bride portrait with her dog in the foreground
mycaninelife / Instagram
Attention people who always cry at weddings: Grab some tissues and get ready to dab those peepers because this video hits all the right chords.
Hana—aka Instagram user @mycaninelife—is a photographer in Oregon, living with her three retrievers, Gumbo, Maple, and Aslan. Her Insta feed is full of some genuinely beautiful photos of her doggos: doggos in nature, doggos in pumpkins, doggos in love. That last one is what brings us together today because Hana is also in love and on Oct. 16, she and her husband tied the knot. As expected there were plenty of photographs of the happy couple and the wedding party, but because Hana is no ordinary mom—she’s a cool dog mom—there are also plenty of shots of her with her puppers.
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Perhaps the most touching comes in this video of Hana, looking absolutely resplendent in her wedding dress, shooting a “first look” with golden retriever Gumbo, clad in an equally dashing doggy tuxedo.
Traditionally between a bride and groom, “first look” photos have become popular because they capture exactly what the name implies: a groom’s first look at his bride-to-be in her full wedding dress and makeup. But Hana, who clearly loves her dogs dearly, wanted them to be involved in more ways than just serving as cute ring bearers.
“The only request I had for my wedding was that I get a first look with my dog,” she says in the caption on Instagram.
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“He’s my lifeline, my calm after every storm, and the bestest boy,” Hana says of the beloved Gumbo in her Instagram caption. The emotion shared between the two is evident in the heartwarming video. Gumbo (with an assist from a friend behind a tree) sits quietly looking out at the surrounding woods as Hana gets into position behind him. She kneels, calls for him, Gumbo turns around … and the look of joy on Hana’s face as the sweet goldie approaches her is enough to put a smile on even the most curmudgeon-ey face.
There are a lot of considerations for people looking to include their pets in their nuptials, including the venue’s pet policies, how well your particular doggo might be socialized for crowds, and just what you’d like their role in the ceremony to be. Having someone in the wedding party whose only job is to serve as pet handler is a great idea too and, depending on the size and scope of your wedding, a wedding pet coordinator could even be a wise choice. But when done thoughtfully, the results can be genuinely beautiful and create some extra precious memories.
Congratulations, Hana. Good boy, Gumbo. I’m going to go find some tissues now.