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Katherine Blocksdorf

June is Wedding Month: Weddings On Horseback

By June 5, 2013

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So many readers have sent me ideas or have asked questions about having a wedding on horseback. I must admit, I have been designing my daughter's dress in the back of my mind, because it must feature a divided skirt, so she can ride. I've only been to one wedding on horseback. Bride, groom and attendants, including the minister who didn't know how to ride, rode out to a lovely spot on a favorite trail. My sister, a very accomplished horsewoman, safely accompanied the minister who rode a very quiet school horse. He was a very good sport about the whole idea. The bride and her matron of honor wore lacy white shirts, black pants and while not on the horse, the bride wore a simple but elegant flowered band in her hair.

The service was held under a bower of pines, and everyone walked or rode back to the stable. Afterward, the bride and groom held a reception in their new home. It was sweet, unusual and memorable. Do you have ideas for a wedding on horseback, or did your wedding include horses? Click on the comments link to tell us what you think! Stay Safe With Horses:

Comments

June 20, 2006 at 2:53 pm
(1) maris says:

my daughter rode sidesaddle into her wedding on a beautiful white Arabian, at Arabian Nights Dinner Theater in Kissimmee, FL. After the ceremony, the bride and groom left in a carriage drawn by a percheron. Most beautiful wedding I have ever seen.

June 28, 2006 at 10:10 am
(2) Leah says:

My wedding was June 17th and my horse was the ring bearer. This was fitting since it was the horses that brought us together.

July 3, 2006 at 6:26 pm
(3) WendyT says:

I’m engaged to be married in October of 2007, and we plan to include our horses in our wedding. We both grew up around horses, but my fiance didn’t own a horse when I met him. When he came to my barn to help me clean stalls on our second date though, I knew he was different from other “Cowboys” I’d met.

I plan to ride my TB mare (sidesaddle), and my ‘Cowboy’ will ride our Suffolk Punch cross gelding. People ask why I have such a long engagement planned – but really – I have to learn to ride sidesaddle (in a dress, for that matter!), teach my horse sidesaddle basics, AND plan a wedding – I need all the time I can get!

August 23, 2006 at 2:49 pm
(4) Lynn Hackworth says:

I and my husband just got married in July 2006 on horseback. We had us and the maid of honor and best man also on horseback. The only reason we didn’t have the minister on horseback was unavailable at the time.
We had everyone that came to the wedding in chairs with stick ponys attached to the isle chair. The guys came in first and then my maid of honor and them at the end, myself. I and my maid of honor did not ride sidesaddle. Our dresses were full in enough to ride normal and I had a train that was part of my dress that draped over the back end of my horse.
My husband rode his Morgan and I rode my Quarter Horse. This did take us 18 months to plan. But worth every minute of time it took.

September 12, 2006 at 7:25 pm
(5) stephanie says:

I am planning my wedding right now, It will be in Oct. of 07. We are already married, but never had a big wedding, so now that 3 years has past, we are getting married on our horses. Me on my gelding him on his, and my brides maid will be on a horse and so will the best man and preacher. I am having a lot of fun picking out decorations. I will also have to work with my horse so that he will tolerate a wedding dress on his back. Doesn’t help I have a spooky horse. I am so excited and I can hardly wait…I amy have to move the date up..lol

March 1, 2007 at 10:53 am
(6) Jessie says:

I am getting married in March of 08, we are getting married on horseback as well, they are how we met. I have been married before but have no idea what to wear?

June 14, 2007 at 10:33 am
(7) amber says:

I’m getting married in september 07 and want to ride in on my horse. He’s a very bouncy and spooky lad and I haven’t ridden sidesaddle properly so prob will need to sit astride. Groom will prefer a dress, so it’ll need to be very full, or any other ideas anyone? I have acome across a sidesaddle hire place on internet which is tempting. Any comments??

June 8, 2008 at 4:22 am
(8) Brit says:

I have been wanting my wedding to be on horseback. I have still a while to go before that big day since I am only 17 and still in high school. But I told my boyfriend since we have been together that I want out wedding to be on horseback he laughed about it. We have been together since I was 11 and he was 12. The reason I am choosing the horseback wedding thing is because he is a Farmer boy and I am a country girl. I have loved horses since I was little and I always dreamed of a fairy-tale like wedding but on horseback.

I have some ideas of how I want the wedding but I would like to know of different idea things to make this be a Perfect Wedding even though I know its not going to be perfect which is a good thing since it will be more fun. Every one in my family askes me all the time how do I plan on having it on horseback and then my parents tell me that I can’t do it. But what I had planned is me and him to stay on the horses through the whole wedding even kiss while we are on the horses. I was thinking out side theme with square hay bails for our guest seats and us with out cowgirl/boy hats on. If anyone knows of any ideas to make it almost perfect I would really like that.

