All you need to know about a wedding dove release


There are many relatively new traditions creeping into modern weddings and a wedding dove release is one of them. Doves have long been a wedding motif as they symbolise love, peace, and happiness, so it makes sense to include them in your wedding plans. Here are some things to consider if you’re planning a wedding dove release:

wedding doves

Who releases the wedding doves?

Releasing wedding doves at your ceremony is a romantic and symbolic gesture. You and your fiancé could set free a bridal pair; two doves that circle above you and then fly away, symbolising the start of your life together.

Your family, bridesmaids, and ushers are also able to release a flock of doves, usually one each, to join the bridal pair. This symbolises their support of your marriage. To commemorate an absent friend who is present in spirit but not physically you can release another single dove to join the bridal pair.

Top tips for wedding dove releases

Here are a few of the practical arrangements you must consider before you set your mind on white wedding doves:

  • It might sound simple but releasing a bird is not something you do every day and you don’t want it to go wrong in the middle of your wedding ceremony. Ensure you can practise the dove release prior to the big day and if you have especially tiny hands, check that the supplier can supply a small bird for you to release.
  • The white wedding doves, most of which are actually white homing pigeons, will have to be able to fly home once release so if you are thinking about a dove release, your venue must be within a certain distance of a wedding dove supplier.
  • Typically, the doves will be kept in a basket until the moment of their release. Check with the supplier if the basket can be decorated to go with your wedding theme as it will be on full view of your guests during the ceremony.
  • Ask whether the wedding dove supplier will work together with your photographer to ensure you get some great pictures of the release. Find out if the supplier will provide spare birds in case the photographer isn’t able to snatch the pictures of the actual release and you want to have pictures taken afterwards.

wedding doves

Alternatives to a wedding dove release

If you don’t want to include a dove release in your wedding ceremony you could use doves as decorations instead. Ornamental bird cages accessorised with your wedding flowers create beautiful wedding decorations, and including a white dove inside completes the look. Wedding doves could only be placed as decorations for a limited time so they couldn’t be table centres. Bird cages come in many sizes and shapes and could be included at the entrance to your ceremony or reception.

Another option if you like the idea of having symbolic wedding doves but don’t wish to release them, is to have white fantail doves present at your reception. They can’t fly very far so they will just wander around amongst your guests, twirling occasionally as if they are dancing and as the name suggests they have beautiful fan shaped tail feathers.


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