Enjoy an equestrian’s dream wedding!
As we all know, your wedding is one of the most special days of your life. And many equestrians want to share the day with their two greatest loves – the four-footed and two-footed kind. If you’re horse lovers, there’s nothing more magical or unexpected as making an entrance on horseback. Horse-themed weddings have always been popular in Australia but there’s been a surge in horse-themed weddings in the last year or so. This is due to the fact that horses can make gorgeous additions to wedding photos as well as incredible, unique touches to the wedding.
Further, horses have special symbolism in many cultures across the world. From First Nations to the Celts, and everything in between. Hindu culture believes white horses are the incarnation of the god Vishnu. In Chinese culture, the horse is equated to Gemini and represents practicality, love, endurance, devotion, and stability – basically, everything you could want in a happy marriage.
While some brides only want to include them in their photos, others incorporate horses in their wedding as part of their theme (such as a barn themed-wedding and horse shoe bombonniere) or as whimsical transport to the wedding.
So join us as we provide 10 tips to include a horse in your wedding day!
1: Make a Grand Entrance
What bride doesn’t want to make a show-stopping entrance on her big day? And, as a horse lover, what better way to do that than to arrive at your venue in style! You can do this either on horseback if you’re a professional rider (or are comfortable on a quiet horse, being led by a professional) or via horse and coach. There are a wide variety of stunning horse and coach or horse and carriage options available to match your ceremony.
You have some amazing options no matter your ceremony, from whimsical carriages to more Victorian style themes. However, if you plan to ride into your ceremony, it is a good idea to brush up on your riding skills before the big day. This includes practising mounting in a dress the same length and weight as your wedding dress, as well as riding. If you are also riding your own horse, it is a good idea to acclimatise your horse to your dress – there is nothing worse than your horse spooking on your big day.
If you’ve never ridden before, it is still a good idea to see if your horse hire place will give you a chance to practice sitting on a horse in a dress before the day. You want to look happy, cool, calm and collected as you make your arrival.
2: The Perfect Photo Op!
Horses also make a fantastic addition to your wedding photography. Whether you arrived with your horse/horses or you find a way to include them in your photos regardless, this is a perfect way to remember your wedding forever. It is a great idea, if you are hiring horses for your event, if the stables will allow you to visit the horse/horses and get comfortable with them – and them with you – prior to the day. That way you get a good feel for their behaviour and get them accustomed to you.
As mentioned before, it is a good idea to introduce your horse/horses to your dress, and if you plan to sit on a horse for photos, get comfortable sitting on a horse in a large, heavy dress. It doesn’t have to be your wedding dress but find a cheap dress you can practice in. The last thing you want is to fall off your horse on your big day. Ideally, you should also ensure the people working with you and your horse/horses are them same ones that are there on the day.
There are more ways than just wedding day photos to include your horse. Some brides enjoy including their horse or horses in their bridal morning photos. Why not pose in your morning gown, or with you morning mimosa, while your horse has his apples and oats?
Further, you can include your horse or horses in pre-wedding photos, including candid photos. Maybe some fun shots tacking up in your gown, walking through the stables in your grooms wear, or even sharing a "nibble" on the bouquet. Have fun with it!
Finally, if you’re worried about having a horse at the actual ceremony or reception, why not consider having a horse in your post-wedding photos? Once the "I dos" have been shared and everyone is sharing cocktails and chatter, bring together the important people in your life for photos. And this, of course, can include your beloved four-legged friend.
3: Quirky Wedding Invitations!
Not up to having a horse at your wedding, or your ceremony or reception venue can’t cater for it? Why not try including your love of horses in your wedding invitations. (Of course, if you’re including horses at your wedding, you can still add them to your invitations!).
There’s a lot of equestrian themed invitations out there, from racing themes to cowboy to rustic farm themes. You can choose something over the top or subtle with a simple horseshoe monogram. Go with what suits your theme!
4: Barn Wedding Themes!
If horses are important to you, then you can also hold your wedding at elegant stables with real horses. If the stable is accommodating, you can also organise something special, like an elegant dressage display as your guests arrive or while canapes are being served at the reception. This, of course, depends on how large your venue, and budget, are!
You can also organise a stunning, stable aisle for the ceremony. Why not walk down the aisle of a stable and out onto a stunning, grassy area where the rest of your guests are waiting?
5: Horse-Themed Bombonniere
Equestrian themed bombonniere is a fantastic way to celebrate your love of horses. Why not try tucking in miniature jockey figurines to pay homage to your love of racing? Or what about creating stunning bombonniere from horseshoes? They are a fantastic – and lucky – gift to the guests that are fantastically different from other weddings and something people will remember forever!
6: What About Pony Rides for Kids?
Will there be a lot of children at your wedding? Why not organise pony rides for the kids? It can be tricky entertaining children at a wedding and not only are pony rides a great distraction, but they’re also a fantastic talking point! Guests will love getting snapshots of their kids on ponies and it will keep them distracted while the adults can chat and enjoy themselves.
7: Horse-themed Cake Topper
We’ve seen a lot of awesome and quirky cake toppers in the past and some of the best have been equestrian themed ones! Include your love of horses and your quirky sense of humour with a horse cake topper! It will be the icing o the cake – pardon the pun!
8: Pony Themed Reception Accessories
As well as bombonniere, you can include neat pony and horse themed reception accessories at your reception venue. From your serving ware to small display horses and jockeys to place cards shaped like horse shoes, the options are endless! Depending on your theme, you can scatter stirrups, saddles and other tack throughout the room.
9: Actual Bridal Party
Why not including a pony as part of your bridal party and turn it into an actual bridal party? Pony ring bearers are growing in popularity, if you can find a pony willing to wear a little cushion and collar. Other brides enjoy having a beloved pony as a bridal escort down the aisle, especially if a carriage is out of the budget. It is a great way to bring a little whimsy and romance to your day.
A flower pony is also a fantastic way to incorporate a horse or pony into your wedding, especially if they’re happy to head down the aisle with their human counterpart. Just make sure the flowers are safe for horses, as they might steal a few for a snack!
10: But Keep Things Safe
Above all, remember to keep things safe if you are adding a horse to your wedding day. All horses and ponies have different temperaments and might react differently to large crowds or different environments. Even the most bomb-proof horses can spook. It is also important to check that your venues are happy to have livestock on their properties. And, above all, ensure everyone exercises caution around the horse or horses all day. The last thing you want is for someone to get kicked, bitten or fall off a horse throughout the day.
Practice common sense and ensure you have some back up handlers – if you are using your own horse – so you don’t have to worry about managing your horse and your wedding day all at once. A back up handler can also ensure you horse is settled and taken somewhere else to clam down, if need, gets plenty of water and fed properly during the ceremony.