September 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm
(9) Kris says:

I recently was married on July 5th 2008. And yes my horses were included! I’ve had horses since I was born and they are in my blood and are my family. My husband has been around them and accepts my passion for these beautiful creatures. I keep my wedding party very simple. The groom, an escort, and I. Me and the escort (who gave me) away rode up together to the ceremony from the other hill side where the reception was to be held. The ceremony was held in the middle of a beautiful HAY field, were the guests sat on chairs (would’ve been hay bales had it not poured the rain down the day before and would’ve ruined the hay). We had an extra large aisle that had hay bales and very cute but rustic looking wagon wheels. And at the end there was the preacher and my husband awaiting under a home-made arch over looking the rolling hills of WV, decorated around it were a few hay bales and more wagon wheels.
The guests were able to watch us ride from a far. And we allowed the horses to take there time and become acquainted with the large mass of people before pushing them on. Then we rode down the aisle to the awaiting preacher and my husband. At the arch my escort dismounted and him and headed my horse while my husband assisted me off (Rather watched as I gracefully dismounted from astride in a wedding dress with a train) Then we had a very short ceremony (the escort had walked the horses to the side and held them there). And on our walk back down the aisle we rode our horses. I had a mounting block covered in mossy oak fabric beside the arch that allowed me to remount without hassle.
After the ceremony guests were able to greet us while they awaited being transported over to the reception on the other hillside by riding in the beds of pickup trucks.
Me and my husband then rode over to the reception were we entered from a back entrance of the yard on horseback. The entrance was amazing because we surprised everyone. There we allowed for some pictures and then dismounted and had a two designated people take them back to the barn.
Our reception was decorated with Baby Blue/White and Mossy Oak accents. The centerpieces on the tables were Mason Jars filled with Blue/White Fake Carnations with bandannas under them and tiny hay bales around them. Our cake was a 3 tier with the center tier being a horseshoe. Then we also has another cake that was two horseshoes interlocked that kinda looked like heart.
My husband and the escort wore Wranglers, Cowboy Boots and Western Long Sleeve Shirts in ivory and mossy oak (husband) and green and mossy oak (escort). I wore a white strapless wedding dress with a small train. I had a seamstress add mossy oak camo fabric to the band around the top of the bodice and then had mossy oak camo sash. I wore my Cowgirl boots, with barbwire theme bracelet, and a horseshoe necklace made by Montana Silversmith. My hair was french braided. The horses were adorned in there normal western attire. We however did get white reins for them and I also purchased white saddle pads and had my seamstress put a band of camo fabric around them to give them a touch of the theme as well.
Would I do it all again…YES. Like I mentioned it had poured the day before, actually the week before. And we had no alternate plan, no matter what we were getting married this was. I said my prayers and we had a very beautiful day. Also, we planned this in 6 months (or I did with minimal help). My best advice to anyone planning a wedding…DON’T stress. It all works out just fine if you know what you want and take initiative to get it. But if you stress that’s when things will go wrong. My best advice for anyone planning a wedding with horses. Make sure they are sound, people safe, and willing to please.
I had a blast planning my wedding and telling everyone about it. (If you couldn’t tell.) So if you have questions or need ideas I’m willing to give advice. My email is Kountry_Rebel_15@hotmail.com

September 10, 2008 at 8:51 am
(10) Katherine says:

Thanks for sharing this story! Sounds like a wonderful day!

April 7, 2009 at 11:46 pm
(11) Amy says:

Im getting married 4-10-2010 and was wanting to know if anyone had any ideas on how long a train needed to be on the dress and any pointers on how to dismount from the horse. due to im riding in on horseback and then dismounting for the cermeony. you can email me at
texaspaintedfilly@hotmail.com
thanks amy

June 4, 2009 at 12:29 am
(12) Katie says:

I have the same question! I am getting married in the fall of 2010 and I will be the only one on horseback. I’m going to ride our black and white spotted draft down the aisle using just a bareback pad. I’m not concerned with balancing while riding but how to dismount gracefully in a dress from such a large horse. I’m considering using a step stool decorated with flowers?? Any other thoughts?

July 31, 2009 at 1:49 pm
(13) beth says:

I got married in 2006 and had my horses in the wedding. I rode to the wedding site with my niece walking next to the horse’s head. She was wearing her pony club formals as my attendant. I stepped off and she then took my horse and I met my Dad and we continued 40 ft. to the wedding site. After the ceremony my husband and I were met with both our horses after the recessional by my niece and we got on and went for a 15 minute ride by ourselves down a quiet laneway that was secluded from the guests.It gave us some private time before the party. It also was a chance to relax for a bit with just each other. Cool unplanned things that happened:
horse whinnied from trailer as bridesmaids entered and then whinnied again just before I came in with other horse like she was announcing us.
horse I came in on saw crowd and started to just “carry himself” like he was a model or something
people to this day tell me that we had a wedding they will never forget

HINT; buy a cheap wedding dress off ebay and practice all your stuff with the horses. I rode on and next to both horses in a dress with a giant train so they would be used to any blowing white ruffles, or noise. I practiced coming up to them in it and walking away on several surface types-cement,grass,stones etc. Both horses were great for pictures and beyond-do your homework!!!

