3 Things to Consider When Releasing Doves at Your Wedding

Posted on: 25 April 2018

In a graceful flurry of white feathers, the doves take off and elegantly fly away into the distance as the guests watch in wonder. To have the bride and groom release white doves at the end of their wedding reception can be truly beautiful occurrence on the happiest day of their lives. It's unlikely to be the happiest day of the dove's lives though. If you're considering releasing doves on your wedding day, there are a few things you need to know.

Things Can Go Wrong with the Release

There might seem to be something joyous about freeing a caged animal, and yet it's important to remember that doves often provided for this purpose are completely domesticated. They have no experience in evading predators, and they have never had to source their own food. The first point was unpleasantly demonstrated in 2014, when Pope Francis released two white doves from the Vatican, which were promptly attacked by larger birds. Even if a predator doesn't target the dove, the domesticated bird will have no experience when it comes to foraging for food. So does this mean the release of doves can no longer be part of the recipe for your perfect wedding day? Not exactly. You simply need to substitute an ingredient.

You Don't Need Actual Doves for the Release

You will need to source a company that provides a specific type of bird that can be released during a celebration. These birds might look like doves, but are in fact white homing or racing pigeons. The only perceptible difference is that pigeons are generally larger than doves, although only an avid bird-watcher might notice this during your wedding. Though also domesticated, these "release doves" (as these types of pigeons are often called) make their way back home after being released at your wedding. They are used to free flying and the hazards it can present, although they have a set destination as soon as they're released.

Determine When Your Birds Will Arrive

You have a couple of options when it comes to releasing your substitute white doves on your big day. The birds can arrive at the venue immediately prior to being released, or they can serve a decorative purpose—spending the reception in an ornate yet comfortable cage as they await their big moment. If you opt for the latter choice, check with your venue and wedding hire company to ensure that the birds will be permitted.

So while you can still experience the beauty of birds setting forth on their journey (as you and your spouse are also doing), it's important to be sure that the chosen birds will be able to make their way back to safety. To learn more about your options, contact a wedding hire service.