Wedding crashers: Vermont-style

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Wedding officiate Kathryn Blume, far right, presides over the marriage of Danna and Kaylin surrounded by a herd of Jersey cows at Fielder Farm in Huntington. Photo by Karen Pike Photography

By Kathryn Blume
There’s an old saying in the theater, “Never share the stage with children and animals.” This is because they tend to completely steal focus, and that’s been true with weddings as well – though they can also be very entertaining. Especially the animals.
As a wedding officiate with upwards of 250 ceremonies under my belt, I’ve seen rambunctious pet dogs quiet down as couples walk down the aisle, and highly picturesque flocks of geese soar overhead just as a couple says, “I do.” However, my favorite instances of nonhuman participation have come when animals insert themselves directly into the ceremony whether anyone wants them to or not!
Of course there was Peter and Jen’s German Shepherd, Zip, throwing up right in the middle of the vows. And it wasn’t just a quick yerk from a pooch lurking in the background. Oh no. Zip was right there at the altar as an honored member of the wedding party, and this was a complete cat-hawking-up-hairball scenario with endless coughing and heaving. It was all so dramatic we just had to stop and wait until his secretly-absconded-with pepperoni made its second appearance of the day.
In an even less-expected moment, we had Mitchell and Rick, who arrived from Michigan to get married at Comstock House in Plainfield. Rick was in the middle of saying his vows to Mitchell, and talking about how kind and gentle and giving Mitchell is, when a giant, iridescent green dragonfly circled around them and landed on Mitchell’s arm. They both smiled at it briefly, then continued on with the ceremony.
Apparently not content with the amount of attention paid, the dragonfly took off, circled them again, and landed right on the tip of Mitchell’s nose. Mitchell took a long, cross-eyed look at this gorgeous insect, and said to Rick, “It’s busy eating a fly. I don’t want to bother it. You can just keep going.”  They finished the ceremony with the nasally-supported interloper still munching his little snack—thereby proving Rick’s point about Mitchell’s sweet and generous personality.
Just a couple weeks later, I joined Danna and Kaylin for their ceremony at Fielder Farm at the foot of Camel’s Hump in Huntington. Danna and Kaylin had decided to climb to the top of a long, steep meadow, and have their ceremony on a little plateau overlooking the valley. As it happened, that meadow was more than just a spot with a nice view; it was the stomping ground of a small herd of Jersey cows. With caramel-colored coats, giant eyes, and big batty eyelashes, Jerseys are sort of the porn stars of the bovine world—not to mention being highly attentive wedding guests!
As we laid out the handmade quilt where the gals would stand for the ceremony, the entire herd strolled over and gathered around the brides in a perfect semi-circle, getting as close as they could without being rude, disruptive, or evacuating anything unpleasant. Jerseys, apparently, have a well-developed sense of decorum.
They stuck around/remained for the full ceremony, joined Kaylin and Danna for the bulk of their photo shoot, and then, just as things were wrapping up, took their cue and nonchalantly strolled away. They couldn’t have been better guests if they’d been hired!
Naturally, I’ve also got tales of forgotten veils, lost rings, nervous grooms, licked fingers, unhinged teens, and significantly bent genders, but those will just have to wait for another time…or you can visit my blog at vermontweddingofficiant.com.