Weddings have become increasingly more independent of tradition. We have all seen the various stories popping up on social media that showcase the unconventional venues, outfits, or ideas. Sally Burky is another bride who decided to forgo a certain tradition for something that is a much better cause. In most wedding traditions, the bridesmaids carry bouquets of flowers while walking down the aisle. Instead, Burky had her bridesmaids escort shelter dogs in need of adoption down their trip to the aisle.
Burky explained, “Initially (my husband and I) discussed having our own dogs in the wedding, but after thinking about that, I thought, ‘How neat would it be to have animals that need homes instead of ours?’”
Burky got in contact with Ozarks Animal Sanctuary, located in Washburn, Missouri, in order to see if they could share some adoptable dogs for the May 11th wedding.
Sherah Farris, director of the no-kill shelter, was more than happy to help. She had shared dogs before for a previous wedding, so she was more than willing to help Burky feature some dogs in need of a forever home.
“We have about 110 dogs at any given time,” Farris said. “I waited until about seven days before (the wedding) and I picked dogs I knew could handle the stress of the new environment and can handle being around other dogs and strangers.”
The dogs were transported to Republic, Missouri – about an hour’s drive from the shelter – to the wedding.
As the music began to play for the walk down the aisle, each bridesmaid was paired off with a dog, and the two joined a groomsman for the start of the procession.
Naturally, as the bride, Burky was most focused on her own walk trip the aisle, so she didn’t get to see much of the dog’s entrance. However, she did get to see the video later and was pleased to see so many smiles in the crowd.
“The fact they were rescue dogs really hit a spot with people,” Burky said.
A portion of the reception was also dedicated to the shelter dog guests. Both Sally and Cary Burky, her husband, devoted the dollar dance – the part where guests pay to dance with the bride and groom – in order raising money for the shelter.
“Ever since we started dating, dogs, rescues, kittens is something he has always been a huge supporter of,” Burky said of her new husband.
The animal-loving couple also has pets of their own, which include a German Shepherd, a pit bull mix, plus a cat.
The canine guests at the wedding certainly peaked the interests of those there, and left a lasting impression, causing people to want to do more. As it turns out, within a week after, all but one of the dogs were adopted out. Yazzy was the only one still left looking for a home.
Farris definitely recommends that any other brides who may be interested in getting involved like this, should reach out to their local animal shelter and help out.
“People are definitely going to be interested in doing this,” Farris stated. “Shelters want their animals to find homes. The whole mindset is adoption so we can save more!”