Everyone wants a great photoshoot at their wedding, and everyone wants to do something a little different, too.
We’ve all seen the same routine photos of bridesmaids standing in a line holding bouquets a million times. How do you get photos that are memorable and creative while still unique to you?
When Sarah Mallouk Crain got married last September, she had the perfect answer:
Puppies. Lots of puppies.
With photographer Caroline Logan behind the camera, Sarah and her bridesmaids posed for an adorable photoshoot with pit bull pups in lieu of flower bouquets.
“Animals are just a huge, huge part of our life and we wanted to find ways to incorporate them,” Sarah told Buzzfeed.
Sarah said the puppies also helped alleviate the stress of her wedding day.
“I’m normally a very calm, level-headed person but with the wedding day of course there’s some stress,” she told Buzzfeed.
“Once we saw the puppies, every care in the world went away.”
The dogs also made the photographer’s job a lot easier.
“I had told both the bridesmaids and the groomsmen just to interact with them and not worry about getting their puppy smiling at the camera because that’s just unrealistic,” Caroline told News10.
“The puppies of course caused the photos to be extra natural, candid, and carefree—exactly what I strive for in my work,” she added to The Dodo. “The wedding party was loving all the puppy snuggles.”
Sarah agreed: “I think you can also see the pure joy in everyone’s faces when they’re holding a puppy,” she said to Buzzfeed. “It’s not a fake joy.”
Her new husband, Matt Crain, also got in on the action with his groomsmen.
But it was more than just a cute photo op—these dogs are a big part of Sarah’s life.
The dogs all come from Pitties Love Peace, a local volunteer organization Sarah is on the board of, whose goal is to “rescue dogs in need, advocate for the bully breeds who are so misunderstood and to educate people about pit bull and pit bull type dogs,” according to their site.
And by incorporating the pups into her viral wedding shoot, Sarah hopes to do her part towards breaking the long-standing stigma against pit bulls.
“I never thought that the photos would spread how far they have, so I’m so happy that not just pit bulls, but rescue dogs in general are getting the exposure that they deserve,” she told News10.
And to any prospective pit bull owner inspired by the shoot, Sarah has some strong advice: make it a rescue.
“Don’t shop, adopt,” she told Buzzfeed. “The puppies that you see in our photos are just as good as any that you’d find in a pet store.”
Now Sarah has inspired other brides to do the same.
After seeing Sarah’s photos, Meghan Butler from North Carolina decided to use the idea for her own wedding in March, with photography from Discover Love Studios.
“We’re all animal lovers, so it felt right and we could not get enough of them,” Meghan told People Magazine.
She even outdid Sarah with eight puppies—all borrowed from the Greater Charlotte SPCA. While the dogs had to go back after the wedding, she hoped her shoot would raise awareness to the shelter and the dogs would find a home.
And amazingly, when her own photos went viral, every one of the puppies ended up being adopted.
“It was really special. This is near and dear to my heart and to be able to bring awareness to the need for adoptions,” she told People.
“That was the best part of my wedding. Besides marrying Brett of course!”
Hopefully even more dog-loving brides follow suit and puppy bouquets become the hot new wedding trend.