When Matthew and Mara Dudley of Clarksburg, WV were first set up through a mutual friend, they each had a specific prerequisite for their blind date: must love dogs!
Luckily, they both turned out to be pup lovers, and on March 24, they tied the knot in historic Williamsburg, Virginia – but not before celebrating with a fundraising dog parade to benefit Heritage Humane Society!
The couple fell in love with Williamsburg while dating and decided it would make the perfect venue for their wedding. As they searched online for weekend events to entertain their guests before the main event, they came across HHS’s First Annual DoG Street Strut.
“We felt it was a great opportunity for us to relax the morning of our wedding,” Matthew said. “We didn’t want to go all day without seeing each other…we said why not do this dog walk, something we love to do, and also have the opportunity to be together the majority of the day.”
15 of their closest friends and family members participated in the dog walk, including wedding photographer Daniel Gorman who commemorated the special occasion. They were joined by 400 local dogs and animal lovers – a perfect kickoff to the Dudleys’ wedding weekend.
“We loved that our families took time to do everything for the weekend for us, and we thought it was a hell of a way to spend our wedding day morning,” Mara said.
While many dog loving couples ask their guests to make donations to the Humane Society in leiu of gifts, being a part of the actual wedding day was a first for Kimberly Laska, executive director of Heritage Humane Society.
“Remembering back to my wedding day, I can’t imagine doing a dog walk the morning of,” she said. “[They’re] clearly a very animal loving couple for that to be their emphasis and focus a couple hours before the biggest moment of their lives.”
Laska even called Matthew and Mara up to the stage so the crowd could congratulate them. The couple lef the event at 10:45 AM and took their vows at 3:40.
As wonderful as the weekend turned out, the Dudleys say they were happy to return home to their own two rescue dogs- Logan, a five-year-old mastiff mix, and Nucky, a seven-year-old mutt – back in Clarksburg.
They hope to attend the DoG Street Strut again next year, this time with Logan and Nucky in tow!
H/T to Williamsburg Yorktown Daily
Featured Image via Danny Gorman Photography