Weddings on Horseback
 By Winniefield Park   •   11th Nov 2015   •   1,451 views   •   0 comments

When my daughter was younger, I dreamed of designing the perfect wedding dress for her. It would of course, be constructed so that she could ride astride her horse on the way to the ceremony. Next year my daughter will be getting married. And, sheís decided that horses will be part of the scenery, but not in the actual wedding proceedings. Horses, she says, are too unpredictable to be part of a wedding. And, if you ever watched Americaís Funniest Home Videos, and have seen a bride on horseback thrown into the air like an exploding meringue, youíll know what I mean. Horses poop, neigh, spook, squirm and pass gas at inappropriate times because they simply donít understand the gravity and decorum required of wedding attendants - at least for the ceremony. At the reception these things arenít nearly as inappropriate and guests and attendants no longer have to be in their best behaviour.

So, Iím not designing an equestrian wedding dress. Iím not even allowed to make the dress at all. Oh well. So Iíll dispense a little advice, based on what Iíve seen of weddings with horses. One of the simplest and most romantic weddings was of a friend who decided she wanted to be married at a favorite spot on trail. She found a minister willing to ride out with them, and luckily for the non-riding guests, the chosen spot wasnít too far from a quiet road they could park on. It was a casual wedding. Heels and cocktail dresses would have been very out of place. The bride and her matron of honor wore black pants and white lace blouses. Foregoing a helmet, she wore a wreath of flowers on her head. After they dismounted, friends held the horses. The ceremony was brief and the wedding party rode back to the stable and then left for their own home for a backyard reception. It was all simple, relaxed and very memorable.

If youíre going to ride your horse as part of your wedding, make sure itís used to your dress. Practice beforehand with an old sheet or curtain and be certain that your horse wonít spook if the dress touches its hindquarters, is lifted in the wind or drapes around it completely. You probably wonít want to wear a helmet, but do wear appropriate footwear. White or jewel colored cowboy boots might be an idea. If you donít normally ride side saddle, donít try it at the last minute, and if youíd like to drive to your wedding, be sure your horse is well broke to harness long before the event. This is not the time to try anything new.

Figure out ahead of time how you will mount and dismount. You want to be able to do both without ruining your pretty dress or getting hung up on the saddle while not showing too much leg, bosom or other parts you donít necessarily want your guests to view. And, be sure whoever tacks up does so carefully. You donít want the bridle to slip off, or the saddle to slide as youíre riding.

Weddings take a lot of planning, and adding horses adds additional considerations. You might want to script things out so that you can work all the details through. But even with good planning, surprises do happen. So, stay relaxed. Your horse will pick up your nerves, and thatís never a good thing. The idea isnít to have everything about your wedding perfect, but rather make good memories and start your new life off surrounded by those you love, even your horse.

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