one wasn’t planned to have the dog part of the ceremony.
It was 2009. Rev. Kelly was marrying a couple in the bride’s parent’s back yard, chosen because the groom’s dog could be with them during a four day celebration. In addition to the groom’s dog, Snowball, (a beautiful, giant, pure white animal of unknown breed), the bride’s parents had two small shelties. Rev. Kelly recalls;
“On the Saturday of the wedding, I arrive at the house and was introduced to everyone including the dogs. The bride’s father gives a great tour of the house and the yard, pointing out the ceremony site and describing the bride and groom’s vision for the day.
The ceremony is about to begin and all the plans are in place. The bride, and the groom and I are in front of the a favorite family tree, the guests are in the shade in chairs, and the dogs are lounging under the shaded back deck. I get to the point in the ceremony where the couple is asked to join hands to say their vows. Enter Snowball, who sits between me and the couple, staring at them. The groom says his vows; the bride says her vows. Then then Snowball does this barking, whining, growl thing. He was trying to speak, says his vows!
Snowball puts his two cents worth on the end of the ring vows as well! He stayed put during the rest of the ceremony, so on a whim, the couple was pronounced married as husband, wife, and dog! The recessional started and the couple went out hand in hand followed by their loyal companion, Snowball. That is one of the stories that I love telling, just because it is cute. No one can resist cute stories with animals in them, especially dogs.
Tell us about YOUR dogs! Brag some, we love it!
Rev. Zita does not have a dog, she has a cat, or maybe we should say that a cat has her. Isn’t that joke that dogs have owners but cats have staff?
I have a dog, Colby, who is a Lollie Bull. (A Lollie Bull is a made up breed because it sounds more prestigious than a mutt.) Colby is a 3 year old, male dog who is descendent of a full bred Border collie (the Ollie) father and a half Black Lab (the L) and half Pit Bull (the Bull) mother. Rev. Kelly always notes that Colby is just as unusual as his “breed.” Colby joined the family on her birthday, so the date he became one of us is easy to remember.
When we went to the farm, the owners opened up a kennel and about eight puppies came bounding towards them. My four year old son said, “Mommy, I want all of them.” Convincing him that we only needed one dog was hard, but eventually he got the message and this little bundle of fur had a new home.
From the start Colby was a pretty good dog and fairly easy to train. Housebreaking was a breeze and the basic commands were understood almost immediately. The problem with Colby is that he loves people and forgets himself when people are around. Colby got his name as a compromise. My husband, oldest son, and I wanted to name him “Snickers” since he is brown and black and kind of looks like a Snickers bar when you bite into it. My youngest, who is famous for his stubborn streak, wanted to call him “Cheese”. We convinced him that “Cheese” wouldn’t work because he (the son) loved to eat cheese and the dog fear for his life whenever he asked for some cheese. Instead we could call the dog Colby, which is a type of cheese but not something he’s ask for, so the dog would not live in fear of being eaten. (Plus, when the dog needs a night potty run at 3 AM, “Colby” is much nicer to yell than “Cheese”…)
Another of Colby’s little quirks; he thinks he is part cat and purrs. I know it is weird, but my dog purrs when he is being petted. It sounds like a growl but he loves having people pet him. I am not sure where he picked this up, but we just figure that Colby has decided it is nice to purr when he is being lavished with attention!
~Serving Wisconsin and Northern Michigan~
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