August 9, 2009 at 5:48 pm
(14) Anne says:

At Grapevine Canyon Ranch in Pearce, AZ. we have hosted weddings on horseback as well as non-riding weddings for our guests.

Most of the brides and grooms go with complete western jeans wear for the horseback weddings.

The challenge of dismounting in a wedding dress is overcome by wearing jeans at Grapevine Canyon Ranch.

Check out http://www.gcranch.com and see how some of our guests held their horseback weddings for ideas for your special day.

December 22, 2009 at 12:00 pm
(15) Jenny M says:

I really want my horse to be included in my wedding somehow but not quite sure how to do it. Is riding side saddle much different from normal? Can you hire side saddles? I’m also worried about the dress getting dirty but was thinking a cloak or something over it might solve this problem. The other problem is the Scottish weather and the fact my horse would be an absolute nightmare if it happened to be windy on the day. Hmmm….will need to think carefully about this – it could all go very horribly wrong!

December 23, 2009 at 6:36 am
(16) Katherine says:

It might be best to keep things simple if you’re not sure how to bring your horse into the ceremony and you’re unsure how it will behave. Perhaps your horse could be an honored guest, rather than participant. Or, start now getting him ready so you can be sure he won’t be spooky and silly. You probably have enough to do without adding de-spooking training to your wedding list. I’m sure others will have some ideas to contribute.

March 11, 2010 at 11:32 pm
(17) cindy says:

Katie, you were asking about dismounting gracefully from a bareback pad….thats easy, that’s when the groom needs to step up and help you down! LOL!
Gettin married on 4/3/2010. Horseback, very minimal planning actually. 10 or so of us on horseback (including minister- have 2 friends who ride who also are ordained) Wearing denim, riding about 2 miles from parking to a historic waterfall, and snacks carried in on horseback- since its right before easter, colored eggs, probably salt ham on beaten biscuits or somesuch, lemon cupcakes, each with a violet on top.:) Went to the dollar store and spent $20 total on plastic flowers and ribbon, hot glue, made decorations for western hatbands, boutonierres…however you spell that!- and horsey mane and tail decorations, denim and yellow, some white and purple accents. Thats it. Its at a place ith 5,000 acres, so a several hour trail ride afterwards is a must!!

March 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm
(18) Anna says:

I’m 16 and my boyfriend is 17 and we’ve started planning our wedding. We plan on getting married in 3-4 yrs but it’s never too early to start gettin ideas right? Anywho. I want to have it in a hay field. And beside the bridesmaids I want to have a large portrait of my pony and my daddys horse (they both died just over a year ago.) and then I want to have my reception in a large tent and when we leave i want to sit sidesaddle on my horse with my husband sitting behind me. I’m thinkin about havin turquoise as my main color and a camo garter

June 20, 2010 at 5:29 am
(19) ronverlaide says:

This story is quite interesting if u have any ideas plz reply me
Wedding Ideas

May 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm
(20) Dimitri Schlotter says:

Hi there, I have owned and trained Tennessee Walking horses for 26 years, and yesterday 5/21/2011 we hosted our first equine wedding in the terraced gardens of our SW Colorado Bed Breakfast and Barn. http://www.hoboshideout.com. The bride rode sidesaddle on my very experienced solid black stallion, took her all of twenty minutes to become adept, and she looked lovely in a handmade dress with barbed wire beading. Check out our website later in june for updated photos. Dimitri 970-560-3070

March 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm
(21) Christina de Pinet says:

I am getting married on horseback in June. I bought a wedding dress with a ball gown skirt and a train to allow room to ride astride. My groom is looking in to a Western tux (Jim’s Formal Wear has several options). We are planning on riding up the aisle, then dismounting for the ceremony.

Some things I have had to consider:

Whether to ride side-saddle or astride. This influences the dress purchase and is totally individual. I chose to ride astride for safety.

My horse is a black 14 hh Mustang, and I had to think about how goofy I will look in a big white dress on his back. I went with a gown that is roomy enough to cover my legs, but isn’t “poofy”. Think about your fabrics. I chose a satin dress over tulle; I was worried about horsehair in the tulle! Also, tulle is puffier, and I don’t want to dwarf my little guy.

Location. We are holding the ceremony on dirt. Not sure yet if there will be an aisle runner…

Width of the aisle! The aisle should be wide enough to allow a horse to move down safely.

