The more than 40 guests at the wedding of Suzanne Neves and Todd Boerner didn't know it, but they were going to witness two blessed unions Sunday afternoon, poolside at the Piñon Plaza Hotel in Carson City.
The first was between Neves and Boerner, a cook at the hotel. It was a fairly traditional affair, except for the fact that the flower girl was a real dog.
Lady Love Nevaeh, a golden retriever, was pulled away from her companion, Viking of Tahoe, another golden retriever, and brought to the altar by her handler, who was really carrying the flowers.
Lady Love had a purple collar around her neck with a white veil attached - to match the bride's colors.
The bride appeared in a lovely white dress to the strains of "Here Comes the Bride," and the ceremony commenced.
Vows were said, rings were exchanged, candles were lit, and finally, the couple kissed to the song "I Cross My Heart" by George Strait.
Finally, the Rev. Jim Breyer of Carson City made his announcement.
"We would like to perform one more wedding this afternoon," he said. As a handler led Viking of Tahoe, sporting a matching purple collar, to join Lady Love Nevaeh at the altar, the assembled guests started giggling.
In what one can only be assumed to be an arranged marriage, Lady Love Nevaeh, 12 months, robbed the cradle - or kennel - by taking Viking of Tahoe, 4 months, as her mate. Hopefully, this May-December relationship won't be too "ruff" on the canine newlyweds.
The dog ceremony was considerably shorter, as there were no spoken vows, though the pups made their feelings for each other known through furious sniffing and wagging of tails.
"If it makes people happy, let's do it," Breyer said, adding he wasn't fazed by the idea of marrying the dogs.
"I have married everything imaginable, from gophers to lovebirds," he said. "I do all kinds of screwball things."
The pooches, who were always on leashes held by handlers, belong to Neves and Boerner. Neves said they plan to breed the dogs once Viking comes of age.
Lady Love's veil was made by Neves, who admitted she has a special bond with her dog.
"She's a parvo survivor, and she's like a daughter to me," Neves said. "When we first decided to get married, Lady was just going to be the flower girl. It was my fiancé's decision to make the dogs' outfits and have them get married, too."
n Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.