Dove Release — Dos & Don’ts for Your Wedding

A dove release is a tremendous way to demonstrate your love and leave your guests in awe at your ceremony. But it only works if you do the release the right way. I recently had a bride and groom who bought their doves from a pet store and when they were released from the cage, they immediately pooped on the groom’s tuxedo and flew up to the gazebo where they would not leave. This was not the intended effect!

What a Dove Release Represents

Doves mate for life and represent fidelity in your marriage. The use of white doves signifies peace. And releasing a flock of doves is a symbol of all the love and support of your guests and best wishes for your future life as the doves fly off together in the sky.

The Mechanics of a Dove Release

The number of doves you use depends mostly on your budget–the more doves, the more expensive–and on your venue limitations. “I can’t fly 50 doves in a small space. It just doesn’t work,” says Clarence Gibson who owns Doves of Love in Los Angeles, California. “Actually most of the time 12 doves work best to create a beautiful effect and not be overwhelming for guests who aren’t fond of birds.” Gibson has a bird sanctuary where he raises doves from hatchlings to fly specifically for weddings and other occasions. If you have ever watched the TV show, The Biggest Loser couples series and seen the dove release at the finale wedding, that was Gibson and his doves working their wonder!

Typically two doves are released from a heart-shaped box after the Unity Candle or about mid-way through the ceremony, with a message about the meaning. Then at the end of the ceremony the rest of the doves are released when the couple is introduced as husband and wife, and the birds circle around the bride and groom and the guests before they fly off as a group back to the sanctuary.

The only absolute rules against having a dove release is the doves can’t be released at night, it can’t be raining, and it must be outdoors. If your ceremony is indoors, you can have a release as you leave the ceremony or reception in replace of or in additon to rice or flower petals.

Resource for Your Dove Release

If you are interested in a dove release for your southern California wedding contact Clarence Gibson for more information and details.
Clarence Gibson
Doves of Love
(310) 325-0816