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Include Nature in Your Wedding Ceremony with a Dove or Butterfly Release

Releasing doves or butterflies at your outdoor garden wedding will bring nature's blessing to your ceremony. The release will allow you and your guests to feel a connection to the natural world that you value as your guests offer you best wishes for the future. If you are having an outdoor daytime ceremony in warm weather, then you have the option of including a dove or butterfly release.

Dove Releases

Doves have long been a symbol of peace, love, and joy making them a fitting addition to any wedding. With a dove release, typically a local dove breeder and trainer brings the doves to the wedding and releases the doves at the end of the ceremony. The doves are actually white homing pigeons with exceptional homing instincts that have gone through extensive training before becoming a wedding performer. Once released, the white pigeons fly back to their home coop.

Professional dove release companies are members of the National White Dove Release Society or the White Dove Release Professionals organization and adhere to the strict care and ethical standards of the organization. This ensures that the white pigeons released at your wedding are well cared for and well trained to return home.

Organizations or individuals that use white ring-necked doves or white doves purchased from a pet store to release do so at the risk of the bird's life. These birds do not have good homing instincts and often do not survive after the release. Therefore when choosing to share your special day with these birds, it's important to hire a professional dove releaser to ensure that the birds will not be harmed as a result of your wedding release. With a professional, you can know that the birds released at your wedding are bringing a positive aspect of nature to your ceremony. Prices for a professional dove release can range from $200 to over $500 depending on the number of birds to be released and distance from the home coop.

Butterfly Releases

Many are inspired by a Native America legend to include butterflies as part of their wedding ceremony. According to the legend, to make a wish you must capture a butterfly and whisper to it your wish. The butterfly then keeps that wish secret and takes the wish to the Great Spirit.

The butterfly species most often released is the monarch butterfly. The monarch butterfly is large with bold orange and black markings that make each one stand out in photos of the release. You can also find painted lady butterflies to release, which are smaller, but with more colors than the monarch.

The bride and groom can choose to release all the butterflies themselves or opt for individual boxes with a butterfly for each guest to release. The cost ranges from about $50 to $100 per dozen butterflies. For monarch butterflies, it must be over 55 degrees F and over 70 degrees F for painted ladies to be released. The release of butterflies is regulated by the USDA and state laws. All states except Arizona allow monarch butterfly releases. Butterfly breeders that sell for releases should be members of the International Butterfly Breeders Association. This professional organization requires butterfly breeders to meet certain standards and ethics in breeding butterflies for releases.

Doves or butterflies released during a wedding ceremony create a memorable moment and a perfect picture opportunity. However, some may be concerned about the animals used for wedding releases. If you choose your release company with care, then you should feel comfortable and excited by the release knowing that the animals are in good care.

 by T Walker
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