Including white doves in wedding ceremonies is a very fashionable alternative to throwing rice or confetti, and can add a certain charm to your wedding day. Wedding doves are used because they symbolise peace, love, and happiness, which are all important to a successful marriage.
Here are some of the ways you can use wedding doves as part of your big day, along with practical considerations to take into account.
A wedding dove release
Releasing wedding doves during your ceremony is a romantic and symbolic gesture. You and your fiance could release a bridal pair; two doves which circle above you and then fly home, symbolising the start of your life together.
Members of your bridal party could also release a flock of doves, one each, to join the bridal pair. This signifies their support of your marriage. Sometimes a single dove is released to join the bridal pair. This symbolises an absent friend who is present in spirit but not physically.
Fantail doves at your reception
If you like the idea of having symbolic wedding doves but don’t want to release them, consider having white fantail doves present at your reception. As the name implies they have beautiful fan shaped tail feathers, and do not fly very far so they will simply wander around amongst your guests, twirling occasionally as if they are dancing.
Caged doves as decorations
Ornamental bird cages accessorised with your wedding flowers make beautiful wedding decorations, and having a white dove inside makes them even more special. Bird cages come in various sizes and shapes and could be placed at the entrance to your ceremony or reception. Wedding doves could only be used as decorations for a limited time so they couldn’t be used as table centres.
Practical considerations of including wedding doves
Here are some of the practical arrangements you will need to consider before you set your heart on white wedding doves:
If you are planning a dove release, your venue will need to be within a certain distance of a wedding dove supplier. The doves, the majority of which are actually white homing pigeons, will need to be able to fly home.
Make sure you can practise the dove release beforehand. It may sound simple but it’s not something you do every day and you don’t want to get it wrong in the middle of your wedding ceremony. If you have particularly small hands, check that the supplier can provide a small bird for you to release.
Find out whether the wedding dove supplier will work together with your photographer to make sure you get some great photos of the release. Ask if the supplier will bring spare birds in case the photographer isn’t able to get pictures of the actual release and you want to have photos taken afterwards.
Generally the doves will be kept in a basket until the moment of their release, which will be on full view of your guests during the ceremony. Ask the supplier if the basket can be decorated to match your wedding theme.