We are in the process of finding someone (or two someones) to act as horse handlers/grooms for us. Also, someone will need to haul the horses back home, as we will be busy at the reception. So we will need someone we trust with our horses, but who won’t be offended by not attending the ceremony either (we are holding a small ceremony, restricted to 20 guests). Still working on this.

And of course working with the horses. I am planning on just using white sheets to desensitize the horses to the big dress. My horses are pretty good about strange costumes and flowing fabrics, so I don’t think I will have much trouble with this.

Shoes! I don’t want to ride in heels, but I am worried about stepping on my dress in my boots. I think I am going to go with flats; so long as I don’t get stepped on (ouch!) I will be able to ride fine, and I ought to be able to dismount without clumsily stomping on my train. Although, I will most likely have my boots for pictures.

March 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm
(22) Katherine says:

Sounds like you’ve covered all of the bases, and these are great tips for anyone else having a horseback wedding.

June 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm
(23) Christina Baze says:

Update! My last comment as Christina de Pinet was accurate.

I rode in an English saddle, but this almost spelled disaster! I planned on checking my horse before the ceremony, but ended up running out of time. The music was playing so got on without checking my girth – and yes, my saddle slipped. I got off safely but my horse bucked. He got my dress dirty and scared my poor wedding coordinator! But I fixed the saddle, wiped down my dress, got on safely and rode up the aisle without making anyone wait. Moral: pick a processional song that can be faded out early if everything runs smoothly, or can run on longer if you have problems! I had “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole played during the procession, and I rode up to “Here Comes The Sun,” by George Harrison. The timing was perfect.

We did not stay mounted during the ceremony: counting on horses to stand perfect and quiet during such a charged time is not reasonable. My dad held my horse while I dismounted, and lead him over to a friend who held the horses a short distance off during the ceremony. My husband’s mother did the same for his horse. After our vows, we remounted on the groom’s horse and rode away double! My dog was out ring bearer, and she followed us away. It was really neat.

My photographer was able to shoot our pictures “hot” to hide the dirt on my dress. The pictures I have seen so far have been amazing!

I carried a pomander instead of a bouquet . This was a lifesaver! But, my flowers started falling out afterwards. Have someone hold your flowers while you mount up!

A horseback wedding is totally do-able, and you will get plenty of positive comments! But safety MUST be primary. Check your girth before you mount! Have a mounting block at hand, even if you don’t usually need one. And don’t be afraid to ride in a traditional wedding gown with a train. Work with your horses, even if it’s just by tying a sheet around your waist. It will be worth it, I promise!

June 5, 2013 at 11:59 am
(24) lisa duggan says:

we plan to do our 25 yr vow renewal on horses next year and im so happy i found this page to look at both my husband and i have been riding over 30/40 years each so it should go good and i have two horses that love being with each other and are bomb proof old guys I have desenstizied them to everything so far So it should be smooth sailing for us. I was considering staying mounted for the vows but now im thinking of getting down so the horses dont have to stand for a long time with us on them We plan to have the party afterwords at our home we have 3 acres of property so i dont think the horses will be upset at all because we will not be trailing anywhere The guys are wearing wranglers and boots and then tux jackets and the girls and myself spagetti strap dresses for summer i dont have to worry about a train this time around it is just going to be simple lol i dont plan on riding side saddle so i have to find a summer dress that works out for me while on my horse. i plan to decorate in all country barn cowboy stuff Hats and boots all around and hay and straw bales for seats and a big bbq lunch for everyone we are even considering a pig roast for the lunch. We have a fancy large arch way built for us to say our vows under also under a big tree in our front yard we live in a rural area of calif so i dont have to worry about traffic or people i dont know watching us either. im hoping everything runs smooth but yes you never know with horses they are unperdictable animals! We even plan on putting a dance floor built out of plywood in the arena so we can dance our butts off all night too. it might sound a little redneck but it is my dream to just have a simple day and lots of fun without any pressure put on us to make everything perfect. LOL :)

November 9, 2013 at 10:23 am
(25) catherine edwardes says:

I am thinking of offering an equestrian service at an amazing estate in Berkshire whereby the bride is taken to the (outdoor in woodland glade) alter on our horse. The estate is already interested but wondered what people thought about the idea and how much people would be prepared to pay. And do they think they would prefer me (leading my horse for safety on the big day!) to be wearing a formal grooms outfit, ie jacket, jodhs and long boots or a “Robin Hood suede dress” type of outfit. Any comments appreciated.

January 13, 2014 at 1:13 am
(26) John Smith says:

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January 13, 2014 at 3:38 am
(27) Bassem Wahba says:

Awesome article about wedding on horseback. First of all, I would like to say you thanks for sharing such a nice article with us. I am a wedding photographer and reading articles about wedding and marriage photography is my hobby. You can reach me here : http://bassem.ca

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