IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Bride includes rescue dogs in her wedding to raise awareness about adoption

This animal-loving couple wanted to make a cute statement at their wedding.
Bride uses dogs instead of flowers
Instead of flower bouquets, Sally Burky had her bridesmaids walk down the aisle with dogs in need of a home.The Honey & Bee Photography
/ Source: TODAY

Instead of having bridesmaids walk down the aisle holding flowers at her wedding, Sally Burky decided on a twist that was completely her style.

The animal lover had her bridesmaids walk down the aisle with adoptable shelter dogs.

"Initially (my husband and I) discussed having our own dogs in the wedding, but after thinking about that, I thought: 'How neat would it be to have animals that need homes instead of ours?'"

Bride uses dogs instead of flowers
Each bridesmaid walked down the aisle with a shelter dog that was ready to be adopted.The Honey & Bee Photography

Burky reached out to Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary in Washburn, Missouri, to see if they would be willing to share some of their adoptable dogs for her wedding on May 11.

Sherah Farris, director of the no-kill shelter, had previously shared dogs for another adoption event at a wedding and said she was more than happy to help Burky spotlight dogs seeking a forever home.

“We have about 110 dogs at any given time," she said. "I waited until about seven days before (the wedding) and I picked dogs I knew could handle the stress of the new environment and can handle being around other dogs and strangers."

Bride uses dogs instead of flowers
The dogs used in the wedding were chosen about one week before the ceremony, since the shelter didn't want to commit any dogs that might have been adopted before the big day.The Honey & Bee Photography

On the big day, the dogs were driven to Republic, Missouri, a little more than one hour away from the shelter, to take their places as members of the wedding party.

Bride uses dogs instead of flowers
All but one of the dogs has been adopted since the wedding on May 11, the bride said.The Honey & Bee Photography

As the music played and it was time to start walking the aisle, each bridesmaid linked arms with a groomsman and had an adorable dog on a leash walking down the aisle alongside them.

Burky didn't get to see her guests initial reactions in person, since she was waiting to walk down the aisle. However, she said she looked at the video after and "everyone was smiling ear-to-ear!"

"The fact they were rescue dogs really hit a spot with people," she said.

She also dedicated part of her reception to the sweet furry friends who were part of her big day. Burky and her husband, Cary Burky, used their dollar dance — a tradition where guests pay to dance with the bride or groom — to raise money for Haven of the Ozarks and their mobile adoption events.

Bride uses dogs instead of flowers
A dollar dance at the reception was also used to raise money for Haven of the Ozarks, the shelter that shared the dogs for the wedding.The Honey & Bee Photography

“Ever since we started dating, dogs, rescues, kittens is something he has always been a huge supporter of," Burky said of her now husband.

The couple have a pitbull mix, a German Shepherd and a cat at home.

The dogs piqued the interest of several of Burky's wedding guests, who wanted to learn more after the event, but they were too late! All but one of the dogs were adopted one week later. Only one of the dogs, a sweet girl named Yazzy, is still in need of a home.

If other brides are inspired by Burky's unique wedding idea, Farris recommends they reach out to a shelter close to their wedding venue.

“People are definitely going to be interested in doing this," she said. "Shelters want their animals to find homes. The whole mindset is adoption so we can save more!”