Some bridal parties carry classic rose bouquets, and others opt for seasonal blooms — but at Andee and Tina Krasinski’s wedding, the bridesmaids instead clutched some precious, fluffy accessories: 10 rescue dogs.
The Florida-based couple decided to include a group of five-week-old puppies in their Nov. 11 ceremony and reception to support the Adopt, Don’t Shop movement, which promotes giving homes to rescue animals, instead of buying a pet from a store or breeder.
“Tina and I knew we wanted to do something to help shelter animals,” Andee, 32, tells PEOPLE. “We both have a big passion for the adoption of animals and we wanted to help bring awareness to people.”
Both Andee and Tina are life-long animal lovers — Andee works as a general manager at Bayside Pet Resort in Sarasota, and Tina, 33, grew up rescuing dogs with her family. So, they had plenty of places to choose from when planning for their furry guests.
“I reached out to several shelters, and Nate’s Honor Rescue reached back out to me and said, ‘Absolutely,’ ” Andee says. “They just so happened to have a mom from a Georgia shelter and she was pregnant, and a week into being in foster care, she gave birth to 10 puppies. Since we had exactly 10 bridesmaids we thought, how perfect, we have to do this.”
Andee brought a play pen for the puppies to relax in when they weren’t starring in the wedding ceremony, and guests could play with them during cocktail hour. Their mom was also there, along with volunteers from Nate’s Honor.
“All the bridal party wanted to be holding one at all times because they were so cute,” Andee says. “They were very well-behaved puppies and we couldn’t have asked for a better group.”
And although the puppies weren’t potty-trained yet, they mostly avoided making a mess — with one small exception.
“We had one accident on one of our bridesmaids, she got peed on,” Andee admits. And the culprit just so happened to be the puppy Andee and Tina are adopting.
“Carter, our 3-year-old daughter, looked at one of the puppies and saw the blue eyes and she said, ‘I want this one,'” Andee shares. “‘He has blue eyes like Mama,’ and she was talking about Tina, and that obviously melted our hearts and we said, ‘Absolutely, he’s yours!’ “
“She’s naming him Swift after Ms. Taylor Swift, because we are huge fans as a family,” she adds. “We have room in our hearts, we have room in our home, and what better way to remember our wedding than to bring one of those amazing puppies into our life.”
The new addition will join Andee and Tina’s other pets — two dogs and two cats — making them the proud owners of five animals.
As for the rest of the litter, adoption applications are already in for two fo the puppies, but because Andee and Tina had an open bar at their reception, guests were not allowed to adopt at the event.
“Nate’s Honor Rescue has a rule that no puppies should go home with anybody during an event where there is drinking,” Andee says. “Our guests were able to take home adoption applications and submit them the next day or the following day after thinking it over.”
“Shelter animals are not the animals people didn’t want — they are perfectly good, healthy animals,” she adds. “The goal was to help shelter animals as far as we could reach.”