For thousands of years, white doves have been a traditional symbol in wedding ceremonies.
To ancient Egyptians, dove represented quiet innocence. The Chinese saw dove as a symbol of peace and long life. To early Greeks and Romans, doves symbolised love, devotion, and caring.
The dove was sacred animal of Aphrodite and Venus, goddesses of love.
In these ancient cultures, groom would give a dove to bride, symbolising his promise to help care for her and for family.
These days, Doves are regularly released at weddings as a blessing for bride and groom. Doves pair up for life, so they are a true representation of love and eternal commitment that a couple have made.
This tradition has become hugely popular at weddings in United States, Canada and UK in recent years. It is also quickly gaining popularity in Australia. There are many bird fanciers that have put their expertise to providing doves for release at events in their local area.
It is easy to have a spectacular white dove release at your own wedding that is just as enchanting as it would have been for people that participated in weddings of ancient times (probably much more!).
WHite dove releasing is an art-form. There is much more to it than meets eye. In order to explain this, I am going to reveal a secret to you. (SHHH! Don't tell anyone!)
The White Doves that go to weddings are actually white racing pigeons. Doves and Pigeons are a bit like cousins in animal world. They are not exactly same, but they are very similar. Only a bird expert would be able to spot difference at a wedding.
It is important that only pigeons are released at weddings. The reason for this is that pigeons have a homing instinct, ability to fly back to their home after they are released. Whereas real doves would just fly up into a tree. You can't get them back so they'd have to fend for themselves. How very cruel!
That is where "art-form" I was talking about comes into it. Professional Dove Releasers start by selectively breeding most beautiful white pigeons, with pigeons that have stongest homing instinct. This happens long before they attend your wedding, taking everyone's breath away. There is a lot of effort involved to get birds with just right mix of beauty and brains! These birds then go through an intense training period for first year of their life -just like athletes preparing for olympics. After this we are confident that they will be able to fly home from anywhere within a 80km radius. In my case, birds from Heavenly Doves loft must be able to fly home from anywhere in Sydney. (Racing pigeons can fly back to their home loft from hundreds or thousands of kms away). Using racing pigeons is only humane way to release "doves" because birds will always go home to be well cared for with plenty of food, water and security after ceremony is over.
We also choose birds with a good nature and get them used to being handled by people (especially nervous newlyweds)so that you can be confident that doves will be relaxed at your ceremony - No pecking Birds!
The other aspect of "art-form" is way that doves are presented and released at your wedding. It is essential to have an experienced dove release attendant at wedding. Firstly because we have a whole assortment of ornamental cages and baskets that you can choose to have your doves displayed in, plus you have choice of releasing doves from your hands or directly from their cage or basket. Secondly, an important part of a good dove release is placement of doves and timing. By this I mean performing dove release at best location and during part of ceremony that makes it a memorable experience for bride, groom and guests. We make it a high priority to ensure good photos and video footage too. Professional Dove releasers have to go to many weddings to learn good placement and timing.