Hunt is on for manageable hen to carry wedding rings down the aisle

A Moreton Bay marriage celebrant is attempting to fulfil her most “ridiculous” client request yet — trying to locate a chicken “body double” to accompany wedding rings down the aisle.

Key points:

  • A Moreton Bay marriage celebrant is looking for a chicken to be a ring bearer at a wedding 
  • Lobola the chicken was given to the bride-to-be’s South African family as “a dowry”
  • The chicken’s temperament is not compatible with being in a wedding 

But the ring bearer can not be just any chicken.

Celebrant Anna Staines said it had to be the “most basic”, manageable hen in order to fool the bride who wants her own bird used.

“I’ve been doing this for 15 years, so I mean love is love is love, but this is definitely next level,” Ms Staines said.

“The [bride’s] bird is bat s**t crazy so they can’t catch her, they can’t touch her, they can’t clean her, she screams whenever she doesn’t need to.

“[The stand-in] needs to be able to be handled, not trained. It’s got its own buggy to go down the aisle so we don’t need, like, pecking down the aisle. It’s just a body double that we need.”

While the request might make the couple seem chicken-obsessed, the origin of the hen’s involvement stems from a family joke which has grown legs of its own.

‘We need a stunt double’

Family member Chloe Buning said the joke started when the brother of the bride requested, in jest, a dowry from her husband-to-be.

“They come from South Africa so the tradition over there is to pay a dowry, so she’s marrying an Aussie bloke and we just had a bit of a joke with him that he needed to pay the dowry,” Ms Buning said.

“He actually did buy a chicken, so we’ve got a chook now and her name’s Lobola. 

“Now the bride wants Lobola to walk down the aisle carrying the ring. That’s definitely not part of the tradition.”

Lobola the chicken is named after the South African word for dowry.

Despite the bride’s wishes, Ms Buning said Lobola the chook — who was not hand-raised — is showing no signs of wanting to be involved in the wedding plans.

“She definitely doesn’t like people at all so that’s becoming quite a challenge. So we need a stunt double,” she said.

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Ugly duckling chicken

A chook lover herself, wedding celebrant Ms Staines tapped the online poultry community to fulfil the request, but even that is proving hard in finding a hen that looks similar to Lobola.

Ms Staines has been overwhelmed by online suggestions on who can take Lobola’s place.(Supplied: Karen Gibbs)

“I’ve had head shots of chickens sent through,” Ms Staines said.

One of the chickens has a manager and she will charge $3,000 for the wedding because apparently when you say the word ‘wedding’ everything gets up by a couple of zeros.

“They’re all too high end. Like this Lobola, you could not get anything more basic — she is all white, and that’s a dirty white because they can’t even get her to clean her off.

“She’s got the red wobbly bit at the top and yellow legs, and that’s it.”

Like Pavlova the hen, many of the chickens offered as substitutes for Lobola are too well groomed. (Supplied: Vanessa Francis)

With two months to go until the wedding at Mount Mee in the Moreton Bay region, Ms Staines is hoping someone would help her find the perfect body double.

“Really, we just need an ugly duckling chicken,” she said.

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